If you have any experience with search engine optimization (SEO), you know how important it is in a successful digital marketing campaign. You also know how difficult and tedious it is. Hence, many digital marketing agencies elect to outsource search engine optimization to dedicated SEO agencies.
By outsourcing, it saves the agency time and produces better results for the client. This sounds like a win-win, right?
On paper, yes. However, that doesn’t mean it will work.
If you are an agency owner looking to outsource, don’t let this discourage you. By following the appropriate steps and selecting the right SEO agency, you can be very successful with outsourced SEO.
In this article, I will discuss why you should (or shouldn’t) outsource SEO.
Why You Should Not Outsource Search Engine Optimization (Or Only Partially Outsource)
You Can Learn It
This reason only applies to very small or single-person businesses. Like any skill, anyone can learn SEO. In my SEO experience, you can break it down into three parts: Backlinks, Content, and Technical.
You can quickly learn technical and content SEO by purchasing an SEO software tool and taking a few courses. I recommend the following course from SEMrush Academy.
Now you have the tools you need and have a good knowledge of technical and content SEO. But what about backlinks?
Backlinks are a different story. Backlinks are links from other websites to yours (or, in this case, your client’s). The process of getting more backlinks is called backlink building. Learning how to do it and doing it are both extremely difficult. You can find out more about backlinks here.
You Can Partially Outsource
Backlinks are certainly the most outsourced part of SEO, and I would not discourage you from outsourcing them. There are downsides to this, but the benefit of having a professional do this versus yourself might be worth it. I would highly recommend you use Matthew Woodward’s LinksThatRank service.
Your Margins Are Larger
Another reason not to outsource SEO is margins. If you do the work yourself or only outsource parts, your margins can be a lot larger. This allows for your prices to be more competitive in an already saturated and competitive area.
Overall, you can learn most of SEO on your own for free and easily outsource only a part compared to the whole service. This gives you much more flexibility and allows you to sound knowledgeable when speaking with a client.
However, experience is always better than knowledge, and that leads me to my next point.
Why You Should Outsource Search Engine Optimization
Why do businesses advertise that they have been in business for 10, 25, or even 50 years? Because it shows, they know what they are doing. It sets them up to look like experts because, in most things (including SEO), the experience will almost always trump knowledge.
Many well-qualified SEO agencies are composed of consultants with many years of experience. This will more than likely produce better results for your clients, making your business look better.
More Time Efficient
If you are a small agency, you need to be time efficient. Let’s be honest, search engine optimization is not a fast process. It takes hours and hours and rarely are there shortcuts. By outsourcing SEO, you allow yourself more time to help your agency grow.
Pros & Cons
How to choose an SEO agency for outsourcing
If you have decided outsourcing SEO is best for your agency, how do you select the agency to outsource to? Using the following steps, you can choose the best agency to work with:
Cost is essential for several reasons, especially in outsourcing. You have to decide how much you can charge for your SEO services. Here is an excellent guide on how to do just that.
Once you know what you can charge, you need to decide what you want your margin to be. For instance, let’s say you want to make $20 in profit per hour, and your projected business costs per hour are $10. You decided using the guide above that you can charge $70/hour for SEO. This means you can spend up to $40/hour on an SEO agency.
$70 (Hourly SEO Fee) – $10 (Business Costs) – $20 (Wanted Hourly Profit) = $40 (What you can pay for outsourcing.)
2. Proven Results
What good is any of this without results? Before doing business with an agency, you need to view their portfolio and ensure they have produced incredible results for other companies.
If they can’t do it for others, why would you expect them to render your business results?
Finally, the agency needs to be timely and responsive. What if your client has a question? Hopefully, you will have enough knowledge to answer the question on your own, but you can’t rely on this always being the case.
You would need to ask the agency yourself before you let your client know. You may be ready to answer questions promptly, but if they don’t respond for days, your client may feel neglected and leave a bad review. Of course, this is not what you want.
The Problem With Dedicated Outsourcing Agencies
Many agencies exist for the sole purpose of outsourcing. I am sure many of them do great work, but I would steer clear of them. Many times they will do the bare minimum and jump from project to project, producing lackluster results. The upside is most of the time, these will be very affordable and will maximize your margin.
My recommendation would be to reach out to standard SEO agencies and ask if they would be willing to white-label services. I think you might be surprised how many agencies will have no problem with it. These agencies will treat your project with more care and will produce better results. The downside is you will be paying consumer prices, meaning your margins could get quite tight.
Do I recommend outsourcing your SEO? It depends. It depends on your current size, goals, budget, clientele, and many other factors. I hope this helped to clear up the pros and cons of each route. Feel free to leave any questions you have below!
Hi! My name is Carter Stroup. I am the founder, president, web and SEO professional at Render Results. I have been a web developer for over four years and currently hold five professional certifications. My number one goal is to provide custom websites for an affordable price to help grow small businesses.