So many Singapore businesses are still hesitant to hire outsourced service providers for SEO services in Singapore. This is mainly because they don’t understand how search engine optimization (SEO) works.
For some, it’s because they’ve been duped by SEO firms before making them lose faith in SEO in general.
Both scenarios are unfortunate because SEO is a must-have strategy. 82% of marketers across the world, as one research by Ascend2 found, say that SEO is becoming more effective by the day meaning companies cannot continue to ignore it as a marketing strategy.
SEO works, but it takes hard work and expertise. Admittedly, many businesses do not have the capacity to do it on their own thus the need to hire an outsourced SEO Singapore company. But like with every other service provider, it’s important that you do your due diligence to make sure you hire right SEO company in Singapore.
To help you make the right hiring decision we have seven rules that you must follow before you hire an outsourced SEO agency.
Rule #1: What you need to know before hiring an outsourced SEO firm
You may not understand how SEO works and that’s why you’re looking for help but you have to have an idea of what needs to be done. Why are you hiring an SEO agency in the first place?
Do you need an in-house SEO expert or will an agency do? How long do you plan to work with the outsourced agency? These are all things you need to decide before you start scouting for an agency.
Know what you hope to achieve from hiring an expert in order to know what to look for in the company that you hire. Do you need more sales? Do you want to rank first on Google? Are you trying to build your brand awareness? Increase your website traffic or simply want good content for your website?
Having a goal in mind is great so that you don’t interview outsourced SEO companies blindly. A goal will make it easier for you to find someone or companies who will help you achieve that goal.
Rule #2: Interview several companies but don’t let them know
Now that you have an idea of what you want to be done, it’s time to get the hiring process started. Find a couple of outsourcing SEO services providers and have one on one discussion with them about what they think you should improve on.
This process is important because it gives you a better perspective of what your SEO needs are from an expert’s view and also because you get to meet the people that you might end up working with.
By having one on one talk with these companies they get to understand your needs and prepare suitable proposals for you. You, therefore, get the chance to get proposals and price quotes from different agencies giving you more options to choose from other than settling for the first ‘good’ company you come across. You can then do your comparison and narrow down to the best.
As you interview companies, avoid letting on that you’re in talks with different agencies. Don’t let them know that you are shopping around.
Most companies will not put their best foot forward when they know that there is no guarantee of getting the job. This is especially true for a lot of the best SEO Singapore companies that have clients fighting to work with them. Even though they are good they need to offer your company only the best so let them prove themselves.
Rule #3: Do some background research and get references
Here is where most businesses go wrong. After the impressive proposals and price quotes, they get hooked and sign the contract immediately.
Before you do that, do some background research on the company that you loved the most during the interview stage.
Look for a track record to make sure that you’re putting yourself in good hands. Run a quick Google search to see how they are performing in search. Do they use keywords and are they ranking well?
If they are promising to help you appear at the top of the search results they should be doing that with their own businesses right?
Ask for referrals and recommendations from their past clients. See for yourself what they have done for others. If they have clients in the same industry as you and they have managed to get them good results, then you can trust that they will get you good results.
Take SEO companies without reviews with a pinch of salt as there’s really no proof that they can actually do what they are promising you they will do for you.
When doing a background consider these factors:
- If they are promising the #1 ranking how well is their own company ranking?
- Do they have any valuable recommendations especially from friends?
- Do they have any bad reviews or scam warnings?
- Do they have a strong social media and online presence?
Interviews should be followed by a little bit of background research on the company of your choice just to have a better idea of what you are getting yourself into and hopefully save yourself trouble in the future.
Rule #4: You will have to spend money
This is the part that discourages most businesses. If you are looking to take the easier way out, financially, remember that cheap is in the end expensive. Good SEO services will cost you some money.
This does not mean that you have to pay an arm and a leg to get good services, just be ready to spend some few dollars if you want to work with the best Singapore service providers for outsourced SEO services. Do not make your search all about finding the cheapest option.
Competition is definitely high and, therefore, you will find lots of companies trying to offer the lowest prices just to get the deal. Cheap SEO services are more likely to hurt your business than help it.
Don’t fall for companies selling the one-size-fits-all SEO package. There is no way all businesses will have the same SEO needs. A good outsourced agency should be able to tailor their services according to your needs.
Rule #5: Get a strategy first before you sign the contract
Once you do your interview, get one or two good options, do your background research and find the best option, ask for a strategy before you close the deal.
This is important because you need to know what the outsourced service provider is going to do for your business, how they plan to do it and the time to be spent. Without a strategy then you will not have anything to measure your return on investment (ROI) against.
A strategy also saves you from having a company that will turn around and say that they never promised something that you expected done. A strategy stipulates clearly what the actions will be and the expected outcomes.
When you have a strategy in place then you can ask for monthly reports to confirm whether targets have been met and what needs to be improved or changed so that you can achieve the highest ROI possible.
It will be pointless to hire an outsourced SEO service provider who will get you results that do not contribute to your business’s bottom line. If this is the case you really aren’t getting your money’s worth. Every dollar you invest in your business should increase your bottom line.
Rule #6: Learn about SEO independently
You may find this a bit unappealing considering you are hiring an independent agency or person to do the job anyway, right? However, if you want to nail it with your SEO company, you must follow this rule. We are not asking you to be an expert, just make sure you understand the fundamentals of SEO.
Think of it this way, you are not the finance manager in your company but you still have an idea of how the books are balanced right? Because it is in your best interest to be aware how every department runs. The same rule applies to SEO even if you are outsourcing the service.
By learning the fundamentals of SEO, you will be able to identify possible outcomes from the SEO package being offered and, therefore, decide if that is what you want. But if you are clueless you will take anything an agency offers you.
You also get to keep your outsourced SEO provider in check. You can tell if what they are doing is the right thing and that you are getting what you paid for. Make sure you play an active role in the SEO strategy. You can only do this if you have a basic understanding of how it works.
If you do not have the time to take an active role get someone in your business, preferably the marketing manager, to learn SEO basics and take up the role. Just don’t let the agency run things unsupervised.
Rule #7: Your SEO company has boundaries too
Now this one is on you and not on any of the outsourced SEO companies you are looking to hire.
There is only too much that anyone, outsourced SEO experts included, can do to help your business. Before you hire an SEO consultant, take a look at the state of your service or product. Are you offering a valuable product or service? If what you are offering is bad no expert will make it sell.
Do not expect your SEO expert to take on the role of a business consultant. Their role is to promote your product or service and it’s your role to make sure that you are offering something that can sell. So take care of that before you start scouting for Singapore service providers for SEO services.
Not all service providers for outsourced SEO services in Singapore are out to dupe you. There are so many agencies available that will help accelerate your business success with expert SEO strategies. You simply have to do your homework and hire the best one available!
Should You Rely On In-House Marketing Or Outsourced SEO Agencies In Singapore?
As a business person, marketer, or web owner, you have the option to wear every hat yourself or assign some of the tasks at hand to the real professionals. Either of the choices is acceptable to a certain point. But as your business grows, there’ll come a time when you’ll have to admit that you need help – and among the things to consider is whether it’s more convenient to hire an in-house digital marketing team or to outsource the services from an agency.
Let’s begin by saying that none of the two options carries more weight over the other, considering each one of them comes with its fair share of perks and setbacks.
By in-house marketing what is meant is that you’ll be hiring your own team of marketers, all paid by your company to handle every aspect of your marketing needs. The team hired get to exclusively work for your company.
There are a lot of reasons any company would want to take this path. What’s crucial is that it calls for proper rules to be maintained for it to be successful.
First among them is hiring the required workmanship, including a marketing manager, SEO analyst, content curator, Paid Ads specialists, Social Media Manager, Web developer, CRO-focused designer and a graphics designer to name a few.
This is basically a team of individuals all committed to one task – and that is, moving your site up the search rank ladder, and at core, making sure you’re able to ramp up the sales you make.
Digital Marketing Agency
An agency is a company dedicated to offering digital marketing services to interested parties. It’s basically composed of a broad range of SEO experts that work together to steer businesses towards different marketing goals as agreed.
Some agency are all-rounded and can offer a vast array of digital marketing services including PR, content marketing, web design, social media marketing, link building, and so forth, whereas there are some that specialize in either one or a number of the services we’ve mentioned.
Comparison between the Two
Skillset can be defined as the capacity to deliver on a piece of job or task. The level of skillset tend to differ from one individual to another. Now let’s find out how an in-house team stacks against an agency in terms of skillset.
Every single member of an in-house team is hired to exclusively work for the company. The job entails reporting to work in the morning and doing all they’re required to do to push the company up the search engine ranks. Usually, they’re personally hired and vetted by the company, and NOT an outside source. So there’s a fair chance their level of skill will be good enough, unless the company wasn’t in position to vet right.
Agencies still do the same. They personally hire every single member of the teams they work with, having subjected them to a series of tests and a thorough vetting process. Their experience and level of expertise in the field of marketing helps to ensure that they’re able to choose only the best of the workforce they can find.
It’s almost impossible to find an in-house marketer who’s mastered every aspect of online marketing. And in the off chance that they happen to be, the work involved might be so overwhelming to be handled by one person or small group of digital marketing experts.
While hiring an agency, the first thing you’ll be required to do is walk the company through your past online marketing experiences. What has your company been able to achieve this far?
It’s also part of your job as the business owner to carry out a thorough due diligence on the company in order to find out if they’re a good fit for handling your company’s marketing needs. The problem comes with choosing the right company. Often times, marketers have to sample a long list of boutique agencies before finding one that’s able to deliver on results as agreed.
Agencies also tend to have a large number of skilled individuals working for them. That’s NOT to say that their level of skill will most likely be more developed, but the diversity provided places them in a favourable spot to generate better results.
Who’s better in Terms of Skills?
This question cannot be answered in black and white. As a matter of fact, what’s considered better entirely depends on the nature of your business.
If your budget is big enough to hire throngs of digital marketing experts with varied skill sets, and are sure of finding all of them something they’ll be doing on daily basis, then working on establishing an in-house team would be a wise thing to do.
Also, if you’re only interested in managing only one aspect of your digital marketing campaign, then simple logic will direct you to hire an in-house team.
However, if you’re hoping to develop an all-rounded, top-to-bottom marketing strategy that covers every aspect of digital marketing, from every possible angle, then you don’t need to be reminded that you’re better off settling for a digital marketing agency instead of establishing a sound in-house team.
Who between an in-house team and the digital marketing agency you’re considering to hire has the ability to use their imagination to come up with original ideas to steer your business to the next level of success?
In-house marketers have the capacity to be naturally creative. They’re also attracted to diversity.
Their line of duty however exposes them to routine work, which is bound to get boring with time. There’s also a fair chance that their level of creativity may one day hit a plateau because of being subjected to doing the same thing over and over again. Then there is the perpetual problem of motivation, incentives, keeping up with market pay scale to avoid poaching, trainings, promotions, providing equipment, leaves, offs, training, welfare and a whole host of issues you may not necessarily need or want to bear.
The upside is that their work puts them in a better position to understand their competition better and may therefore be able to help you company compete effectively.
Agencies on the other hand work with different types of clients. Their nature of job exposes them to a series of new tasks, which helps to keep their minds fresh, and up to date with what’s current.
The problem comes when they’re also assigned to handle the marketing needs of some of the companies you’re in direct competition with, thus creating a conflict of interest.
Which is better?
An in-house team is exposed to the risk of being trapped in a rut. If this is the case, then you might want to consider hiring a digital marketing agency.
Needless to say, hiring an in-house team can be extremely costly. For instance, to hire a competent marketing manager you’ll be required to folk over more than $50 000 annually as salary.
Now take into consideration that you still have to hire a good number of other digital marketing specialists before marking your marketing team as complete, and you’ll have an easy time agreeing with the fact that a digital marketing firm is way cheaper.
How To Manage Outsourced SEO Agencies
SEO outsourcing is the handing over of services related to on-page and off-page optimisation to a third-party SEO agency in Singapore.
The primary reason for outsourcing is to get help in scaling business for growth. You might also want more time to focus on offering services to your customers. Regardless of your needs, you still have to manage your SEO campaign if you outsource it to another company. This ensures that the marketing strategy meets its objective and generates a positive ROI for your business.
Here are some of the tactics you should use to manage your SEO campaign when you outsource it to an SEO agency in Singapore.
The most important element of any project is coordination. Instead of being the first step of your campaign, you should emphasise coordination throughout the project. This increases the chances of success of your SEO campaign.
The agency that you are working with should know your objectives before the project begins. They should demonstrate an understanding of different SEO strategies you wish to apply to your project. Most importantly, they should be able to adapt their tactics to ensure that you achieve your goals.
Define the Goals
The next step in managing an outsourced SEO project is defining goals. The goals should be clear and have one direction. For instance, you might want to increase the traffic to your site. You can then break this goal into smaller bits such as generating leads from social media, decreasing bounce rates, increasing referrals, and so forth.
From here, you can break down the smaller bits into targets to improve the efficiency of the SEO campaign.
After setting goals and formulating strategies, you need to devise an idea on how to realise the objectives. This is also the time that you set the standards you require, as well as the specific milestones that the SEO agency in Singapore needs to attain. For instance, you could set up a timeline for the completion of the campaign, say one month, two months, six months, a year, and so forth.
Additionally, you should ensure that the company you entrust with your SEO delegates the tasks appropriately. The individuals should exhibit competence, as a poor performance will result in the failure of your campaign. Where possible, give recommendations.
Communication is vital for the success of an SEO campaign. You should maintain close contact with the outsourced SEO agency throughout the campaign. This way, you will have frequent updates regarding the progress of your project. Also, it will be easier for the company to reach you in case of any challenges encountered during the campaign.
Moreover, communication is a form of coordination, which, as seen above, is crucial for SEO.
Avail Project Management Tools
You can significantly improve the efficiency of your SEO project by availing project management tools. These specialised software tools automate the process and ensure that it runs seamlessly. They are particularly useful in handling repetitive tasks that humans would find tedious.
The best thing about project management tools is that they are readily available on the internet. Some of the popular options include Google Docs, Trello, Google Calendar, and Dropbox.
Benefits of Outsourcing SEO
One of the most significant benefits of outsourcing SEO is saving money. If you run a small business, the money you use to run an SEO campaign and pay the in-house experts can cause a massive dent in your budget. In some cases, it might be unsustainable.
However, if you hire an agency, they will get the job done at a fraction of the price. SEO agencies are also far more experienced than your employee, which means that their output offers more value for money.
Cost-effectiveness is useless if your SEO agency in Singapore cannot deliver results. Google are continually adjusting their ranking algorithms. It takes a dedicated staff to keep up with these changes and implement them to your SEO campaign.
SEO agencies, on the other hand, are always aware of the latest development on Google, as this is their area of speciality. Furthermore, these agencies have a competent team of experts, whereas an SEO manager at a firm usually works alone or with a much smaller group. These fine margins could prove to be the difference between a successful and mediocre SEO campaign.
Should You Outsource SEO Services?
When you outsource your SEO, you are placing trust in a third-party to deliver results. Naturally, you will be wondering what they are doing and how your money is being spent. In the worst-case scenario, you could hire a content that is non-transparent and does not issue frequent updates concerning the progress of your campaign.
That said, you should closely monitor their actions to avoid wasting money, especially given that SEO is a sizeable investment. You should also conduct adequate research before settling on a particular SEO agency in Singapore.
It’s a Wrap
There’s no harm in maintaining both, provided you have the financial resources to handle it.
Look into your business goals and needs, and you’ll have no trouble figuring out which option is best suited for your business needs.
For more information regarding how to hire the right in-house team or the best digital marketing agency to outsource SEO services from in Singapore, why NOT contact MediaOne today for a free SEO consultation?