Outsourcing Search Engine Optimization? Read this.

We all know how important it is to have a well-established presence for our business on the Web.

SEO is a huge industry, and businesses regularly take advantage of it to boost their sales.

Well-done and well-maintained SEO will correlate to a direct increase in sales, visitors and fans of your brand.

The problem is, SEO takes time and effort. Some businesses can afford to keep their SEO in-house, while others prefer to outsource.

So what are the pros and cons of hiring an SEO agency?

Pro: It Saves Time

Outsourcing your SEO will save you a lot of time. You don’t have to deal with it yourself, if you run a small business. In larger businesses, you won’t have to go through the interview process and hire someone to do it in-house. You’ll still need to contract an SEO agency to do the work, but once they know what the goal is, you don’t have to monitor them. It’s largely a fire-and-forget method of search engine optimization.

Pro: It’s Done Professionally

Pretty much any agency you can hire to do your SEO will be professional. They’ll have significant amounts of experience doing exactly that. Just like substandard businesses fail, substandard SEO agencies quickly fold. You can trust that the agency you hire is going to show you the results you want.

Pro: It’s Cheaper than In-House

SEO Agencies are expensive, but they’re tried and tested. They wouldn’t be around if they weren’t. Hiring an in-house employee full-time can be even more expensive, and you don’t necessarily know the credentials of the person you hired. They may be experts and you may be very happy with the results. On the other hand, they may not be all they’re cracked up to be, and result in a loss.

Con: It’s an Expense

What you save in time is made up for in cost. SEO agencies overall are not cheap, because in such a competitive industry you get exactly what you pay for. The premium you pay goes towards high quality work from professionals, but it’s still a business contract and it will still cost you.

Con: It’s Hands Off

If you’re the owner of a small business, or if you like to have a hand in every aspect of running your business, outsourcing your SEO is not for you. ¬†Hiring an SEO agency to do it for you takes it out of your hands, and means you won’t be able to dabble in the process yourself. However, a good agency should keep you in the loop.

Con: It’s Not Comprehensive

At least, basic packages fall short. SEO is a constantly evolving field and putting SEO into practice is as much an ongoing thing as it is a site makeover. Sometimes the SEO agency you contract will only do a makeover of your site to optimize it for your keyword, and leave the rest to you. This is good, in that it lets you manage your own brand once the initial starting work is done. It’s bad in that you end up having to put time into it anyway. It’s possible to completely outsource your ongoing SEO presence, but then you risk losing touch with your customers because of the extra intermediary.

In the end, whether or not you choose to outsource your SEO depends on personal preference. If your business can afford it and you won’t want anything to do with it, outsourcing may be the best option. If you want a little more hands-on approach, or more direct control over your brand presence, you’ll probably want to keep it in house. Just think carefully before you make your choice.

Sam is a marketer and likes learning and writing about SEO as well as landing page tweaks and improvements that can increase conversion rate.


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Entrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after Digital Marketing Experts. His clients extend from high-end brands and middle-tier businesses in both B2B and B2C. His SEO website optimization book, "The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website" from Entrepreneur Press is in bookstores now.