One of the biggest decisions you have to make about the future digital marketing growth of your business is if, how, and when to outsource some or all of this. The first thing I will say is that there are examples in almost every market where the business has generated huge growth by doing this stuff in-house. Despite running an SEO agency, my advice to you is not YOU SHOULD ALWAYS OUTSOURCE YOUR SEO.
My second piece of advice is this: even if you decide to outsource some or all of your SEO, don’t abdicate completely. You need to understand at least the basics of what your SEO company is doing for you, and you need to monitor their work enough to know if you’re getting good work for the money. Just as you wouldn’t bury your head in the sand and leave the finances of the business to go totally unchecked, you should not stop taking notice of your marketing company’s activity. Both have the potential to impact your business positively or negatively, so burying one’s head in the sand is not a viable option.
My third piece of advice is that if you do decide to outsource, don’t underestimate the value that YOU bring. For example, we have a large team of Content Marketing Ninjas at Exposure Ninja and they spend their lives researching and writing blogs and articles to become world class experts on their topics, and they are excellent at doing this. But none of them know as much about your business as you. None of them know the ins and outs, the trends, or have predictions for the future of your industry, products and services like you do. Your expertise and knowledge should be tightly integrated into any marketing plan, so don’t fall into the all-too-easy trap of thinking that SEO is purely technical geekery. Yes, there’s a lot of that, but it’s also about amplifying your voice online. A great SEO company will do that, but there has to be a voice to amplify!
Here are some questions to ask if you’re weighing up outsourcing your SEO or doing it yourself:
• Are you or your team pressured for time? You will typically need to dedicate at least 10 hours per week to SEO if you plan to do it yourself. If you’re in a competitive or well-established market, this could rise to 25-50 if you’re planning to do content marketing as well.
• Do you enjoy both technical and creative tasks, or does your team have a mixture of these skills? SEO requires both technical (analysis of keywords and search volumes, optimisation of websites, etc.) and creative (content marketing, blog writing, planning outreach campaigns, etc.). One without the other will lead to results plateauing. We usually have a minimum of three people with complementary skill-sets working on each SEO campaign for this exact reason, so whilst it’s definitely possible to handle the whole thing yourself, you might find it easier (and more fun) if you have at least one other well-chosen person to balance out your skills.
• Do you have a source of funding? This can be either sales or startup investment. Outsourcing SEO requires a period of investment before it pays for itself. If you only have the budget for 1-2 months of SEO work, it might make more sense to keep it in-house, as very few companies will be able to bring significant improvement in that sort of timescale.
My final piece of advice is that just because you can do something yourself, doesn’t mean you should. Without fail, every single one of our most financially successful clients is extremely protective over their time and doesn’t take on anything that they can have someone else do for them, whether it’s us handling their SEO or their team handling day-to-day elements of their business. They recognise their unique talents and reserve their time and energy to do the things that only they can do.
Having said that, they all take a keen interest in the work they pay us to do.