It’s pretty common in the interactive, advertising and PR agency world to outsource components of an engagement where the lead agency does not have specific domain expertise. Those scenarios are often structured by the client who is already working with other vendors or the lead agency bringing in outside expertise.Â For the most part, it’s pretty transparent what is outsourced and what is not.
Is this the same in the search marketing and especially, the SEO industry?Â The variety of creative, technical and social expertise required to excel and succeed with today’s online marketing programs makes it a formidable challenge for any search marketing agency to staff accordingly. The “cowboy” mentality prevalent in the SEO world makes employing some of the best at their craft unlikely.
While many of the niche experts will spend a lot of their time building out their own content networks, they also often outsource.Â It’s also true that many of those new to SEO have learned to promote themselves as specialists in specific areas to get a name for themselves and expand their consulting business from there. Hunger for new work leads to enthusiastic promises.
A while back I caught a request on a discussion thread from a PPC consultant getting more into the SEO space that a link builder was needed. The link builder would not need to report specifics or work directly with the client, just guarantee that “x” number of links were achieved monthly.
I imagined that this request was not unique amongst consultants trying to expand their offerings and wondered if the client knew what they were paying for had little if any Q/A.
Personally, I think if a SEO firm outsources part of a client’s SEO or social media marketing program, they must be actively, if not intimately involved with the work. If they don’t know enough about the tactics, then they should use the opportunity to learn. Otherwise, it’s pretty much a crap shoot what the client is actually getting for their money.