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How To Outsource SEO & Maximize Search Potential

Outsourcing SEO allows you to benefit from outside expertise while supercharging your team’s productivity, but picking the right agency can feel Sisyphean. Here’s what you need to know to simplify the process.

Apr 23, 2024

7 m read

Managing and improving your search visibility doesn’t have to be overwhelming. While maintaining a search-first marketing strategy can feel challenging when you’re responsible for several marketing channels, outsourcing search engine optimization (SEO) can lighten the load and improve your chances of success.

However, there are right and wrong ways to do this. In this article, I’ll help you understand the pros and cons of SEO outsourcing, how to choose the right partner, and ways to get the most out of an outsourcing relationship.

What Is SEO Outsourcing?

SEO encompasses many tasks, such as keyword research, link building, and content creation. However, these tasks have a common goal: improving your website’s visibility in search engines. Outsourcing just means hiring an SEO company to handle some or all of these duties instead of doing them in-house.

For example, if you want to focus on content creation without getting bogged down in all the technical details of planning, you can outsource the research step. A skilled SEO partner not only has the expertise to find you new topics to write about but can also discover the best keywords to target and ways to beat your competition.

Aspects of SEO you might want to outsource include:

  • Competitor analysis. Want to know what your competitors are doing to outrank you? SEO agencies have the specialized tools, data, and know-how for this.
  • Keyword research. High-quality content gets you nowhere if people aren’t searching for your topic. However, there’s an art to finding keywords that bring traffic without high competition.
  • Content optimization. Is your existing content not performing as well as you’d hoped? An SEO agency can tweak it to boost performance.
  • Link building. Finding backlink opportunities is one of the most challenging aspects of SEO, so it’s worth partnering with an agency that understands outreach.
  • Web implementation. No need to edit your robots.txt file, apply hreflang tags, or implement breadcrumb navigation yourself when an SEO agency can help you implement SEO recommendations.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing SEO

SEO typically delivers better returns than PPC and other forms of marketing. That’s why many businesses rely on it to attract most of their customers.

If outsourcing SEO leaves you feeling uncomfortable since you’re used to doing everything in-house, check out these pros.


The main reason to outsource search engine optimization to an agency is the expertise factor. SEO professionals have specialized knowledge that can improve your marketing strategy, delivering quicker returns and better growth over time.

Other advantages include:

  • Cost-efficiency. Cost will inevitably become a factor when deciding between an in-house SEO team vs. an SEO agency. Outsourcing is almost always more economical than maintaining an in-house team.
  • Scalability. Instead of hiring and training new employees when your campaign’s scope grows, outsource to an agency that can scale quickly.
  • Access to advanced tools. Many of the best SEO tools are expensive and difficult to use. Outsourcing your SEO allows you to benefit from these tools without the time and financial commitments.


For many businesses, the most significant disadvantage of outsourced SEO is the lack of control. While your SEO partner will align with your goals and keep you involved in the process, you’ll need to trust them.

Other potential drawbacks include:

  • Communication challenges. Working with an external team can occasionally make communication more difficult because there are fewer opportunities for real-time interactions. Finding an agency that is just as invested in transparency and open communication as you are is key to overcoming this con.
  • Confidentiality concerns. Sometimes, your SEO campaign needs to factor in sensitive information, which raises security concerns. However, a reputable agency will address these issues through strict data-handling procedures.
  • Quality mismatches. While due diligence before choosing an SEO partner can help avoid this problem, quality mismatches occasionally do happen. If you’re not happy with the quality of service and the content delivered, it’s best to discuss these concerns early.

How To Find the Right Partner for Outsourcing SEO

Choosing the right SEO partner is the most crucial step to having a positive experience when outsourcing your digital marketing. Follow these steps to do it correctly.

1. Set Your Goals

Goals let an SEO agency know what you want from a partnership. Just as importantly, they offer something you can track to gauge performance. The key is to set targets that are both measurable and achievable.

For example, if you want to improve your website’s search engine visibility, you can track success through position changes. While your SEO partner needs to devise a plan to make this happen, they know exactly what you want, and you both have a way to check whether things are on track.

But how do you decide what the right SEO goal is in the first place? It’ll usually align with your business objectives. If you want to increase brand awareness, this can equate to getting more organic traffic, measured through page views. If you want to improve sales, the right approach can be to optimize existing content, measured through search rankings and conversion rates.

Once you have goals in mind, they will usually determine what specific SEO services you need to outsource. However, don’t be afraid to discuss all of this with a potential SEO partner, as working out what your business needs is part of the service.

2. Evaluate Your Current SEO Resources

Outsourcing your SEO allows you to achieve things you otherwise couldn’t do due to time constraints or a lack of knowledge and experience. So, it’s important to evaluate your SEO resources beforehand to determine what is missing.

Before looking for an SEO partner, take these steps to evaluate your current capabilities:

  1. Assess the skills, training, and knowledge of your team.
  2. Look at what SEO tools you have access to.
  3. Review your team’s ability to keep up with your content production volume.
  4. Analyze your current SEO performance.

If any members of your in-house team have SEO experience you’re not utilizing, it may be worthwhile to shift their responsibilities around to make the most of this expertise. However, outsourcing may be the perfect solution if you can’t cover something through minor upskilling.

3. Create a Budget

Before you agree to work with an SEO agency, you’ll need to examine your finances to ensure you have room for an outsourcing budget. This budget will need to factor in your goals, as some SEO tasks are more time-consuming or require specialized skills that come at a higher cost.

SEO agencies charge for services in multiple ways, including:

  • Project-based payments.
  • Monthly retainers.
  • Hourly rates.

For long-term growth, you’ll usually want to set up a monthly contract, meaning you’ll need an ongoing budget to cover all services. Hourly and project-based rates, on the other hand, work well for smaller projects you’ll only complete once.

After allocating a budget and organizing outsourcing, set aside some additional funds for unexpected expenses. These expenses might come up more commonly in the early stages of a partnership. That’s because your SEO agency needs to adjust its approach more frequently at this point based on initial performance reviews.

4. Do Your Research

To benefit from outsourcing, you need to choose a reputable partner that understands your industry and has a proven track record of success. There are several ways to do this, so consider checking the following.

  • Agency Websites: Check if the company offers the SEO services you need and review its pricing model.
  • Review Sites: Look at third-party sites such as Google Business Profile to find reviews of agencies you’re considering.
  • Awards: Check whether an agency holds any awards from independent organizations.
  • Case Studies: Read case studies the agency has published to get a sense of their knowledge and experience.
  • Testimonials: Look at testimonials to see which other companies have worked with the agency and what their experience was like.
  • Thought Leadership: Check content such as blogs, webinars, and white papers to determine whether an agency demonstrates both expertise and innovative thinking.

5. Make an RFP

A Request for Proposal (RFP) communicates your company’s needs and goals to a prospective SEO agency. While you don’t necessarily need an RFP, agencies will use it to better understand the services you require and create more tailored outsourcing proposals.

Your RFP should include:

  • SEO goals and objectives. Explain what you want to achieve, such as improving keyword rankings and organic traffic.
  • Business details. Describe your business, industry, and target audience.
  • Current SEO strategies. Outline what you’re already doing for SEO.
  • Team details. Describe the resources you have available for things like content production and technical website improvements.
  • Project details. Outline your expectations, what KPIs you’ll use to measure success, and how you prefer to communicate.
  • Timeline. Create a timeline that coordinates when you want to start the project, how long it will run, and a due date for a proposal.

To make things easier, you can use our SEO RFP template, which will guide you through the process.

6. Select the Best Partner for You

Once you have a few proposals from SEO agencies, you can use this information to select the right partner. Unfortunately, no one thing will nail this down; it will come down to each agency’s strategies and methods. However, one major red flag is if a company offers a generic proposal without tailoring its approach to your business.

Otherwise, select an agency that matches your communication style, business culture, and collaboration preferences while also offering compelling solutions to help you achieve your goals. Don’t be afraid to ask some follow-up questions if you’d like more information before deciding.

7. Agree on Strategy & Scope of Work

Now that you’ve decided who to work with, it’s time to lock in the strategy and the scope of work. While you’ll already know how the SEO agency wants to approach your goals, take some time to reiterate your objectives and discuss the services your partner will offer. Specify what deliverables you expect and check over the timeline once more to ensure everything is in order.

Another thing to clarify early is when performance reviews will occur and how you’ll measure success. Designate points of contact and establish a schedule of regular communication updates to streamline decision-making.

8. Keep an Eye on Progress

After your SEO partner commences work on your project, you’ll receive regular reports. These will cover key metrics such as keyword positions, organic traffic, conversion rates, and backlink acquisition.

It’s essential to check these metrics often, as they reveal whether you’re reaching your goals. Just remember that search fluctuations occur frequently, so you won’t always see a linear improvement. However, if everything goes smoothly, things will trend upward over the long term.

How To Vet an SEO Agency

Vetting an SEO agency requires going beyond your initial research to determine whether the company is a good fit for your specific needs. Here are the most important things to look at. 

  • Communication Style: How does the agency communicate, and what reporting methods do they use? The right agency should respond promptly to time-sensitive concerns and provide reports that offer key insights in easy-to-understand formats.
  • Marketing Tactics: Does the agency use reliable marketing tactics and offer a tailored approach based on your business? While black hat techniques may deliver temporary results, search engines readily penalize these tactics.
  • Industry Experience: Does the agency have specific experience within your industry? If so, ask how they’ve driven growth for other businesses in the industry.
  • Customer Feedback: Have previous customers had a positive experience? Take a deeper look at reviews, including any negative ones. How did the agency respond to these negative reviews?

Finally, take a look at our SEO FAQs to discover what else to expect when working with an agency and what questions to ask before you commit.

Partner With the Best

Planning to outsource SEO to an agency? When considering such a massive change to your marketing approach, the right partner makes all the difference. Book a free consultation with Victorious, and we’ll learn what makes your business tick and how best to meet your needs through a customized action plan.

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