1. Find a reliable SEO firm
The success of your SEO campaign depends on the outsourcer. I have explained before what to look for when hiring an SEO company and if you make a good choice then most likely you can get some good results. If not, you will spend your money, lose your faith in SEO and depending on the methods used by the company or person you hired, you may get a penalty as well.
When choosing a company to outsource SEO don’t always look for the cheapest solution. Stay away from companies that sell link packages or promise first page rankings. Don’t believe everything they claim to be, instead ask for examples of their work and most importantly ask them to make a proposal tailored to your needs and requirements.
2. Look at the big picture and not just SEO
SEO is not just about SEO! I know that it sounds weird but when we talk about outsourcing SEO what we essentially mean is outsourcing your company’s Internet presence. This means that the services you will get should be over and above optimizing your web site for search engines. SEO is only a part of what you can do in a proper Internet Marketing campaign.
Your outsourcer should be capable of managing your Social Media, PPC campaigns, email marketing etc. and make recommendations of how all these technologies can help your business grow. It’s these actions that will give you a good ROI from outsourcing SEO and not just buying cheap spam links.
3. Set measureable targets
Before signing a contract or paying any money, you have to agree with the company that will execute the project, for the deliverables. At the end of the project what would be their deliverables: a report with a list of actions, better Google rankings, more traffic, more Facebook followers?
Do not set non-measurable targets and do not agree on general terms. The good thing about the Internet is that everything is measurable so an SEO project can have precise and measurable targets.
4. Agree on an action plan
A good SEO campaign may span across a number of months, it is not a one week or one month process. So, based on the duration there has to be a detail plan with milestones and intermediate targets. What are the actions to be executed each month and what is the expected result?
A good way to know exactly the actions needed is to ask the company to do an SEO Audit of your website before starting the project. You will have to pay a reasonable one-time fee for this but the outcome of an audit is a list of actions which can be translated into a project plan.
5. Monitor progress on a monthly basis
Monitoring in an SEO campaign is important like in any other project. You don’t want to keep paying money when there no results and you don’t want to pay for more months that are actually needed to complete the work.
The best and easiest way to monitor your SEO outsourcer is to ask them for detail monthly reporting. In the report they should specify the exact actions taken during the month (and the hours spend on each task) as well as the improvement in terms of traffic, social media, user engagement etc.
6. Keep your budget low but long term
When you decide to outsource a task you usually have a predefined budget. What is important to know when outsourcing SEO work is that good results may take a number of months and sometimes even a couple of years. So, if your business depends on the Internet it is advisable to lower your monthly budget and spread it over a number of months.
For example if you budget is $10,000 you can make an agreement to spend $500 per month for 20 months rather than spending $2,000 for 5 months. This of course depends on other factors as well, that’s why you need to discuss this in detail with the SEO firm before signing your contract.
7. Try to build in-house skills
Some SEO tasks need expertise and knowledge while some others can be executed by non-SEO people as well. Depending on the availability of your staff and on the budget you have for outsourcing SEO, you can choose to build some in-house skills for the soft tasks and spend your outsourcing money on the tasks that need the attention of a professional SEO expert.
The best way to approach this is by discussing it with your SEO expert or company. They should be able to identify which tasks can be done in-house and provide the necessary training as well (which should be part of your contract).
Author: Alex Chris