From DIY to Professionals: Is Outsourcing SEO the Next Big Move for Your Small Business?
The term 'SEO' has evolved from a mere buzzword to a pivotal business strategy. And yes, that applies even to small businesses.
From a decade of experience working in this industry, we noticed that small businesses start with a DIY approach to SEO, looking to find their foothold in the SERPs, while saving (or at least minimizing) costs. And while most business owners understand the value of SEO, sudden changes in algorithms or technical issues often put a stop to these efforts.
This leads us to the question: Is it time to outsource SEO?
Why SEO Matters for Small Businesses
Before diving into the pros and cons, it’s essential to understand why SEO is crucial.
Did you know that there’s a famous quote among SEOs? It goes like this:
“The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google search results”
And they’re not exactly wrong because 91% of search engine users do not go past page 1.
SEO serves as a beacon, guiding potential customers to your website. It amplifies your online visibility and establishes your brand's credibility, ensuring you aren't lost in the bottomless pit of the internet that is page three onwards.
Benefits of Outsourcing SEO
Access to Expertise
SEO isn't static; it’s a dynamic field that constantly evolves with algorithm shifts, technological advancements, and user behavior changes.
Outsourcing provides a gateway to a pool of seasoned professionals. These experts not only track and adapt to the latest developments in SEO but also anticipate any future shifts and prepare beforehand.
They've honed their skills through diverse experiences, ensuring that your business doesn't just keep pace but stays ahead of the curve.
Cost-Effective in the Long Run
Committing to an in-house SEO team comes with not just salaries, but also benefits, training, and tools — expenses that can quickly stack up.
In contrast, outsourcing offers a streamlined financial approach. You're essentially paying for expertise and results, free from the burdens of continuous overheads.
This structure allows for a smarter allocation of resources, prioritizing tasks that yield the highest returns. Over time, this results in significant savings (up to 80% in some cases), making outsourcing a pragmatic choice for small businesses looking to squeeze value out of every penny.
Every small business owner knows that time is money. What many don’t know is that SEO can be an absolute time sink, demanding countless hours, especially when the one doing it is not well-versed in its nuances.
This is where outsourcing comes in, serving as a bridge to efficiency.
By entrusting this complex task to seasoned professionals, you reclaim invaluable time. This empowers you to spend your time and energy elsewhere, like managing business operations, confident in the knowledge that your SEO is being managed adeptly by those who know what they’re doing.
Businesses are seldom static; they change between lean and growth periods. And with the current global economy, it’s getting harder to predict when those lean and bountiful periods stop and begin.
This is where outsourcing SEO shines through.
Unlike fixed in-house teams, outsourced services offer the flexibility to ramp up or dial back depending on your business requirements. This elasticity ensures you're not overcommitting during quieter periods or under-resourced during periods of growth.
Regular and Detailed Reporting
The moment you go digital is the moment you understand that data is the compass that guides strategy.
Outsourcing SEO means partnering with professionals who understand the significance of this data.
These experts don't just implement strategies; they meticulously track performance, extracting insights and translating them into actionable steps. Regular reports become more than just sheets of statistics. They transform into narratives that tell the story of your digital journey, highlighting achievements, pinpointing challenges, and charting the way forward.
With this robust feedback loop, your business can continually refine its approach, making informed decisions that drive towards month-on-month growth.
Potential Drawbacks of Outsourcing SEO
While there are many advantages to outsourcing SEO for your small business, that’s not to say that there aren’t any drawbacks.
Here are some to consider:
Loss of Direct Control
Choosing to outsource any kind of service can sometimes feel like sailing in uncharted waters.
Entrusting your brand's digital storefront to an external party means giving up a portion of control. This detachment can occasionally lead to miscommunications, delays, or even a sense of estrangement from the very strategies designed to bolster your brand's online presence.
Everyone and their grandma can call themselves an SEO Agency.
That means there are certain places on the internet like FB groups for small businesses or marketing forums that are teeming with “agencies” and “gurus” that might promise the moon, but fall short when it’s time to deliver.
This underscores the importance of rigorous vetting, testimonials, and a thorough analysis of past performances before choosing an outsourcing partner.
So small business owners, beware of snake oil salesmen.
Potential for Higher Short-Term Costs
Outsourcing, while financially advantageous in the grander scheme, can pose higher upfront costs compared to a DIY initiative. Things like onboarding, website audits, and strategy development - crucial activities that DIY-ers might probably not do - will cost money.
It's essential to balance these initial costs against the potential long-term savings and benefits.
Risk of Not Understanding Your Business Nuances
Each small business has its set of unique elements, values, and visions.
An external agency, despite its expertise, may occasionally overlook these subtle yet critical nuances that define your brand, and try to fit it in a templated or cookie-cutter campaign.
Fortunately, this risk is easily fixable. Establishing clear channels of communication, setting expectations, and fostering a culture of feedback can bridge this potential pitfall, ensuring alignment between your business ethos and the outsourced SEO strategy.
Questions to Ask Before Outsourcing SEO
If you're considering outsourcing SEO for your small business, know that knowledge is power.
Be confident that you're making an informed decision by asking the following pivotal questions to prospective SEO companies:
Can you showcase successful campaigns from the past?
How do you keep abreast of SEO changes and updates?
What's your blueprint for understanding a new business niche?
How frequent are your performance reports?
Asking these questions will not only offer clarity on the agency's capabilities but also foster a foundation of transparency and trust from the outset.
Navigating SEO is no small feat, especially when the goalposts of SEO continually shift.
For small businesses standing at the crossroads, the decision to outsource SEO is significant: balancing the advantages of expertise, cost-efficiency, and adaptability against potential drawbacks such as loss of control and upfront costs requires careful consideration.
However, by arming oneself with the right questions and prioritizing open communication, the journey towards outsourcing can be made smoother and more rewarding. Ultimately, whether DIY or professional SEO, the objective remains: ensuring your business is on its path toward success.