How to Outsource SEO

What do you need to think about before outsourcing?

Before you start outsourcing SEO you should think about the types of tasks that you want to outsource and how these tasks should be managed, as you need to have a solid process and clear instructions for the outsourcing company:

Preparing to take on an Outsourcing company is the same as preparing to onboard a new employee, they need to understand the vision of the company, have SOPs they can refer to, and tailor what they do to be aligned with your company. Essentially the outsourcing company is hiring someone to do your work, so that person will need even more support than an internal employee:

Why outsource SEO?

Outsourcing SEO can save you time and money, and when you spend a lot of time doing the heavy lifting, research, outreach, and client management then you have little time to grow the business or you are paying a high salary to someone who should be making decisions rather than looking through thousands of URLs.

If you want to reduce costs, increase internal resources, and concentrate more on growing the business then outsourcing is the best solution, but you need to keep in mind that this is not your savior or miracle solution for all of your SEO efforts, as you need to keep some control, manage the outsource partner and keep them int the loop about what you and your clients want:

How SEO Outsourcing can go wrong?

One of the reasons agencies have a bad experience of outsourcing SEO is because there is not a balance of “tasks done by the outsourcing company ” and “tasks the agency does” so the word “outsourcing” gets taken literally that they pass complete control over to the outsourcing company, when in fact this needs to be a collaboration, with regular input from the agency:

  • Decision making:
    Decision-making in SEO is critical to the success of any implementation and can lead to some serious errors when left to someone who is not an SEO expert – SEO experts charge a lot of money, so unless you are outsourcing every client question to an SEO consultant then I wouldn’t outsource this part of the process.
  • Website Access
    Giving control or access to a client’s website opens up lots of risks as it gives full control to someone who could easily “no index” a page, redirect a blog, or create more work for your developer to do. All of the onsite work can be mapped out and then given to a developer, so this doesn’t affect your outsourcing onsite SEO.
  • Workflow:
    Most companies have a workflow to manage different departments internally, so everyone knows who to contact for various issues, and how to raise a ticket, but sometimes agencies can be left in the dark, as they are seen as an “external” help, so they get less information than internal workers, when in fact they need more information to help them understand your process:

How to outsource SEO Effectively:

1: Create SOPs
2: Choose the right SEO tasks
3: Hire a Manager
4: Have a workflow

1: Create SOPs
Before you start engaging with an outsourcing company you should have an SOP for everything as without this the relationship will fail. If you are already doing citation building, link building, and keyword research then you should explain how you want this information delivered, the tools you use, where logins are kept, and how they retrieve client information:

Here are five types of SOPs you can create to get started:

  • Client Information:
  • Storage
  • Assets 
  • Logins 
  • Reporting

2: Choose the right SEO tasks
The tasks you choose to outsource will massively depend on the success, as each task type has a skill set associated with it. As an example outsourcing keyword research, internal linking, and directory listings are great because they are repetitive tasks that are needed for the success of a campaign, but asking someone to redirect pages, change content, and amend a web page are all high-risk tasks that need a senior SEOs input. Here is a list of 30 SEO tasks you can outsource:

3: Hire a Manager
When you hire multiple marketing executives or content writers you have team leads, managers, and heads of departments overlook and comment on the work to ensure quality is met. This is exactly the same as when you hire an outsource partner, as you don’t want them to have full control over where they place links, what information they use for clients, and the keywords they choose. If you have multiple vendors then hiring a vendor manager would be a good step to manage relationships, but if you have one SEO outsource partner then they should report to an SEO executive, so the communication is clear, checks are made, and results can be delivered from the outsource partner to the internal team: Its also important that the manager has an understanding of different managing styles, as your outsourcing team could be in another country.

Here is a short guide on managing a team in the Phillipines, so you can see the different learning styles and tips for managing a virtual team. 


4: Have a workflow

A common break in communication and disruption in outsourcing tasks is not having a clear workflow. As an example, who do you contact for logins, troubleshooting, or approvals on certain tasks, and how do you know when something has been complete or is in progress.

It is good to know timeframes, expectations, and processes when a project is starting, so you can budget the workload and have an idea of what to give the client. A good outsource agency will have an existing workflow, so at the start of the relationship it is so important to have a shared workflow so all parties know where they stand:

We have built our own workflow with onboarding guides, culture, project management, and task types to help clients set up a workflow in their project management system the works for our team and their team.

How much does it cost to outsource SEO?
The cost of outsourcing SEO depends on whether you purchase Whitelabel products, freelancers, or a company that has a dedicated workforce to handle the projects.

Below are a few examples of outsourcing costs:

Brigthlocal: If you want one-off directory listings then Brightlocal are fairly competitive on price and you can get a dashboard setup to monitor the listings. Here is the price list:

Upwork: If you are looking for a freelancer and want to check reputation then Upwork has some pretty good freelancers and you can set milestones and project specs at the start:

Fat Joe: If you want to purchase links for a one-off fee to build links for clients then Fat Joe works with many agency owners who need a quick solution for links.

Dream Digital: If you want co-managed, cost-effective staffing solutions to handle repetitive SEO tasks on a full-time basis then get in touch:

Key Takeaways

  1. What do you need to think about before outsourcing?
  2. Why outsource SEO?
  3. How SEO Outsourcing can go wrong?
  4. How to outsource SEO Effectively:

Written by

Warren Hill

Helping marketers and agency owners deliver quality SEO by outsourcing repetitive SEO tasks. Warren is an SEO specialist with over a decade of experience, and developed his business working for big brands in the UK and US. He aims to develop 10,000 new careers to great people in the Philippines.

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