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SEO Outsourcing: The Basics You Need to Know

SEO Outsourcing: The Basics You Need to Know
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by Sanjeev Kapoor 30 Mar 2020

Over the years, outsourcing has been extended to almost all digital activities. From software development to digital marketing, enterprises are outsourcing digital activities in order to cut down costs and benefit from access to global talent. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) activities are no exception to this rule. It turns out that SEO activities are very important for enterprises of all sizes, as their digital channels are gradually becoming a primary modality for communicating with customers. As a prominent example, the home page of an enterprise’s web site is usually the first touchpoint for every potential customer. Therefore, maximizing Google search efficiency for the home page can have a positive impact on the sales, marketing and branding strategy of the company. In this context, SEO is a valuable digital marketing tool that can greatly boost an enterprise’s digital visibility and Internet reputation.

The SEO process is highly technical and is usually performed by experts that have a deep understanding of how search engines works, especially in terms of the way they rank pages.  Therefore, it’s common for enterprises to resort to outsourcing, in order to benefit from access to some of the world’s top experts, including both individuals and digital marketing agencies.  SEO Outsourcing services include both on-page optimization activities (i.e. services relating to keywords, metadata, blog) and off-page optimization activities (i.e. services relating to link building, guests’ posts and social media).

 

Understanding the SEO Challenges

Even though SEO is an experts’ task, several companies are tempted to perform SEO tasks in-house. Their motivation is economic i.e. to save from the outsourcing costs, and a matter of control i.e. to control the SEO process in-house. However, this thinking is problematic as SEO inefficiencies can incur significant costs, which can be considered as the “hidden costs” of trusting the SEO process to non-experts. On the other hand, the SEO process is extremely challenging in the long term, which is a good reason for outsourcing it to world class experts. Specifically, the challenges of SEO outsourcing include:

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  • SEO is an element of the digital marketing strategy rather than a single task: SEO cannot be planned in isolation from the digital marketing strategy of a company. It is one of the elements of this strategy and as such it should be carefully linked to other elements like the content marketing strategy and the social media marketing of the company. For example, the content posted by the company as part of its content marketing tasks, must be considered in SEO planning. Experienced digital marketing agencies can be very efficient in creating and implementing holistic digital marketing strategies, which is a good reason for considering SEO outsourcing to a proper agency.
  • A multi-parametric problem: Contrary to what some companies might think, SEO is not simply a matter of fine-tuning the keywords and metadata of your web site in order to rank high on Google. Rather, there are many factors that influence Google searches, including the domain name of the web site, the page loading speed, the quality of the content, the inbound and outbound links to other sites and more. Thus, there is a need for experts that can undertake multi-factor optimization, based on their deep knowledge of how the different factors contribute to the final outcome.
  • Google’s algorithm is Changing from time to time: Unfortunately, it’s not sufficient to gain deep insights on the factors that affect search rankings. From time to time, Google and other search engines change their algorithms. Moreover, the search algorithms are influenced by trending topics on the internet, which can at times make some keywords more effective than others. Hence, companies had better collaborate with experts that keep up with the evolution of the search algorithms and keyword trends.
  • The need for continuous improvement: SEO is more like a marathon rather than a 100 meters race. It not sufficient to set up a SEO plan successfully. You will also have to constantly monitor and revise it. This means setting and tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), while devising new strategies for achieving them. Monitoring and continuous improvement requires dedication. SEO outsourcing ensures that a dedicated team will be available to undertake this continuous improvement endeavor.
  • A competitive game: SEO should not only target to improve your absolute ranking in searching. It’s equally and probably more important to help you outperform competitors. In other words, you need not make a world record in your rankings, as soon as you can stay ahead of the competition. To this end, good SEO is not enough: you need to partner with experts that can bring you on top.

 

Guidelines for Successful SEO Outsourcing

While there are some good arguments for justifying your outsourcing decision, it not always easy to ensure the success of your outsourcing endeavor. Here follows a piece of advice for companies that opt for SEO outsourcing:

  • Manage the Outsourcing Process: Make sure that you closely keep track of the outsourcing tasks as they are carried out by the hired experts or agencies. In this direction, a good practice is to appoint a project manager from the company side, who will be in charge of monitoring the implementation and accomplishment of the various SEO tasks. The monitoring of a SEO implementation project can be based on tangible KPIs regarding rankings, visibility, digital branding and costs.
  • Develop in-house SEO expertise: Companies can benefit from developing in-house SEO expertise, as this can help them control the SEO process and manage any possible switch to other outsourcing vendors. Therefore, processes for knowledge transfer from SEO experts and digital marketing consultants of the selected vendors to the employees of the company must be planned.
  • Align KPIs to business goals: The SEO process must become associated with concrete KPIs regarding its efficiency. These KPIs should be driven by business goals, such as clients visits to the web site, click-throughs, growth in conversion rates and more.
  • Look at the bottom lines: The effectiveness of the SEO outsourcing process should be reflected in the company’s bottom line. Don’t look just at the outsourcing costs. Rather consider the potential benefits and the impact of SEO on sales, marketing costs, revenue streams and more. It’s always best if you develop a detailed and credible ROI (Return on Investment) analysis for your SEO outsourcing project.

 

In an era of increased digitalization, there are some very good reasons for outsourcing elements of your digital marketing strategy, including SEO activities. Earlier paragraphs have outlined some best practices for successful SEO outsourcing, which are intended to help companies avoid pitfalls and set realistic expectations.

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