One of the biggest challenges enterprise SEO professionals face is how to complete tasks with limited time and resources. This is especially true for developing content, obtaining links, and implementing SEO recommendations.
So when you’re managing a growing SEO team, there may come a time that you need to outsource work to manage deliverables and the volume of work required.
But how do you know which vendor is right for you and whether you should outsource in the first place?
It helps to ask the right questions.
Use these top tips for successfully outsourcing enterprise SEO to evaluate your options and enjoy a better outcome.
1. Always Ask for Samples of Work From a Relevant Vertical
For example, if you are managing SEO for a pharmaceutical client, you need to see samples of content they have written for a pharmaceutical company as the sector is highly regulated and technical.
If you can, ask to see live content examples under the company name, which gives you an idea of the type of clientele they are working with.
If I am looking for someone to write content for Pfizer, for example, I would like to see examples of content from top pharma companies like Merck, Eli Lilly, etc.
2. Make Sure You Have a 30-Day Out Clause in Your Contract
We do not live in a perfect world and sometimes things just don’t go according to plan.
Earlier in my career, I was working with an agency and we used a company to translate and optimize some international content because we did not have the in-language optimization skill in-house.
When we sent the recommendations over to the client, however, the client warned us this could never happen again because the quality was so poor. We called up our partner and told them we were ending the relationship. But it wasn’t until we looked into the contract terms that we realized they had a 60-day out clause.
We had to pay them for services for the next two months. This was a big lesson learned.
3. Always Ask for Fresh References with the Company Email Address & Phone Number
This is important so you can validate whoever you are speaking to. Also, check out that person on LinkedIn and make sure they work where they say they work.
I am always leery of references with personal email addresses and cell phone numbers because there is no way to validate who they are.
But if you check out the person on LinkedIn and their photo and name are on the company website, it brings legitimacy to the reference check.
4. Make Sure the Company Has Insurance
God forbid the company you are outsourcing your work to has some shady tactics that cause your client to get hit by an algorithm update or manual action and lose revenue.
If the company has insurance, they can cover themselves in case of litigation. This is particularly important at the enterprise level, where the stakes can be high.
5. Have a Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreement in Place Between Your Company and Your Outsourcing Partner
Again, this is especially important for enterprise-level clients.
For example, let’s say you work with Amazon. You do not have an NDA in place and your partner starts to tell people, “Yeah, I just landed this big contract working with Amazon.”
Guess what? Amazon is not their client – it is yours. But when word gets back to Amazon, you risk potentially losing your contract and facing a lawsuit because technically, you violated your NDA.
6. Always Be Transparent
If you are outsourcing work, always inform your client.
For example, if your agency is not good at translation services, inform your client you have a relationship with an outside company for those services. Honesty is always the best policy.
If they ask you for the name, give it to them and always remind them you get preferred agency rates in case they start to think about going to them directly.
7. Always Treat Your Outsourcing Partner as a Member of Your Team
Once you have a signed an NDA, share strategy documents with your provider so they understand the goals and challenges in improving performance.
You and your vendor should be strategic partners and all have one shared goal in mind: getting results.
8. Ask for Free Trials So You Can Try Before You Buy
Most vendors are willing to take on a sample writing assignment if it means getting thousands of dollars and building a new relationship.
For example, let’s say you are working with a client that sells computer equipment. You can ask them to create an 800-word blog post on 3 Ways to Tell When it is Time for a New Hard Drive.
Many will do it to build up trust and get your business. Of course, if you end up using the blog post you can add it to their first payment.
9. Always Ask for Case Studies and Video Testimonials, If Available
Case studies are a great way to see how the vendor performed. They’re also a good way to see the quality of work the vendor does, the type of work they do, and how they do it.
If they did a good job for a client like you, chances are they can do a good job for you, as well!
10. Understand Your Time and Cost Savings
The main purpose of outsourcing is to get things done that you do not have the time or resources to do in-house.
If you can put an ROI on outsourcing, you can figure out whether it is a cost-effective solution or that you need to hire new resources internally to get the job done.
Outsourcing enterprise SEO tasks can save a lot of time, reduce costs and help manage your client’s SEO campaigns.
That, in turn, frees you up to work on other tasks and strategies that drive business results.
Following these 10 tips can help you choose the right partner for your agency or consultancy — and avoid picking the wrong one. Do your due diligence and you can create a successful strategic partnership that will drive results for your clients or organization for years to come.