Is in-house SEO better than outsourcing SEO services to an agency? That answer depends on your business, particularly its size, budget, and structure. For each scenario, there are several factors to consider. We’ll take a closer look at both situations and at some of the pros, cons, and challenges behind going with in-house vs outsourced SEO.
Should You Bring SEO In-house or Hire an SEO Agency?
Business size can determine suitability for conducting SEO in-house vs outsourcing. A small business with a smaller website can likely best handle its SEO and digital marketing needs through a freelancer or SEO agency. Hiring a full time SEO specialist could be overkill for the needs of a smaller business and website.
A large enterprise-level business or e-commerce business will likely need an SEO team structure that includes a full time SEO specialist, among other specialized roles. Further, SEO is only part of a company’s marketing strategy, and large companies typically contain their own marketers, copywriters, developers, and other specialists.
Mid-size companies might go either way, keeping an in-house SEO team or working with an SEO and marketing agency long-term. Both options have their advantages, so let’s take a closer look.
Benefits of Having In-House SEO Talent
An in-house SEO strategist will gain deep knowledge of your business and its website. Over time, knowledge of site history and its unique internal workings and roadblocks provide the foundation for tailored strategy.
SEO also influences other teams’ work. The workings of web development, design, and brand marketing, among others, affect your site’s overall SEO, as well. Having a knowledgeable SEO resource to turn to surrounding these other fields and decisions can be very helpful.
Challenges with Hiring an In-House SEO Specialist
Despite the convenience and helpfulness that a full time SEO specialist provides, there are challenges to this route, even for a skilled specialist.
- Expense: Hiring a full time specialist can be expensive. Occasionally outsourcing SEO needs can be cheaper than having to hire a full time employee. Further, with a small single-person SEO team, hiring a candidate with enough experience to manage all of your site’s content can increase costs.
- Demand: There is typically greater demand for SEO specialists than there are potential employees to fill these roles. Therefore, SEOs can be choosy. Companies with more modest budgets or those who work in less prominent fields might lose candidates to others.
- Competence: Small and mid-size businesses have to put a lot of faith in their SEO specialist, as he or she will oversee how well your site and company is discovered through search engines, a critical business driver. Finding the person with the right experience and for the right price can be a tough balancing act.
The Value in Working with an SEO Agency
Agencies do pose clear advantages over full time hires in the SEO in-house vs outsourcing debate. Agencies typically have a whole team of SEO experts, so they can draw from a deeper bench of talent and expertise. When encountering new challenges, agency representatives can brainstorm and work together.
Agencies can also work on specific projects and tasks as needed. A full time specialist, on the other hand, must be paid continuously regardless of need. Because multiple specialists can work on multiple aspects of a project, more can be achieved for less, increasing value.
Cons of Working with an SEO Agency
SEO agencies aren’t without their drawbacks. And while they possess expertise and a wide variety of skills, they can’t match an internal candidate in some areas.
- External teams: Agencies will always be external to your company. Their experts aren’t as ingrained in your business as internal candidates. While this is just the nature of working with agencies, it can mean being a step behind in terms of changing business goals, new developments, and company news that an internal specialist would know about right away.
- Service inconsistency: Different agency representatives perform differently, meaning results can vary. You may not be as attuned as to who is working on your website when outsourcing SEO. Finally, your representative may change, resulting in bringing someone new and less knowledgeable of your site up to speed.
- Visibility and communication: Agencies often have only a single point of contact with your company. So if another higher-up or employee makes a decision or change that affects SEO, it’s up to you or the designated point of contact to keep an agency up to speed. Further, it can be harder for agency representatives to see great ideas come to light. As external workers, they can’t as easily suggest or influence a new direction.
The Roles for Your In-House SEO Team Structure
SEO is a large and dynamic field. And while some small and mid-size companies get by with a single in-house SEO specialist, a team of specialists can more effectively strategize. Yes, not every company can afford to hire a team, but a well-managed and diversified team can provide in-house company knowledge with the range of skills of an agency team.
While size varies, a team of three to five SEO specialists can cover a number of skill sets and support many companies’ full SEO needs. Below, typical roles and duties are described in more detail.
An SEO search manager decides on the goals and forms the roadmap for achieving those goals. In terms of SEO team structure, the search manager keeps his or her gaze on the overall picture while making sure that key KPIs are met and site performance is on track. in-house SEO training for other SEO and non-SEO employees could also be a focus.
A search manager knows how to hire the right people and manage their tasks so that overall goals are met while also understanding SEO usability, reference, authority, and other key aspects.
An SEO specialist finds ways to improve or maintain SEO rankings by looking at keywords, technical SEO, updates to search engine crawlers, and many other features of a comprehensive SEO strategy. A specialist seeks to maintain on-page optimization of content and off-page optimization of links. Optimization of social media strategy may also be necessary.
A link builder or backlink specialist works to acquire and build all the links back to a particular site. A link builder devises and develops ideas for link-generating copy and similar features. These links play a pivotal role in overall SEO strategy and results.
A content specialist writes content that’s in line with an SEO team’s strategy to improve rankings. A content specialist writes copy for web pages, blog posts, and other parts of a website with the goal of providing informative content that’s also optimized for SEO. The content should be authoritative on the topic discussed and useful to visitors while containing and using keywords and phrases that can earn search visibility.
Outsource Your SEO with Us
After considering all factors, if you’re looking to outsource your SEO, My Creative Mark’s team of SEO experts can provide reliable service for your business. If you’re looking to improve traffic to your site, don’t go at it alone. Our agency can serve the unique needs of your business and its site in order to optimize SEO and support your business goals. Contact us to find out more about working together.