SEO Outsourcing Primer for Agencies
The need for SEO is great… sometimes too great.
Lots of clients ask agencies about their SEO capabilities, but the problem is that specialized agencies don’t always have dedicated SEO teams. So they have to turn down potential business because they don’t have the skills.
On the other hand, some agencies try to assign SEO work to their other marketing teams. This is a losing strategy. SEO is a complex and changing skill set. Even if your teams are experts at paid traffic, content creation, or any other type of service, that doesn’t make them experts at SEO. A non-expert team will struggle at SEO, your client will see no results, and you’ll have trouble retaining the business.
It’s true that search engine optimization is often invaluable to any long term marketing strategy. But does that justify the expense of your own in-house SEO experts? How about the expensive SEO tools?
Sounds like a good idea? Keep reading…
Should You Offer SEO?
Agencies constantly field questions from clients asking about SEO. It’s a high-demand service. Even company owners who know almost nothing about marketing know what SEO is and are aware that it can benefit their company.
A a good SEO campaign can become very valuable over time. Ranking at the top of a Google search will bring a company much more business than ranking at the bottom, or on the second page. It’s probably the best way to get a consistent stream of organic traffic to your site.
Agencies which offer this crucial service will take on more projects than their competitors, they can offer more, charge more, and get better results which will lead to happier clients and repeat clients.
But there’s a problem…
The Problem With SEO
To do SEO requires a lot of work upfront and a lot of work in maintenance.
Ten years ago, SEO was nowhere near as complicated as it is today. You could just use anchor text, buy backlinks, and occupy a lofty spot in Google’s search rankings. But Google’s algorithms are becoming increasingly complex and the old tactics don’t work anymore.
If you want to provide an SEO service and do it well enough to deliver excellent results to you clients, you need dedicated SEO experts who can keep up with the search engine algorithms and spend 8 hours a day link-building, relationship-building, and creating content.
Even then it takes many hours of work and months to really make SEO start working for you.
So What Are Your Options?
To hire an SEO expert as a full-time employee is costly — around $60,000 per year (plus benefits). Is that a worthwhile commitment based on the amount of SEO projects you can put in the pipeline? If you aren’t a dedicated SEO agency, probably not. Similarly, to bring in an outside SEO consultant / expert cost upwards of $100 / hour.
At the other end of the spectrum, you could hire an SEO freelancer who is just starting out on a job board like UpWork or Fiverr. However, the quality of commitment and expertise provided by freelancers is uneven at best. Given the complexity of SEO now, this is not recommended.
The other consideration is that if you offer SEO as a core competency, you’ll have to invest in the Enterprise level SEO tools for agencies. These can be up to $10,000 per year — too much for an agency which isn’t built around SEO.
The middle ground is to hire a dedicated SEO team remotely.
Why You Should Hire Remote SEO Teams
You can outsource your SEO to remote experts and resell their SEO services under white label. That way, everyone can get the best of both worlds — your client is satisfied, your team can focus on what they do best, and you are no longer limited in taking on SEO projects.
The right SEO reseller will get real results at a lower cost than it would take to hire an in house team. You don’t have to pay benefits or keep them around year round. Just hire your white label SEO team on a contract or per project basis.
This model will allow you to offer SEO services as a profit maximizer or an add-on to a project. You and your teams can then focus to delivering on your core competencies, while also giving your clients the option to have their SEO done.
You don’t have to invest in new clients and new relationships to make this work for you. Just go around to the clients you already have a relationship with and mention that you are now offering SEO if they would like to draw up a contract. Second, when you start new projects, you can use SEO as a “bonus” addition to your core competencies. SEO is so in demand because it complements almost every business, so lots of new clients will consider taking you up on this offer.
Unlike hiring in-house or depending on a single freelancer, using remote SEO teams is a highly scalable model. Whereas a freelancer might only be able to provide you a handful of links, and an in-house team might be too expensive to add to, remote SEO teams operate by being able to scale up and down very quickly.
Another way to scale SEO services is to use remote teams as a “tester” to gauge interest. For instance, if you don’t want to invest a lot of resources into offering SEO upfront, you can use the services of a remote team to see if your clients are interested in it. Depending on the response, you can continue with your remote team or consider building your own in house team.
SEO is a complicated service and its complexity is only increasing — but it remains valuable and in demand for businesses looking to increase their visibility. So what does that mean for you? It means you should offer SEO — but offer it in a way that allows you to scale up and down on demand, meet client expectations, and reduce risk. Contacting remote SEO retailers is the best way to meet all these requirements while maximizing your profit.