Search engine optimization can propel your business to great heights if done correctly. In fact, the potential benefits are significant – from better SERP rankings and organic website traffic to increased revenue and market share. Still, many organizations walk a tightrope when deciding between outsourcing SEO and doing it themselves.
SEO management and implementation require significant time and resource commitments. As a result, it’s often not simple to decide between outsourcing SEO or doing it yourself. Outsourcing to an agent or independent contractor is ideal if you don’t have time or resources. However, DIY SEO is best to save on marketing expenditures and have complete control over your SEO strategy.
Chances are you’ve been asking yourself, “Should I outsource SEO for my business?”. Well, we’ve got you covered with this post. We’ll explore all you need to know about outsourcing SEO and taking a DIY SEO approach. And we’ll appease any indecision by walking you through factors to consider when deciding between the two.
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Outsourcing SEO Vs. DIY SEO
When it comes to handling SEO tasks and executing strategies, making the right choice for your website and blog is crucial. Whether a first-time founder or a seasoned marketer, mastering SEO from the get-go sets you up for long-term success. Therefore, in this section, we’ll contrast outsourcing and DIY SEO.
Outsourcing SEO entails working with an external party to manage your business’s search engine optimization strategies and tasks. These individuals, or SEO outsourcing companies, carry out various SEO responsibilities, including:
- Backlink building
- Keyword research
- Technical SEO
- Improving existing content
- Competitor analysis
Therefore, instead of having an in-house team ensure your content and website are up to code for search engines, a third party does.
The Benefits & Drawbacks of Outsourcing SEO
Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of subcontracting SEO to an external party is the best place to start when asking yourself, “Should I outsource SEO?” This is because SEO outsourcing can profoundly affect your business and the productivity level of your in-house marketing team.
Therefore, consider the following benefits and drawbacks:
|Access to expert knowledge
|External party knowledge gaps
|Saves valuable time
|Difficulty finding the right partner
|Eliminates hiring costs
|Lack of control
|Quality of work
|No need to learn new concepts
Let’s dive deeper into each of these advantages and disadvantages below.
Access to Expert Knowledge
When you outsource your SEO, your business’s online identity will be in the hands of experts. In fact, most SEO outsourcing companies have years of experience under their belts.
A reputable SEO agent or contractor might know what will and won’t work for your business based on their experiences with different clients. As a result of their specialized expertise, the techniques they employ for your website’s SEO might be more effective.
Moreover, SEO experts have an ear to the ground when it comes to advancements in search engine optimization. Therefore, they’ll ensure your website remains in the good graces of search engines like Google.
In addition, an outside party specializing in search engine optimization might be more well-informed about white-hat SEO practices. This means they’re more likely to improve your blog’s SERP ranking and domain authority score than harm it.
Saves Valuable Time
Although SEO is integral to your brand’s online presence, it can be time-consuming and tedious. You might think keyword research is a breeze until you tack on other responsibilities like backlink building.
Also, staying abreast of changing rules and regulations of ever-evolving search engine algorithms is a mammoth duty. For instance, Google updates its search algorithm hundreds of times yearly.
In fact, experts estimate that they roll out 500 to 600 algorithm updates annually. While some are minor, they introduce ‘core’ updates that significantly influence SEO.
Since time is your most valuable asset as a business owner, you must use it wisely. Therefore, relying on an external party to handle your SEO allows you to recoup the hours you’d spend doing it yourself.
Eliminates Hiring Costs
Taking a DIY approach to SEO could mean building an in-house marketing team proficient in SEO. This involves sourcing, training, onboarding new talent, and paying salaries and benefits.
When you outsource your SEO, you’ll save on hiring costs. The value SEO outsourcing companies or independent contractors offer often comes at a lower price.
Therefore, outsourcing may be more cost-effective than having a dedicated SEO team member, especially for growing businesses.
Nine times out of ten, working with an SEO expert beats throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. This is because they’re ready right off the bat.
They understand the nuances of backlinking, keyword strategies, lead generation, and technical SEO. Therefore, they can plan and execute faster because of their extensive knowledge.
As a result, you can achieve your goals much quicker than if you were handling SEO on your own. A DIY SEO approach may entail several hours of planning before execution. After all, the less experience one has with SEO, the more time one needs to learn and understand how to implement strategies.
No Need to Learn New Concepts
Search engine optimization can be complex. With its unique terminology and concepts, you’ll have to dedicate time to learning the ropes.
This can take time away from handling other functions in your business or department. And the time to see your efforts pay off might be longer than anticipated.
Therefore, if you’ve been pondering why outsource SEO when you can do it yourself, the answer is there’s no learning curve. SEO outsourcing companies are experts at what they do. They understand the SEO landscape and its common obstacles, so they won’t need to learn anything new.
External Party Knowledge Gaps
When you outsource your SEO, the outside company or independent contractor won’t be fully versed in your business. This is because they don’t actively work within your organization. Even if they do their due diligence to understand your business, they won’t completely know its inner workings.
As a result, there will be knowledge gaps in the following areas:
- Your overall growth strategy: Suppose you provide a general goal to your SEO agent, like ‘increase total website visits by 500 per month’. In that case, they’d be privy to a small piece of your overall growth strategy. You need to constantly communicate how your SEO partner can help you achieve your growth plans.
- Your core keywords: While an SEO expert can help you discover keywords to target, you’re often the chief authority regarding your core keywords. Those keywords define your business and products or services. Therefore, your brand’s messaging might be skewed if you don’t communicate these to your SEO agent.
- Your brand perspective: Outsourcing SEO works well for building a conversion and revenue foundation. However, your insights about what your brand means to you and how you envision it growing are essential to the process. Without your brand perspective, an SEO agent may not nail communicating the right message to the world.
- Your content: Not all the content on your website will benefit from an outsider’s touch. For example, the information about your business’s values and history. You’ll need to create and manage that content since an SEO agent might not do justice to it.
Difficulty Finding the Right Partner
There are hundreds of SEO outsourcing companies, agencies, and independent contractors. However, not all of them offer value. As a result, finding the right partner can be challenging. Be sure to do your research and not make a hasty decision, especially since contracts are involved.
Lack of Control
While outsourcing SEO doesn’t mean handing over the keys to your business, it involves losing control. This means you won’t have a direct influence on how your website appears in search results.
Additionally, if the SEO agent makes a mistake or uses black hat tactics, it might harm your ranking. This could mean losing the authority you built.
Moreover, you can’t control the synergy between your SEO partner and your existing marketing team. Communication issues can arise, especially if they’re in a different time zone. Miscommunications could result in delays and possibly mistakes.
Quality of Work
An agent offering outsourced SEO services might not deliver work to your required standards. This is a risk when working with any external party.
However, in the case of search engine optimization, the consequences of poor-quality work can be dire. For instance, a lack of comprehensive SEO guidance in areas like content optimization can result in a low SERP ranking.
Who to Outsource SEO to
While learning how to outsource SEO, you’ll likely consider the following three main third parties:
- Full-service digital marketing agencies: These organizations offer various digital marketing services, including search engine optimization. Plus, if you want an outside party managing your social media and content strategies, they may suit your business. However, these agencies can be expensive if you only need small SEO tasks completed, so the next option might be best.
- SEO agencies: These businesses specialize in providing SEO solutions to companies. They’re the ideal option if SEO tasks are your marketing priority. Also, opt for an SEO outsource agency if you need an entire team working on your SEO goals instead of an individual contractor.
- Independent freelancers or contractors: These individuals specialize in completing specific SEO tasks like keyword research. They’re often the cheapest option. And some work on a per-project basis. While they can handle your SEO work when you don’t have time, their expertise might not be at the level of an agency.
Do your due diligence as you search for an outside party providing outsourced SEO services. Review their customer feedback, brands they’ve worked with, and any case studies on their website.
In addition, look into their values and ethics. Those can be a window into how they work and whether your business can work well with them.
DIY SEO entails optimizing your website for search engines or boosting your blog’s SERP ranking in-house. This means you won’t work with an outside party. However, you can use third-party DIY SEO tools like Semrush to make the process seamless.
The Benefits & Drawbacks of DIY SEO
Much like working with an external party to handle your SEO, a DIY approach has benefits and drawbacks.
|Cost-effective for small budgets
|Steep learning curve
|Easy cross-function collaboration
|Frequent field changes
|Maintain complete control
|Requires significant time investment
|Build SEO knowledge in-house
|Falling into SEO pitfalls
|Avoid external collaboration issues
Let’s explore those pros and cons in depth below.
Cost-Effective for Small Budgets
Suppose you’re a new business with a small marketing budget. In that case, taking a DIY approach to search engine optimization can save you money.
Outsourcing SEO comes with high costs that can cut into most of your marketing budget. Not only would you have to pay a monthly fee, but you’ll sometimes be locked into a contract. The industry minimum for such agreements is 6 months.
Moreover, hiring a full-time marketer comes with costs such as salaries and benefits. Also, working with an independent contractor can be costly, especially since you’ll need someone experienced.
Easy Cross-Function Collaboration
SEO is often perceived as one department’s job. However, other functions within your business have a direct or indirect influence. This includes development, design, content, and public relations.
Your development team ensures your website is optimized technically for search engines by fixing crawl errors and improving website speed. While PR can play a crucial role in ensuring the use of high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources.
Therefore, handling SEO in-house can be a team sport. You can foster better communication and teamwork across various departments than if you brought in an external party to manage SEO.
Additionally, managing SEO in-house enables various departments to learn how to make the best SEO decisions. Eventually, they can support the organic channel independently without the SEO team’s input. As a result, SEO stays top of mind during the execution and prioritization of departmental roadmaps.
Maintain Complete Control
Having an outside party like an agency or contractor manage your brand’s voice, website’s internal and external connections, and content quality can be daunting. And your sense of ownership might weaken, especially if you’re running a small business.
With all SEO strategies executed in-house, you’ll have complete control over your website’s SERP ranking and digital fingerprint. You can tailor the process to your specific needs and goals. And you can ensure you optimize your website content to align with your brand and messaging.
Build SEO Knowledge In-House
Initially, handling SEO yourself can seem complicated. However, you will quickly understand the concepts and techniques once you find your flow.
With a wealth of SEO knowledge, you can become the principal authority in optimizing your website and content for search engines. This could benefit other departments that directly or indirectly impact SEO in the long run. And your business might not need to rely on external agencies.
Moreover, your SEO expertise and intimate knowledge of your brand might produce better results than if you brought in an external party. For example, you can avoid bad practices like keyword stuffing since you strongly focus on your users.
Avoid External Collaboration Issues
While working with an external party, there are bound to be conflicts. This could be in the form of time or communication.
Delays might arise because of the limitations and constraints of the outsourcing agent or contractor. And miscommunications about your brand might result in irreversible messaging.
Taking a DIY search engine optimization approach means avoiding external collaboration issues. For instance, you can adjust and change your SEO strategy without waiting on an outside party for approval. Therefore, you can execute faster.
Steep Learning Curve
Some SEO concepts are simple to grasp. However, others are complex and require days, if not weeks, to learn.
This is because SEO is more than placing keywords in the right places. It requires understanding various digital marketing topics like link building and analytics.
Moreover, while you can start with basic knowledge of SEO, you’ll need to add more layers to that foundation as your business grows. This will enable you to gain new qualified leads and more relevant traffic to your website. However, it might be easier said than done.
Frequent Field Changes
Because of constant changes, the SEO field can be overwhelming for beginners and savants alike. You could wake up one day and discover a search engine penalized you. Or worse, your website could experience a downward trend of visitors over time due to an algorithm update.
Because of the frequent changes to search engine optimization, you’ll need to stay on top of what’s happening in the SEO world. And with search engines incorporating artificial intelligence into search, the changes could require creative thinking that isn’t documented yet.
Take it from us that keeping up with SEO changes can be time-consuming and nerve-wracking. Plus, with everyone in the field looking to stay abreast of those changes, there’s bound to be information that won’t be relevant. Therefore, juggling unreliable sources is another job you’ll have to add to your plate.
Overall, consistency pays off in the ever-changing SEO landscape. If you can’t keep up, there could be consequences for your website and online presence.
Requires Significant Time Investment
Doing the SEO yourself entails a significant time commitment. You’ll need to dedicate hours to learning, planning, and implementation.
This might not be a problem if you have a team. However, if you’re wearing many hats in your business, carving out time for SEO might not be advisable.
Think about all the valuable time you’ll spend away from your company’s operations. Growth will stagnate, and we both know what that could mean for your profits.
Taking a DIY approach to SEO will likely pay off in the long run. However, is it worth the short-term sacrifices you make?
Falling into SEO Pitfalls
The SEO landscape might as well be a digital obstacle course. Especially when it comes to adhering to the principles of search engine algorithms.
An unconscious choice might cost you all of your organic traffic. And a black hat tactic might lead to a significant drop in your SERP ranking. Therefore, you must stick to legal SEO practices.
DIY SEO Tools
Managing your SEO yourself might appear as though you’re operating as a lone wolf. However, a wide range of SEO software exists as a substitute for a dedicated SEO expert.
From rank tracking to mobile SEO, DIY SEO tools provide everything you need to boost your online presence. Some of our recommended DIY SEO software includes:
- Semrush: This invaluable tool has an unmatched reputation among small and large enterprises. Use it to complete SEO tasks like link building and competitor analysis. Or tap into its other features for social media management or ad research.
- Surfer SEO: Nothing beats the algorithmic power of Surfer SEO. Moreover, it has several valuable features, including a SERP analyzer, content planner, and plagiarism detector.
- Ahrefs: This priceless tool offers everything you’ll need to grow your brand’s online presence successfully. From keyword tracking tools to broken link identification, Ahrefs could be your best SEO sidekick.
The artificial intelligence boom has rolled out the red carpet for significant improvements to DIY SEO software. Semrush provides a collection of 70 AI tools, some of which assist with writing and rephrasing content.
Jasper.ai is another tool you can leverage for search engine optimization. The AI-powered engine provides a writing assistant to craft comprehensive articles within a few minutes.
Overall, leveraging DIY SEO software to support your in-house search engine optimization tasks is wise.
Deciding Which SEO Approach Is Right for You
So, you understand how valuable having a dedicated SEO partner managing your site’s appearance in search engines can be. The time you’ll save and the fact that you’ll be working with someone who knows the best practices feels right in your gut.
However, the idea of handling your SEO tasks and executing strategies to boost your online presence in-house is also appealing. You may want total control or building SEO knowledge in-house aligns with how you want to run your business.
If you’re at an impasse when deciding which path to take with search engine optimization, don’t fret. Below we’ll guide you through factors to consider, including your budget, scalability, time, and level of in-house expertise.
In addition to answering the common question, “Should I outsource SEO?” we’ll recommend a suitable approach based on your business.
Factors to Consider
Relying on outsourced SEO services requires a higher cost commitment than doing it yourself. However, you might get better value and longer-lasting results with outsourcing than taking search engine optimization into your hands.
As a result, consider your budget for your SEO outsource needs. Do you have the capacity to devote part of your budget to hiring an agent or independent contractor? Would it be more cost-effective to handle SEO in-house and then outsource later?
How important is it to stay in control of the SEO process? You might want to manage SEO yourself if you need to know everything about growing your brand’s online presence. DIY SEO is also beneficial for retaining search engine optimization expertise in-house.
This is not to say that an outside party won’t allow you to have some control. The right partner will value flexibility and transparency. In fact, they’ll act like an extension of your business, keeping you in the loop at all times.
3. Level of In-House Expertise
Your business’s level of SEO expertise can also point you in the right direction when asking, “Should I outsource SEO?” If you have the necessary expertise and knowledge in-house, take a DIY SEO approach.
However, if you lack the skills, outsourcing may be best. This is because SEO agencies or independent contractors are well-versed in everything within the field.
Therefore, there’s no learning curve for an SEO expert besides understanding how to tailor their techniques for your business. This beats learning SEO concepts and best practices in-house and using time that could be shifted to other tasks.
4. Business Goals & Needs
Suppose you have a specific SEO goal, like improving local search visibility. In this case, outsourcing to an agency or contractor may be the better choice. The reason is that they might have the exact expertise to help you achieve your goals.
If you handle your goal yourself, you may spend precious time researching and understanding how to do it well. As a result, outsourcing SEO might be suitable if a lack of expertise creates a roadblock in achieving your business goals.
Besides your goals, consider whether your business needs ongoing or one-time SEO services. Most SEO agents offer continuing services. This is because an SEO strategy is often executed and maintained over time.
However, if your internal team needs one thing done, like technical SEO, outsourcing for one time would be cost-effective. Then all other SEO tasks can be handled in-house.
Whether running a small business or a scale-up, time is a precious resource you should use wisely. Since SEO can be time-consuming, it’s worth considering how much time you can devote to it.
If you can carve out a few hours daily to manage your website’s SEO, then take a DIY SEO approach. However, if it interrupts duties integral to your business’s growth and operations, opt for outsourcing SEO.
Working with an experienced external party to manage your SEO could be more scalable. Think about it this way: an SEO outsource agency or contractor will know how to adjust your SEO strategy as your business grows.
They often have experience working with clients of different sizes in various industries. Therefore, they have SEO tactics they can implement quickly when your requirements change.
In contrast, doing SEO yourself might not be scalable. As your business expands, you may need new tools, additional training for your in-house team, or to hire more staff.
Significant investments will be required to execute your optimization strategy. As a result, growth may be slower.
7. Timing & Responsiveness
An agency is often best when you need to hit the ground running with an SEO strategy. They won’t need to set up, train, or invest in new tools. You’ll merely tell them what they need to know about your business, and work will commence immediately.
However, you’ll likely not be their sole client. So their responsiveness to new products or services and strategic developments may be slower than if you handle SEO in-house.
As a result, capacity is a worthy consideration in finding the right partner. Look out for whether they offer a dedicated SEO account manager. They’re typically responsible for keeping track of developments in your business and communicating them to the people directly involved with SEO.
Conversely, a DIY SEO approach could take longer to get started. This is especially true if you need to train or hire people.
Still, an in-house team can respond quickly to in-house developments. And any changes in your SEO requirements can be implemented rapidly and efficiently, depending on the team’s other responsibilities.
Approaches We Recommend Based on Your Business
Not every business has the exact same SEO needs. What works for someone in a similar industry might not work for you. We get that. Therefore, it could be easier to understand whether to outsource SEO or not based on your business’s growth stage.
Let’s start with small startups with limited budgets. Suppose you launched a product, and customer acquisition is now the priority. Your goal is to increase website traffic by 1000 every month.
Instead of making a significant investment in a marketer with your current budget, working with an agent or contractor might be more cost-effective. Your startup could benefit from an agency’s specialized knowledge, quick results, and ad hoc nature.
SMEs with moderate resources can also leverage the low overheads and expertise of an SEO agent or independent contractor. A lack of time, skills, or resources often signals a need for employing the services of a third party.
As for large enterprises with established marketing teams, outsourcing SEO might be on a need-be basis. For instance, you could hire an SEO expert to bolster in-house expertise.
In the case of multinationals, local language and cultural knowledge of the country of operation is often required. While your internal team could manage SEO independently, working with a local SEO agency could help you develop a country-specific SEO strategy.
The Bottom Line
“Why outsource SEO when I can handle it in-house?” is a question you may ask yourself. When it comes to your website’s SEO, hasty decisions will likely lead to unforeseen consequences. That’s why you should understand what outsourcing and DIY SEO entail.
Suppose you want to improve your website’s SERP ranking and online presence. In that case, you can determine how to outsource SEO to a reputable agency.
Having a dedicated expert manage your search engine optimization can save you time. You’ll also benefit from their in-depth knowledge and expertise. As a result, your website won’t fall victim to Google penalties.
In contrast, handling SEO in-house can be cost-effective. You can also ensure that your business develops internal knowledge of the field, allowing you to create more tailored SEO strategies.