When I say the word outsourcing what comes to mind? For most people with a small business it’s things like cost reduction, increasing profits, and talking to someone in a foreign country. When it comes to small business SEO (Search Engine Optimization) however, outsourcing all the hard work can be your best friend. Trust me getting more traffic to your website doesn’t have to be a pain.
Everybody knows that Google is important for small business, but just how important? Americans conducted more than 13 billion Google searches in November of 2011. That means if you are listed poorly in search engines it’s time to reevaluate your game plan. Taking advantage of all that traffic can be time consuming, so many people want to outsource their search marketing initiatives. Like all things in the digital world, there is plenty of misinformation out there which can cause more harm than good if you aren’t careful.
Here is a rundown of some key areas you need to educate yourself in before you make the decision to outsource SEO for your small business.
Outsourcing “Getting Indexed”
Many companies will try to convince you that first part of outsourcing your SEO is submitting your small business website to “thousands” of search engines. In reality there is really only one search engine you need to care about, and that’s Google. SEO outsourcing companies offer search engine submission services like these to help you get indexed. The problem is that you don’t have to pay for this, because websites like Google do it automatically for free!
You don’t have to pay to get indexed, it will happen naturally over time. The time it takes to index your site is completely dependent on the amount of incoming links, so skip the paid inclusion to Google, and work on getting quality backlinks instead. The kind of links that are most beneficial are those from local directories, social media sites, and other small business websites in your area.
Outsourcing Video Creation
According to recent statistics, over 3 billion YouTube videos are viewed each day. If that isn’t reason enough to market your small business there, how about this one. 800,000,000 unique users visit YouTube each month, and some of those are potential customers in your area.
When it comes to outsourcing video creation to market your small business, it’s about quality over quantity. There is no point in churning out spam hoping it will lead to increased business. Cheap videos also won’t get shared socially, and will quickly fade into oblivion. If nobody sees the video, it will do about as much good as a website without any traffic; it’s useless.
Your small business website doesn’t need more than a few great business videos to be competitive in your local area, especially if those videos are high quality, easy to understand, and personal. Don’t fall for the trap of paying for dozens of “viral SEO” videos submitted to hundreds of websites; that’s a waste of your time.
Outsourcing Content Creation
Creating quality SEO content for your small business website can be time consuming, which is why many people choose to outsource this part of their marketing. Hiring writers can be a great way to add great content to the mix without taking up too much of your time.
Some of the more common pitfalls to outsourcing content creation include duplicate content, low quality content, and incorrect context. All three of these can be damaging to your overall SEO strategy, so I’ll talk about each one briefly. Duplicate content happens when the writer or company you buy articles from is selling the same articles to other people also. When a search engines sees this happening, it will discount many if not all of the articles it finds on the web, making your content ineffective at bringing you traffic. It’s a good practice to double check your content for plagiarism and see if it’s being used elsewhere.
The other problems with outsourcing SEO content are not as serious, but will still reduce your rankings in Google. Low quality content and incorrect content usually happens when you buy cheap “cookie cutter” content, which has little or no artistic creativity. You might see an article about your company, that looks like it could apply to almost any small business. If you don’t understand what you’re reading, chances are your customers won’t get it either.
Outsourcing Link Building
If you understand that more links usually equals more traffic and better rankings, you’ve taken your first step into a larger world. A few great links to your website can mean the difference between a small business on the rise and one barely able to stay afloat. The problem is that most people know links are good, and that’s where their understanding of link building stops.
Building quality links to your website is great, but building the wrong kind of links can be harmful to the long term health of your SEO efforts. Imagine working hard for years to optimize your online presence, only to lose it all in a second. Don’t think it can happen to you? Just ask JCPenney or Overstock.com.
Before you even think about buying links from a company, consider creating content that people would link to for free. This is a more natural process of building links that Google and other search engines like to see. Consider submitting your website to a few reputable online directories, instead of purchasing thousands of bulk links from smaller fly-by-night websites.
When it comes to link building, more isn’t always better. Slow and steady usually wins the race.
Outsourcing Mobile Website Creation
You don’t have to look much further than your pocket, or possibly the palm of your hand, to find the future of mobile marketing. In fact, most argue that the future is already here when it comes to mobile SEO. Outsourcing the creation of a mobile website for your small business isn’t an option this year, it’s a vital piece of your overall SEO strategy.
In 2012 there are many changes coming, with important business trends to watch for. Outsourcing your mobile marketing to an expert is the perfect way for your small business to keep pace with technology. A mobile website is cheap and effective, in most cases your existing website can be used to create a mobile site in a few minutes.
Building a mobile website is fairly straightforward, so don’t expect to pay as much as your current website costs. Today everything is about speed, and the mobile web is no exception. Either keep pace or you’ll get left in the dust.
The Big Finish
I know this has been a lengthy post, but for a small business, outsourcing your SEO efforts can make or break your company. With a little background research, and a keen eye, you too can outsource the marketing aspects of your business, so you can get back to doing what you do best.