Outsourcing? Should you do it?
The main thing that businesses outsource is their SEO. Unfortunately, this can be one of the most dangerous things to outsource as a lot people who lost positions with Google’s recent Panda & Penguin updates will tell you.
SEO changed virtually overnight after the penguin update as website owners take drastic measures to gain favour with Google again. Many companies are contact domain owners directly requesting links to their site be removed to clean up their past dodgy SEO.
I probably shouldn’t use the word dodgy. Google actually allowed this to happen for years, then changed the goal posts overnight. But the sites that would have been affected would be people the outsource their website SEO to offshore companies.
Companies that use automated software to leave thousands of unreadable crap on any website that they can. These people don’t manually submit relevant, human readable content, just gibberish with the occasional keyword hyper-linked back to the client’s website.
But, just because you used a local SEO agency, it doesn’t mean you are in the clear. They may be outsourcing your SEO to one of these offshore companies? It is a widespread practice in the SEO world, where a search engine optimisation company will charge you a massive amount of money for a six month contract, then outsource it to India to make a huge profit.
The end result, while your website may gain some short term success, it will get hit hard when Google introduces a new update, such as the penguin update.
Once the damage has been done, it can be an impossible task to repair. In a recent video posted by Matt Cutts, head of the Google Quality Search team, he recommends that if your site has been hit hard with the penguin update, you may want to start over with a new domain and fresh content!!! While that may be unthinkable to some, it may be much quicker and cost effective for some businesses to get into Google’s good graces.
So what should you look for when hiring an SEO expert? I would recommend someone with years of experience, that has a good knowledge of your website content management system and comes highly recommended from a friend or family. I get around 80% of my business this way, from word of mouth referrals.
What to avoid: Anyone that will guarantee you page/position one Google results in a particular time frame. Google decides who should be there so I would be pretty suspicious of their methods of getting you there. Avoid anyone that contacts you via email. As a site owner you may have seen emails, normally from a free email address promising to get your site higher in the search engines. They would probably want to be paid part of the money in advance, then you would never hear from them again – they have already moved on to the next sucker. Even worse, is if they do complete the SEO and your site ends up in 10,000+ suspicious and non-relevant websites making it impossible to recover.
But I shouldn’t just tell you to be wary of outsourcing SEO, anything relating to your website should be handled with care. I have had customers that have updated or installed WordPress plugins that have created a security hole in their websites. Some plugins can be poorly coded or intentionally malicious to allow hackers to get into your website. One site was turned into militant Islamic recruitment page overnight! Can you afford this to happen to your business?
The main thing you want to maintain to protect your online image is control. You wouldn’t hand your keys to your car to a complete stranger, would you? Trust has to be earned. You would be better off to get someone in-house to do manage your online brand. For smaller time-poor business I would recommend you setup a Google Alert for your company name, so you will get an email every time Google lists a page relating to your company.
|What you can safely outsource
||What to outsource to a trusted expert or done in-house