In this era of growing internet penetration, businesses of all kinds can benefit significantly from having a strong online presence. In particular, search engine marketing—including SEO—has been proven highly advantageous for many companies.
If you’re one of these companies, you may be planning to build your own SEO team, but the question is, should you do it in-house or outsource SEO activities to the experts?
It can be challenging to choose whether to hire professionals for an SEO team directly or to outsource it to a third-party firm. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages; plus, there are a plethora of other factors to consider. So, let’s weigh up the pros and cons to see which is the better option for you.
In-House SEO Teams
Having an in-house SEO team means directly hiring professionals to do SEO work for your company. This sounds like the ideal way to go, but depending on your SEO goals, nature of your business, budget, and many other factors, you might have to think twice about building an in-house team.
Having SEO Specialists in-house means you can easily reach out to them—and in person nonetheless—in case anything needs immediate attention. No need to communicate digitally and waste time waiting for a response.
- Knowledge about the business
Your employees should have an intimate understanding of your business even without having to do research, and that comes in handy when your marketers do other tasks related to SEO, like making Social Media or blog posts, bidding keywords, etc. It also helps in making their outputs consistent.
- Saves on costs
Cutting out the SEO agency would save your monthly budget, as you won’t have to pay set up costs, monthly retainers, or other hidden charges for hiring an agency. You can always provide an excellent salary package for your SEO specialists and save on your marketing spend as long as your process is efficient.
- Fosters collaboration
The best SEO strategies involve teamwork, especially since it relies on different tasks to be carried out by different employees. No doubt this can be made seamless by having an in-house SEO. When your search team is close and understands the business as well as its overall direction, you will potentially discover more SEO opportunities.
- Full control of the processes at all times
An in-house SEO team will give you some level of transparency regarding their techniques, procedures, and other information; but, they can also provide control over what strategies you want to implement and how. A third party may not be so transparent with how they do things, and might not follow the direction and guidance of their clients to the letter, especially if operations and practices aren’t easily movable.
- Knowledge decay
This refers to a lack of new information, updates, or improvements to your team’s knowledge about their tasks, and this often happens when they work on the same goals over and over again, always utilizing the same techniques. In-house SEOs can quickly sink into a systematic pattern of work that never evolves with the times, which could make your strategies stagnant.
- Possible huge costs
The salary for a full-time, experienced SEO Specialist could easily be more than $3,000 a month, while some agencies offer low-cost packages that start for less than $1,000. You don’t need just one specialist, though, as SEO requires multiple moving parts and it’s impossible to find one who’s an expert in everything. More hires could mean more expenses, therefore further ballooning your payment.
That is why it is essential to look at all the costs and benefits thoroughly if you’re deciding between an in-house or third-party SEO team.
- There’s little accountability
When something goes wrong or if the strategy fails, you can choose to fire your in-house SEO expert, though that doesn’t help that much to fix your problems and there’s little accountability beyond that. The worst part is, if you do take that person off the team, you’d have to take on the blame and fix things yourself.
Outsourced SEO Teams
On the contrary, you also have the option to hire a third-party SEO agency. Since digital marketing is now acknowledged as an essential strategy for business growth, firms that offer such services have grown in number. As much as SEO is a quintessential part of any digital marketing strategy, you should first determine if hiring outside help is what’s best for your company.
- Lets you focus on core business functions
When you hire an SEO partner that can genuinely help give you high visibility on search engines, you take that load off your shoulders and will have time to focus on other business functions that need your attention, which is especially helpful if you’re an SMB owner who still needs to plan out different strategies for growth. For larger businesses, it saves time spent on possibly going through multiple interviews to find in-house specialists.
- Cheaper cost
For some organizations, hiring an SEO agency may make more sense because it generally costs less than paying for salaries and benefits of multiple professionals. Through an agency, you have access to a whole team of professionals with the right skills set, even those outside of SEO. However, you don’t always have to go for the cheapest one—remember that the cost of service often reflects the quality of work.
- Offers a unique perspective
SEO agencies have worked with other clients from different industries, so they are used to going outside of their comfort zone or thinking outside the box. Through this, they get to provide clients with fresh perspectives and avoid the paralysis that can sometimes happen from being too familiar with the brand and its products and services. This experience also gives them a unique outlook to provide insights from their work with other similar companies.
To assure accountability from an SEO agency, you need to make sure that you reach an agreement that will oblige them to provide feedback based on what they have done each month. Doing this, and having them report to you regularly, will guarantee accountability, whether they’re doing a good job or not.
- Expertise and resources
Experience also plays a big part when it comes to creating an SEO strategy for your business. An experienced agency that has worked with clients from various industries would have relatively more insights that can help you determine the route to take for your SEO. Aside from expertise, tools resources are also vital in SEO. Any established SEO partner should have a considerable toolset that you can add to your SEO arsenal.
- Finding the right one
SEO companies have popped out left and right over the last few years, making it harder to decipher which one really offers the best services for the buck. Merely looking at their websites won’t tell you if the agency is going to meet your needs or if the people working there are truly knowledgeable in the field.
There’s no denying that there’s a chance you might get “scammed” by some agencies, and this underscores the importance of doing your due diligence when looking for an SEO partner to trust. You can always read testimonials, reviews, and any information regarding your preferred company’s performance. Try to meet with them first personally before picking an agency.
- Cultural boundaries
SEO is a global industry, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you end up setting your heart on an agency based offshore. Cultural differences should not be a turn-off, as long as you understand that there may be dissimilarities between you and the agency in some matters due to cultural boundaries. In some instances, it has led to issues, but it generally does more good than harm.
- Additional expense
When it comes to price, quality should always be a factor to consider. Cheap agencies can be good or bad for your business, and so can the expensive ones. And although hiring a SEO agency involves additional monthly costs associated with service fees and retainers, a focused partner will likely have a highly-efficient operational system in place, which means getting more out of each dollar spent.
- Less control of the processes
Outsourcing companies have the responsibility to regularly report the work they did for you to keep you in the loop. However, when it comes to SEO agencies, the business owner usually doesn’t have a hand in every aspect and process. A reliable SEO partner will ask for your recommendations and guidance, but ultimately, they may end up using strategies that they themselves deem is fit for your business, even if you don’t necessarily think that it’s the right one.
Outsourcing and Its Implications to Scalability
Every business aims for growth, but that will always be a challenge to do so, especially with the ever-changing market conditions. A thriving business means that clients and their demands will also increase, and if you’re still working with the outdated systems that you started with, you’ll likely fail to keep up with those demands.
No patchwork solution will be enough; instead, you have to prepare by regularly improving your solutions and processes for the future, so that you can also stay competitive. In this case, scaling your business means building a model and putting systems in place that can be grown or shrunk, depending on your needs at the time.
The importance of scalability
When you have solutions in place to handle increases, you maintain your business’ efficiency and the quality of products and services you offer. These, in turn, can reinforce good customer relations business reputation. From a financial perspective, scalability can lower what you’re paying out, and you get more for what you pay.
Small businesses need scalability even more, as they have the biggest potential for growth. Scalability on one or more levels allows them to hold onto and build market share. However, they have to be more careful with their limited resources, as they may fail to foresee what they might need or where the market might go in the future.
How outsourcing SEO can help scalability
One of the solutions you can look at to improve scalability is outsourcing, as this option would allow you to ramp up production without having to go over your budget for recruitment and retention. You’re also assured that personnel adequately trained on what they need to do for you.
It’s also easier to shrink the size of your team with outsourcing, as you don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of terminating employees, and because you’re only scaling up on an as-needed basis. For example, outsourcing would allow you to scale up during peak seasons or when you’re starting a new project, until such time that you’ve achieved the goal of your project and you can reduce the size of operations.
It goes without saying that you only pay for what you use when it comes to outsourcing SEO. This means that you can retain a significant amount of budget that would otherwise be spent on overhead costs, and still get the expertise you require full time, albeit only temporarily.
Other organizations may also opt to outsource non-strategic tasks in order to optimize their core competencies while bringing in more value to their businesses. These tasks are ideal to contract out because it won’t require you to hand over access to sensitive information, and you can cut down costs and time.
Outsource If You Must
In reality, no single option works for every company. Outsourcing or doing in-house SEO would each work best in specific situations. For instance, a start-up or SMB that has limited budget may find it more beneficial to hire an outsourced agency that offers low-cost packages, but an established enterprise that has more on the line in terms of reputation would want (and afford) in-house specialists.
Keep in mind, building a SEO team isn’t always black and white. For example, some companies may choose to hire small core SEO team in-house to focus on strategic decisions while an outsourced SEO partner handles the bulk of the execution.
Situations can differ depending on many factors; that is why it’s vital to have a deep understanding of your business’ nature, goals, and resources before choosing between in-house and outsourced. But, just in case you opt to hire a partner for your SEO needs, SEO Company will work with you to find the agency that matches your needs!