Many firms have realized that when you outsource SEO to a firm that specializes only in search engine optimization, you can actually reduce your overall costs and increase positive customer results. The reasons for this are no different than any other outsourcing business case. You know the list: Economies of scale, focus, specialization and detailed technical knowledge of a process. If you are a PR Agency or a Web Design Company, then outsourcing SEO makes a bunch of sense as search engine optimization is not likely to be a core competency. And many SEO reseller programs are really just well-packaged SEO outsourcing opportunities for you as well.
That being said, what are the appropriate expectations to have when you outsource SEO or join an SEO reseller program to deliver the on-site SEO or link-building work. This is critical to understand before you get too deep into the sales process with a real customer. At HubShout, we have seen many SEO resellers make this mistake. Customer expectations are formed very early in the sales process, and sometimes before a customer has even approached you about SEO. And because most people don't have a deep knowledge of search engine optimization it is easy for them to bring inappropriate expectations.
On the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) side of the business, immediate gratification can be realized. Although, any seasoned PPC analyst will tell you that it is not really true here either. But without getting too far off-course, let's just say that with PPC you can put in a credit card and be seeing ads and clicks in Google this afternoon (Again: Achieving a positive ROI from that ad spend it a lengthy process). But in SEO, this just is not possible. Any reputable search engine optimization blog will tell you that time is a critical ingredient for a positive return from SEO marketing. And while there are many advantages to outsourcing SEO, speeding up the process significantly may not be one of them.
I have found that any group that wants you to outsource SEO to them will go out of there way to talk to you about "appropriate expectation setting" for clients. And this is a positive sign. Groups that make wild promises about organic search engine rankings are to be avoided. They are not telling the truth and will probably not create a positive outcome for your campaign. Those that work hard to help you understand what you can really expect from your SEO outsourcing are going to be better partners in the long run. Join those SEO reseller programs. In my opinion, gaining 4 customers in a month who all stay with you for 2 years is far better than gaining 12 customers in a month who all quit the SEO program within 60 days. And the different may well be in how well you set the customers expectation from the very initial sales consultation.