SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.
Thinking about outsourcing SEO?
SEO is a complex and meticulous art, but when building a website that you want to be seen by the maximum level of viewers then it is vital to your business. It doesn’t, however, have to be a confusing time for your business. If you educate yourself wisely it can be an easy process that you have many options to choose from while implementing it.
Basically, when considering making your website relevant through SEO you have two options. You can keep the implementation in-house or you can outsource to a 3rd party digital company. The thought of handing everything over to an outside firm may sound very appealing, but there are many things to consider first.
1. The cost of SEO.
When thinking about the cost of SEO it is vital to weigh up the difference between the cost of outsourcing to another firm and the cost of keeping your SEO work in-house.
When looking for companies to hire for SEO work it can be daunting as there are many digital firms out there promising the best for you for a variety of prices. Sure, you might find a low-cost firm that seems to promise you everything you are looking for but you have to remind yourself that ‘you get what you pay for’ – low cost could well mean low quality.
Ask prospective firms some essential questions to gain a better idea of their experience and abilities before thinking about hiring them.
“How exactly are you going to improve my results?”
“Will you be doing the work or outsourcing to another firm?”
“Can you prove your abilities with past results?”
If any of the answers to these leave you less than impressed… move on! You may soon realise that the investment in a higher cost SEO firm will be more beneficial than saving a few $$.
It is important also to consider the cost of keeping the task in-house. This might mean hiring someone new to handle all SEO related work, training up a current team member to take on the new role, or maybe you have someone with some SEO abilities but would need to hire them for extra hours or consider increasing their current pay. Depending on your situation currently, there may be a clear answer when considering all these factors.
2. What exactly are your needs?
While considering costs it is vital to make sure you know exactly what you need in order to optimize your website. There is no point hiring an outside firm to build you a complete SEO program from scratch if you already have the basics there, or only need on aspect of it added.
If you are starting from scratch then sometimes outsourcing will be the best option for you as you can negotiate a full package deal and know that all areas of the SEO work will be integrated with each other as all will be written by the same person.
Sometimes you may only need one aspect of that program added to your website. For example, do you perhaps only need someone to write SEO friendly content for your webpage. In this case asking someone in-house who already has these skills to do this may be the best option, or, hiring a freelance writer to provide that small amount of content rather than going to a pricey digital firm.
3. The importance of SEO philosophy.
There are three main factors to SEO success.
- Technical – proper coding and optimization, website structure and keyword integration.
- Content – high quality content that is correctly linked to the search terms, unique and of appropriate length.
- Backlinks – the number of other websites linking back to your site.
The rank of importance that these factors are held in when building SEO into your website will greatly determine the success of the task. Some companies may favour technical importance and put a lot of thought and time into optimizing your website technically, but in reality the technical side of things, while very important, is only going to gain ultimate success if your content is of great quality and if there are other websites out there recognizing that. Otherwise you may get the clicks to your page but viewers will not be staying there or recommending your work to others.
Whether outsourcing or working on SEO in-house, getting the most of SEO will be directly linked to the time and effort being put into each of these factors.
4. Your company identity vs theirs.
It is very likely that you have spent many long hours building your brand identity as a company. You will have carefully chosen your goals, ideals and statement of purpose, planted those seeds in your start-up and staff and watched it grow. Your identity is important so what happens if you outsource to an outside digital firm who puts their company identity above yours?
Asking a 3rd party company to be responsible for your SEO strategy and content must be done very carefully. You must be sure they are onboard with your ideas, understand your vision and are committed to putting their hard-working hours purely into your goals.
This means making sure they are comfortable and willing to have, perhaps a few, brand identity meetings where there will familiarise themselves with your company goals, ideas and ethics. Being a digital firm this may mean conference calls, video meetings and lots of email exchanges to make sure they can give you exactly what you want.
Again, it may be important to weigh up whether this is another factor making you lean toward keeping your SEO in-house. Someone already intimately familiar with your company identity will need less preparation time and can start the job immediately while being trusted to represent your brand well.
5. Communication needs
A great deciding factor between outsourcing and keeping work in-house is your communication needs, especially when it comes to SEO. With all its complex interweaving factors, there are always small or big things that can go wrong with your website SEO. When one of these problems arises you need to get it rectified as quickly as possible so you are not losing website traffic and therefore losing business.
Keeping your company work in-house means that those important people behind the scenes are always on hand to fix errors, assure any problems and adjust any details to keep your website operating at optimum level… but can you trust this from an outside digital company just as easy? It is important to ask this kind of detail of any potential firm you are looking to work with. If they can only promise responses within say 24-48hrs then you need to think about what kind of potential business could be lost during those hours.
So to conclude…
Building an optimum SEO program into your website is vital in today’s online business world. It is competitive and therefore it is best to consider all options before jumping in to hiring a new firm or deciding to do things yourself.
Be wise about your decisions and it will pay off for you and your company!