The decision to outsource something in your business is usually a big one, and something that you ponder more as your business grows. In the early days, you’ve got more time on your hands and cashflow isn’t steady, so it makes sense to do as much as you can by yourself and save the money for more important things. But you reach a point where you don’t have the time or energy anymore to do everything yourself, so you either cut things out of your business, bring in a team or outsource to an expert.
I mainly work with copywriters, helping them with keyword research for their copywriting clients. The copywriters in my community are a mixture of those who are just starting out as copywriters and want to learn about SEO from me, and those who have grown rapidly and have started outsourcing services like keyword research (hence why they come to me).
So, what’s the best approach when it comes to SEO services in your business- when should you do it yourself, and when is it time to say, “Nat, I need your help with this!”?
In this blog, I share some things to think about to help you decide when it’s time to outsource SEO keyword research and when you can keep (or start!) doing it yourself.
The advantages and disadvantages for outsourcing SEO keywords
Pros for outsourcing:
You don’t need to spend time and effort educating yourself about the latest trends and changes in SEO
Outsourcing gives you more time to focus on your copywriting projects, and anything else you want to spend your time doing
Outsourcing means you don’t need to pay for expensive keyword research tool subscriptions
Cons for outsourcing SEO:
Cost of outsourcing SEO keyword research, and what you could’ve spent the money on instead
Not getting the service you expected
Dealing with the SEO service provider and their limitations, constraints
Pros for DIY SEO:
You don’t need to pay for outsourcing, so the profit you make from each copy project is larger
You have full control over your client’s SEO
You have an extra skill and more knowledge than if you outsourced to someone
Cons for DIY SEO:
Time and effort learning SEO and keeping up with trends and changes
Time and effort researching keywords and creating an SEO content strategy
Cost of learning SEO- courses can be expensive
Cost of SEO tools that you need to subscribe to, to do the work
Should you outsource SEO or do it yourself?
Pros for outsourcing
Don’t need to educate yourself
While it’s good to have a basic understanding of what SEO is and how it works, by outsourcing to someone who has the in-depth knowledge and experience and is up to date with SEO best practices, you don’t need to educate yourself or worry about keeping up to date with SEO changes.
Outsourcing saves you time
Planning and implementing SEO takes a lot of time and effort. Time that you spend on SEO is time that you could spend working in your business and earning revenue. SEO consultants and agencies know the most efficient ways to implement SEO.
Outsourcing saves you money on expensive subscriptions
You won’t need to purchase subscriptions to keyword research tools, auditing and other SEO tools because your consultant or agency takes care of this.
Cons for outsourcing SEO
Cost of outsourcing
If cashflow is tight (especially in the early stages of your business), outsourcing can feel like an expense more than an investment. You need to have the cash to cover the cost, although you should be factoring this into your quote before you send it to your client as your client should be covering the cost of outsourcing SEO keywords.
Not getting the service you expected
If you’ve been doing SEO keyword research yourself, you might not get what you expected when you outsource SEO keyword research. A good idea is to share some of the expectations you have about the service you’re booking, so that the person doing your keyword research knows your preferences and can commit to delivering.
Dealing with SEO consultant’s limitations and constraints
Will the consultant meet your deadline? Do you need to follow up with them? What if you find their work confusing or incomplete? It’s important to find someone you like and trust to outsource to, to limit such problems. When working with clients, I always give an estimated time to complete the work and if it looks like it may take longer than expected, I contact the client asap (although this rarely happens).
Pros for doing SEO keyword research yourself
Save money on outsourcing
By doing SEO keyword research yourself, you save money on outsourcing costs. This is great if you or your clients have a small budget or your business is brand new and you have more time available to do the work.
More control over SEO performance
It can be easier to manage and control SEO performance when you do it yourself. If you write your own website content then it makes sense to do keyword research and optimisation yourself as you’re writing your content. And if you have a good business network, you already have opportunities available for backlink building.
Increased skills and knowledge
Learning SEO and how to do keyword research yourself, expands your skills and knowledge which can lead to some new and exciting opportunities in your business. You may decide to turn your solo business into an agency and offer extra services such as website design and development and Google ads services and grow a team.
Cons for DIY SEO
Time and effort learning SEO
Before you implement SEO yourself, you need to learn how to do it. You could waste hours researching, reading and teaching yourself SEO.
When I started in SEO, I spent a lot of time researching and reading. What I found most challenging was knowing which information was correct and up to date. You can easily get lost in a learning rabbit hole!
The more time you spend researching and learning, the less time you have for earning revenue in your business.
Time and effort on keyword research
You’ve probably heard of people getting stuck in a keyword research rabbit hole! Once you start doing keyword research, it’s easy to get distracted and then waste hours or even days finding keywords, and when you do find them, you’re not sure if they’re the best ones!
Cost of learning SEO
SEO courses and coaching can be expensive and also require a lot of time and effort. Many businesses put off learning SEO because they don’t have the budget to pay for a course.
Cost of SEO tools
When doing your own SEO you will need access to a keyword research tool and an SEO audit tool. Most tools are monthly subscriptions and many of the top SEO tools are too expensive for a small business with a small budget.
How to choose whether to outsource or DIY
Whether you outsource or DIY, the choice will depend on time and money. If you don’t have the budget but have the time, I recommend doing it yourself as long as you have the budget to spend on a course or coaching.
I have a course, SEO for copywriters and content creators, that teaches you the SEO aspects you need as a copywriter, content writer or small business owner who writes their own website content.
While I recommend paying for an SEO course or coaching, if you are really short on funds then you will need to learn everything yourself for free. Choose free resources from reputable SEO websites and businesses.
You can also read my blog about time-saving tips when performing keyword research.
If you have the budget but are short on time or you are scaling your business then I recommend outsourcing SEO. You can outsource all of your SEO or you can outsource parts of it.
If you’re a copywriter or content writer I recommend outsourcing your keyword research since this ties in well with the work that you do. Read about my keyword research services here.
One final word
It’s a good idea to look at the pros and cons of DIY SEO versus outsourcing SEO. Both are great options depending on your business needs. Think about your business and the time and money you have available. What will help your business the most- getting someone else to do the SEO or you doing it yourself?
Be realistic about the time and budget available for SEO. Speak to agencies and consultants for their opinion and ask other businesses who DIY their SEO.
There’s no one right option for everyone. You will always need to make the choice between time or money and think about the long term impacts. SEO is something you will work on for years to come. Maybe not as often as you work on social media but it will form an important part of your marketing strategy.
Are you a copywriter or content writer who wants to learn how to do keyword research and content optimisation for yourself and your clients? Learn about on-page SEO and get your clients more bang for their buck with content that attracts organic clicks, leads and sales the SEO Sleuth way!