Any company that knows how to outsource SEO to the right provider will see a healthy dose of increased traffic and a permanent boost to the sales figures. But if it ends up in wrong hands, there’s no telling how deep of a hole the company will end up in. This very sharp double edged sword also can be very cost effective, provided of course that the company lands an effective and capable search optimization provider.
The key to getting it right is that one should know the questions that need to be asked. But here’s the thing – most companies are clueless about optimization and what it involves, which is why they need someone in the first place. So how on earth are they expected to know what to look for when hiring a provider?
Start by playing it safe and strike out those who do not have an established track record and verifiable references. Strike out those who insist on a long-term contract. Strike out those who have no experience with SEM and PPC, because organic search is just one part of the game.
It is advisable to read up a bit on best practices, as far as search optimization is concerned. There are things that can be done, things that have to be done, and things that shouldn’t be done. It’s what is popularly known as white hat, black hat and a big grey area in between.
The point here is to weed out the black sheep who will sooner or later get a client website banned from the listings. Focus on short listing the good guys. To be noted that aforementioned good guy should nevertheless know how to get things done, like working on three-way link partnerships and paying or bartering to ‘acquire’ organic links.
One of the main advantages of the decision to outsource SEO is the cost factor. But there’s a catch – it’s not good business (for both parties) to push the rates too low. From the customer’s point of view, it will probably mean getting saddled with someone who lacks professionalism. From the supplier’s point of view, the rewards are so low that it’s not really worth going all out to provide the best possible service.
The trick, then, is to find a place in the middle where the provider may cost more than the lowest bidder but has rock solid credentials and a long track record of delivering results. The contract should still not be for over one quarter, and there has to be a one month probation period. If the provider doesn’t measure up to commitments, terminate the arrangement as soon as possible.
It would be better still to forget about the cost and contact the best and most reputed SEO providers. Find one who is willing to commit to a tentative ROI, so that it is worth the investment even if said investment is bigger than planned for. The sum of it is that when attempting to outsource SEO, it’s better to think more about the results and not so much about the cost.
Alex Stein manages several successful e-commerce websites and eBay stores. For more information on SEO outsourcing, visit www.roguemediaonline.com.