SEO is important. But it’s complex, time consuming, and requires patience to see results. Deciding how to approach SEO is just as complex.
In fact, SEO is similar to investing. Your options are:
- Do nothing
- Do it yourself
- Outsource SEO—hire an expert to handle it for you
If you’re a smart marketer, you’ve already narrowed it down to option #2 and #3.
Doing SEO yourself can seem like a daunting task, so many people consider outsourcing.
There are several compelling reasons why you might outsource SEO:
- Expert knowledge
- Outside perspective
- No hiring and onboarding costs
- Ongoing SEO management
But before you decide whether to stay in-house or outsource SEO, there are a few important things you should consider.
4 Things to Consider Before You Outsource SEO
How much will outsourcing SEO cost?
SEO is not a cheap undertaking when done correctly. That means focusing on white hat SEO techniques only. No spammy black hat stuff.
For some businesses that can afford shelling out $3,000/month for quality SEO services, it’s easy to answer the question, “Should I outsource my SEO?” For others, it’s a more complicated investment decision.
On the flip side, what would it cost to do SEO in-house?
That is, what kind of man-hours would it take for existing team members to take on SEO-related tasks? Would there be a big learning curve?
If you have a relatively savvy team of marketers, then it may be more feasible to keep SEO in-house. Particularly if your score of SEO needs is small. However, you should consider how costly that would be in the long run. SEO isn’t a one-and-done type of thing. It requires maintenance, consistent content creation, and patience to see long-term results. Can your team afford to siphon time away from other goals and responsibilities?
You could also hire someone new to run your SEO program.
According to Glassdoor, hiring an SEO Manager with a few years experience is somewhere around $62,000 per year in the U.S. But in a tech hotbed like San Francisco, that number jumps to $83.5k. And that doesn’t include the time and money it requires to recruit and onboard that new employee.
Maybe cost alone decides whether or not you outsource SEO. But if not, there are 3 other things you should consider before walking your SEO out the door.
#2. Strategic Impact
How does SEO impact your marketing strategy and goals?
When deciding if you should outsource SEO, you should consider how much of your marketing strategy relies on SEO. And you should also think about how mature your current SEO program is.
In other words:
- Will you have to start SEO from scratch?
- Have you started SEO, and seen enough results that you’re confident you want to invest more?
- Have you had great SEO success, but just don’t have the manpower to scale up your program?
If you’re new to SEO, there are a couple of things you should do before making a decision about in-house or outsourced SEO services.
1. Learn about SEO best practices
If you’re just starting with SEO, check out these resources:
- [Free eBook] How to do SEO: The Ultimate Guide
- White Hat SEO Techniques: It’s Not About Gaming Google
- How to Rank on Google: 3 Ingredients for Reaching #1 in Search
2. Understand what your SEO needs might be
Perhaps after learning all you can about SEO, you know exactly what needs to be done. In that case, you’re probably ready to decide how to execute your SEO plan (i.e. In-house or outsource).
If you’re still not sure, or have questions about more in-depth issues like technical SEO health, then you might want to seek advice from an SEO analyst or consultant. They will be able to give you a complete run-down on the state of your SEO.
Or, you could use Alexa’s SEO Audit tool to get a customized report with recommendations on how you can improve. The comprehensive report details why each action item is important and how it affects your SEO.
If you’ve started SEO, have seen positive results, and want to invest more, then consider the 3 other points in this blog post to decide whether in-house or outsourced SEO is right for you.
If SEO is already contributing a great deal to your marketing strategy, but you just don’t have the manpower to grow and optimize your efforts then it may be time to outsource your SEO.
Depending on what bucket you fall into, the next consideration is how outsourcing SEO may affect your brand identity.
#3. Brand Identity
If you outsource your SEO, will the initiatives be executed with your brand identity and goals in mind?
When you outsource SEO, a person who is unfamiliar with your business and your goals will be responsible for keyword strategy. And if you outsource more comprehensive SEO services, that person will also be tasked with creating customer focused, search friendly SEO content that appropriately represents your brand.
When you outsource SEO, you have to be absolutely sure that the person or service you employ is intimately familiar with your brand. And they must totally understand your strategic goals.
Often, this requires several hours of onboarding via emails and conference calls. You’ll have to send them all of your creative material, walk them through your brand guidelines, relay your vision, goals, success metrics…
And at the end of the day, no one will ever know your business better than you.
So when you ask, “Should I outsource my SEO?” you should also consider:
- How much time it will take to get a 3rd party SEO professional to understand your business
- Whether they will invest the time needed to absorb and execute on that knowledge
Additional questions to ask:
Is my industry niche or broad?
Broad industries like banking or healthcare may be more easily understood by 3rd party SEOs.
On the other hand, smaller industries that need to reach audiences like the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers may have a more difficult time finding SEOs with enough experience to confidently make recommendations about their business’ SEO strategy.
Does the agency or consultancy you’re considering have a diverse portfolio that demonstrates breadth of experience?
Do they have a team of writers that could provide samples of their work so you can find the right fit with your brand and brand voice?
What aspects of SEO do you need help with?
Finally, when deciding whether or not to outsource SEO it’s worth considering what areas of SEO your needs fall into.
Are you looking to totally outsource SEO, or just one part of it?
If you only need help with one part of SEO, finding a DIY solution may be more cost effective and a better use of time. Alternatively, outsourcing that single part to a freelancer may be all you need.
If you need help with many parts of SEO, ensure the provider you’re considering will give you superb and holistic SEO management—from content creation and keyword research, to on-page and technical SEO.
SEO is complex, and it’s important to do it right. So when deciding how to do SEO, think about your needs, your goals, and your budget. This will help you determine whether you should invest in outsourcing or keep SEO in house.
And if you decide in house SEO is the right path for you…
Keep SEO In House with Alexa SEO Tools
Alexa takes a 360° approach to the Marketing Stack, with tools for every stage of the SEO workflow.
On-Page SEO: On-Page SEO Checker
Technical SEO: SEO Audit Tool
Alexa’s SEO Tools are perfect for small to mid-sized businesses that are focused on growth, and need a suite of tools that:
- Are easy to navigate
- Provide actionable recommendations
- Cover all the best practices of SEO