Outsource SEO Services: What to Consider + Pros/Cons

Search Engine Optimization is not something that is just nice to have. It is a necessity. It is the backbone of profitability. It is the means by which businesses in all industries remain relevant in a competitive digital marketing world.

You know that you need SEO, but how do you go about developing and executing an SEO plan?

You can approach the SEO process in one of two ways. You can hire in-house staff to create an SEO strategy and focus on it full time, or you can outsource to a reputable SEO company that is staffed with veteran experts.

The question becomes, which path is best for your company? How can you ensure that you’re maximizing your SEO results while still staying within your budget?

Should You Outsource SEO?

To outsource or not to outsource. That is the first question that should be asked when embarking upon an SEO journey.

The short answer to that question is yes, you should most definitely be outsourcing SEO rather than hiring an in house specialist to oversee your campaign.

When you look at the dollars and cents of it, the act of bringing on full-time SEO staff is nonsensical with costs going through the roof.

White label SEO providers can do much more for your campaign for much less money. That’s partly because veteran SEO experts are not often seeking full-time work with a company. If they are, they’re making a lot of money to do so.

That’s because these SEO experts typically work with a team or on their own as a freelancer. This is a clear case of knowing one’s value in a crowded market. They are an integral part of an industry that will be worth almost $80 billion by 2020. Because of the demand for highly experienced SEO specialists, these individuals can often make a better living without having to work a 9 to 5 job.

That means that the SEO specialists you’re going to find that are willing to commit to a full-time schedule are likely new to the industry and just starting to make their name. While that’s all well and good, when it comes to something as important as your SEO score, you want to side with experience. With experience comes efficiency.

SEO veterans are highly skilled at streamlining the optimization process and producing results. At the end of the day, the results are all that matter.

When you hire an SEO outsourcing company, you’re often doing so for a mere fraction of the price you’d pay to hire someone full time. Remember, full-time staffers need full-time salary. To put that in perspective, the average full-time salary of an in-house SEO specialist is $72,808 per year.

That’s just the salary for the worker. It does not include the price of actually executing your SEO strategy. Companies usually require at least three full-time SEO specialists working together, so that $72,808 just became $218,424. These employees also require benefits and bonuses if you want to keep a skilled specialist from jumping ship into the arms of a competitor.

At the end of the day, you’re paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for your SEO, where a skilled firm or freelance specialists could give you better results for just a fraction of the cost. Even if you’re paying $15,000-$20,000 per year for SEO, that’s still only a small percentage of the cost you’d endure to have full-time staff.

Don’t pay more to receive less. That’s a simple rule of business that any amateur could tell you. When you outsource, you’re rolling the dice on a much more costly venture.

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Outsourcing vs. In-House SEO

We’ve already determined that outsourcing is a far more cost-effective option as opposed to hiring full-time in-house staffers.

So, why then do people continue to hire full-time staff if it’s such a no brainer?

There are some benefits to having a full-time SEO team working in your office. Much like anything in life, there are both pros and cons to outsourcing your SEO.

Outsourcing Pros


As we’ve covered previously, it is far less expensive to outsource your SEO by a large margin. As a result, outsourcing holds a much greater opportunity for a return on investment. It’s a common rule of business that deliverables are greater when costs are lower.

Since the ultimate goal of all marketing efforts is to increase profitability, this is perhaps the biggest and most important issue to grace the pro section of this list.

More Experienced Professionals

The majority of full-time staffers you’re going to find are entry level rookies who do not yet have the experience to be considered by a large firm or to strike out on their own as a freelancer.

You want seasoned professionals working on your content because they understand Google and its algorithm better. Not only that, but they have fought in the SEO trenches for years and have a good handle on what it takes to succeed, and how to get you the best bang for your buck.

Larger Team Working on Your Site

When you hire full-time SEO staff, you’re looking at anywhere from one to three individuals working in your offices.

When you contract with an SEO firm you have an entire team of professionals working on your content. That includes experts in many different SEO fields. While the one to three full-time staff members would have to bring a slew of various skills together, when you work with a firm, you get a unique team of specialists, all working in various specialties.

You’ll have dedicated content writers, website designers, code specialists, metadata optimizers, graphic designers, strategists, social media specialists, and more. You get all of this hyper-efficiency for far less money.

Download Questions to Ask When Outsourcing your SEO

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Choosing the Right Firm

One of the most nerve-wracking choices when it comes to hiring an outsourced SEO firm is choosing the right firm. There are so many variables at stake, and SEO does not come cheap. You want to make sure that you’re picking the right company with the strongest track record.

You also want to make sure that they are on the up and up and practice white hat SEO.

White hat SEO is the term given to SEO practices that adhere to Google’s algorithm and don’t try to take shortcuts and game the system. The alternative is known as black hat SEO, and it is a series of “cheats” that work well in the short term but ultimately hurt your SEO ranking once Google realizes what’s going on.

Despite the dangers, there are many Black Hat SEO firms which offer reduced pricing for no results. These firms are more concerned with attracting a large volume of clients because of the high rate of turnover they receive.

SEO is a substantial investment, so it stands to reason that you’ll want to make the right choice the first time.

Divided Attention

When you’re working with an SEO firm, you’re going to have to live with the fact that you’re not their sole priority. Much like your SEO is only a part of your overall business operation, you’re only one of several clients that this firm is working on.

That’s where the allure of full-time SEO staffers come into play. You know that you have one to three individuals who are working in the marketing trenches on your site all day every day. That kind of attention is not something you’re going to find when outsourcing.

It’s important when hiring an SEO firm to understand how much time they’re devoting to you, what they are implementing throughout your content, and what the overall strategy is. Understanding all of this should be enough to soften your anxiety over just how much time and attention your money is buying from your chosen firm.


When working with an SEO firm it is important that they are as transparent as possible when it comes to reporting. One of the main complaints a lot of businesses have regarding their outsourced SEO campaign is that sometimes it is hard to get their hands on status reports.

On top of that, you’re also often waiting to hear back when you have an inquiry. In this regard, it is hard to compete with the convenience of having full-time SEO specialists on payroll. When you want to know what’s going on with your campaign or you have a question, you can simply walk down the hall and speak to the specialist directly.

There is a lack of control when you’re working with an SEO firm, which is why it is so essential that you trust the firm that you hire. Also, make sure that they have detailed regular reporting for enhanced transparency.

Download Questions to Ask When Outsourcing your SEO

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How to Outsource SEO

If you’ve decided that outsourced SEO is for you, then there are certain steps you’ll want to take that ensure that you’re not falling into some common SEO traps.

For starters, find a number of reputable SEO firms and interview them. Don’t just go with the first firm that you speak with. It’s good to compare and contrast a few different ones and also do a cost analysis to determine exactly what you’re getting for your money.

Make sure that you ask a lot of questions about the SEO process of each firm, as there might be some red flags to watch out for.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to make sure that you have a working understanding of how SEO functions before you start talking with potential firms.

The main step you’ll want to take is to know the difference between white hat and black hat SEO tactics. Remember, if you fall victim to a black hat SEO firm, it will do more harm than good to your SEO, leaving you in a hole that will be difficult (but not impossible) to dig yourself out from.

Make sure you ask them about their link building strategy. Link building is one of the most important elements of SEO and it is something that you’ll want to make sure your potential firm understands and succeeds at. Essentially, they have to get highly ranked sites to link back to your page, marking you as an authority in your industry.

Ask them about their overall content strategy. What kind of content are they going to be writing? How will they change up the copy on your existing pages? Will they be writing blogs for you? All of this is incredibly important to know before you write a check, as content writing is essential for SEO success.

Make sure to ask about keyword research. You want to know that the company you’re working with does their homework in determining which keywords they’re out to rank for. The keywords that they target should be both high volume in search quality and relevant to your industry.

How often do they submit progress reports? Transparency is vital. You have to know how your campaign is doing. If you’re seeing no progress, you have a right to know why and take your business elsewhere. You should also know the process for when you have a question about your campaign. Do you have a dedicated account manager who you can reach out to?

Are they willing to explain their process? If they’re not, that’s a red flag. You want to make sure that they are on the up and up and are practicing white hat SEO. If they’re being cagey about what they’re doing, you might not want to do business with that particular firm.

Is your campaign custom? One of the biggest signs of black hat SEO is pre-packaged SEO campaigns. SEO is not a one size fits all process. Every campaign has to be custom fit to the company and the website that it is meant to help.

Do they have experience in your industry? All industries have different tactics and different levels of competition. If your SEO firm specializes in improving the sites of others in your industry, that’s a big plus.

Can you talk with past or current clients? Can you see case studies of success? Make sure that the firm you’re dealing with has a history of success. If they don’t want to show you examples or let you talk to other clients, that should be an immediate all-stop.

Download Questions to Ask When Outsourcing your SEO

Enter your email and instantly get a checklist of the important questions that should be asked.


The best way to get the most bang for your SEO buck is to outsource the process to a reputable SEO firm or freelance operation.

Yes, you’ll be giving up some control over the process, but if you make your selection wisely you will invest far less and achieve far more than you would by entrusting in-house SEO staff members. Remember, full-time staffers need  full-time salary, benefits, and bonuses in order to do the same work that a dedicated team of seasoned professionals can do for a fraction of the cost.

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