As our Senior Account Manager, Natasha draws on over eight years of account and project management experience to lead our account team in providing exceptional service and work to a diverse roster of clients in all areas of digital marketing. She began her career working in Los Angeles at William Morris Endeavor, where she spent several years learning the entertainment industry and growing her account and project management skills. Upon returning to her hometown in South Florida, she began working in marketing and advertising as an Account Executive at Zimmerman, notably working on the Save-a-Lot and Lumber Liquidators national accounts.
Natasha provides daily hands-on service to clients both large and small, offering timely, creative solutions to meet their digital marketing needs. Natasha’s attention to detail, client service, and digital marketing knowledge allows her to excel and lead the team in client collaborations to create relevant and impactful digital marketing campaigns.
Natasha is a graduate of Penn State University, and in her free time, she loves spending time with friends and family, staying active, and soaking in the sun.
Consider This Before You Outsource SEO
On the surface, search engine optimization (SEO) is pretty straightforward: create content that readers want and Google prefers. However, when it comes time to optimize content, most businesses quickly realize that a successful SEO strategy is far less straightforward. SEO is a long game and one that pays to have a seasoned SEO specialist on your team. That begs the question: should I outsource SEO or handle it from within my organization?
Companies frequently outsource SEO because many different SEO facets are highly specialized, such as technical, off-page, and on-page optimization, to rank in search results. Successful SEO extends beyond essential content marketing to include link building, monitoring site speed, and addressing crawl errors, in addition to constructing a robust keyword map. Not to mention, it takes a significant amount of time to implement these changes and manage an ongoing sustained SEO campaign—time that most business owners don’t have readily available.
All of these elements considered, many businesses opt to outsource their SEO efforts to a skilled freelancer, independent contractor, dedicated SEO outsourcing agency, or full-service digital marketing agency. If you’re on the fence about whether or not outsourcing SEO is your best option, consider these factors:
- What are your SEO goals?
- What SEO services you need to achieve those goals?
- Which outsourcing option would work best for your needs, goals, and budget?
- Educating outsiders on your brand and business strategy
- If outsourcing SEO would impact your current internal staffing structure
Below is an in-depth look at everything that must be considered before you outsource SEO.
1. What are your goals?
You should enter into the process of determining whether to outsource your SEO with goals. The most common answer to this question is, “Show up on page one of Google.” That’s an admirable objective, but it’s not that specific. Instead, dig a bit deeper to create specific locate your goals:
- Which keyword phrases do you want to rank for in searches? What is the search volume on those keywords? How competitive is it to rank for those keywords? What are the long-tail keywords you should consider?
- On which pages of your website do you want to increase organic traffic?
- What content do you want readers to associate with your brand?
- How will you turn page views into sales?
Once you have the answers to these questions, it becomes more apparent if your SEO needs are doable on your own or better suited for an SEO specialist. Remember, a comprehensive SEO strategy includes a keyword map, site map, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and thorough link-building. When your needs encompass the entire spectrum of an SEO strategy, it’s likely best to outsource them.
2. What SEO Services Do You Need?
Before jumping into outsourcing your SEO, it’s best to take stock of your needs. SEO services run the gamut, from content creation and optimization to building back-link profiles. Likewise, depending on your current website’s age and size, there may be a range of technical adjustments necessary to index your content correctly on Google.
Some of the SEO services you may choose to outsource include:
- SEO Auditing
- Website structure analysis
- Keyword analysis & mapping
- Backlinking Strategy & Implementation
- Schema Markup
- Content Auditing and On-page optimizations
- Social media SEO, such as Instagram SEO
- Content creation
- If there is a plan to either launch a new website or resign the existing one, it requires most of this list.
When it comes time to decide on outsourcing SEO services, consider what you need to be done. If you’re looking to draft one optimized blog post per week, you may not need to outsource those efforts, provided you have someone capable of performing that task. Suppose you’re planning on thoroughly overhauling your website to appear in search results. In that case, you’re facing a considerable amount of time and effort and technical challenges, so outsourcing this may be more cost-effective in the long run.
3. Which outsourcing option should you choose?
Now that you have established primary SEO goals, consider which, if any, outsourcing options would work best for your needs. You may be wondering, “Is there a difference between who I outsource to?” The answer is yes. There’s a considerable difference. Just as your company may vary from others in terms of your SEO needs and time constraints, your outsourcing options will also significantly differ in capabilities and price points.
Most commonly, businesses choose to outsource SEO to one of these four options:
- Skilled freelancer or SEO expert
- Independent contractor or SEO specialist
- Dedicated SEO outsourcing agency
- Full-service digital marketing agency
Who you choose to outsource your SEO to will rely on your needs, preferences, and budget.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Freelancer for SEO
SEO experts take many forms, one of which is a skilled freelancer. You can generally find an SEO freelancer for hire on freelancer websites or through mutual connections on networking sites like LinkedIn. There are several pros to working with a freelancer, including that they tend to be reliable, and while their hourly rate may be high, you won’t have the overhead of an FTE. This is especially true if you’re only looking to outsource minor SEO tasks, such as monthly blog posts.
Many freelancers have 9-5 jobs or have multiple clients they’re providing services for regularly. It is not uncommon for freelancers to do work for you during non-business hours. If you require someone to perform this work during your business’s operation hours, freelancers may not be best suited for your needs.
A freelancer may also not be a good fit if you plan to tackle multiple content projects or complex technical SEO campaigns that require ongoing attention throughout the day. With a wide variety of tasks, tasks that require immediacy, and long-term SEO work (it’s a marathon, not a sprint), it’s nearly impossible to hire one freelancer to perform all tasks in a short amount of time.
It’s also important to remember that Google continuously updates its algorithm. Emerging trends continue to shift. A freelancer may be out of touch with the most up-to-date industry standards, so they’ll need to be thoroughly vetted on their knowledge.
Pros and Cons of Hiring an Independent Contractor for SEO
If a freelancer isn’t the right fit for you, you can hire a single SEO specialist to provide a similar service. The significant difference between a freelancer and an independent contractor is that the freelancer may be taking on occasional work, where an independent contractor is typically a full-time, one-person business.
Independent contractors are better suited at taking on larger-scale projects than freelancers, and their time commitment can help forge a strong working relationship. Similarly, contractors are more likely to be aware of timely algorithm updates and be well-versed in a plethora of trusted white hat SEO techniques. However, a drawback of independent contractors is that despite their knowledge, they’re only one person. If they take on additional clients, or you require additional projects, there’s no guarantee they can accommodate your needs.
Pros and Cons of Hiring an SEO Agency
A clear pro of a dedicated SEO agency or SEO outsourcing company is the multiplied human resources you receive from a multi-person team. While one SEO expert is excellent, an SEO agency grants you access to several experts to help meet your goals. As independent contractors, an SEO outsourcing service is knowledgeable in current best practices and offers a repertoire of white hat SEO strategies. Plus, they can use their collective experience to help you form a roadmap to your goals if you don’t know exactly where to start with SEO.
However, a dedicated SEO agency’s biggest drawback is that its capabilities fall flat outside of anything not related to search engine optimization. While an SEO outsourcing company can whip up a keyword map or site plan, they cannot redesign your website for you. They also can’t sync your content marketing strategy with your social media strategy or design and implement paid ads to boost your overall efforts. So, while they’re capable of optimizing your site, a dedicated SEO agency may not be the best option if you’re implementing a full 360-degree marketing and advertising plan.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Full-Service Digital Marketing Agency
You can choose to outsource SEO to a full-service digital marketing agency. Like an SEO company, a full-service agency boasts a strong team of individuals whose collective brainpower can escalate your optimization efforts. A digital marketing agency also takes their knowledge of current SEO best practices up a notch by mastering emerging trends in social media, paid advertisements, and alternative marketing channels that other agencies may not even offer.
Even more, access to a digital marketing agency means that all of your needs are housed under one roof. Consider the amount of time saved each week not playing phone tag between your SEO expert and your web developer, designer, or social media manager. With a full-service agency, you avoid playing the project facilitator and make faster progress on your marketing goals by streamlining communication.
Of course, from a full-service digital marketing agency to a one-person SEO expert, each option to outsource SEO will also have a different price point. With the capabilities of each option in mind, consider how each may factor into your marketing budget.
Does Your Budget Allow for Outsourcing SEO?
Generally speaking, the expenses related to outsourcing SEO will vary greatly. The variation of different services that can be added or omitted from your SEO strategy can broaden the cost range associated with SEO significantly. As mentioned earlier, SEO is a long game—so your budget for outsourcing SEO must remain consistent over time.
For instance, consider the cost of outsourcing SEO and bringing those efforts in-house.
The Cost to Keep SEO In-House
Pivoting your goals to bring SEO in-house can be tricky (and expensive). How many hours will you need to dedicate for existing team members to take on SEO-related tasks? How would new SEO duties impact their existing workload? Will keeping SEO in-house require training employees on SEO best practices? Bear in mind that educational courses can also be costly, especially if you’ll be schooling several employees.
Alternatively, you could choose to hire someone new to spearhead your SEO strategy. According to Indeed.com, an experienced SEO Manager’s average base salary is $79,980 per year in the United States. A seasoned SEO expert would likely require the nearly $80,000 per year salary and the costs tied to employee benefits, necessary equipment or software, or hiring and onboarding a new employee.
The Cost to Outsource SEO
Compared to hiring an in-house SEO expert, outsourcing SEO can be more financially reasonable. However, if you choose to outsource SEO, remember that each option has a different price point. Freelancers and independent contractors typically price their services by the hour and can tack on charges such as rush fees for tasks with quick turnaround times. Most websites need more than just occasional SEO work. What seemed like a cheap hourly rate can quickly snowball into a hefty invoice by the end of the month.
On the other hand, outsourcing an effective online marketing campaign to an agency tends to start at around $3,000 depending on what you want to achieve, the size of your site, and your near-term and long-term SEO goals. Agencies generally operate on time-based retainers, so you can be sure of what you will receive each month. You can opt for an SEO agency with SEO-only capabilities or choose a full-service agency that provides a broad range of services for the same price giving you flexibility between services and a more comprehensive view of your marketing initiatives.
Ultimately, hiring just one SEO expert could be the exact cost as outsourcing to a full-service digital marketing company (who does it all and then some). Outsourcing to an agency may cost just up to $36,000 annually, which is approximately half of what it would cost to hire an in-house SEO expert.
4. Are You Prepared to Share Your Brand and Business Strategy?
While not the most obvious of concerns, placing your SEO strategy into someone else’s hands requires educating and sharing a full breakdown of your brand and strategy.
When you put your business in an SEO expert’s hands, it is imperative that they fully understand the work’s goals, the brand, and overall company strategy. With someone else guiding the keyword strategy, your business could begin ranking for terms that you may feel are unrelated to your original brand identity. It’s paramount to outsource your work to an entity you feel understands who you are as a brand and your long-term goals in an attempt to amplify your brand strategy instead of merely altering it.
It’s essential to outsource your SEO to a team that understands and supports your vision and guides you on expanding and adjusting. This way, you can continue to execute your goals while remaining true to your identity. Remaining flexible and allowing yourself to hear advice regarding your business may be difficult, but it’s necessary to achieve SEO success.
5. How Will Outsourcing SEO Impact Your Current Structure?
Of all the considerations to outsource SEO, the impacts to your current structure may be the most important. We covered the cost of outsourcing SEO and what it may take to train existing employees on SEO best practices in earlier considerations. With these factors in mind, it’s critical to contemplate how these elements may impact your organization’s structure. Will you need to lay people off to cover costs? Will you need to hire additional employees to keep up with website changes? How will your general day-to-day change? When outsourcing, companies have some hard choices to make internally. Before deciding on whether or not to outsource SEO, analyze which options you will need to make.
At the same time, bear in mind the benefits that can come along with outsourcing SEO and what that can mean for your team. Without SEO tasks on your plate or your employees’ plates, you can clear time to address other high-priority business goals. If you choose to outsource SEO to a full-service agency, you can also reallocate development, design, and paid media services from your team to a trusted group of experts.
To Outsource, or Not To Outsource?
To outsource or not to outsource, that’s the burning question. At the end of the day, whether or not you choose to outsource SEO will rely on several factors: your goals, the services needed, your current budget, and the projected impacts outsourcing may have on your existing structure.
While there’s no concrete answer to which is best, outsourcing to a full-service digital marketing agency will expand your internal team to grant you access to the latest trends, largest talent pool, and untapped resources. If you’re looking for a trusted partner to optimize your website, Bullseye Strategy is a Fort Lauderdale marketing agency specializing in technical, off-page, and on-page SEO, as well as paid media, social media, content marketing, and more.
Grow your organic traffic with a reliable team you can trust with your SEO. Contact us today to learn more.