In a world that’s becoming more and more digital as the days go by, it’s never been more important for businesses to be found online. SEO is a huge part of achieving that, and yet it always amazes us just how many business owners aren’t aware of what SEO is and what it can do. But over the last few years, SEO has gone from being a ‘nice to have’ optional project to a must-have essential tool for digital marketing – something that all businesses should be doing. But since SEO is somewhat of a specialist subject, many businesses are opting to outsource their SEO in 2024, and so should you.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and it’s the process of optimising your website so that it can be found easily by search engines. While Google is the front-runner for search, the practice does apply to other search engines as well, like Bing and Duck Duck Go. Search engines all work in the same way – they send out ‘bots’ to rank your website, match it against a set of criteria, and use that to work out where your website should appear in a user search for a particular term. These ‘bots’ (sometimes known as ‘spiders’) will find new content and data and send it back to the search engine to be filed and added to a wider database. There are a lot of different methods for helping these spiders understand what your website is about, including using specific language patterns, HTML tags, alt text for images and appropriate links – all of which heavily influence how the spiders, and therefore, search engines, view and rank your website.
So, it should come as no surprise that SEO is not a one-shot thing. Search engines are constantly changing what they’re looking for, so it’s an ongoing process of tinkering and adjusting your website and other online profiles to generate more, high-quality traffic through organic search (which means you didn’t pay for your results to be shown). But when done well, it can dramatically improve your revenue and brand awareness.
What is SEO Outsourcing?
For some businesses, SEO means doing everything themselves. Large businesses might have a team of SEO experts in-house or they could contract their SEO to a team of experts to do the heavy lifting for them. Small businesses should consider outsourcing some or all of their SEO work to save money and enhance their status as a trusted brand. There are two main reasons for doing so:
Both of these reasons are really important for small businesses, especially those operating on a limited budget. The first reason – costs – is about saving money. If you do your own SEO, you’ll avoid the ‘costs’ of paying a professional SEO company to do it for you, but you will have to pay for the tools they will use to analyse the performance of your website and your competitors. You will also have to pay to keep your SEO knowledge up to date whereas an SEO professional is doing SEO every day so their knowledge is always up to date with the latest Google updates. The second reason is time – having an SEO expert handle your SEO will save you time, leaving you to get on with running your business.
How Does Outsourcing Your SEO Work?
If you read that last paragraph and think SEO sounds like a lot of work, you’re not wrong, and you’re not alone. SEO is an incredibly wide-reaching practice, and it can take a huge amount of time to learn the basics and then keep up with the near-constant changes being made by search engines. This is why so many businesses choose to outsource their SEO instead.
Outsourcing your SEO means that a third party will handle some or all of the SEO work for your business. They have their own team of SEO experts who know everything there is to know about SEO, and they use that knowledge and skill to improve your rankings and win you more business. All SEO agencies are a little different and will have their own specific workflow, but the process of SEO outsourcing often looks like this:
- You research and choose a reliable SEO company with a good reputation
- Planning meetings take place, where you look at your goals, budget and your wider marketing efforts
- You agree on a set of measurable targets and agree on an action plan
- You monitor your progress on a monthly basis, receiving regular reports from your SEO partner
- The SEO company will implement many changes themselves, and advise you if you need to take action
- You implement any changes in marketing based on the results
- If you started with a low budget, you can then expand based on ROI
Effective SEO requires a close relationship between your chosen partner and your marketing team, or yourself. This means they can manage the back-end technical aspects of your SEO and can pass on any actions that need to be implemented in your wider marketing to boost your rankings. Using an SEO company takes a huge amount of the burden away from you, and allows you to focus on developing and growing your business.
The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your SEO vs SEO In-House
Pro – it Saves You Time
Getting your SEO right is hugely beneficial to your business, but it’s also a huge time investment. Unless your business is the size that you can hire someone in-house whose sole job is your SEO, outsourcing is always going to be the better option.
Pro – Stay Up To Date
As we mentioned earlier, SEO standards are changing all the time, with new guidance and tweaks being made almost daily. SEO professionals spend their lives learning about search engines and are constantly researching and updating their knowledge, experience and strategies based on this information, so hiring a professional means you’ll always be ahead of the curve.
Pro – It’s Cheaper
Yes, using an SEO agency might be a cost, but they are tried and tested professionals, and it’s almost always cheaper than hiring an in-house employee full time. And if you’re not careful, you could need to hire several people before you find someone with the skills and experience you need. An SEO agency will charge you for the work done and nothing more, so you don’t have to worry about the extra costs that come with hiring an employee.
Pro – Better Performance
Working with an SEO agency will almost always provide you with better results, more leads and higher quality data. They will have access to the tools, technology and manpower to scale with your organisation while providing you with the results you need to grow. Some of these tools will be unavailable or impractical for you to run in-house or will require specialist knowledge to use to get the best performance.
But like anything in life, there is a flipside, which means now that we know the pros, it’s time to look at the cons of outsourcing your SEO.
Con – You’re Hands Off
Outsourcing your SEO does mean that you’re handing over the reins to another person or people in one aspect of your business. This involves you giving them some leeway to enact changes to your marketing without input from you, making you completely hands-off throughout the process and details. Instead, you just have to wait for the results to come in.
Con – You’re One Of Many
With an outsourced SEO company you are never going to be their sole priority. They have other clients to divide their attention between, and depending on the size of the agency you choose this could lead to you being bumped down the priority list sometimes.
Con – You Have To Do Some Legwork
Should you outsource your SEO?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the decision of whether or not to outsource SEO depends on a variety of factors specific to each business. Some businesses may find that outsourcing SEO is a cost-effective and efficient way to improve their search engine ranking, while others may decide that it is more beneficial to handle SEO in-house. Ultimately, the best decision for each business will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of the company, the amount of SEO expertise available in-house, and the company’s marketing budget.
Choosing the right SEO company to work with can be challenging, especially when there are so many variables to take into account. Their track record, costs, workflow, core processes and visibility are all things you need to look into, and you need to feel comfortable trusting them with such a valuable part of your business. That’s a lot of boxes to tick!
SEO strategy is often a divisive topic and it’s incredibly broad, which means every SEO guru will have a slightly different opinion about what works best and where you should focus. Often, the trick to successful SEO is a combination of rigorous research and trial and error. At Lion Spirit Media, we’ve spent years honing our SEO skills, learning what works and what doesn’t, and how get in touch with us today if you want to learn more about our SEO Services.