Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex process. Everyone can understand some simple best practices, but experience and expertise are required to maximize their effect.
For small businesses, start-ups, or even larger organizations that need to improve their search rankings and online visibility, finding this expertise can be difficult. Your in-house team may be stretched too thin, or you may not have the budget to hire a dedicated SEO specialist.
Many companies in this situation decide to outsource SEO services by hiring a contractor or working directly with an external agency.
This article will explain the ins and outs of SEO outsourcing, including the many benefits and some common mistakes to avoid.
What Is SEO Outsourcing?
SEO outsourcing is the process of hiring external SEO companies or individuals to manage and execute SEO strategies on behalf of your business. By outsourcing SEO, companies can focus on their core business activities while leaving technical and time-consuming tasks to experts specializing in this field.
Outsourcing SEO involves a wide range of activities, including things like:
- Keyword research and analysis
- On-page optimization (such as content optimization and meta tags)
- Technical SEO (such as site structure, mobile-friendliness, and page speed)
- Content creation and optimization
- Link-building campaigns
- Local SEO (for companies with a physical presence or local service area)
- SEO audits and competitor analysis
- Monitoring, tracking, and reporting on SEO performance
Instead of training in-house staff or hiring a new team, companies sometimes opt to outsource these services to benefit from an SEO provider’s experience, tools, and resources that might otherwise be inaccessible.
Benefits of Outsourcing SEO
There are a few key reasons why a business might choose to outsource its SEO efforts:
Cut down on costs
Companies are always looking to stay lean and reduce unnecessary spending. By outsourcing SEO services, businesses can save money in several ways.
- Avoid in-house full-time SEO salaries: Outsourcing can eliminate the need for a full-time salary, benefits, and overhead associated with an employee.
- Save on training costs: Freelance SEO experts and SEO outsourcing agencies are typically current with SEO trends and Google updates, reducing the need for in-house training.
- Access tools without subscriptions: Outsourcing provides access to advanced SEO tools and technologies without requiring direct purchase.
There are additional cost benefits to choosing an offshoring or nearshoring approach to outsourcing. For example, Near can connect you with SEO specialists based in Latin America, who usually have lower salary expectations than their US-based counterparts.
Outsourcing SEO can also save time for businesses in several critical ways:
- Reduced hiring time: Statistics show that the hiring process takes an average of 36 days. But you can bypass much of the work of finding and vetting an SEO specialist through outsourcing. Near, for instance, will enable you to hire your new team member within 21 days of an initial recruiting call.
- Faster implementation: SEO specialists have streamlined processes for implementing strategies. They can often get started on SEO campaigns and initiatives much more quickly than a newly formed in-house SEO team that might be figuring out processes from scratch.
- Speedy results: Due to their experience and expertise, SEO agencies may be able to produce results more quickly than an in-house team. They know how to prioritize tasks that have the most significant impact, navigate SEO pitfalls, and capitalize on opportunities as they arise.
Outsourcing not only delivers operational time savings but can also ensure that you spend every minute in the most efficient way possible—focusing on your business objectives and leaving the specialized work to SEO experts who can execute quickly and effectively.
Get access to SEO expertise
When businesses outsource SEO, they access a level of expertise and experience honed over many years and across a diverse range of projects. SEO agencies live and breathe SEO, so they bring a breadth and depth of knowledge that is difficult to match with in-house resources.
They have usually dealt with various clients and challenges, which means they bring proven and effective SEO strategies and insights to the table.
Grow and scale SEO business products
Outsourcing SEO can be particularly advantageous for businesses looking to grow and expand their offerings because it provides flexibility and scalability.
SEO agencies typically have the resources and bandwidth to manage increased workloads, which means they can scale their services to match your business’ growth. As you expand or your market presence grows, an outsourced team can adjust its strategies and focus areas to align with your evolving objectives.
Is It Possible To Fully Outsource SEO?
Yes, it is feasible to outsource all of a business’ SEO activities, allowing the expertise of specialized agencies or freelancers to drive this part of the digital marketing strategy.
But despite the convenience and advantages of outsourcing, a business should still oversee certain core aspects of SEO to ensure the best outcomes.
Things like strategic direction, quality control, and final decision-making are critical elements that should remain within the purview of the business itself. Without a certain degree of involvement and oversight, you risk misalignment with overall business goals, branding, and messaging.
Cost of Outsourcing SEO Services
The cost of outsourcing SEO services can vary significantly based on scope and expectations. An international SaaS enterprise in a competitive space will have to pay a lot more than a local coffee shop, even if the general goal—to increase search traffic—is the same.
Here are a few common structures for outsourcing SEO services:
- Monthly retainers: Many SEO agencies operate on a monthly retainer model, where clients pay a monthly fee for continued services. This can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the intensity and complexity of the SEO strategies.
- Project-based pricing: Agencies may charge a flat rate for specific projects with clear objectives and endpoints. This pricing model works well for tasks like website audits, setting up local SEO, or conducting keyword research for new products.
- Hourly rates: Some SEO consultants or small agencies charge by the hour. These rates can vary widely, from $50 to $300 or more per hour, depending on the provider’s expertise and reputation.
Given these potential costs, businesses are often on the lookout for more cost-effective solutions without compromising quality. One approach can be to hire talent from regions with lower living costs, where highly skilled professionals may charge less than their counterparts in more expensive countries.
Latin American countries, for example, have emerged as popular outsourcing destinations due to a combination of cost-efficiency, a skilled labor force, and similar time zones to North America.
How To Outsource SEO
If you’ve decided to outsource some SEO services, where do you begin? The options seem endless, and it can be overwhelming to find a reliable partner.
Here's how you can start the process of outsourcing SEO:
1. Determine your SEO goals and the services you need
Before reaching out to potential service providers, take the time to pinpoint your specific SEO objectives. Are you looking to improve your local SEO to attract potential customers in your area, enhance e-commerce visibility, generate more organic traffic, or receive a complete SEO audit of your website?
2. Research outsourcing SEO options
Once you have a deep understanding of your goals, start researching potential candidates. You could choose a freelance professional who offers more personalized attention and often provides more affordable SEO services.
Alternatively, an SEO agency might provide a comprehensive package of services and have greater resources for larger projects, including a dedicated team of SEO experts. Consider which option best aligns with your project’s size, the complexity of your needs, and your budget.
3. Discuss SEO processes
Understanding how a candidate works will give you an insight into their expertise and how they might fit with your business approach. Ask about things like:
- Specialization areas
- Metrics they prioritize
- Tools they use
- How they measure and report success
The specifics of their SEO process will tell you a lot about what to expect in terms of collaboration and results.
4. Check testimonials and client reviews
One of the most reliable ways to assess the credibility of an SEO service provider is to read testimonials and reviews from previous clients. Many service providers will have case studies or client testimonials on their websites, but don’t forget to check independent review sites and ask for client references.
Mistakes To Avoid When Outsourcing SEO Services
It’s easy to fall into the same traps and pitfalls repeatedly when outsourcing. SEO services are a critical element of your marketing strategy, and mistakes in outsourcing can lead to suboptimal results, wasted resources, and strategic misalignments.
To mitigate any potential drawbacks from outsourcing SEO, here are several key mistakes to avoid:
- Going with very cheap options: Though there can be legitimate reasons for low prices, extremely low costs may indicate poor quality and a lack of comprehensive SEO services.
- Choosing inexperienced SEO providers: A lack of expertise can lead to mistakes and ineffective SEO tactics.
- Focusing on vanity metrics: It’s important to track leads, conversion rates, and revenue instead of just vanity metrics like page views or likes.
- Not having the same goals and values: Ensure your SEO partner’s strategies and content align with your company’s objectives.
- Believing in promises of quick results: SEO takes time, and quick fixes may involve dubious tactics that search engine algorithms penalize.
- Not assessing communication: SEO partners should be reachable and responsive and explain their strategies clearly.
- Not checking reports and results regularly: Verify that the provider offers consistent, clear reports on SEO progress and stays aligned with your goals.
Black hat SEO refers to unethical or deceptive techniques to improve a website’s search engine rankings. These tactics are against search engine guidelines and can result in severe penalties, including being removed from search results entirely.
Be cautious of strategies that seem manipulative or too good to be true, such as:
- Keyword stuffing
- Invisible text
- Doorway pages
- Adding unrelated keywords to page content to try to increase keyword rankings
- Participating in link schemes
- Buying links
Reputable SEO professionals will be transparent about their methods, focusing on long-term, white hat strategies, such as creating high-quality content and building natural, organic traffic.
Outsourcing SEO can be a strategic move for businesses aiming to enhance their online presence, drive traffic, and increase revenue.
Remember to prioritize quality over price, seek out experienced SEO service providers with a proven track record of improving online visibility, and demand transparency and effective communication.
If you’re considering the next step toward outsourcing, we can help connect you with pre-vetted experts who align with your business needs and values.
Fill out our form to get started with a service provider with the experience, skill set, and ethical approach to take your business endeavors to the next level.