The Ultimate Guide to Outsourcing Your Client’s SEO
If you’ve tried your hand at search engine optimization for your clients but you haven’t quite gotten the results you hoped for, it may be time to start thinking about outsourcing the work. Every SEO firm is unique in terms of service, experience, and price, so if you want the best possible results for your budget, it’s important to understand why outsourcing is beneficial, and what types of firms tend to see the most success.
Throughout this guide, we’ll help you understand the main motivations for outsourcing your client’s SEO, the considering factors for choosing a firm, and best practices for working with a firm moving forward.
Critical Questions to Ask Before Outsourcing
First, let’s take a look at some of the questions you should be asking yourself before you decide to hire an outside firm. Outsourcing your work isn’t always the best option, and before you choose a firm, you should know exactly why you’re looking for one in the first place.
- How long have you been working with your client? SEO is a long-term strategy. If you’re frustrated at not seeing results after a month of work, it might be a little too early to escalate your campaign by outsourcing.
- What type of results have you seen so far? If you’ve already spent a significant amount of time optimizing for your client, what progress have you seen? There are many ways to measure the success of an SEO campaign, and one of the most common is also one of the least valuable. Many SEO amateurs measure success in terms of keyword rankings, when in reality, the better measure of your success lies in traffic—after all, ranking high for a set of keywords doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see more web traffic, and it certainly doesn’t mean those visitors are buying what your client is selling.
- What is your budget? Outsourcing your SEO will cost extra money, and cheap SEO services tend to do more harm than good. Make sure you have the cash to support your outsourcing efforts sufficiently.
- What is your timeframe? Again, SEO is a long-term strategy. If you’re interested in finding a way to quickly or temporarily boost your client’s rankings, outsourcing may not be a good idea. However, if you’re looking for a several month or several year strategy to build a healthy authority, outsourcing is a fantastic option.
Setting Your Long-Term Goals
Before you get any further, it’s time to consider what your long-term goals for the campaign are:
- What metrics are you most interested in? Keyword rankings aren’t always the best measure of your SEO results. Are you interested in generating more organic traffic? Or are you interested in generating more relevant traffic, such as people who are more likely to buy your clients’ products?
- What level of competition are you facing? An SEO firm might be able to help you answer this question, but it’s important to consider before you start looking. Is your client a local business, or are they competing with national enterprises?
You should also consider whether you’re interested in outsourcing the entire SEO campaign, or just a fraction of it. If you already perform some tasks yourself, you should outline a list of services you’ll need from an outsourced firm, such as:
- Keyword research and competition analysis
- Onsite writing and optimization
- Web structure optimization
- Local optimization services
- Blog and content marketing
- Backlink building
- Press release writing and syndication
- Social media marketing
- Ongoing reporting and measuring
Finding a Great Fit
Once you have a loose idea of your main goals and needs, you can start looking for an SEO agency that can help you get the work done.
First and foremost, you need to find a firm that offers all the services you need to have performed. Not all SEO agencies are full-service, meaning there are some firms who specialize in content marketing or exclusively deal in backlink building. For the average outsourcer, a full-service firm is usually the best option, since it covers the full scope of work needed to achieve the best results, but for an account manager who already has specific services covered, a specialty firm might be the better choice.
Next, you want to consider the cost of outsourcing. You probably already have a general idea for your budget, but it’s important to make sure you get a good deal and spend enough money to get a quality service. SEO firms that advertise themselves as extremely cheap generally deal in poor practices, such as spamming backlinks or writing low-quality keyword-stuffed content. These obsolete SEO strategies could actually harm your campaign in the long-term, so it’s important to invest money in a quality firm. More money doesn’t always mean better service, so do some research, ask for some client references, and find the best firm you can for your target budget.
Finally, you want to get a feel for your firm’s expertise and working relationship. Any SEO firm that guarantees a specific result, such as a number one ranking by a specific date, is probably lying in order to get your business. With the ambiguity of Google’s algorithm, constantly arriving new updates, and the unpredictable factor of competition, it is impossible to make any accurate prediction or guarantee of results for an SEO campaign. If you’re outsourcing your client’s SEO, you need to find a firm that understands this and knows what type of results are the most valuable for businesses. You also want to find a firm that’s easy to work with, and one that has your client’s best interests at heart.
Once you’ve selected a firm to work with, it’s a good idea to go over a few things at the beginning of your working relationship to ensure a positive and mutually beneficial path forward. Make sure all of your expectations and goals are clear in the beginning. Some topics you’ll want to cover include:
- The main goals and needs of the campaign, including which services will be necessary and how much you’re willing to pay.
- The measures of success for the campaign. You may have a different expectation than your service provider, in terms of metrics to measure as well as a timeline, so it’s important to agree on terms upfront.
- The frequency of reporting and reviews. Some people want to meet on a weekly basis while others would rather not meet at all. Different procedures work for different people, so make your desires clear from the beginning.
- The amount of posts, links, and other measurable activities you can expect. Several blog posts and dozens of backlinks per month is base requirement for most campaigns. No matter what your goals and budget are, make sure you get a firm idea of what level of work you can expect.
Outsourcing a client’s SEO isn’t the best strategy for everybody, but if you’re looking to get better long-term results and you have the budget to support the transition, go for it. Finding a trustworthy, reliable partner to build your client’s search engine dominance might take some time, but once your partnership is established, you’ll be in a much better position to help your client grow.
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