Should SEO be Outsourced? - a blog post on outstourcing SEO


managing director

Happy Friday again - the weeks seem to be going faster and faster! I was asked to write an article on outsourcing SEO and with a little help from Tony we came up with the following article. Feedback is welcomed! Thanks, Adam.

Should SEO be Outsourced?

The question of how much SEO can be handled in house really depends on the resources available and the skills associated with those resources.

Fresh Egg work within ongoing 'partnerships' with most clients and consult on work that can be carried out by the client, in-house, that will benefit an ongoing SEO campaign. This could relate to tasks like the development of the website or the production of new content to keep the website fresh and up-to-date.

It isn't uncommon for larger clients to retain the ongoing development of the website in-house as their web-development teams are often already established. They may be engaged in continually developing the website both graphically and structurally, adding new content and features as and when required. This arrangement means that website benefits with updates and amendments being carried out quickly without the delay that can occur if third party developers are employed.

Although client organisations may employ dedicated web development professionals it is rare to see specific focus on employing specialist staff to deal with SEO. This work is often added to the tasks required of the web designers and programmers.� The disadvantages of this approach are that most people are good at doing their dedicated job but don't always have the knowledge, experience or inclination to look at work that may be considered outside of their remit.

In my opinion SEO staff need to work amongst other SEO specialists where they can share experiences and build on their knowledge in a team environment; working with people who share similar skills but who specialise in different roles specific to SEO. The need for SEO should not be left as an after thought and bolted on to an existing web design role.

SEO is still in its infancy. Another challenge in employing the right SEO person is having the ability to know what to ask in an interview situation. I would be surprised if an average IT manager or Marketing Manager will know what should be asked and what to look out for if they haven�t got the necessary experience upon which to base their questioning.

This is why outsourcing to the right SEO agency is so vital. In a company like Fresh Egg we employ staff who specialise in many different skills associated with search engine optimisation; rule changes, web design, development, optimisation, promotional techniques, reporting, accessibility, usability, copywriting, marketing etc. All staff share knowledge between each other and are required to keep up with the latest technology with each new project that is developed. The variety of work also benefits the knowledge pool that is developed within an agency environment. This accumulated experience and knowledge sharing is often impossible to develop and exercise in a smaller dedicated in-house team and it is completely impossible for one person to possess all of these skills. It is a combination of all this knowledge that is required to run a successful SEO strategy.

There is also an affordability issue that presents itself for the smaller company. Can they afford to take on a full time member of staff to manage this type of work? Experienced people, who are worth employing in this industry, aren't cheap. In addition to this the amount of work required on a monthly basis to promote a smaller website possibly wouldn�t justify having a dedicated full time member of staff. Outsourcing is the more affordable option.

Fresh Egg remains flexible in their approach to SEO. Each new SEO client receives a consultancy where in-house resources are a key discussion point. The consultancy will highlight opportunities for tasks that can be carried out in-house by the client and tasks that may be best carried out by us.

A good SEO firm should offer a consultancy service that will detail work that could be carried out by the client if appropriate; this may involve website amendments or suggestions for features that will benefit an SEO strategy. From our experience the more technical work is often best carried out by the SEO firm to ensure accuracy and speed of completion.

The future for the main bulk of SEO should remain as something that is outsourced. Outsourcing may be structured to provide SEO advice or it may be arranged for the SEO agency to carry out the optimisation work required. A professional SEO agency should continually involve the client in order to strengthen the SEO campaign.

SEO is too specialist and diverse to expect a single person or small team to carry out the job to the level that an experienced and developed agency can do. The trick is to find the right agency to outsource to. Here are a few points to consider when looking for a suitable SEO agency:

  • Make sure that you ask for examples of search engine listings that have been achieved.
  • Look for work that has performed well in industries that are competitive online.
  • Speak to at least 2 of their clients for references.
  • Make sure that the company has an experienced team of specialists not only with SEO skills but also an understanding of how a website should be built from a technical perspective including accessibility and usability.

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