There are not too many times when I advocate that an in-house SEO program should turn to outsourcing. Far too many times I have seen businesses hire agencies to perform SEO work, and it ends up being a case of the visually impaired leading the visually impaired.
It’s rare, but some agencies and consultants truly do know their stuff. These folks are thought leaders and are often downright guru-ish on their topics of focus. These are the folks you need to seek out and partner with if you want these very specialized areas of work to be successful for your site.
I’ll probably surprise many folks who know me by even suggesting that seasoned search and online marketers would benefit from seeking help in these select areas. Calling on a agency to help with everyday SEO work, or in managing a PPC campaign is in many cases, a waste of time, resources and money. Too many agencies exist and add no value to their clients’ effort.
In the following instances, however, it can often easily be justified to call in outside help. I’m not saying here that your in-house resources are unable to guide in these areas, but let’s face it – unless you have lots of people on your team, it’s tough to find the time to get the work done. Curious now as to which areas I think make sense to often outsource?
- Link Building
- Social Media
- Conversion Optimization
If you don’t understand the massive value in optimizing each of these disciplines, drop me a note and I’ll send you an Archie comic… In short, stop reading. For those game to stick around, let’s dig in and examine the trio above.
No contest, hands down one of the single biggest things you can do to help your organic rankings is to accumulate a good collection of useful inbound links. What happens though, if you simply don’t want to wait for those links to build up over time? Well, you hire an expert to guide your link building program. Yes, a link building program. No slap-dash approach works here. No short cuts either. It takes work, a reasonable approach and refined expectations. You should not think that links alone will rescue a failing site, but boy, can they lend a hand. And not just any random links, but honest-to-goodness relevant links from respected websites.
These links are votes after all, so really, why not shoot for the best ones? Now best can be loosely translated to “most relevant,” so don’t go thinking you need to score links form the biggest names in your vertical. Approach this on a page-by-page basis and plan your approach carefully. In the end, when well executed, your web of inbound links will gracefully spread value not only across your site, but deep within it, all form a collection of respected websites.
The challenge with this is in the management of this program. How do you determine who to approach? How do you find them? How do you convince them to drop that golden little link back to one of your pages? That’s the domain of the link building expert.
Right. Everyone has an opinion. Most of them are wrong. Not everyone can succeed in social media marketing. It’s not as simple as you think. If your approach is to simply start with the sales pitches, call failblog right now and sign up to be tomorrow’s cover story. Even knowing this tidbit pales in comparison to the arcane art of coaxing conversions form the world of social engagement. Select few people are truly expert at this art. The real question is this: do you think you know enough about this medium to plan, build and execute – successfully, mind you – a social media campaign that can consume time, resources and money?
There are many “how to” articles around the Internet explaining how to do everything from building a social media tracking dashboard to how to hone your “voice” and refine your “pitch.” Many are actually useful, most are snake oil. Can you tell the difference? My hat’s off to you if you are able to manage this effort successfully from front to back. For many, the one item they struggle to overcome is not knowledge, it’s time.
You would think that in a world that values seeing messages where the average length is measured in characters, not words, that the time component would be easily managed. Not so. Ensuring your message comes across clearly in the often truncated world of social media marketing takes a skill and muscle memory not “suddenly learned.” Building the competency requires an investment of time. Equally time consuming is monitoring results. Just checking your logs for referrals misses the point. The real value form social is a balance between engagement and conversions.
Truly, social media marketing is the domain of an expert. Can most of handle the basics? Sure. Then again, most of us can put paint on a canvas. Only a true artist makes art, however.
Street luge. Skydiving. Bungee jumping. Running with the bulls. Oktoberfest (in Munich.) What the heck to these things have in common with conversion optimization? Simply put, each is an experience, that once had, will change your life.
If you have never had a conversion optimization expert do work on your website, you’ll be shocked at the difference they can make. I recently had the pleasure of meeting some truly deserving guys of the moniker “experts” from the UK, while writing my latest book. The work they did for clients resulted in simply amazing results. These clients are household names, too, so it’s not like they were unknowns without resources at their disposal.
The bottom line here is that having a professional conversion optimization expert guide you can make a huge difference in the number of lost sales you see and a big increase in revenues. These folks cover everything from your product pages to your shopping cart and even on out to your thank you follow-up email. There are so many areas to think of and cover, again, many companies feel the best way forward is to invest in dedicated services to help with this unique aspect of your site.
Clearly with success being in the details, these three areas deserve the best you can afford. If you’re not up for hiring external help, that’s fine. Just go in with your eyes open around how much work is involved, how much time that will take up and where and when you should expect results.
The bottom line is this: say you needed surgery on your eye. You wouldn’t ask your general practitioner to perform it would you? Unlikely you’d do it yourself, too. No, those options are obviously the wrong choice in the face of calling an expert in the field and seeing things clearly in the end.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.