As new technologies continue to shape the digital marketing landscape, businesses are doing everything they can to adapt and stay on top of consumers’ minds. That’s why it’s important for organizations today to maximize their brand visibility online to generate sustainable traffic.
If you want to reach your audience online, one of the most effective ways to do it is with search engine optimization (SEO). After all, over half of all online activities start with search engines. Each click represents the behavior of end-users who are in a particular stage of their buying process.
If the predicament of whether you should build an in-house team of SEO specialists or outsource instead keeps you up at night, we’re here to enlighten you!
There’s a lot to take into consideration when deciding between outsourcing or building your own in-house team. There are plenty of risks and a lot at stake. But ultimately, your decision depends on the unique needs and capacity of your organization.
Some businesses end up outsourcing their search marketing efforts due to lack of knowledge, resources, or scale of operations to start their in-house team. But there are those who are willing to take the risk to build their own SEO team.
If you see yourself meeting with your in-house SEO team over daily coffee and getting hands-on with their journey, then it’s time you roll up your sleeves and find out how to do it.
Critical SEO Team Roles
You need more than one person to build a team and execute SEO strategies effectively. Each role demands a particular set of skills and expertise. Ideally, your in-house SEO team should be composed of these power players:
- SEO Manager
The head of the team is responsible for spearheading the campaigns and ensuring that everyone is on track from start to finish. He or she essentially maintains coordination within the team, ensuring that they’re all on track towards planning and implementing successful SEO campaigns.
On the technical side, the SEO Manager is in charge of developing measurable goals and creating action plans to help reach those goals, so a holistic understanding of modern SEO is a must. It’s also important that your SEO Manager has natural leadership and interpersonal skills because he or she will be in charge of leading and motivating the rest of the team.
Qualifications: This person must have a solid background in marketing (e.g., inbound marketing), in-depth knowledge in SEO, content marketing, and conversion optimization.
- PR and Link Builders
Public relations (PR) outreach and link building are different things. However, in the new age of digital and modern SEO, the two can be considered as one and the same. Ultimately, they have one common goal: to increase a website’s organic visibility and authority.
PR specialist work involves looking for and connecting with trustworthy and relevant people in various industries to help promote your website content. They are in charge of the guest posts, public relations, and general media coverage for businesses.
On the other hand, link builders do the core of growing your website’s digital footprint online through building links. They’re responsible for doing outreach campaigns, assessing clients’ sites and recognizing linkable assets, and developing tactics based on live analytics for optimal link efficiency.
Qualifications: The ideal candidate for this role has excellent analytical skills, creativity, good writing and researching skills, and a background in SEO.
- Content Creators
Content is the heart of SEO. Without your quality content, your link builders won’t have anywhere to point the valuable backlinks that they generate.
You need two people to produce relevant and well-written content. A content strategist who is in charge of the content planning, strategy, and development; and a content writer who’s responsible for writing/fulfilling the content requests.
Content writers are responsible for producing quality content as outlined by the content strategist. Their job is to curate content that captures the attention and interest of the client’s target market. They should also possess good copywriting skills to be used for titles, headlines, and captions.
Qualifications: This person has great communication and writing skills. He or she should also have excellent time management skills and should be able to work with minimal supervision.
- SEO Analyst
Every SEO team needs an analyst, the one who knows the technical aspect of SEO inside out. Your SEO Analyst should understand site architecture and can draw information from search-related data quickly and easily. He or she should be able to catch virtually any glitch in the SEO infrastructure.
They’ll handle tasks like split testing, internal linking optimization, executing rich snippets, and “rel” tags. Primarily, they’re responsible for sending reports, analyzing data, and doing website audits. For analysis, the work involves gathering, segmentation, and processing of data, such as traffic, user signals, search engine rankings, revenue per keyword, and more.
Qualifications: Your SEO analyst should have a solid background in data analytics, search ranking factors, Google analytics, and knowledge in website optimization tools.
Modern SEO takes account of user experience. And to provide that, your team would need a developer who can transform a website into something that is functional, intuitive, and that drives results. This person is responsible for using best SEO design practices for the entirety of a website.
SEO developers implement modifications and improvements necessary to optimize a website and draw in more organic visitors. They track and analyze website performance and analytics, so they can immediately offer solutions if they identify any deficiencies. Also, they work on optimization techniques for search engine marketing.
Qualifications: Your web developer needs to be knowledgeable in user experience principles. He or she should be able to troubleshoot issues quickly and should have excellent experience in coding both websites and web applications.
If you recognize quality written content, then should you know what stellar design looks like. To consistently deliver remarkable outputs, you need a designer to make your content even more shareable, clickable, and visually compelling.
SEO designers can help improve a website’s representation in aid of the developer, so an understanding of UX principles is always helpful. Moreover, designers work side-by-side with content marketers to work on visual materials for content, such as infographics, page layouts, and other visual content materials.
Qualifications: Your designer should have excellent visual design skills. He or she needs to be proficient in design software and knowledgeable in graphic design principles, typography, and color psychology.
Structuring Your SEO Team
An SEO team is a lot to manage, which is why you need to find the right structure to keep the team in harmony. To develop the right structure for your in-house SEO team, you need to consider factors like budget, company size, and the model that best works for your organization.
Below, we share three different ways you can model your own in-house SEO team around (these structures work for any data-savvy teams that depend on collaboration and data sharing):
- Center of Excellence
In the center of excellence (CoE) model, the “center” in this structure refers to the group of people leading a central department that focuses on a specific field (in this case, SEO). Thus, enhancing their expertise in a particular area to help propel the business forward. This is one way of boosting competency and efficiency in the team.
The CoE concept makes SEO less time consuming and focused on laying the groundwork and corroborating all processes and guidelines. The team will then have a better opportunity to establish an impact online. They work as a unit to find the best SEO practices and map out how the process with be applied across the company.
Large companies are likely to adopt this model because of incapacity to support an SEO team at every branch or location of their business. The CoE ensures a standardized process for maintenance and eventually, evolution.
- Uses resources and time in a more efficient manner
- Can measure and prove organizational impact
- Have a defined ROI
- An adaptable process
- Can drive away local markets due to its paramount scope
- May disempower employees if unable to keep the harmony strong
- Distributed Team
The distributed team methodology is perfect if you’ll be working with remote employees or creating a virtual team. “Distributed teams” involve a hybrid model where on-site and off-site employees work together to take on projects big and small.
This framework is an ideal starting point since you’re building a team from scratch. Of course, you would need responsible workers who are independent but also collaborative. For instance, designers and developers can work independently. But when it comes to projects that require both of their skills, they should be able to coordinate and work together without issues.
- Allows management to stay focused on goals; no micromanaging
- More flexibility
- Good for teams with skill gaps
- Prone to miscommunication
- Solving problems in real-time can be difficult
- Lack of a tight-knit culture
- Hub and Spoke
If you have the budget and organizational set-up, you can look into modeling your in-house SEO team to the hub and spoke model. This framework is a hybrid approach that embodies the right balance of the two models above. For instance, you can practice a distributed team with your remote developer and designers, but observe a hub and spoke model with the rest of your team.
The hub and spoke model focuses on centralization. Instead of implementing multiple leaders, the hub and spoke concept builds a hierarchy of control where centralized concerns can be raised. The decision-makers are the “hub” while the “spoke” represent the workers who fulfill their specific roles.
Given this, the model has a central contact person or expert team that sets the guidelines, tools, and identifies processes. It encourages coordination between departments and central management. With this, local teams are motivated to innovate, take risks, and become more proactive.
- Empowers local teams
- Has a chain of command process
- Decisions not implemented through centralized commands might cause catastrophe
- Hubs tend to micromanage
- Employees may feel reluctant when making decisions
Building an SEO Team from Scratch
How you want to build your own SEO team depends on your organization, your industry, and the approach you want. Regardless, here are the necessary steps that will help you build a robust in-house SEO team from the ground up.
Step 1: Define the kind of team you want
Before you start evaluating costs, find out what type of SEO team you want to build. Will you be employing remote workers, outsourcing a particular skill, or building an on-site team? Some companies hire a combination of creatives (design, content writers) and technical SEO professionals (SEO analyst, developer) while there are others that prefer to have a whole team dedicated to one skill (SEO specialists).
Step 2: Identify your budget
Next, you need to develop the budget for your team. As you know, hiring top talent can incur hefty costs, that’s considering the roles you need for the initial team, their experience and achievements, and their salaries. Additionally, you’d want to look into training and technical tools for the team as well.
Step 3: Determine your goals
Once you have determined your budget, you can move onto establishing the goals you aim to accomplish. This can touch on performance measurement, traffic growth, keyword rankings, and return on investment (ROI). Since you’ll be shelling out a sizeable budget, you’ll want to keep track of development costs.
Let’s say you’re prepared to allocate a total cost of $75,000 per year. Divide that by twelve months to find your monthly expense. With your margin percentage, you should be able to determine how much you should be getting in increased sales to justify your expense.
Step 4: Start hiring
Now that you’ve outlined your budget and goals, you can begin filling your vacancies. Since you can’t fill all positions at once, you best start with hiring the head of the team—the SEO manager or director. This person will be a critical part of your initial team because they will help you build out processes from the get-go as well as assist with the hiring process.
Many businesses thrive and wither by word of mouth advertising. In this digital age where smart devices are omnipresent in people’s lives, online visibility through search is vital to a business’ success. Search engine optimization can be seen as the modern day’s word of mouth marketing.
It takes a lot of time, resources, and patience to put together an incredible team of SEO professionals. If you don’t find success in building your own team from scratch (which is understandable), you always have the option to outsource these services.
SEO Company offers a wide range of search engine optimization solutions proven to help your online growth and brand authority.