The Ultimate Guide to SEO Outsourcing for small business

We often see a lot of people asking questions about SEO outsourcing in various forums. Also, there are many of them shopping for these services.

So, today we present a complete guide to SEO outsourcing.

There are a couple things which are very important while outsourcing SEO. We’ll be discussing about them in detail.

Overall, it’s about quantity versus quality. If your service provider promises you 600 monthly visitors to your site,

that’s not enough.

Factors like returning v/s unique visitors, bounce rate, average time on page should also be considered. Getting relevant traffic to your site, that converts is really important.

Download: Click Here to Download PDF of Ultimate guide of SEO outsourcing for small business (Infographic + Free Guide) that will help to understand small business owners that how to outsource and manage SEO.

SEO outsourcing guide

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Getting started

The most important step in any process is to start. Getting started in the right manner is therefore very important. Follow these steps to start your SEO outsourcing venture.

1. Create a website - The first thing you’ll need is a website for your new SEO business.

2. Processing payments - You should also consider how you’ll be charging your clients for SEO.

3. Get clients – Once you’ve set things up, work on approaching clients to get the business running.

In this guide, we’ve also covered various factors related to SEO outsourcing like which companies should outsource SEO and why, checklist and red flags in SEO outsourcing and most importantly, how to track results.

Why should SEO be outsourced?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is very important for the success of any digital marketing campaign.

However,

It is time consuming and complex as well as getting more complicated day by day. The complexity of SEO follows the complexity of Google search algorithms.

Whether you’re a business owner or a marketing person, do you have the time and patience to learn the tricks and trades of SEO and then implement them? Of course, not. Therefore, SEO makes a perfect candidate for outsourcing.

SEO Outsourcing has often proved to be a win-win situation for companies as well providers.

Benefits of outsourcing SEO

Outsourcing SEO work can be beneficial to companies in many ways. Especially, if they don’t have the time and resources to effectively manage the entire SEO process. We’ve listed down a few benefits for you:

1. More time to focus on core work

You should choose the right partner who can be trusted. When you feel comfortable with their work and results, only then you can focus on your core business. You’ll be able to devote more time in getting new clients and building strong client relationships.

2. SEO managed by experts

When you outsource SEO to a professional service provider, you don’t have to worry about training or hiring new staff or design new strategies. You have access to services of a team of SEO experts working on your campaigns. You also get to benefit from tried and tested SEO strategies.

3. Hiring SEO consultants is expensive

Imagine hiring professional SEO experts on a full-time basis for your company. Average annual salary of an SEO Executive in the UK is approximately £ 24,982 and in the US, it is $ 63,188 per year. Paying them monthly salaries, plus providing employment benefits can be a huge financial burden.

Outsourcing SEO to a third party, especially in a third world country like India will save you a significant amount of money.

Average annual salary of an SEO Executive in India is  1,96,331, which comes to approximately $ 3015.64 or £ 2173.38. Huge savings!

4. SEO is critical and complicated

SEO is very important for getting success in digital marketing. Moreover, it is complex in nature. Google considers more than 200 factors for ranking a website in its SERPs. Don’t you think it’s a huge number to remember? Better to outsource the task to the experts.

5. It gives scalable (flexible) results

You might hire an employee for SEO who gets you 10 quality links in a month. But what if you need 100? The employee might be completely out of depth.

SEO experts have established processes to find link building opportunities, creating content, etc. They can offer scalable results as and when you need them. It means that they can contract and expand their offerings as per requirement.

8. On-demand services

Outsourced SEO service providers operate on an ‘on-demand’ model. There are usually no subscription plans. You pay for what you need, when you need it. As a result, you bear lower overhead costs and reap higher profits.

9. No need to buy SEO tools

SEO tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs are expensive. Annual subscription for SEMrush (Pro version) costs $999. If you’re doing SEO on your own, you’ll have to bear such costs. Whereas, if you outsource SEO, the provider will already have subscription to SEO tools and you can save on the cost of buying them.

10. SEO improves a website or blog’s ranking

SEO is necessary to reach prospective clients and customers. You need it to get your webpage to the top results of a search engine, and gain exposure to your target audience. SEO outsourcing companies put methods into place that will give your website a better visibility on search engines, and drive more traffic.

Disadvantages of SEO outsourcing:

As a website owner, you would want to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of SEO outsourcing. So, here’s a quick list of the disadvantages of outsourcing SEO.

1. Quality:

In the race of reducing cost, the quality of service often gets compromised. Cheaper is not always better. Make sure that you’re getting the desired quality for the price that you’ve paid for the service.

2. Distance:

Normally, outsourcing is done to third world countries like India or the Philippines. So, there’s a great geographical distance between the two parties. Distance from your business can be a problem in communication.

3. Uncertainties:

Hiring any offshore or foreign company can be a risky deal unless you trust them or have done business with them before. Also, companies with the same offers can give different results. So, we cannot judge a company unless we start working with them.

4. Cultural barriers:

Globalisation has made it easy to work across boundaries. However, many times the cultural barriers which still exist might affect the work. Differences in festivals and holidays may cause a bit of delay in work from either side.

Does a small business need SEO?

The answer is, a resounding yes!

Gone are the days when you could ignore the internet. If you want your business to be successful, you have to work hard on improving its online presence, which is not possible without SEO.

So, it’s better for small businesses to outsource SEO at affordable rates, with following additional benefits.

People find restaurants, retailers and other nearby businesses from their smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and other mobile devices, no matter where they are. Business owners who outsource their local SEO can easily connect with shoppers searching for nearby products.

2. Consumers research before buying

Majority of consumers research online before purchasing a product. They should be able to find your product when they search online. For this you need SEO for your website. SEO will enhance the visibility of your business, and visitors are more likely to buy from a properly optimised website.

3. SEO pulls-in quality traffic, which is more likely to convert

Traffic from search engines is the best traffic on a website. Because people are already searching for the problem for which you have a solution. SEO traffic is more likely to convert than other sources of traffic.

4. SEO boosts sales and leads

As a result of increased web traffic, that too relevant traffic, leads and sales of a company rise, leading to increased revenue and profit.

5. It builds brand awareness

Most of the times, brand awareness is automatically created with top ranking in the SERPs. Users are more likely to trust a brand when it appears in the first page of results when they search for a product or term. Small businesses who want to build brand awareness should invest in SEO.

6. SEO gives small businesses an edge over large companies

It is difficult for small businesses to outspend larger competitors in AdWords. However, an effective SEO strategy can help you gain higher rankings. While larger companies rely on advertising, you can rely on a good SEO strategy to acquire new customers. For example - www.php-developer.org

When Emerson, started his blog on PHP development and WordPress in 2009, he got himself into a pretty competitive niche. The website, php-developer.org initially had no traffic. By using some DIY strategies for SEO, he managed to get his website to rank #1 for highly competitive keywords (like “php developer”) in Google.

Not only small and big companies, but digital marketing agencies also outsource their SEO work to third parties, specialised in SEO. This is called white label SEO.

Here’s a quick checklist or questions to ask a service provider before signing the contract.

List of services

Check the list of services included for campaigns on an on-going basis. How much content will they provide, what type of SEO work is included? Be sure about the services included, so that you get the worth of money you spend.

Which SEO tools they’re using?

Ask your provider which tools they’re using. If you hear answers like SEMRush, Ahrefs, BuzzSumo, and other legit SEO tools, then go ahead and sign the contract. There are also bad tools available in the market, which providers are using for black hat SEO strategies. If your provider starts taking names of tools like Rankwyz, The Best Spinner, Scrape Box, simply turn the other way.

Staff expertise

Check on who will be working on your campaigns? What is his/her experience, qualification, etc? It’s important to get the right people to get the job done. Talk to them about your SEO requirements. The conversation will give you a sense of their capabilities.

What types of reports they send?

Don’t forget to ask your SEO provider about what kind of reports they’ll be sending over. You need a report that’s easy to understand. A typical SEO report should contain website audits, on-page SEO analysis, and recommendations that should implemented.

Measuring effectiveness of SEO

SEO providers should be able to explain the metrics which they use to measure effectiveness of their SEO efforts. You should have access to their dashboard which shows your keyword rankings and tracks your campaign performance.

Do they have any success story?

If a provider doesn’t have any success story to share, move on. A good SEO company will definitely walk you through case studies and share their past results. This will serve you as a proof of their past success.

Along with the check points, we also have a list of “red-flags” to observe in an SEO service, before outsourcing. If these things exist in an SEO service contract, then it’s better to say a straight forward ‘No’.

Not following Google’s guidelines

An SEO provider not following Google’s guidelines is obviously bad. After all, most of the online searches happen in Google. Ranking in Google search is the most important thing in SEO. Ask for samples of their work to ensure that they’re working as per Google’s guidelines.

Promising fast results

You can’t be on page one of Google SERPs overnight, this is the ultimate fact of SEO. Positive ranking movement takes at least 1-3 months. First page rankings can be achieved in approximately 6-9 months . If a provider promises you quick results, run away.

Lacking knowledge of the latest digital marketing trends

Innovations keep coming in the field of digital marketing and SEO. A provider should keep himself updated with the latest information and trends.

Ask your provider questions on the latest trends in digital marketing and if he / she is not able to answer, then you might want to reconsider your decision.

Having a one-size-fits-all approach

SEO or any other digital marketing strategy works differently for every business, since every business and its needs are different. If a service provider has the “one size fits for all” approach to SEO, then it won’t help.

No proof of past success

Any successful SEO provider should have case studies and testimonials to show the effectiveness of their methodology.

If your current provider doesn’t have any case study / testimonial to share, you should better find a different provider.

Not sending SEO reports

Reports give you a picture of your SEO campaigns’ performance. An SEO provider should send them to you every month, so that you can see real-time progress.

FAQ's

1. Why should I hire an SEO company?

SEO is a long-term process and it needs continuous monitoring of a website’s performance as well as search engine results. There are many criteria, which needs to be followed for getting ranked in major search engines. Hiring an SEO Company will help you achieve your SEO objectives, without losing focus on your core work.

2. What would be the number of enquiries which I can expect once my site is optimised?

We cannot predict the actual number of enquires, since the number will vary based on the industry, business, product, etc. You could look at the improvement in numbers as compared to the past figures.

3. How long will it take for my website to get on the first page of Google?

SEO does not have a start and end date. It is a strategy which takes time and is an on-going process. There are many aspects which the search engines take into consideration while ranking websites. However, you should see improvement after the first 3 months of service, in terms of increasing traffic.

4. When should I begin seeing improvements in my rankings?

Improvements in ranking can be seen after a few days, weeks or even months. There are several factors which need to be considered before starting SEO such as the current state of your website, responsiveness, content, crawl rate, keyword competitiveness, etc. SEO is usually a long-term strategy and can take several months.

5. Who will be working on my website?

We have a team of experts in SEO. Your project will obviously be passed on to someone who is an expert. If your site requires changes, then we will help you with the services of our qualified in-house web developers and designers as well.

6. How do I get started?

Click here and get in touch with us!

Track results – to measure the impact of your SEO campaigns

Tracking results is important for evaluating any business / marketing campaign. Without which, you’ll be uncertain about your success. Its required to know whether your efforts are going in the right direction or not.

It’s good to keep a track of following metrics for measuring success of your SEO efforts.

1. Check keyword rankings regularly

Keyword rankings should be checked regularly to measure the terms which you’re trying to rank for. It will help you determine your growth and if you’re targeting the right keywords or not.

You can check keyword rankings in Google Search Console. It is a suite of helpful tools from Google.

i. Log in to Google Search Console (Google Webmaster)

ii. Go to Search Traffic >> Search Analytics to get a list of keywords that you currently rank for

iii. Click the check box for ‘Position’ box at the top

iv. Sort by ‘Position’ (column heading) to get rankings with #1 at the top.

tools like SEO Monitor, AMZ Tracker, Authority Labs, WebCEO, etc.

If you find some keywords for which you want to improve ranking, you can point them out to your SEO service provider to take necessary steps.

3. Organic search traffic is the main goal of SEO. Keep a track of it.

What is the main goal of SEO?

To get organic (free) search traffic, correct? Needless to say, it is utmost important to track how much search engine traffic you get per month and make sure that there is growth in it.

To check the organic search traffic:

i. Go to your main dashboard in Google Analytics.

ii. Then from the side bar, go to Audience >> Overview.

iii. This graph shows you your overall traffic initially.

iv. Click on the “Add segment” button, then check the box for “Organic Traffic” and click “Apply.”

Once you do that, another line will be added to your graph that shows your organic traffic alongside your overall traffic.

4. Average time on page should be good enough.

What does it mean when a visitor lands on your web page and leaves within a few seconds?

The answer is simple, he didn’t get what he was looking for.

In SEO terms,

The content was not relevant or interesting.

If a page is extremely relevant and interesting, users spend time on it. Our goal should be to satisfy the audience as much as possible so that the page ranks highly.

We can see average time on-page metric for a website in the Audience Overview section of Google Analytics.

Additionally,

You can look at how much time visitors spent on each page.

i. Go to the Behaviour >> Overview option on the left-hand menu

ii. Go to the bottom right corner

iii. click on “view full report”

This will bring all your web pages. Look at the “Avg. Time on Page” column for each page:

iv. Scroll back up and click on the export option to download a spreadsheet of this data:

Record your initial time and the dates for different pages. Then, work towards improving your content. Re-check the value after you’ve had enough visitors. The numbers should improve.

5. Track returning visitors. They’re your potential customers.

If visitors are returning to your website,

It means that they had a good prior experience. They come back with the same impression in mind. The number of returning visitors is also a measure of how engaging your content is.

You can track returning visitors in:

i. Google Analytics

ii. Audience

iii. Behaviour

iv. New vs Returning section

It looks like this:

The absolute number of returning and new visitors should be recorded at least once a month. The traffic from returning visitors should make up a good chunk of your overall traffic (at least 20%).

There is a good chance that returning visitors will buy from you, because they already like you.

6. Optimise page load speed. Users often leave slow loading web pages.

If your web page takes too long to load,

Visitors will leave even before they read it.

High bounce rate is also result of a slow loading web page. Page speed also affects google rankings. Ideally, a web page should load within two seconds, but lesser time is even better.

To check your page load speed and suggestions:

i. Logon to Google Analytics

ii. Go to Behaviour >> Speed Suggestions.

This page will show you average load time for each page and suggestions from Google.

You can also use other tools like Quick Sprout tool, GTmetrix, etc.

7. Check index status of web pages, because indexed pages can only be crawled by Google.

Web pages which are indexed can only be crawled by Google and shown in search results. Therefore, it’s better if all your pages are indexed to show up in search results.

To check index status of your website,

i. Logon to Google Webmasters (Search Console)

ii. Go to Google Index >> Index status

iii. click on the “Advanced” tab

8. Monitor and address crawl errors, because pages which are crawled only can be shown in Google search results.

Your web pages should be crawled by Google’s crawlers in order to be shown in the SERPs.

Putting it simply, even if you have excellent content and backlinks, your pages will not be shown in results, if Google is unable to crawl them.

To check crawl errors,

i. Log into your Webmaster Tools dashboard

ii. Go to “Crawl >> Crawl Errors”, which will bring up a report

iii. Report these errors to your SEO team for fixing

It is very important:

To keep an eye on crawl errors on a continuous basis because if these issues are not fixed in time, it can cause pages to be de-indexed.

9. Make your website mobile friendly.

Mobile traffic makes a significant portion of overall internet traffic. Therefore, your website should be mobile optimised. If a website is not optimised for mobile devices, then it gives a bad user experience and Google will not show such pages in SERPs.

To check if your pages are mobile optimised, you can use Google’s own checker.

To check your website’s performance on mobile,

i. Logon to Google Analytics

ii. Go to Audience >> Overview

iii. Click on “Mobile”

If metrics such as bounce rate, time on-page, etc are a lot worse than desktop, report it to your developers for making the site more mobile friendly.

10. Find and fix ‘404 not found’ errors.

Imagine you got excellent quality content posted on your website, got a good number of backlinks and appeared in the search results. However, when a user clicked on it, there was a 404 error. What a waste of time and efforts!

Some websites go through this trouble of broken links.

To find the problem,

i. Login to Webmaster’s Tools (Search Console)

ii. Go to Crawl >> Crawl Errors

iii. Specifically look for “Not found” pages

11. Track your conversions (goal completions).

Getting search traffic is not the ultimate goal of SEO. You should get traffic that converts.

You can add and track specific goals in Google Analytics. For example, a goal can be a visitor visiting a specific page that is only accessible after making a purchase (e.g. a thank-you or receipt page).

To create one,

i. Log in to Google Analytics.

ii. Go to ‘Conversions’ at the bottom of the left menu

iii. Click on Goals >> Overview

iv. Add your goals

v. Go to the Goals >> Overview tab, to see a graph of your goal completions

vi. Click on the “Source/Medium” option in the bottom left to see how well your search traffic is converting.

Additionally,

You can also see if any specific pages are converting well by going back to

Google Analytics >> Behaviour >> site content >> landing pages.

If metrics aren’t tracked, it’s impossible to know what is and isn’t working.

If you don’t know how effective your SEO work is, you could end up spending a lot of time and money inefficiently.

Remember, these metrics aren’t interesting but they’re important.

Conclusion

SEO outsourcing is an excellent choice for any small business looking to grow, for all the reasons outlined above.

Hope this guide was helpful. It is important to assess several factors before outsourcing SEO to a third party. Additionally, you must also track performance of SEO campaigns. We have provided insights on all of it.

Rahul Sharma Rahul is a content writer at ESG. He has continuously worked in areas of content marketing since last 6 years. He regularly writes about topics on outsourcing and business growth. Rahul has particular interest in the areas of marketing and management. In his spare time, he likes to travel.