Pros and Cons of Outsourcing SEO/SEM

I am an experienced Web Developer and Designer. I am pondering whether I should outsource my clients’ SEO/SEM or purchase the Search Engine Marketing Kit and SEO PowerSuite to expand my knowledge.

One off page SEO guy I spoke to recently charges $300-$8000 per month for his services which include building feeder web sites. His fee depends upon the number of feeder sites. This seems like a good option because he does all of the behind the scenes work. I can focus on building the web sites and applications… Of course, I would get a small markup…

Since they are my clients, I am wondering if I can do a comparable job once I ramp up… Why should I give him $300-$8000 per month assuming I have time?

If I wanted to dominate one of the “secondary” market’s keywords such as “Pittsburgh plumber” for a client… Would it be possible with the knowledge from the Search Engine Marketing Kit and SEO PowerSuite tools to do this in three hours each month after a few months of ramping up? Is that expecting too much? :smiley:

I appreciate your feedback.




There is no magic behind SEO/SEM but it does require a bit of experience to get it right. There’s a great community here on SitePoint that’s eager to help you out when you have questions. That being said, it’s going to require a sizable chunk of your time - probably more than you think.

A middle-ground option may be to find an SEO firm that will work with you. They do more consulting than the actual work. Sort of like an apprenticeship would work. If you’d like to go this route but are having trouble finding someone to help you out just shoot me a PM and we can talk.

The SEO kit can’t hurt, but it’s not going to make you an expert overnight. Only experience can do that and it’s an ongoing process.


From the example you gave I would assume that this would be what I call a “local” account. Different SEO companies have different rates, but usually I will do a handful of phrases for a local client for less than this fellows bottom number and land most or all of them above the fold on page one of G. If you’re going to outsource then just make sure to shop around a little. As Jeff says, it’s not rocket science, but it does take a bit of study and experience to do a credible job and not shoot yourself in the foot. I wouldn’t take money from a client if you’re an SEO newbie. Too much of a chance of disappointing the client and losing the respect you have built already by being a professional webmaster. Of course with time you can learn SEO, but I don’t think I would read a book somebody put out there and experiment with a client’s money. If you’re actually in Pittsburgh I’ll have to say “nice try” this year from someone in Bengals country. :smiley:


The only consequence that you may experience in outsourcing projects is when you deal business with a wrong company. And dealing with the right company is very risky at this time, you need to know everything, search and ask references before outsourcing any project.

Another factor to take into account is the required amount of management. I have employees the work in the same office as me, employees that work in virtual offices and also outsourced contractors. Without a doubt, the outsourced people require vastly more management. I make it a general rule that it’s going to take roughly half the project hours for management. So if the contractors estimates 20 hours to complete the project then I estimate 10 hours to manage the contractor.

I only give out link building assignents like blog writing to outsiders, and they are people I know and who know my content. Be careful who you have building links or doing your onsite SEO.

I could say the same thing about programming and development, I have my own SEO company but should I outsource programming and designing or learn it myself.

You know my answer is simple. When you are already good at something better you stick with it and progress in that area and leave the other work to the professionals, of course spending an hour here or there is ok learning, but really you want to spend majority of your time doing what your best at, otherwise it’s costing you money.

If you decide to outsource, you need to do you research and make sure you partner with a reputable firm. Like others have said already, if something goes wrong you’ll carry the downside eg. poor rankings, uncompleted contracts, damage to reputation etc…