Created on April 10, 2024 | Updated on April 10, 2024

Should You Outsource SEO? Insights for SMBs.

SEO Articles
Should You Outsource SEO?

Surely, you are aware of the term SEO if you are working online.

It’s a must if you want to seek success in the fast-evolving digital world. 90%+ of experiences start from search engines. So, if you wish your business to be visible online, you have some knowledge in the search engine optimization field.

Yet, we need to mention that fine-tuning SEO might be one of the hardest marketing challenges. That’s why it’s important to review different options for your company. Especially if you own a small or medium-sized business.

But no worries, as today we’re going to discuss SEO outsourcing and why you might like to use this strategy for your company.


What is SEO outsourcing?

Identifying SEO outsourcing is not too complicated. Basically, SEO outsourcing means you delegate SEO services execution to third-party agencies or individual SEO experts.

This means you don’t need to have an in-house team of SEO specialists to cover your needs for search engine optimization.

In fact, approximately 30% of SMBs outsource SEO services.

Before you start outsourcing, you need to understand the SEO elements. (After taking a look at this table, you’ll get a clue why search optimization is quite tough.)

SEO elements table

Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Elements

As you can see, there are lots of things to take into consideration while mastering the SEO strategy. Fail to include or optimize one of the elements, the whole system might crack, or you won't get the full potential of your SEO activities.

But let’s pack all these elements into wider notions to depict what SEO can involve. Mainly, we can highlight the following directions to work on:

That’s what your SEO priorities can look like. And you can outsource it all or partly. Everything depends on your goals, budget, and workload capacity.

Who provides outsourced SEO services?

As we have mentioned earlier, outsourced SEO services can have different performers. It can either be an SEO agency or an SEO specialist.

But how do you find the right one?

Well, as we all know, your way to getting services starts with the search engine (what an irony!). So, you can type a search query like:

“best SEO agencies” to get the list of top companies

best SEO outsource agencies

“hire SEO service provider”

outsourced SEO

“hire SEO expert” or something like that.

SEO outsourcing

You will see hundreds of results, which might be a bit overwhelming. Nevertheless, you can refer to recommendation articles from respected domains like Semrush, Backlinko, Ahrefs, etc.

Alternatively, you can hop on special service aggregators to find fitting companies and experts. Going directly to platforms like Clutch, for instance, might be a fit for you because it has various filters that can help you find SEO agencies faster.

SEO outsource companies

Also, this platform shows hourly rates, ratings, and feedback from clients.

Often, such agencies provide full-scale SEO services. That means you get everything from SEO strategy to content creation or link building.

That’s definitely a cool option if you are only getting started online and need to pave your way to site visibility. Respectively, outsourcing can be a worthy and fast solution (compared to hiring a full SEO in-house team).

Nevertheless, outsourcing is also beneficial as you can delegate some peculiar tasks to third-party service providers. For instance, that might be a field that requires very specialized expertise, like guest posting.

Guest posting is related to a couple of SEO tasks. The first - and main - one is building backlinks. The second one is growing referral traffic. As Google precisely monitors how links are built, you have no chance of failure. So, the guest posting provider you choose should be experienced and reliable.

For instance, we at Adsy, have over a decade of experience in helping customers from all over the world to place guest posts on DA40+ sites. We’ve helped our clients build hundreds of thousands of backlinks and improve their SEO metrics.

Of course, you can type any other separate SEO-related request on the search engine, e.g., “order technical SEO audit,” and find fitting agencies.

outsourced SEO audit

Anyway, we hope this section gave you an idea of how you can find outsourced SEO companies and who provides these services.

Once again, we want to warn you that you need to thoroughly check the agencies or specialists you are going to hire:

  • See if there are case studies or success stories you can examine,
  • See what feedback and rating an agency or person has on special review platforms,
  • Compare prices of two or more agencies or specialists.

N.B. We do not suggest working with any of the companies mentioned in the screenshots. Screenshots are provided for information purposes only. The only platform we can answerably recommend is Adsy.

What is more budget-friendly, SEO outsourcing or an in-house team?

And now, let’s get down to some math.

We want to make a side note - 2024 is the year when many marketing experts share they will prioritize SEO. The main reasons for this are the deprecation of third-party cookies (13.9%), Google updates (18%), and Machine learning/AI (18.7%). So, if you want to reach success online you cannot escape using SEO.

As a matter of fact, US businesses spent $80 billion on SEO in 2020. We believe that this number will only grow in 2024.

Sure thing, these budgets can be spent differently. Your company’s size and turnover will influence how much you are ready to spend on SEO.

You can go with the three main options:

  • Hire an in-house SEO team,
  • Hire an outsourced SEO team,
  • Proceed with the mixed model.

In-house SEO specialist salary

So, what should you expect when hiring an in-house team? Let’s refer to Glassdoor to learn more about SEO specialist salaries.

According to this popular jobs review platform, the average SEO specialist salary is $80K per year. However, there are some peculiarities to the price settings, as you can see. The base salary as well as additional pay, may vary.

SEO specialist salary

Talent, another source for checking salary, sets the median SEO specialist remuneration as $62K per year. That equals around $30 rate per hour. Salaries can also differ based on the state.

how much does seo specialist make in usa

The third resource, ZipRecruiter, states the average salary to be $65K annually, with a $31 hourly rate. Yet, the majority of SEO specialists earn between $50,000 to $76,500 yearly.

New SEO professionals can expect $47K per year, mid-seniors $57K per year, and seniors $66K per year.

If you want your SMB’s SEO strategy to be efficient, you want to hire an SEO specialist with a recorded track of successful SEO campaigns. That leads us to the conclusion that you want to recruit at least a mid-senior-level professional (if you are going for one SEO specialist in your marketing department). It’ll be around $27 per hour.

Outsourced SEO specialist salary

Now, let’s return to outsourced agencies and specialists. We are going to use Clutch once again, to see how much the agencies charge.

There is a huge choice of companies, the majority of which are ready to handle SEO projects starting from $1,000. Yet, the hourly rate can vary drastically there. As such, some agencies charge $55 per hour and some $110 per hour.

outsourced SEO prices

Some might be scared to hire external agencies not to buy a pig in a poke. Yet, platforms like Clutch have a “Portfolio” section where you can check the agency’s case studies.

how to choose outsourced SEO company

But what if you are browsing through the separate companies’ or specialists’ sites? Make sure they offer similar information. For example, this agency offers examples of businesses it worked with and the results they achieved.

outsourced SEO agency

Yet, if you land directly on the agency’s sites, it might be sometimes unclear how much they charge. So, you need to make an additional negotiation step.

Anyway, let’s get back to prices. You might say that paying $100 (or $50) is more than paying $31 per hour.


However, your in-house SEO specialist requires constant payments, social guarantees, working space, and so on.

Outsourced specialists, in turn, will get paid for the number of hours worked. And, as SEO is a long-term marketing activity with a lengthy effect, you won’t need to run SEO campaigns monthly.

As such, hiring an outsourced SEO team seems like a smart decision to us especially if you run a small or medium-sized business or have a startup.

Combined option

Sometimes, you might need extra help. As SEO loading might not be equal throughout the year, there is no need to hire new in-house employees.

Instead, your SEO professional can use external services to build backlinks or get an SEO audit, and so on.

For example, the price per guest post starts at $17.50 on Adsy. Of course, you need to build multiple links to have a palpable effect on your ranks. Nevertheless, it’ll be more cost-effective than having a new team member.

So, should you outsource SEO if you own an SMB?

SMBs usually have smaller marketing budgets compared to big companies or enterprises. Yet, the need to run marketing activities, and SEO as part of them, is undoubtful.

Based on this, hiring an outsourced SEO team can be a worthy solution for you.

There are lots of options for how you can check if the SEO agency provides value to companies. Accordingly, you can make an informed decision.

If you already have an SEO professional on your team but need extra help, using the combined variant (in-house plies third-party team) can be a go-for option for you.


To outsource or not to outsource. That’s the question many companies ask themselves.

While this decision is 100% up to you, our goal was to inform you about the options you have. Often, as you start growing your business, outsourcing some marketing-related tasks can be great for your budget optimization.

Once again, we remind you to thoroughly check the SEO agencies or specialists you plan to work with.

Do you outsource your SEO duties? Or do you prefer having an in-house team?

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