SEO · Product Marketing

Would you outsource your SEO to an overseas firm?


January 11th, 2016

Our startup is about to launch and we're looking for an SEO/SEM expert to help us market and position correctly without breaking the bank. Have any of you outsourced your SEO to an overseas firm? If so, any recommendations or tips?

Juan Barba Director General

January 12th, 2016

In my opinion you should rethink your marketing strategy in terms of Inbound Marketing instead of SEO/SEM. Of course that SEO and SEM are key components of the strategy. However, I’ve seen that some businesses go to a cheaper service because someone else offers more visits or better ranking but sometimes without generating more sales at the end. What is required to generate more qualified leads that generate better ROI. 

For more information about Inbound Marketing:

Our blog is this one: It is also about Inbound Marketing however it is in Spanish so I recommend the HubSpot’s link.

We are an agency in Guadalajara, México. We get the best results working with customers in our city. So even when an oversees provider could work, my recommendation is that you look for one that is close to you even when it could cost more money at the beginning. Marketing is about generating more qualified leads that in turn generate more money. Cheap provider could at the end generate less money.

Hope Gurion Chief Product Officer at

January 11th, 2016

I wouldn't recommend either for the long-term.  Once upon a time, we had outsourced our paid search to support some of our international properties, but when we brought it in house, we discovered we achieved better ROI and had more funds since a share of spend wasn't going to the agency.  More than covered the FTE required to manage.  For SEO, you could probably pay a consultant to audit and make some initial recommendations, but longer-term, you'll need SEO to be baked into the DNA of your product teams and development organization.  My two cents.

Raj Dhonota

January 11th, 2016

When we launch startups I invest in, we set the content strategy here and let the implementation take place offshore.  That generally has the best results.  Happy to chat it through if you would like.  I can also put you in touch with some contacts if needed.  Raj.  

Anita Cohen-Williams Experienced in SEO and Social Media Management since 1994

January 11th, 2016

I definitely agree with Simon. Outsourcing overseas leads to a number of problems, including language misunderstandings, keyword stuffing, difficulties in communication due to time zones, and other things.

You can find someone to do SEO without spraining your budget (hint, hint). Having someone inside the company is good, but then you have to have them trained.  A business-trained, experienced SEO firm can handle what you need. 

Guillermo Hernandez Head at

January 12th, 2016

You need to keep the core skills within your company, and if you have an internet-based company, SEO is key skill. If you outsource, that experience will stay on the shoulders of other companies (and you will probably always pay too much for mediocre results). Hire, do it yourself or delegate it to another team member.

Dave Reimherr Founder at Magnificent Marketing LLC

January 12th, 2016

Could not agree with Juan Pablo Orozco Barba any more.  He pretty much nailed it. Any company talking about SEO/SEM etc... w/o talking about leads and sales is not going to produce the results you need as it shows their focus is off (and their tactics might not be truly geared toward results and might be geared to fooling you).  Great job answering this Juan!

Robin Pendoley Founder & CEO Thinking Beyond Borders

January 13th, 2016

I think about SEO as two separate tasks: 
  1. Optimizing your site design and structure 
  2. Creating, optimizing, and sharing content
The first is definitely something you can outsource off-shore with confidence, if you find a talented team. This is a technical process with clear and somewhat universal steps that should be taken.

The second is a much more difficult task to outsource, whether local or off-shore. Google is constantly pushing for more authentic and meaningful content, and it is seeking signs that you are sharing it with people that actually care about it (i.e. inbound links, site usage analytics, etc). While the content creation, optimization, and sharing process can be outsourced, it's crucial that this be done by someone who knows your company, your market, and your message. The day is past when SEO can be won through technical tricks. Your approach has to be authentic and high quality to win.  

On Yavin Founder and CEO at Online Performance

May 15th, 2016

Hi everyone,

Simon Cocking... The discussion is about SEO not about social media. What does SEO have to do with likes and fake followers?

Guillermo Hernandez... SEO is a core skill in an SEO agency and not for a startup or most other companies including Internet based companies. You will get mediocre results if you choose a non-professional SEO agency.

Juan Pablo Orozco Barba and Dave Reimherr... No doubt Inbound Marketing is an important marketing factor/strategy these days but saying it's better because there are SEO agencies or freelancers that don't know how to choose the relevant keywords for their clients makes Inbound Marketing better? Saying Inbound Marketing can replace SEO? - Search Engine Optimization means improving your website ranking on search engines. Your final goal is to get more qualified leads and improve ROI by getting more relevant traffic to your website that will generate more leads. But there are many different factors that can affect your lead generation such as your web design... UI/UX... website content...your product is just not good enough...your competitors offer better value and so much more. You can't really blame it all on SEO but having said that I should note that choosing the right keywords is not an easy task and it takes a great deal of experience to have it done right.

Robin Pendoley... You're right about technical tricks; that is not really possible anymore but optimizing the website design and structure and creating and sharing content is not enough for SEO (at least not for competitive keywords).

To get real SEO results that last for a long period of time you need to be able to do perform the following tasks:

1. Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis (Google wise).

2. On Site Optimization (Generating On-Page reports).

3. Content writing and updating on the website - Only high quality content.

4. Link building - Only high quality serious professional link building!

Unless you have a budget for a serious team or division that can handle all of the above (keep in mind that you need content writers and editors that really know how to create content for SEO, developers that really know how to do on-site optimization, employees that really know how to take care of link building and more), you don't really want to hire an employee to do your SEO in house because you don't have any chance of achieving professional SEO results without a dedicated SEO team. If you think doing keyword optimization and writing content will get you to first page positions you are wrong.

How can you check if a freelancer or an SEO agency is professional enough?

1. Ask to see current positions for competitive keywords. Long-tail keywords are super important but if you want to know if the freelancer or SEO agency is really professional they must be able to show a few examples of very competitive keywords.

2. Make sure the positions were on the first page of Google for at least a few months, or even better, a few years.

3. Ask to talk to at least 5 satisfied clients that can vouch for the freelancer or SEO agency.

How can you check if the freelancer or SEO agency you are considering is really working while getting paid?

1. Ask for a monthly keyword positions report.

2. If for the first 2-3 months there is no change in keyword positions that might happen because the first months' time is usually spent on keyword research and competitor analysis, onsite reports and link building strategy and these won't have any effect before the second or even third month. In that case you can ask for a monthly report that will show what was done in that time period.

In conclusion, it doesn't matter if you choose a US-based SEO agency or an offshore SEO agency because the reality is that most of the SEO agencies out there will do subpar, unprofessional work. You should choose your SEO agency very carefully and do so according to my above suggestions in order to make sure the SEO agency you choose is truly professional and not another SEO agency that promises a lot, yet accomplishes little.

JoAnn Corley Founder, The Human Sphere | help leaders integrate human behavior into successful business building

Last updated on March 6th, 2018

Well, I just we'll see how it goes.on traffic results :-) So far I have found all preliminary actions to be exceptionally professional and attentive. They are also updating my website. I am happy to refer if you'd like.

Peter Geisheker Digital Marketing Director - B2B Marketing - SaaS Marketing - Seeking a Digital Marketing Position

January 12th, 2016

Absolutely not. 

I have tried working with a couple of different SEO firms in India and every time it was a disaster that hurt my website and I lost rankings. 

My recommendation is to only work with a very reputable USA firm for SEO and make sure they are not going to do external link building using link farms, blog link networks, etc. Google has made it very clear they hate it when SEO people try to game their ranking algorithm, and if they catch you doing it, and they will, your site will be penalized. So, be very cautious with SEO as it can be a huge risk. 

Here is an article I wrote on SEO vs paid advertising that I think will be very helpful to you:

Good luck!

Peter Geisheker