Search engine optimization (SEO) plays an integral role in the digital marketing industry.
SEO strategies aim to increase organic traffic and build a solid online presence by gaining top positions on search engine results. Organic traffic accounts for over 36% of eCommerce companies’ revenue and around 65% of their sessions.
However, SEO marketing involves tasks that often require advanced SEO expertise. These include keyword research, link building, and content planning. Therefore, outsourcing SEO can be an excellent way of maximizing marketing strategies.
Read on to find the definition and benefits of SEO outsourcing. We’ll also explain five signs you need to outsource SEO services and six tips to find a suitable agency.
What Is SEO Outsourcing?
SEO outsourcing means employing a third-party company to handle some or all your business’s SEO efforts.
There are three options to outsource SEO:
- Hire SEO freelancers. Independent SEO professionals are often more affordable and flexible.
- Partner with an SEO firm. You’ll work with a larger team of SEO experts. The main advantage is getting the group’s collective knowledge and experience.
- Work with a full-service agency. The agency will take care of your overall marketing strategy, including pay-per-click (PPC) ads and email marketing. There’s no need to hire another third party as the agency will develop coherent digital marketing campaigns across platforms.
Depending on your needs, the third party will develop, execute, monitor, and optimize SEO efforts, including:
- On-page SEO. It includes keyword research, content production, and optimization.
- Off-page SEO. Strategies such as outreach, guest posting, and link-building.
- Technical SEO. The SEO agency will fix site errors, secure the website, and make it responsive.
You may also require specific SEO campaigns, such as:
- Local SEO. The agency will optimize your website for local results on search engines like Google.
- eCommerce SEO. The outsourced SEO services will optimize product descriptions, navigational structure, and overall user experience.
- Amazon SEO. The SEO firm will help your products and brand rank well in Amazon’s search engine.
The Benefits of Outsourcing SEO
Many small business owners prefer to conduct SEO in-house and hire new employees rather than partnering with an external company. They want to maintain control over their SEO strategy and think that hiring an agency would cost a lot of money.
However, there are numerous benefits of outsourcing SEO, regardless of your business size. Here are five reasons why you should outsource SEO.
Some companies don’t see the results of their SEO projects. In many cases, they simply write content and hope that it will generate traffic and leads. However, an SEO strategy requires a lot more than simply creating and uploading content.
By hiring a full-fledged SEO agency, you will most likely achieve better results. Its members are experienced in the industry, so they will use their in-depth expertise to determine which strategy works best for your business.
Moreover, SEO agencies must keep up with industry changes to deliver a proper strategy to their clients. As a result, your company will get access to the latest techniques and tools.
A trustworthy SEO agency will also implement white hat SEO, meaning their strategies follow search engine guidelines. For instance, they don’t stuff keywords into the content or build links on spammy websites.
An SEO company usually invests in top-level SEO tools to measure performance thoroughly, from conversions to the user journey. These insights will provide information on what to improve to attract faster results.
Implement Cost-Effective Strategies
An in-house SEO team typically consists of an SEO or marketing manager, SEO specialist, outreach specialist, and content writer. As a result, business owners need to prepare a big budget for training and salaries.
59% of businesses opt for outsourcing SEO to reduce their expenses as it has no hiring or training costs and ensures you will be working with experienced professionals.
Also, the cost of digital marketing tools is pretty hefty for small and mid-sized businesses. For example, the SEO tool SEMrush offers its cheapest plan at $119.95/month.
By outsourcing SEO services, you stay within your budget while achieving your goals. The agencies usually include these tools in their service packages, so there’s no need to purchase them.
Learning SEO requires time, effort, and money. For this reason, your marketing department may struggle to complete their tasks while studying SEO and keeping up with the latest trends.
In this case, hiring third-party SEO professionals will help you focus on the core business. SEO experts already understand the ins and outs of SEO, from improving keyword rankings to creating a content calendar effectively.
Most agencies also have an extensive network to help their clients with link building. Moreover, they usually develop an action plan, so you can go straight to the campaign execution.
Gain Objective and New Perspectives
When people are used to doing the same project, they may overlook the process or get stuck. As a result, an in-house team may not be able to perceive mistakes.
In this case, an external party can offer objective and new perspectives. Outsiders usually have no bias or vested interest in a company and its previous efforts, so their feedback is neutral and honest to improve SEO campaigns.
Scale Your SEO
Working with an in-house team, you may need to hire additional members when their workload increases. In addition to salaries, your budget also needs to include training, additional accounts for premium tools, and other necessary resources.
Meanwhile, there’s no need to expand your team when you work with an SEO company. It will accommodate your needs as the business grows – usually, it has plans suitable for different business sizes.
When to Outsource Your SEO
There are a few signs that indicate it’s time to consider outsourcing your SEO:
- You started a new business. SEO experts can assist you with planning and developing solid SEO efforts from the beginning.
- You don’t see results from your current SEO strategy. An in-house team may have limited resources to improve SEO. Therefore, ask an experienced firm to handle the campaign. Most SEO firms track success using return on investment (ROI), so you can ask for results from their previous campaigns to estimate how effective your SEO investment will be.
- Your in-house marketing team is overworked. Hiring an SEO company helps reduce the workload, especially for a business owner with limited in-house resources who can’t afford to hire another full-time employee.
- You neglect strategy and focus too much on tasks. Proper marketing tactics need brainstorming sessions and careful monitoring. However, busy marketers often overlook these processes and jump into last-minute planning sessions, resulting in weak campaigns.
- You want to scale your business. Outsourcing SEO doesn’t always mean you encountered problems in your business’s processes. It’s also possible to hire an SEO company to grow the business, bring new ideas, and improve your overall digital marketing strategy.
Consider outsourcing your SEO efforts if you notice any of these signs. However, you don’t have to pick between a complete in-house team or an external marketing agency, as a hybrid approach can also work for your business.
6 Tips to Outsource SEO Services
Let’s discuss six tips to properly outsource SEO and achieve the desired results. We’ll guide you through reviewing the current performance, finding a reliable SEO company, calculating costs, and monitoring its progress.
1. Learn about SEO and Review Your Existing Performance
If you’re new to SEO, gaining basic knowledge of this field before hiring an outsourcing partner helps you create goals and discuss services with the prospective SEO firm.
Free online courses are a good starting point. Some great options are “Make sure customers find you online,” available on Google Digital Garage, and the SEO Training Course by Moz. These courses cover basic terms and techniques, on-site audits, keyword strategy, reporting, and other topics.
Once you gain some knowledge, review your current SEO performance to see what is working well and what needs to be improved by the outsourcing company.
Some key metrics when measuring SEO efforts are:
- Organic search traffic.
- eCommerce conversion rates.
- Search ranking.
- Crawl errors.
- The number of backlinks.
Google provides Google Analytics and Search Console to help analyze these metrics for free. Many website builders also offer a built-in analytics tool that displays similar reports.
2. Decide Your Goals and Necessary SEO Services
Clear goals ensure you and the agency understand the project’s expectations and how to measure its performance.
When defining objectives for the external firm, consider your current marketing strategy and long-term goals. It helps ensure that future SEO services align with the overall marketing plans.
Let’s say you want to improve the business’ online presence. In this case, you may consider implementing online marketing strategies such as email and social media marketing. Based on that, discuss with the outsource team the SEO strategies that can improve other channels too.
Then, set a specific target. For example, building your online presence is too broad of a goal. Think about tangible results, such as more organic traffic and a higher ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). If possible, inform the agency of the actual numbers you aim to achieve.
Most SEO agencies also offer packages consisting of specific services, so take a look at their websites for inspiration.
After that, create a simple timeline to give the agency a visual overview of how you want the project to progress. It should contain your goals and estimated project duration.
Also, decide whether the agency will work for a one-off or ongoing project, i.e., monthly retainer. This decision will influence not only how the agency sets the timeline and to-do list but also the fee you’ll pay.
3. Calculate Costs
SEO costs vary depending on the agency’s revenue model and reputation, as well as the type of services you hire.
Generally, a basic SEO plan ranges from $250 to $3,000. It only covers fundamental services, like content optimization, keyword strategy, and internal link building. Meanwhile, an enterprise plan usually provides more complete services like technical SEO and A/B testing. Yet, it comes at higher prices, from $5,000 to over $25,000.
Some SEO companies also offer hourly rates from $80 to $200. However, this revenue model can cost a lot, especially when you ask for various services. Consider hourly rates only when hiring a consultant to perform an SEO audit.
Note that SEO efforts may take months or even years to produce significant results. Therefore, consider lowering the monthly budget and spreading it over an extended period.
4. Research and Evaluate SEO Agencies
When you work with an SEO outsourcing company, the strategy’s success will mainly depend on its team. Therefore, take time to evaluate agencies carefully and avoid immediately choosing the cheapest option.
Consider these points when finding a good SEO company:
- Case studies, client references, and testimonials.
- Tools and equipment the company uses.
- The company’s unique selling points (USP).
- Compliance with search engines’ regulations.
- Methods and rules of communication.
- Standard frequency of reporting and meetings.
- The SEO agency’s ongoing projects to know their current workload.
You may also ask the potential agencies to create a proposal tailored to your needs. It will help you filter the options and determine if their services are a good fit.
Some top SEO companies are WebFX, OuterBox, and SocialSEO. They’ve worked with popular brands such as Subway and Cadillac. These agencies have also received industry awards, including The US National Excellence and Web Excellence Awards.
However, consider hiring a local SEO agency as you don’t have to think about time zone differences and language barriers. It may also be a more affordable option.
5. Review the Action Plan and Monitor Progress
After choosing a professional SEO company to work with, start discussing your goals and timeline.
Ensure that everything is clear before signing a contract, including the step-by-step process, budget, and communication methods. Next, sign a contract to avoid risks and guarantee the agency’s offers.
The outsourcing contract usually needs to specify:
- The parties involved in the contract.
- The responsibilities of each party.
- Milestone dates and transition time.
- Key performance indicators (KPIs).
- The outsourced services.
- Pricing details.
- Remedies for poor performance.
- Important terms and conditions.
Being patient on SEO improvements is important, but you also need to monitor the progress regularly. Depending on the project timeline, it can be weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
Ask the agency to prepare reports about their tasks during the period. Then, review the KPIs and discuss the following actions. Consider using project management tools like Jira and Zoho Projects to check and document the progress.
6. Continue Building In-house SEO Skills
Sometimes, the drawback of outsourcing SEO is the lack of dedicated resources within the in-house team. Your company may depend on the agency’s availability and workload to change the campaign details.
Therefore, continue to build in-house skills while outsourcing SEO services.
Discuss with the agency the possibility of giving small tasks and training your marketing department members. As your business grows, you’ll have the budget to hire more people for the in-house SEO team and delegate important tasks to them instead of relying on an agency.
Having an in-house SEO team also has its benefits. It offers more control over the operations, ensures data protection, and adapts new plans faster than agencies. You also don’t have to rearrange the contract or wait for their availability when issues appear.
SEO is an effective digital marketing strategy. It aims to attract organic traffic and increase revenue. However, SEO can be a complex process with a steep learning curve.
Therefore, many online business owners choose to outsource SEO. It refers to hiring an external agency to handle their SEO strategies. This external party helps with on-page, off-page, and technical optimization.
Reliable SEO companies deliver better results due to their knowledge and resources to perform SEO efficiently. It can also be a cost-effective approach as you don’t need to hire an entire in-house team or purchase expensive tools.
Consider outsourcing SEO work if you find your in-house team is not delivering satisfactory results or they’re overwhelmed with the current workload.
Use these six tips to outsource SEO and gain maximum returns:
- Learn basic SEO knowledge and review your current performance.
- Determine your goals and necessary SEO services.
- Calculate the outsourcing costs.
- Find and evaluate an SEO or digital marketing agency.
- Make an action plan and monitor the progress.
- Perform SEO in-house training.
We hope this article has answered all your questions about SEO outsourcing and helped you find the ideal agency. Best of luck!