SEO Outsourcing: All You Need to Know

Considering SEO outsourcing?

You are making a good decision!

I’m going to show you what my agency has learned after spending over ~$300,000 on SEO outsourcing.

Let’s jump in.

1. Don’t Wait to Outsource

You should begin the process of outsourcing as soon as you launch your business.

Your time is so incredibly important.

That’s why you cannot waste it on “busy” work or work that you could give to someone else.

I’m not going to get into the many reasons why you should outsource because that’s covered.

There is one point I’ll make:

Your business will 10x when you start outsourcing work that is stealing your time. You can then reallocate your time back to important tasks.

Important tasks that are essential to growing your revenue.

2. Avoid Outsourcing “Creative” Tasks

There are some tasks that you should avoid trying to outsource.

You should never outsource blog content, product development, or anything that requires high levels of creativity.

These types of tasks should stay in-house.

The reason why is because you can’t teach creativity. Nor is it worth your time to try.

Effective outsourcing is all about being explicit with directions.

3. Take a 30,000 Foot View of Your Business

Examine your business and identify every task you do on a daily basis.

Ask yourself: “Do I REALLY need to be doing this task?”

It’s easy to get caught in the weeds and focus on “busy” work. That’s why you must analyze your daily activity to avoid this.

Outsource everything that isn’t helping your business grow.

4. Try Several Vendors at the Same Time

It’s best to test out a few vendors who deliver the same service.

That reason for doing this is to test the quality of service.

For example, I would order the same service from three different vendors on the same exact day.

There are three things you are testing:

  1. Communication
  2. Delivery time
  3. Quality of service.

For this to be successful you need to track everything.

5. Track Everything

Tracking your outsourcing activity is critical. It will prevent you from getting scammed and it will also help you identify what vendors are the best.

We use a Google Sheet to track activity, but an Excel file will work just as well.

There are five things we track when outsourcing:

1. Type of Service: this is future reference if you find a good vendor. Add good vendors to your “Approved Vendors” section within your business’s operations manual. If you don’t have an operations manual or don’t know what it is, then you need to read The E-Myth Revisited.

2. Date Ordered: this is the most important part. Unfortunately, there are many scammers online and you could be victim.

We have been scammed before.

Last year, we gave someone $800 to secure us a link on a authoritative website. He kept stringing us along and then fell of the face of the planet.

Of course, at the time, we didn’t realize that he was stringing us out past the PayPal dispute deadline.

That means, we couldn’t recover the funds.

In hindsight, it was obvious what he was doing.

With that said, always track the date you ordered a service AND the TAT that the seller promises.

If it starts getting close to the 45 day deadline for a PayPal dispute, then you should get suspicious.

3. Link Data: we track target URLs and anchor text because most of our outsourcing is for link acquisition.

4. Vendor Website: track the website where you bought the service.

5. Vendor Score: upon completion, you should score the vendor on a scale of 1-5.

6. Test Before Going “All-In”

If you are outsourcing link acquisition, then you need to test.

Analyze the results and see the impact of the service you used.

Avoid going “all-in” before you know for sure that a link type or service works well.

Of course, getting SEO results takes time, so you will need to be patient.

7. Watch Out for Fake Reviews

Fake reviews are rampant on forums and SEO marketplaces.

The good news is that most fake reviews are easy to identify.

Here are a few examples of fake reviews:

“Great service! Would use again.” or “This is an awesome service and highly recommend everyone uses it.”

As you can see, these reviews are overly positive and do not name any specifics.

Real reviews will have specifics about the service like this one from our retired Blogger Outreach Service:

“I picked up an editorial link package from Gotch SEO for a client of mine. It’s a local business, in one of the biggest cities in North America. The metrics were outstanding, for the price I paid I expected the links to be so-so. I ordered 5 DA 10+ links, the sites I ended up landing links on had an average DA of 19. Permanent, safe links on real websites. Pretty damn hard to beat for $97/link. The package took our client from #8 to #5 for target keyword. – Daniel”

8. Build Relationships With Good Vendors

It’s rare to find reliable services and vendors in the SEO world.

That’s why when you do, you need to hang on to them.

Building relationships with good vendors will lead to better responsiveness, discounts, and even exclusive offers.

9. Always Use PayPal

It can be dangerous to step outside of using PayPal.

Sure, there are people who think PayPal is the devil.

For the most part, PayPal is the safest way to buy products and services online.

The reason for this is because of their dispute system. PayPal’s dispute system keeps both the buyer and seller safe from getting scammed.

10. Pick Companies Over Random Solo Artists

There are many amazing freelancers out there, BUT I still believe companies are better.

The truth is, freelancers are less reliable and much harder to trust.

They can be the most awesome asset for your business and two seconds later you will never hear from them again.

This doesn’t usually happen with companies.

If a company doesn’t do what it promises, you can hold them accountable.

If a freelancer steals your money AND the live outside of the U.S., you are SOL.

11. Find Your “Rock”

Although I just bashed freelancers, I do recommend that you find your “rock” of a freelancer.

What do I mean?

Your “rock” is your most reliable freelancer.

You have built a relationship with this person and trust them to do the work well AND on-time.

Finding your “rock” will take lots of trial and error. But, once you do find one, your business will improve.

12. Be Explicit

If you decide to work with individual freelancers/VAs, then you must be explicit.

Being explicit means that you explain every task down to the last detail.

The best way to do this is to create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

An SOP is an organic training mechanism that shows freelancers or employees how to perform a task.

The reason why SOPs are “organic” is because you should always update them.

A stale SOP leads to confusion. Confusion leads to wasted management time or cleaning up incorrect work.

Be explicit with your SOPs.

Think about your business right now.

What processes within your business can you explain in an SOP?

List everything and start drafting SOPs.

Remember: they don’t have to be perfect because you are going to update them on a frequent basis.

I recommend you begin creating SOPs right away. Even if you don’t have employees or freelancers.


You are now equipped to outsource SEO tasks. Do your due-diligence, start outsourcing, and watch your business grow.

Thank you for reading!

– Gotch

17 thoughts on “SEO Outsourcing: All You Need to Know”

  1. outsourcing SEO .. . and Use US vendors only….Well that’s an oxymoron
    The objective of outsourcing is to focus on what you do best and let the best vendors for the specific job, do it for you, regardless of where they may be ( use Common sense here)

    Test the Vendors

    Use a monthly contract, if the vendor doesn’t perform or deliver, dump them.

    I use vendors from all over the world, never been cheated by any of them except one freelancer from Texas, unfortunately, but that mean I don’t vendors from the US

    This tells me that you never sued anybody or a firm, the process takes up more time than the cost of the damage.

    Finally All companies that are outside of the US, know that if they don’t deliver they won’t in business, Scam artist are the world, it’s all about Risk Maga manet.

  2. you bet i’m upset about …
    10. Use U.S. Vendors

    Is US the only country in the world?

    C’mon. This is a global culture. You can get ripped off by US vendors as well, and its as hard to get your money back. There are COUNTLESS people quibbling in the US and its as bad as dealing with overseas vendors.

    We’re in the 21st century… lets move on.. beyond the US.. if you want to benefit the most from the power we have at our disposal.

    Infact, you are at a MAJOR DISADVANTAGE with your competitors if you restrict yourself to US vendors…

    There is a risk with everything.

    You might as well not do any work online with this approach.

    Sorry for beign so frank.

    • Vishal,

      Thank you for the comment!

      I totally understand and appreciate your point of view.

      There are undoubtedly vendors outside the U.S. who are even better than many U.S. workers. However, the point I was making had nothing to do with competency or globalization. It had to do with the legality of the situation. Yes, there are scammy U.S. vendors/criminals, but they can be still be held responsible because their violations were made on U.S. soil. If a freelancer from another country steals money, there is nothing that can be done. Hope that makes sense!

  3. Great points, however, I think that ‘smart’ work could be outsourced as well. Just instead of using a shady company, you can use Linkedin and filter individuals from the industry and choose a 3rd world country. You will most likely find great individuals that work for established marketing companies. They are usually underpaid and could get some additional work.

  4. So true about finding your rock. I got lucky and found a rock with my first hire on Odesk 5 years ago and thought every freelancer was as good as my rock. She quit a couple months ago and I’ve gone through a series of jokers, freeloaders and disappearing acts ever since. It would have been easily worth doubling her salary to keep her on instead of wasting so much effort sifting though the chaff trying to find a new one.

  5. Good and valid points Gotch.But with SEO tasks,most of the times the expected things are not done and it’s becoming too difficult to pick the right company or team.

    Some times finding the right takes more time than doing the task for our self. But if you have good team in place,then that would obviously save lots of time and effort.

  6. Awesome article Nathan. Being in SEO Services industry myself, I say its very important for every Freelancer/Vendor to understand their client needs too and then beat their expectations.

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