Sales & Marketing Tech

Should You Outsource SEO? 4 Signs It’s Time

By | 8 min read | Published

Should you outsource SEO for your business? Let this guide help you decide.

If you oversee marketing at your small business, you’re well aware of the time and effort it takes to maintain a website or create content. To that end, you know how frustrating it is when your content doesn’t reach its target audience.

One solution to consider is SEO outsourcing, meaning the outsourcing of services related to search engine optimization to an SEO consultant or agency. These services include metadata and keyword research, as well as off-page SEO strategy such as social media and link building.

The decision to outsource SEO isn’t for every business, particularly if your audience doesn’t need regularly updated content (e.g. a blog), or if SEO outsourcing isn’t within your budget right now. But if you’re weighing your options, here are four signs to help you know for sure that it’s time to outsource SEO, as well as a free SEO outsourcing decision tool you can download.

Download now: SEO Outsourcing Decision Tool [Free download]

What is SEO, and what are SEO services?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the use of techniques to drive organic traffic to your website. SEO ensures that your content contains the right information, such as keywords and metadata, so that it winds up on a potential customer’s search engine results page (or SERP) when they go looking for products or services similar to yours.

SEO services refer to one-time or ongoing services that optimize your website to increase its organic search visibility and traffic. You can outsource SEO services to an SEO freelancer, consultant, or agency.

4 signs it’s time to outsource SEO

The advice below covers four common scenarios that typically drive small-business leaders to outsource SEO services, but it isn’t comprehensive. No matter your situation, we recommend using our downloadable decision tool to help you find an SEO service that fits your needs.


You have a lack of in-house SEO expertise

If your team doesn’t have a background in search engine optimization, or a designated SEO specialist, optimizing content on your own is going to be time consuming and difficult. SEO is a complicated endeavor that’s subject to search trends and algorithm changes; in fact, 62% of content marketers named changes to search algorithms as a top concern in 2021 and 2022[1].

62% of content marketers named changes to search algorithms as a top concern in 2021 and 2022.

We recommend hiring SEO professionals who not only have the necessary knowledge, but also work with the latest and most effective SEO tools to keep your content competitive. An SEO agency can also save you the time it takes to build an SEO strategy and train your team on top of your usual tasks.

Key considerations as you look for an SEO agency:

An experienced SEO agency will have an established list of clients. Ask for a list of past clients to interview so you can learn more about campaigns they worked on and whether they’re still in partnership with the agency. You can also browse reviews to get a feel for customer satisfaction.


Your traffic has taken a hit

Any drop in traffic or engagement can be discouraging. But if the issue persists long term, it can hurt your business. If your website isn’t generating traffic, it’s not generating interest in your product or service, meaning you’re not bringing in sales.

According to Forbes[2], a decrease in traffic is usually due to one of the following:

  • Changes in search trends throughout the year. For example, if you sell fireworks, you’ll typically see a surge in traffic in June as the Fourth of July holiday approaches.
  • Broken links. If a customer runs into a 404 error on your website, they will probably get frustrated and leave.
  • Keyword cannibalization. This occurs when you try to rank for the same keywords in multiple pieces of content, causing those pieces to compete against each other in SERPs.
  • A change in Google’s Core Web Vitals. Core Web Vitals[3] tell Google how long your pages take to load, the level of interactivity, and whether your on-page content is stable for visitors.

An SEO company can help you troubleshoot by performing an SEO audit and strategizing long-term solutions for consistent organic search traffic. They can also help you rebound from future Google updates.

Key considerations as you look for an SEO agency:

A reputable SEO agency will not promise page-one rankings, or any rankings for that matter. Why? Because SEO agencies are no more able to predict changes in search algorithms than you are. Instead, an effective SEO company will work with you to set expectations in terms of both performance and scope.


You're thinking of redesigning your website

While an SEO consultant won’t redesign your website for you, they can help you boost your visibility, broaden your keyword coverage, and avoid organic traffic loss.

To ensure your website is optimized in time for the relaunch, an SEO expert will primarily focus on site mapping. A site map (also “sitemap”) gives Google valuable information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, the relationships between them, and which ones you think are most important[4]. The image below shows an example of a sitemap for a library website.

Sitemap for a library website
Sitemap for a library website [5]

SEO tasks for a website redesign also include redirect mapping of your URLs, should those change. Your SEO company may also provide recommendations for technical and content optimizations as pages are being updated (e.g. areas where page speed or heading tag structure could be improved).

Key considerations as you look for an SEO agency:

In addition to an established list of clients, an effective SEO agency will have a portfolio of websites that it’s worked on for you to browse. They may also be able to show you the before-and-after of the SEO work they’ve done, as well as how they’ve helped a website increase its traffic or any other KPIs the client set.


Your audience has a need for updated content

Not every business has a need for regular content marketing. For example, if you own a restaurant or a coffee shop, it will likely be enough to focus on local SEO and ensure that your location and hours are correct on Google.

How do you know if your audience has a need for updated content?

  • Your content fills a niche, or offers something that’s otherwise lacking in search results.
  • You have a blog with an established readership.
  • You are trying to compete with brands who post consistently.

If any of the above sounds like you, an SEO agency would be useful in increasing your content’s visibility. But perhaps even more useful might be outsourcing your SEO content writing.

There are SEO agencies that specialize in optimized content creation. This means they produce high-quality content for you with a particular focus on keywords and structure. They also make sure the content sounds natural, flows well, and is engaging to your readers. Outsourcing SEO content writing also saves you from having to hire and train in-house writers as well as editors.

Key considerations as you look for an SEO agency:

If you’re considering outsourcing SEO content writing, ask to see blog posts and articles that they’ve written for other websites, as well as metrics that show how their work has increased traffic.

Actions to take next

So you’ve decided to outsource SEO services. If you’re a marketing manager, you’ll need to get buy-in from leadership for outsourcing SEO (hint: you can use any applicable points from this blog post to build your case). If you own your own small business, it’s time to begin the search for an SEO company.

To help, here’s just a few questions from our free downloadable decision tool:

  • What is our budget for SEO services?
  • What value will the SEO agency contribute?
  • What is the SEO agency compensation structure?

Many agencies offer a free or discounted first audit if you’d like to shop around.

Not quite ready to outsource SEO services? We’ve compiled some resources for you below.

Capterra tools and tips

  • SEO software can help you with a broad range of SEO tasks such as site audits, keyword research, and competitor analysis.
  • Google Search Central[6] can help you identify broken links on your website for free.
  • Google’s Core Web Vitals[3] is also free and can help you evaluate your website’s performance.

Want help with SEO outsourcing?

If your business is ready to try outsourcing SEO services, download our free decision tool.


  1. 12th Annual B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, Content Marketing Institute
  2. 4 Possible Reasons Your Website Traffic Is Dropping, Forbes
  3. Google Core Web Vitals, Google
  4. What Is a Sitemap, Google
  5. 5 Visual Sitemap Examples for Website Designs, Adobe
  6. Google Search Central, Google

About the Author

Lauren Spiller

Lauren Spiller

Lauren Spiller is a Senior Content Writer at Capterra, covering customer management, customer service, and customer experience with a focus on customer acquisition through SEO. She has an MA in Rhetoric and Composition from Texas State University and has presented her work at the European Writing Centers Association, Canadian Writing Centres Association, and the International Writing Centers Association conferences. She is currently developing content for a workshop series on SEO writing. She loves to cook and spend time outdoors around Austin, Texas.

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