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SEO Agency vs In-House SEO: Maximize ROI by Outsourcing

Is your in-house marketing team tasked with SEO? Thinking of hiring an outside digital marketing agency to support your optimization efforts? If you’re torn between doing everything internally and outsourcing SEO, here’s what you need to know.

Jan 20, 2024

5 m read

While there are advantages to maintaining an internal marketing team with SEO chops, the current business environment calls for adaptability and flexibility. Keeping SEOs on the payroll may make it harder to evolve your digital marketing strategy as the economic landscape changes and search engines integrate AI features. Outsourcing your efforts to a dedicated SEO agency can help you stay ahead of the curve. Here’s how the two options stack up.

(And of course, there’s option three: You can maintain an internal team and hire an SEO consultant.)

What’s the Difference Between In-House SEO and an SEO Agency?

In-house SEO involves managing all SEO-related activities within your organization, while an SEO agency is an external service provider specializing in various SEO strategies.

The table below provides a snapshot of their pros and cons:

 In-House SEOSEO Agency
ProsComplete control, in-depth understanding of the business, direct communicationDiverse expertise, access to advanced tools, broad industry experience
ConsLimited expertise, resource-intensive, slower adaptation to SEO changesLess business context, potential communication gaps, cost considerations

To better understand these pros and cons, let’s delve deeper into each option.

What Is In-House SEO?

In-house SEO involves your business having its own dedicated team of SEO professionals who work exclusively for your organization. These specialists could include content creators, SEO strategists, technical SEO experts, link builders, and analysts who are integrated into your organizational structure. They participate in your day-to-day operations, understand your business’s inner workings, and have a clear vision of your business goals and objectives.

This team of professionals takes responsibility for planning and implementing SEO strategies, monitoring website performance, and conducting regular SEO audits to identify and fix potential issues. They work on optimizing your online presence through various techniques, including keyword research, content creation and optimization, link building, on-page and off-page SEO, technical SEO, and much more. This SEO-specific workflow ensures a unified strategy that aligns with your broader marketing goals.

Pros and Cons of In-House SEO

Pros

In-house SEO can be particularly advantageous due to its level of control and customization. The team’s deep understanding of your business and direct communication lines with other departments are invaluable.

You also have total control over your SEO strategies, which you can specifically tailor to align with your unique business goals. Additionally, in-house SEO specialists have a profound understanding of your brand, target audience, and products/services, which can lead to highly targeted and personalized SEO strategies.

Direct communication with other departments also fosters a collaborative environment, which can result in more cohesive and effective marketing campaigns.

Cons

Of course, there are also some drawbacks to consider. First, in-house SEO can be resource-intensive. Hiring, training, and retaining a team of SEO professionals requires significant investment, both financially and time-wise. SEO is a rapidly evolving field, so there’s a need for constant training to keep your team up-to-date with the latest trends and algorithm updates.

In addition, an in-house team may lack the breadth of experience that comes from working with multiple clients across various industries. This could potentially limit the range of strategies they can implement and their ability to bring fresh perspectives to the table.

What Is an SEO Agency?

An SEO agency is an external company that specializes in providing a comprehensive range of SEO services. These agencies house a team of experts with diverse skills and backgrounds who collectively work towards optimizing your business’s online presence.

Services offered by an SEO agency typically include on-page SEO (optimizing content and HTML source code), off-page SEO (building high-quality backlinks), technical SEO (improving website speed, mobile optimization, etc.), content marketing, link building, keyword research, competitor analysis, and SEO analytics, among others.

Agencies work with various clients across different industries, giving them a broad perspective on the SEO landscape. They are up-to-date with the latest trends, algorithm updates, and best practices in the SEO industry.

Pros and Cons of Working With an SEO Agency

Pros

One of the most significant advantages of working with an SEO agency is access to a team of experts who specialize in different aspects of SEO. They bring a wide range of skills, which can enrich the strategies implemented for your business.

An agency also offers access to advanced SEO tools and technologies that might be cost-prohibitive for some businesses to purchase on their own. Furthermore, since agencies work with multiple clients, they bring a wider, experienced perspective and can apply successful strategies they’ve developed for other clients to your business.

Another critical advantage is the ability to scale services according to your needs. As your business grows, the agency can adapt to offer more extensive services, providing flexibility that might be challenging with an in-house team.

Cons

Working with an SEO agency can also have some potential drawbacks. One common concern is that an agency, being an external entity, may not fully understand your business context or have the same level of commitment as an in-house team. It could also take a little time for the agency’s team to fully grasp your business model, goals, and target audience.

Communication can also be a challenge, especially if the agency is in a different time zone or if the agency is managing too many clients simultaneously. If you work with a reputable agency, though, this shouldn’t be a problem — great agencies will prioritize communication and transparency.

Additionally, the cost of hiring an SEO agency could be a negative factor for some small businesses or startups. However, it often proves to be a worthy investment considering the benefits and the potential ROI of SEO efforts.

SEO Agency vs In-House: Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing between an in-house SEO team and an SEO agency largely depends on your business’s specific needs, budget, resources, and strategic objectives. While each option has its pros and cons, the decision will hinge on a careful analysis of how each aligns with your current and future goals.

Building an in-house SEO team may seem appealing for larger businesses that require a dedicated team working full-time on their SEO strategies. Having team members deeply integrated into your company culture and operations can enhance strategic alignment and facilitate more direct communication.

However, it’s worth noting that maintaining an in-house team incurs substantial costs. These include hiring costs, continual training and professional development, salaries, benefits, and overhead expenses. Plus, the cost of acquiring and maintaining premium SEO tools can be exorbitant. In terms of expertise, an in-house team, unless quite large, may lack the wide array of skills an agency possesses.

On the other hand, outsourcing your SEO to an agency can be a more viable and cost-effective solution for many businesses. Agencies possess a pool of experts in different SEO fields, offering specialization and expertise that may be challenging to replicate in-house. Plus, they are already equipped with advanced tools and resources, which they typically include in their service package.

Outsourcing can also be beneficial for businesses seeking flexibility. As your business grows and your needs evolve, an SEO agency can scale its services accordingly. Agencies are also well-versed in adapting to the ever-changing landscape of SEO, which ensures your strategies remain effective and current.

An agency can also bring an external perspective to your business, uncovering opportunities or issues you might have overlooked. Even businesses with existing in-house SEO teams can often benefit from this external insight and can outsource specific tasks or projects that require specialized expertise.

Reach New Heights With an Expert SEO Agency Today

After weighing the pros and cons of both in-house SEO and SEO agencies, it’s clear that making a choice largely depends on your individual business circumstances and SEO goals. However, the breadth of expertise, access to advanced tools, flexibility, and diverse industry experience that an SEO agency offers can provide your business with a significant competitive edge.

Remember that a dedicated SEO agency is more than a service provider — it’s a partner in your business’s growth. The agency’s team members work with you, learn to understand your business needs, and help you navigate the complex, ever-evolving digital landscape. They complement your efforts by aligning their strategies with your business objectives, thus facilitating a cooperative partnership that maximizes your online visibility and, ultimately, your return on investment.

Embark on a journey to elevate your digital presence and exceed your online marketing goals. Start with a free consultation and discover the transformative impact a partnership with an expert SEO agency can bring to your business. It’s time to reach new heights in your online success. Take the next step today — your future awaits.

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