Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) forms a critical part of a website's development and promotion. In the absence of an effective SEO strategy, websites can struggle to compete for the top positions on Google, Bing and other leading search engines. But should SEO be outsourced?Begin with Construction.
SEO is often regarded as a service that is purchased, or a process that is undertaken, to promote an existing website. Many business owners view SEO as similar to other types of advertising but to achieve the most effective results, SEO should be integrated at the start into the structure of a website at the developmental stage.
On that basis, SEO should be implemented at the earliest opportunity. Source code must be clean; form separated from function (content from functionality); images and links must be tagged; and URLs should be configured correctly. Dynamic URLs continue to cause problems for search engines, whereas human-readable URLs that contain keywords tend to rank well in the search engines. URLs can be rewritten at a later stage, for example using the mod_rewrite condition in Apache. However, development problems that are caused by a lack of SEO can be avoided by correctly optimising a site as it is being designed and built.
Another aspect of SEO includes meta tag information with Title and Heading tags taking prime importance. Googlebot now ignores the Keywords meta tag completely, but many SEO specialists continue to add keywords to source code, if only incase Google changes its stance on the subject. This is fairly unlikely because Google uses its own processes to analyse the content of websites and determine how relevant they are to particular search terms.
Businesses are responsible for the provision of unique, relevant and keyword-rich content. Outsourcing this aspect of SEO has become the norm, but website owners must ensure that content conforms to the highest standards (Googlebot detests spam).Pros and Cons of Outsourcing.
So should SEO be outsourced? One argument against outsourcing states that, because SEO is an on-going process, in-house staff may be best positioned to work on the process. After all, why should outside help be sought when SEO can be dealt with internally? However, as with most aspects of running a business, the issue comes down to cost and quality. Hiring an entire team of in-house SEO staff is inefficient and the results and quality of that team may still be less than that of an expert team already in the field. Outsourcing SEO, even over several months or years to professional specialists, costs a fraction of the cost of an internal team and will be more effective.
In-house staff may also need time to learn the ropes, with the risk that they may leave your company and walk straight into one of your competitors. Specialist digital marketing companies hone their skills over countless client engagements and usually have more cross-vertical experience offering some form of exclusivity to negate any conflict of interest (COI). They know what needs to be done in order to achieve results and they are usually quicker at identifying and implementing the changes needed, being the first to know about developments in the industry.
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