Can You Outsource SEO like Tim Ferriss would in the 4 Hour Work Week?

In General Marketing, The Digital Marketing Blog by Kelvin3 Comments

A little while back we had the pleasure of interviewing Tim Ferriss for our Podcast, this post is a follow-up exploring some of the ideas he raised in our chat.

It’s hard to argue with the central theme of Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek, that time is your most precious resource. One of Tim’s ideas of how to spend less time on work is to outsource large chunks of it to qualified staff, often overseas.  In-house SEOs or small businesses may not have the resources to fund a UK based search agency, so consider other options.


Can you outsource your SEO in your own geo-arbitrage scheme? I asked Tim in our recent podcast interview about outsourcing marketing and he gave a clear response that almost every task can be outsourced to some extent. He said to keep the mission critical tasks with people you trust and start with low risk and low skill requests.

So if you’ve followed that advice how can you go about outsourcing your search engine marketing?

Break your task down

There are hundreds of overseas SEO companies offering a full range of services. Some are no doubt very good at their job. Some, based on our clients experience, are useless. Unless you are showing due dillegence you might end up with one of the rubbish ones.

One quick way to avoid this is to break down the elements of your link building into smaller, less-specialist tasks. Perhaps you have a list of potential link prospects; could an experienced web researcher save you time by compiling their contact details for you to follow up yourself?

Perhaps you want to write an in-depth whitepaper but the formatting is skew-whiff and could do with a good hand spell check – again much more sensible to outsource than a generic ‘SEO’ brief.

Make your brief crystal clear

Not a lot of people like to hear this but when off-shore out-sourcing goes wrong it’s normally the clients fault rather than the supplier. They may have provided an insufficient brief or assumed their partner understands their internal jargon, so don’t assume anything. The simpler and more precise the brief the better.

Fully expect that  it may take longer to write the specification than it would take you to do the task, but the efficiency savings would come in the future when the task can be performed with the same specification.

Just because labour is cheaper than the UK, don’t treat it as a commodity

I’ve come across many examples of people who would normally make purchasing decisions based on quality and reputation completely change their approach when they off-shore work.

The average cost may be cheaper than in the UK and US, but that doesn’t mean your purchasing decision should be price sensitive.

Explore Different Opportunities

On a few personal projects I’ve used elance to tap into expert resource overseas and can definitely recommend their service, but there are other very well regarded services you should explore. Here are a few of the most popular options:


Get A Freelancer

Rent aCoder



  1. To me either it can be outsourced or automated, and i’m not talking about automation where its blackhatting. The labor rates make it a good idea to do so.

  2. Outsourcing SEO is something I have strongly been considering lately. I enjoy building quality articles and content. But sitting for hours at a computer doing nothing more than building links or submitting links to directories is boring. I would much rather be doing something I enjoy doing, and allow someone else to do this.

    Unfortunately, SEO is quite expensive, so you really have to get a lot of quotes and read a lot of reviews before you hire a company.

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