We've been discussing outsourcing SEO for a while, but the topic itself is just as dynamic as SEO is. The heart of SEO is the same, but some roads close or get congested, and others are opened. To keep up with the changes of search engine algorithms and stay up to date on the latest technologies to always be ahead of the competition are some of the many reasons that outsourcing SEO is the most cost effective solution, especially in 2015.
We’re talking about outsourcing SEO, and we’ve been talking about this for five years, but I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same, yet some things haven’t really changed. So, there will probably be some themes in here that are similar to the ones we saw in 2009 around the decision to outsource SEO, and there are some things that are just brand spanking new.
So, here are a few of the headlines and some stats to get us into this discussion. SEO is definitely different than it was in 2009--we all know that. What used to be focused very heavily on link building has evolved. SEO is much more multi-faceted now. You see it bleeding into social media, you see successful SEO campaigns relying heavily on email marketing to bring people back after they’ve acquired an email address, and of course with the algorithmic updates from Google -- things like Hummingbird, Panda, and Penguin -- the game is different. How you have to earn your backlinks, semantic search, how you even do onsite SEO -- all this has changed in 2015, and I think we would say now that this relentless focus on individual keyword rankings is no longer the case.
Google took that data away from analytics last year, in 2013, and furthermore, we’ve seen through a lot of different strategies like overemphasis on a single keyword, certainly overanchoring it, in places you’re earning backlinks is very bad now, and the anti-spam filters are looking for those things as signals of manipulation. So, if you’re smart and you’re interested in SEO, you’ve moved much more toward content marketing and further away from link-building, and you’ve certainly relaxed all these ideas or all this focus you had on anchor text. Does that mean that SEO is less popular? No. Not at all. Here's some very interesting statistics:
What are some of the reasons small businesses should think about? Maybe they’re not seeing the full picture when it comes to that decision on whether to outsource SEO or keep it in-house.
I do think that in 2015, a lot has changed, but a lot is still very much the same in terms of making that decision, and the three factors we’ve always talked about -- and maybe we should list the factors and talk about each of them -- maybe have shifted a little bit as we go into 2014. The three factors are:
When you flip over, and you look at something like technology, it’s the same idea. A couple years ago, it was all about ranking trackers and which keywords were referring you the most traffic. Now, we’re much more into engagement metrics and trying to understand the value of the content, because the value of the content isn’t always as immediately understandable as it was a couple years ago in terms of it getting you a ranking and that ranking bringing you traffic on a certain keyword. There’s much more of a long-tail and a nurturing that’s involved, and that content marketing can help influence or nurture people who come to your website through social or maybe through SEO, and even when they do come, they might not immediately convert. So, the picture’s gotten harder, and the technology to put all that together in one place is harder than it was in 2009, but you still need that technology to really understand things. So, those are the three reasons that we’ve often talked about in terms of why you should outsource SEO.
Outsourcing a process does not mean outsourcing control. I know this from back in my previous life, when I used to outsource to companies like GE, AT&T, and Verizon. I was the outsourced organization, and don’t think for a minute that they lost control. They had their scorecards, and their KPIs, and their performance measures, and their SLAs, and they held us to very high standards. But we had better results through outsourcing, without losing control, and we saw that as a point of pride.
The last point I think I’d make on this discussion: The the future is people or companies who can dominate content marketing and content creation will have figured out how to turn high quality content generation into an assembly line operation in their organization, leveraging their resources to be able to really outpace their competitors. I think that when people hear that term, they recoil a little bit, because they think assembly line and volume is equated with lower quality. The point is that’s its false dichotomy. What you need to figure out how to do is be very efficient at making very high-quality content, and that does require a lot of specification and an assembly line mentality, just like it does to be very efficient and make a high quality automobile. The same business principles apply here. As you think about how to pull that off in-house, versus outside in a firm that does this all day long, the logic is fairly clear. But, we’re in this industry, so perhaps we’re jaded. We’d certainly like to hear opposing opinions. Share your comments, let us know if you don’t agree with us we love a good debate for mutual learning. and we hope you’ll continue to follow us on the website & blog at www.BanyanCreativeNC.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
Sam Casey is the Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner at Banyan Creative.