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How to Outsource SEO in 2024

Today, it's not easy to keep track of everything SEO-related, so it's not surprising that many businesses are looking for alternatives and help in this area. 

Many businesses make the strategic decision to outsource SEO. It's an efficient way to access a network of experts who can help boost your online presence.

In this article, we'll discuss how you can begin outsourcing SEO work for your business.

What you will learn:

  • What SEO outsourcing is all about
  • What are the actual benefits of outsourcing SEO
  • What and when can SEO be outsourced to external parties
  • How to tackle outsourcing SEO
  • Whether to choose an agency or a freelance specialist for your SEO needs 

What is SEO outsourcing? 

SEO outsourcing is the practice of hiring an external SEO agency or freelancer to perform search engine optimization related tasks for your business. These activities can range from keyword research and content planning to content writing and link building. 

Outsourced SEO services can be adjusted to fit the needs of the business, whether it's a one-time project, ongoing SEO management, or consulting services.

The cost of outsourcing can vary depending on how big the project is and how skilled the SEO provider is.

Benefits of outsourcing SEO 

Outsourcing your SEO SEO can offer several benefits, from tapping into expert knowledge to freeing up internal resources.

If you're worried about SEO costs, outsourcing can provide a more cost-effective, scalable, and efficient approach to SEO. 

Whether you're a small business owner, a marketing manager, or a decision-maker in a large corporation, hiring an SEO partner can have several benefits.

Here are some benefits to outsourcing SEO for your business.

Access experience and expertise

When you outsource SEO tasks, you're essentially acquiring a wealth of knowledge, skills, and experience. 

SEO companies and specialists have spent years developing their skills, staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends, and understanding the nuances of different industries. 

They've likely worked with various clients and developed effective SEO strategies to improve their online visibility.

With outsourcing, you can tap into diverse skills and expertise.

Various specialists or agencies might specialize in different areas of SEO, from technical SEO to content optimization to link building. 

A good external SEO partner knows what works and what doesn't, and they can tailor their strategies to your business's current needs. 

Improved efficiency

It's no secret that SEO is a time-consuming process. It requires constant monitoring, tweaking, and updating.

When you start outsourcing SEO services, you free up your own time to focus on running your business. 

You can concentrate on product development, customer service, or strategic future planning while your outsourced party takes care of improving your online visibility. 

It's a win-win situation that allows you to make the most of your resources and time. 

Cost-effective

Some people associate hiring external parties with large expenses. Well, the truth is you can keep your SEO costs to a minimum with the right SEO outsourcing partner.

Hiring an in-house SEO team can be expensive, considering the salaries, benefits, and training costs. 

In contrast, outsourcing SEO services can grant you access to SEO expertise without all these overhead costs. 

You only pay for the services you use, and you can scale up or down depending on your goals and budget.

It's a flexible solution that can fit a wide range of budgets.

Offloading people management

Outsourcing your SEO can take the burden of managing an SEO team off your shoulders. 

When you find an agency to outsource SEO services to, you don't have to worry about hiring, training, and managing an in-house SEO team.

You don't have to deal with absences, turnover, or performance issues.

Your SEO provider takes care of all these aspects, allowing you to focus on your core business operations. It's a hassle-free solution that can save you a lot of time and stress.

How to outsource SEO effectively

Outsourcing your SEO tasks can be a strategic move, but how can it be done effectively? We'll discuss outsourcing in a way that maximizes benefits and minimizes risks.

We will delve into the process of identifying your SEO needs, selecting the right outsourcing partner, and managing the relationship to ensure your goals are met. 

Whether you're a small business owner looking to improve your online visibility, or a marketing executive aiming to optimize resources, these steps will equip you with the knowledge and strategies to outsource SEO effectively.

Here are 6 ways to outsource SEO for your business.

1. Define your SEO goals

Start by identifying the specific SEO tasks you need help with and what you hope to achieve. 

Defining your SEO goals is critical because SEO is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Different businesses have different goals and needs, and the SEO strategy should be tailored to meet these specific goals.

For instance, a new blog might prioritize increasing visibility and traffic, while a well-established blog may prefer improving user engagement and conversion rates.

By clearly defining their SEO goals, business owners can more effectively communicate their expectations to the SEO service provider.

This ensures that both parties understand what needs to be accomplished.

It also enables the SEO provider to create a tailored strategy that aligns with the company's goals, rather than implementing generic SEO practices that may not produce the desired results.

2. Vet SEO providers

A thorough vetting process enables business owners to evaluate the SEO provider's expertise and experience.

SEO is a complex field that requires a deep understanding of search engine algorithms, user behavior, and the newest trends in digital marketing. 

By examining the provider's track record, case studies, and client testimonials, business owners can gauge whether the provider has the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver effective SEO solutions.

Don't rush the selection process. Look at their portfolio, reviews, and ask about their approach to SEO. 

Take the time to assess the expertise, experience, and reputation of a potential SEO partner. 

SEO services vary in quality, and choosing the wrong provider can result in ineffective strategies, wasted resources, and even online reputation damage.

The vetting process can help determine whether the SEO provider's approach is compatible with the needs and values of the business.

For instance, some providers may focus on quick wins through grey hat tactics, while others may prioritize sustainable growth through white-hat SEO practices. 

3. Create a robust brief

A well-structured brief provides clear direction to the SEO agency.

Whether the goal is to increase website traffic, improve search engine rankings, or increase customer engagement, defining these goals upfront ensures that the content is designed with these objectives in mind. 

It also enables content creators to tailor their approach to meet these specific goals, rather than producing generic content that may not yield the desired results.

A good content brief provides important details about the target audience.

It gives information about the audience's age, gender, interests, and online habits, which can be used to shape the content's tone, style, and format.

A detailed brief must also include information about the practical parts of making content, such as deadlines, budgets, and preferred ways to communicate.

This helps both sides manage their expectations and enables a smooth working relationship. 

4. Define the scope of work

When you decide to outsource your SEO, it's important to set clear goals and define the scope of the work.

This step reduces the risk of misunderstandings and future conflicts by ensuring that you and the service provider understand the project.

Provide the SEO specialist  with a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with the content.

Clearly stating your goals helps them tailor their SEO strategy to your needs, whether it's organic traffic, brand awareness, or sales.

Your scope must also outline the specific tasks that the SEO provider is responsible for, such as keyword research, writing, optimizing, and publishing.

This helps you plan your budget and timeline accurately.

Setting clear goals and boundaries for the work can help build a good relationship with the outsourced company.

It gives you a way to talk to people and get feedback, so you can deal with problems quickly and well. 

5. Establish collaboration rules

Collaborative rules serve as a framework for how you and your SEO service provider will work together, fostering a productive and respectful working relationship.

SEO is a complicated, ongoing process that needs to be talked about and updated often.

By setting clear rules about how and when you will communicate, you can make sure that everyone stays informed and on the same page.

This could include scheduling regular meetings, deciding on the preferred communication channels, and establishing response time expectations.

Since SEO involves many strategic decisions, from keyword selection to content creation, collaboration rules can also help manage the decision-making process.

You can avoid misunderstandings and ensure that the SEO strategy meets your business goals by defining who can make these decisions and how.

Establishing a process for reviewing performance, providing feedback, and making necessary adjustments can also help keep your SEO efforts on track.

Rules about collaboration can also include rules about privacy, intellectual property rights, and how to settle disagreements.

By setting these rules up front, you can protect your business and make sure that you and your SEO service provider work together in a fair and professional way.

6. Monitor progress and evaluate results 

Monitoring progress allows you to ensure that the work is being carried out as planned.

SEO involves a multitude of tasks, from keyword research and on-page optimization to content creation and link building.

You can verify that your SEO service provider is meeting their obligations and sticking to the schedule by tracking these activities.

These metrics can help you evaluate your SEO efforts.

If the results do not meet your expectations, you can work with your SEO provider to modify the strategy and improve performance.

SEO is a constantly evolving field because both search engine algorithms and how people use them are always changing.

By keeping a close eye on your SEO performance, you can stay ahead of these changes and continuously optimize your strategy.

What SEO tasks can you outsource?

For many businesses, finding an SEO consultant or agency to outsource SEO services to can be intimidating. If you're not an expert you may not even understand which SEO activities you can outsource.

From keyword research and on-page optimization to content creation and link building, we'll explore which SEO tasks can be outsourced.

Keyword research

Keyword research is the foundation of your website's content strategy. However, identifying keywords with the right search volume and intent can be a time consuming affair.

Hiring an SEO consultant or agency to perform this can ensure that your SEO foundations are robust. 

In the meantime, you can use a tool like Surfer's free Chrome extension to browse keyword metrics in your browser.

Content Planning

Outsourcing your content plan can be helpful, as it allows you to focus on other aspects of your business. Identifying your keywords isn't enough.

Unless you have unlimited resources, you will also need to prioritize which keywords to target.

Taking the help of an SEO expert can help you speed up results with SEO.

Entering your primary keyword into Surfer's Keyword Research Tool can also generate a ton of related subtopics for your website.

Content Writing

Because search engines favor topical expertise and authority, you will likely need a significant volume of content before seeing results.

Instead of hiring a content writing team in-house, you can outsource your content writing briefs to a writing agency that will churn them out faster and at a lower cost. 

Of course, you can also use Surfer AI to generate complete articles that are optimized for search engines in about 20 minutes.

Technical audits

A technical SEO audit is a comprehensive examination of your website from a search engine optimization perspective.

SEO tools like Surfer Audit can help you uncover low-hanging opportunities for your URLs.

Auditing involves checking your site for technical issues that could be hindering its performance in search engine rankings.

Outsourcing your technical SEO will help you analyze your website, identify potential issues, and provide actionable recommendations to improve its SEO performance.

Link building

Link building involves securing high-quality backlinks that can boost your website's authority and improve its ranking on search engines. 

With outsourced link building, you can leverage the network of an SEO outsourcing company to get links from high authority websites.

While it's possible to build links yourself, an SEO outsourcing agency has established partnerships that they can use to get you links from other websites. 

You can also use Surfer Audit to quickly identify websites that are linking to your competitors, and approach them for links.

Internal and external linking

Internal and external links can serve as important quality indicators for search engines.

As your website grows, it will become increasingly difficult for you to manage your internal linking clusters, while keeping tabs on external links. 

Outsourcing your blog's linking as a one-time project can be beneficial to your SEO efforts. 

Although outsourcing your internal linking isn't common practice, it is beneficial if your website has thousands of pages.

You can also do this yourself with Surfer Audit and save yourself some money.

Competitor analysis

Understanding your competition is like having the cheat codes for your favorite video game. You might eventually get to that level on your own, but with a cheat line, it’s, let’s say, streamlined

You can outsource studying your competitors' SEO strategies, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, using this information to improve your SEO process. 

They can help you understand what keywords your competitors are ranking for, what kind of content they're producing, and how they're acquiring backlinks—plus other data that’s “nice to know.” 

Surfer's best kept secret, SERP Analyzer can reveal a ton of competitor data if you enter your target keyword.

Fixing bugs and glitches

Bugs and glitches on your website can harm your SEO performance and user experience.

A good SEO company can help you find and deal with any issues that are preventing your website from maximizing its ranking potential. 

8-point outsourcing SEO checklist

Here are 8 points to consider when outsourcing your SEO:

Provider expertise

Expertise should be your first consideration. 

The SEO company or specialist you're thinking about contracting should have a strong track record in performing SEO services, particularly in your niche.

Look at the length of their experience, their specialization areas, and their success stories.

Ask for case studies if not publicly available to see if they understand your industry and challenges. 

If not, they probably shouldn’t make your shortlist. 

SEO strategy

SEO is a holistic discipline. It isn't just about keywords or links.

It's about creating an optimized, user-friendly, and content-rich website that's easy for search engines to find and index. 

When selecting an agency, ask about its SEO approach. 

A quality provider should take a comprehensive approach, covering on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. They should also be up-to-date with the latest search engine algorithm updates and SEO trends.

And, besides that, they should be proactive, not reactive, suggesting changes and ideas before you read about them on your own. 

Industry experience

Each industry has its own unique characteristics, language, and audience. All these bits and bobs you know, but many of your selected providers might not. 

Your chosen SEO company or specialist must have a deep understanding of your niche. 

They should be capable of developing a tailored SEO strategy that aligns with your business objectives and delivers meaningful SEO results. 

Testimonials and customers

In the selection process, you probably won’t have access to all the reports and results that your particular provider delivered for others. 

However, requesting a portfolio is standard procedure here. 

A reputable SEO provider should have a solid portfolio that showcases their skills and expertise.

You should examine their clients and projects to understand how they've helped businesses like yours improve their search engine rankings and online visibility. 

Don't let the fact that some case studies aren't publically available deter you.

In many cases, project overviews can only be accessed through requests, approvals, or blank fields due to NDAs. 

Transparency and reporting

SEO is a long-term game, and you need long-term partners in it. 

Transparency is a must here.

The outsourcing partner should be clear about what they're doing, why they're doing it, and how it will benefit your business.

They should also provide regular, comprehensive reports showing your SEO campaigns progress.

These reports usually include metrics like organic traffic, keyword rankings, conversion rates, and more, depending on your KPIs and arrangements. 

Tool stack

The SEO provider should leverage advanced SEO tools to analyze your website, identify issues, and track progress. The tool stack does not have to be massive. 

SEO companies that are smart use a few tools, but they use them well and to their full potential. 

Credibility and reputation

Even in the SEO industry, a good reputation goes a long way. 

When choosing an SEO company, it's wise to do some homework.

Check out reviews and testimonials from previous clients. You can use these to determine the agency's reliability and effectiveness.

Aim for an SEO company that's not just talked about in the industry but one that's recognized for delivering solid results. Better yet, if they specialize in your industry.

Budget friendly

Quality SEO services should be considered an investment, not an expense.

At the same time, though, they should not break the bank either. 

Compare the prices of different providers and weigh them against the services offered to make a cost-effective decision.

You should define the scope of the project and be able to compare the services offered clearly.

You should also check whether the scope can be scaled.

If you grow, will your selected provider be able to scale operations, or will you have to look for another agency? 

When should you outsource SEO? 

You should outsource SEO when your team lacks in-house expertise or has resource constraints. SEO is a complex, evolving field that requires specialized knowledge. It also takes a lot of time, so if your team is already busy, outsourcing can free up resources for other important business tasks. 

As your business grows, an outsourced SEO agency can provide the scalability you need by adapting their services to your changing needs. 

Here are 6 reasons you should outsource SEO.

You’re overwhelmed with the current workload

You're running a business, and the volume of SEO tasks is becoming unmanageable. You need more time to focus on your core business activities, so outsourcing SEO is a handy option.

You lack in-house SEO expertise

Your team is excellent, but they are not SEO specialists. SEO is a complex field that requires specific expertise and ongoing learning.

You face budget constraints for hiring full-time SEO staff

You understand the need for SEO, but hiring a full-time SEO professional is beyond your current budget and might be for the foreseeable future. 

You need immediate results

Improving your website's ranking is what you need, and you realize that experienced SEO professionals could expedite this process.

You ran an SEO audit, and it indicated issues

An SEO audit has revealed several issues with your website that need immediate attention, and your in-house team lacks the time, resources, or necessary expertise to rectify them.

You want to modify your website

You're planning to redesign your website or undergo a major rebranding, which provides an ideal opportunity to optimize your site's SEO with expert help.

Outsourcing to SEO specialists vs SEO agencies

We've already established that when you're looking to boost your website's visibility, outsourcing SEO can be a smart move. But who should you turn to, SEO specialists or SEO agencies? 

Let's break it down.

Benefits of outsourcing SEO to SEO specialists

SEO specialists have a deep understanding of specific areas within the SEO landscape. They're like the sharpshooters of the digital marketing world, with the ability to zero in on particular aspects of your SEO strategy. 

Their flexibility allows them to adapt to your unique needs, and they're often more affordable than larger agencies.

You'll likely have a direct line of communication with the person doing the work, which can lead to more personalized service.

Benefits of outsourcing SEO to SEO agencies

SEO agencies offer comprehensive SEO services under one roof. They might be like a one-stop-shop for all your SEO needs. 

With more resources and experience, they can provide a more comprehensive approach to your SEO strategy.

If your business grows and your SEO needs to expand, agencies usually have no problem scaling their services to match. 

They can handle complex, multi-faceted SEO challenges with ease because they have an integrated team of SEO experts on board.

So, whether you choose an SEO specialist or an SEO agency depends on your specific needs.

If you're after niche expertise, flexibility, direct communication, and affordability, an SEO specialist could be your best bet. 

If you're looking for a broad range of services, access to a wealth of tools and procedures, scalability, and an SEO team, an SEO agency is the way to go.

Key takeaways 

  • When scaling SEO efforts and making the most of search engine optimization in business, outsourcing SEO is an effective solution.
  • There is no one outsourcing template. You can outsource many different tasks to various specialists based on the scope of the tasks and your needs.
  • Choosing SEO outsourcing companies is a process that takes several factors into account, including expertise, reputation, toolset, niche experience, and, of course, a price tag.
  • Both SEO specialists and SEO digital marketing agencies have pros and cons when it comes to collaboration and SEO outsourcing services, so outsourcing to a third party company is not a clear-cut choice.

Conclusion

Outsourcing SEO can be extremely beneficial, but it requires careful selection of the agency or specialist you work with.

The right partnership can help you achieve your digital marketing goals and drive growth for your business. Before signing the contract, vet the process as much as possible so you’re happy with your final choice.

Keep in mind that outsourcing SEO isn't a one-time event like taking your very first step. It's a flexible process you can repeat—or not. 

If you're not satisfied with the results, you can switch providers as often as needed until you find what works best for you.

Or you change your approach and do some SEO tasks in-house with Surfer. You might be surprised at how much time and money you can save.

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