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How to Outsource Your SEO Strategy the Right Way – ReadWrite

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How to Outsource Your SEO Strategy the Right Way - ReadWrite


Search engine optimization (SEO) is intimidating for newcomers, and I totally understand why. SEO requires your attention in multiple areas; you’ll need to improve your website, write content, research the competition, build links, and take care of a hundred other responsibilities. On top of that, you’ll need the experience to do all of these actions — well — and you’ll need to jump through hoops to stay current with the latest Google algorithm changes.

Outsource Your SEO Strategy the Right Way

Accordingly, most businesses that practice SEO end up outsourcing it in some way, either by hiring an agency or working with contractors. While this can be an effective strategy for supporting your SEO campaign, it can also work against you — so it pays to be cautious and do your research.

How SEO Outsourcing Goes Wrong

Let’s start by identifying some of the most critical ways that SEO outsourcing can fail.

  • Black hat practices and penalties. Some agencies build their business around “black hat” tactics. In the SEO world, that means using techniques like spamming links, writing low-quality content at high volumes, and even keyword stuffing. In some cases, these tactics can get you a short-term gain – just long enough for your contracting agency to cash the check. But in all cases, eventually, you’re going to face a Google penalty for doing this, ultimately negating any benefits you might have gotten along the way.
  • Scams and lack of work. Some companies don’t really exist; they’re shell organizations meant only to scam you out of money. For example, someone might claim they’re “optimizing your site,” but they might not actually be doing anything. These outright scams tend to be rare in the SEO community, but they can result in a total loss.
  • Cost and value. It’s also important to consider the balance between cost and true value. High-quality SEO services are necessarily expensive since it takes expertise, time, workforce, and other resources to execute effectively. But if you’re stuck paying $10,000 per month for SEO services, and you only see $9,800 in value, that’s not a good trade. SEO is a strategy that’s truly worth investing in, but if you’re not careful, you could end up paying too much when outsourcing.

Researching Potential Partners

So how can you prevent these problems?

Your best option is to seriously research your prospective outsourcing partners before hiring anyone. Generally, you’ll have two main options for who to hire:

  • Agencies. SEO agencies tend to be a bit more expensive. But, in exchange, you’ll typically have access to a bigger roster of experts – and support for every step of the SEO process. You’ll also typically have your own account manager and built-in guarantees to make sure you’re satisfied with the work that’s done.
  • Contractors. Contractors tend to be less expensive and more flexible. You can hire individual contractors to help you with specific needs, like link building or writing, or mix and match to build your own team. Either way, you might save money – but you’ll also need to expend more effort and face higher risks.

Whichever direction you go — you’ll want to research the following in every prospective hire:

  • Expertise. What kind of expertise does this potential partner have? Are they new to the SEO industry, or does the team have decades of combined experience? Are they familiar with your company and your industry, or is their experience mostly from a general background?
  • Services offered/high-level strategy. Figure out what services this partner offers and what kind of high-level strategy they’re going to follow. If they can’t answer your questions in this area, or if they try to avoid the subject, it’s a bad sign. Any SEO practitioner worth working with will explain the entire process to you and work to convince you that they’re capable of creating high-quality work. Good SEO strategies are a mix of technical onsite improvements, quality content generation, and value-focused link building with authoritative publishers. Link spamming and content spamming simply aren’t going to work.
  • Quality of work. You’ll also need to do your own investigating to figure out what quality of work this individual or organization is capable of. The best way to find this out is to ask to see examples. What are some examples of the best content this organization has written? What are some of the best live links currently pointing back to their site? If you’re not satisfied with this component, you may need to move onto someone else.
  • Reviews and testimonials. Next, look at the reviews and testimonials about this company left by its previous clients. Generally, when an agency or contractor follows black hat practices or scams people out of money, they have a cascade of bad reviews to show for it. Of course, good reviews and good testimonials aren’t a guarantee that you’ll get great service, but it’s a promising sign.
  • Past results. In line with this, see if you can get proof of past results. For example, does this agency or contractor evidence the ranking increases they’ve gotten for other clients in the past? New professionals in this industry still have a chance of getting good results for you, but you’re better off working with someone who has a long track record of success.
  • Communication. Reach out to promising candidates you’ve found throughout your research and start talking to the account managers and professionals who will be responsible for managing your campaign. Are they polite, prompt, and articulate? If so, it’s a great sign that you’re going to get the customer service you deserve.
  • Price. Of course, you’ll also need to think about the price of the services you’re getting. A company may check all the boxes above, but they may not be worth it if their service packages are too pricey.

The Working Relationship

Researching and hiring the right partner is a great first step, but you’ll also need to invest in the working relationship to see good results.

  • Push for transparency. A transparent SEO outsourcing agreement is ideal. You should be able to see everything your SEO partner is doing, down to the words they write for offsite content and the backend code changes they make to your website. If your agency or contractor refuses to report on their work, or if you’re not sure what they’re doing, consider it a red flag.
  • Insist on regular reporting. It’s also important to insist on regular reporting. Your partner should be showing you not just the work they’re actively doing on behalf of your brand, but also the results they’re getting you. How have your rankings changed over time? How much traffic is your website getting? Combine these metrics with your onsite sales and conversion statistics to calculate your overall return on investment (ROI).
  • Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, don’t assume that your SEO expert is taking care of it – or even that they know more than you. Ask questions. The more you learn about SEO in the process, the better you’ll be able to direct and make decisions about your campaign. And if your partner can’t answer a question or if they dodge a question, it might be a sign of trouble to come.

Hold the team accountable.

Finally, hold the team (or individual) accountable for their results. For example, if you drop in rankings for a specific keyword, ask them what they’re going to do about it. If you’re not getting the results, you wanted after several months of work, push them to make up the difference or give you a partial refund.

Conclusion

Outsourcing SEO can be incredibly valuable. In a best-case scenario, you’ll get to tap into some of the most creative and experienced minds in the industry while supporting your site with white hat tactics and saving money in the process.

But the worst-case scenario should be enough to scare you into doing your due diligence well in advance. In addition, not all SEO companies will give you a return on your investment (ROI), so keep that in mind during your research.

Image Credit: yan krukov; pexels; thank you!

Timothy Carter

Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer of the Seattle digital marketing agency SEO.co, DEV.co & PPC.co. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO and digital marketing leading, building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams. When he’s not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach — preferably in Hawaii with a cup of Kona coffee. Follow him on Twitter @TimothyCarter

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Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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