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Outsourcing SEO - how to do it right

Outsourcing SEO is a major challenge in an industry full to the brim of cowboy firms and have-a-go newbies. This template will help you outsource successfully.

You can't successfully outsource something you don't understand. Wse this website to learn the ins and outs of SEO so you can sort the cowboys and amateurs from the real experts when it comes to hiring.

What to avoid

  1. Individuals or agencies that just do SEO - they are far too blinkered and may miss many opportunities open to you in the wider field of Online Marketing.
  2. SEO packages - each website is unique in its current situation and in the opportunities available to it. There is no "one hat fits all SEO solution"
  3. Top secret methods - there is no reason a contractor or company cannot be transparent. Top secret methods usually mean Black Hat SEO which will do your website far more damage in the long term.
  4. Indivduals or agencies that have no track record - unless they are completely open with you and offer their services at a discounted rate because they are trying to put a portfolio of clients together.
  5. Agencies that rank highly for 'SEO' - because you won't be able to afford them :). It takes big bucks to rank for very competitive terms so they charge their clients big bucks for their services.
  6. Agencies or individuals from a particular location - while you might feel comforted that your SEO work is being carried out 'just around the corner' there is nothing to suggest it will be effective or safe. Use this template to break free of geographical boundaries.
  7. Jargon, jargon, jargon - if the individual or agency tries to dazzle you with jargon and claim they can't go into details because its really complicated then give them a miss. There is nothing in Search Engine Optimization that can't be explained in plain English.
  8. Fast results - anyone who promises you results within a month is not planning to carry our White Hat SEO. Avoid.
  9. Guaranteed results - in an online world where your competitors are making changes all the time and search engines are evolving a specific outcome cannot be guaranteed. If you dig a little deeper into exactly what is guaranteed you will find its not much or the agency is located somewhere that makes it impossible for you to enforce their promises or return your cash.
  10. Long term contracts - anyone trying to lock you in for months on end is questionable. Only agree to pay monthly so they know you could walk away at any time. I have never asked a client to agree to anything more than four weeks in advance because I report every month on exactly what we have done and why in order to establish a relationship of trust

By following these ten simple pointers you will flush out most of the cowboys and amateurs. Now it becomes a case of sorting the competent contenders.

Ask "What would you do?"

The best possible approach is first to carry out a SEO audit of your website. Everything you need to do that is right here so invest a little time in learning the basics and then first ask the question "What would you do?"

Some agencies will charge you if you want specific details about your website (I charge for telephone consultations and audits because otherwise I would spend all my time doing only those two tasks and my active clients would be paying for it). If you find someone who you think looks especially promising that might be worth the outlay.

However any agency should be able to lay out their general approach exactly as I have done in the How to SEO your website guide.

Compare this with your own SEO audit to see who looks best suited to work on your website.

Ask "How do you report what you do?"

Professionals will have reporting systems in place so they can let their clients know exactly what work was carried out in the last month and why alongside any improvements in rankings and visitor numbers that have taken place.

At link2light we have an online suite that clients can log into at any time and see what we are doing, what is planned and what improvements are taking place.

It doesn't have to be this comprehensive - it could be a simple pdf file - but there should always be something there (and you should also check it has actually been done!) so you know what you are being charged for and why.

How much to pay?

With SEO the less you pay, the less Search Engine Optimization work gets done so don't think that a cheaper company represents a "bargain". Yes, you will usually get more bang for your buck if the person or agency you hire is in a country with low living costs like Central Europe or the far east but it is not guaranteed.

Expect to pay a minimum of $1,000 per month if you are going to get any meaningful work carried out, anything less is going to have so little effect that it is basically money wasted.

If you just want your website optimized as a one off then $1,000 is going to be the absolute minimum for a very small site while costs over $10,000+ aren't unusual in large of complex websites, especially if they are on platforms which are fundamentally flawed.

How long will it take to see results?

Whether you pay for a monthly service or a one off optimization a good rule of thumb is that you won't see results for 6 months when it comes to White Hat SEO.

This is a very rough rule though. In my SEO example I showed how it was possible to rank for a medium competitive keyword within two weeks.

That's true, it did take less than two weeks but the preparation of the content and the website to make that possible took 3 months. Good search engine optimization may require several months of work on your content.

If after six months, the person or agency you have hired is getting no where then it is time to part company. However I have never known anyone who followed the template on this page to be in that position - perhaps because they hired link2light ;).

Tim Hill SEO

I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.

If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.

If you need help simply get in touch.

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