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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ;).
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.