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Fri Oct 20 2017

What to expect from outsourcing your SEO

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From a company that work with multiple clients on a day-to-day basis with SEO, we often hear of horror stories from previous SEO work completed by outsourced companies. The problem that we often see is the business owners, tech leads or marketing managers either don’t understand SEO enough to keep a good eye of what their contractor is doing, or they just don’t have time to look into the intricate details all the time. All too often when meeting with new clients, we hear something along the lines of, I have no idea what they were doing for SEO, we just pay them every month and they said they were working on it. Just for the record, it is not an SEO activity that improves your ranking!! So, today we thought we’d take the time to look into some things you should expect from whoever you are outsourcing your SEO to.

Before we get into what to expect, let’s first look into the why. There are a number of reasons why you should outsource your SEO, but some of the key ones are:

  • Knowledge & experience – SEO is a beast. There is so much in it, and usually outsourcing to someone who specialises in this aspect of digital will get you better results, faster.
  • Time – SEO is something that needs to adopt a continual approach; it’s not a do today and never do again task. SEO works best when its seen as continuous improvements with regular updates. Many businesses don’t have a dedicated resource they can give to this (and one that won’t get caught up on other business every month).
  • Technical expertise – There are a few facets to SEO, and some of these (like content) can easily be done in-house. Other areas, usually those that require technical management, requiring outsourcing simply to gain the technical expertise of an experienced developer.

As mentioned above, it is not an SEO activity so if you’re handing over cash every month for it and know nothing more about what it is that is getting done, it’s probably time to take a very hard look into whether you should be keeping that contractor around.

In the same fashion, if you have an outsourcer who is telling you that your SEO is constantly improving every month, they are probably lying. Really? Yes! In our experience in SEO, we generally see what we call climbs and plateaus in search engine optimisation. This means that some months we’ll get incredible results and sometimes for a few months in a row and then we’ll see a small plateau in either traffic or conversions from the channel, or keyword rank. Whatever the most important SEO objective is for you, it’s likely to plateau every now and then as constant growth month on month is pretty unrealistic, especially considering some SEO updates take over a month to begin working!

Here are just a few things that you should be expecting regularly from your outsourcer:

  1. A list of activities they are working on each month / period (YES – this is easy for any outsourcing business to do, trust me! We do this every month for every client because for us to do the work, we need to know what it is we’re working on every month!)
  2. Monthly reports explaining what has been done that month and what is planned for the coming month
  3. Reports (usually monthly but quarterly would also be ok) to show any growth in organic traffic, how organic users are converting on the site (this might also be in comparison to other acquisition channels) and potentially user journeys for organic traffic
  4. How your keywords are ranking and any improvements in search rank
  5. Recommendations for further improvements should also be sent through every quarter or 6 monthly depending on how many monthly hours you are dedicating to SEO

In addition to the above, the reason you are outsourcing your SEO probably has something to do with the lack of expertise in-house. If this is the case, don’t accept only backlink building or only content curation as SEO optimisations. Your optimisations should capture everything from improving your online authority to content to technical improvements. All of these elements must work hand-in-hand to better optimise your search ranking.

To take this a step further, a good agency will also offer A/B testing on any user journey assumptions they have found during reporting. Using data, we can see how customers are using the website, and sometimes we’ll recommend a change to the website (this could be as simple as changing the CTA button text, or adding a sidebar for example) which we think will help increase conversions from your organic traffic. These type of recommendations, backed by data, are a full-proof way to check that recommendations will have the affect you want on your bottom line before making the change.

And finally, having an agency that is highly accessible is really important. Whoever you are outsourcing to should be readily available to answer any questions or concerns, and should put time aside once a month or once a quarter to run you through how your SEO is tracking. Being able to pick up the phone or visit the office of your agency is critical in ensuring any changes to your business objectives are defined to your outsourcer, and that any updates in the digital realm are provided to you.

In summary, outsourcing your SEO is a fantastic way to get a dedicated set of eyes working on your SEO every month. As with any type of outsourcing though, you need to be clear about what you expect from outsourcing and making sure that you are kept in the loop as to what and why things are being completed each month. As a bare minimum, you should be receiving regular reports (which link back to your key SEO objectives) as well as task lists of things completed and to be completed.

If you are considering outsourcing your SEO, contact us today. We’d love to catch up and chat about your business, how your SEO is currently going and what you’d like to achieve by improving it. You can contact us on 9090 7070 or contact us via our online form here.

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