Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Outsourcing SEO Sevices

Anyone that hasn't heard of outsourcing by now must be either hiding in a cave or not working in the service industry. Call Centers are front and center, but it seems outsourcing is spreading to every nook and crannie of the economy. India is set to emerge as a $17 billion knowledge outsourcing destination by 2010, states a new industry study. (Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) May 2005 ) Three-quarters of U.S. companies outsourced some or all of their information technology activities in 2004, and that percentage is likely to increase this year according to Global Outsourcing Report March 2005.

Outsourcing SEO?

In general, the more important the service is to your business, the better to have it in-house. If SEO/SEM is mission critical to your business and you already have qualified people on staff, outsourcing would be a mistake. If you don't have SEO trained staff, developing SEO capability from scratch is a long road. The learning curve is steep, and like most skills, the very competitent people are the experienced ones, who have been doing it for years. You might want to hire an experienced person to work for your company and have them train others as part of their job.

This can be difficult as well, because generally people hired into this kind of situation will keep the secrets to themselves. In addition to the perenial problem of SEO -- the really good ones make too much money on their own so keeping really good people is almost impossible.

The is another other option, though -- Outtask rather than Outsource.

Outsourcing vs Outtasking

Outtasking is where certain tasks are contracted out and the main function is kept in-house. This option, with effective management, can give the best of both worlds. Examples of tasks that can be Outtasked are Link Campaigns, Article Writing, Directory Submissions and Article Submissions.

Tips for Managing Outsourcing Partners

- Develop relationships. Pay a fair amount or on the high side. Use the same person and develop and traing them.

- Spell out what you want. The more detail and the more specifics you can give a freelancer of what you want, the better the finished product will be. Freelancers have no imagination and now way of knowing what you want. They are in a different country and culture -- all they have to go on is what you tell them.

- Keep in touch. Ask for progress reports and updates. Unless you have worked with someone and then hired them full-time, freelancers are juggling different contracts. Keeping in touch keeps your contract at the top.

- Move forward in stages. First, do contracts. Then, all going well, regular contracts. Next part-time. Finally, after you have developed a relationship, offer full time.

- Tell them what you want and offer to pay a slightly higher fee in order for them to do it. Writing articles especially, is difficult to get exactly what you want in exactly 500 words. And if its a longer, more in-depth article, that's a bonus and more likely to be syndicated.

- If you are contracting for articles, you have to specify in advance that they will be original. And when you receive the completed work, check for plagiarism.

When I contract for 10 articles, I spell out exactly what I want including, target audience, education level, tone, type (information or how to) keywords, suggested title and length. When I get them back I read them over carefully and edit them. If I don't like them, I ask for a re-write.

Overall, it is cost effective, but it still takes time.

or Outtasking is still work. It is just not the same kind of work. Do it properly and you learn a valuable skill that can reduce your costs substantially, and increase productivity.

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