The Great Debate
SEO has become a critical component of every business wishing to have a prominent online presence. In fact, according to Statista the number of total e-commerce sessions generated by search traffic is an astonishing 65%! The benefits of SEO are clearly apparent, but what approach is better for your business? What are the benefits of doing SEO in-house vs outsourcing?
Pros & Cons of Outsourced SEO vs In-House SEO
In the article below, we define what is SEO outsourcing and what in-house SEO looks like. When does it make the most sense to have an in-house SEO team and when are you better off outsourcing SEO?
What is SEO Outsourcing?
SEO outsourcing is hiring a third-party SEO agency or freelancer to oversee your company’s SEO requirements. The SEO firm will manage all aspects of your website’s on-page and off-page search engine optimisation.
What is In-House SEO?
In-house SEO refers to hiring your own personnel to conduct your company’s search engine optimisation requirements, without outside assistance.
An in-house SEO team can also consist of insourcing. This means training your current employees to perform the necessary functions. Note that insourcing will require bringing in specialists to train your staff how to do their new tasks.
Advantages of Outsourcing your SEO
What are the benefits of engaging an outside SEO firm to take care of all your search engine optimisation requirements? When may it not be a good idea to hire an inside SEO team?
Why outsource your SEO
- Save money: one of the biggest benefits of not doing SEO in-house is the cost savings. Employing an in-house SEO team requires hiring a number of additional personnel. You may need an SEO specialist, SEO project manager and also an SEO content writer. That already translates into paying another 3 full-time wages, without considering the extra costs of specialised SEO software and programs. An SEO specialist can earn between $55,000 to $80,000 a year. In comparison, the average SEO plan through an agency costs approximately $2819-$10000 a month, translating into a yearly outlay of $34,000 to $60,000. Outsourced SEO vs. in-house SEO is therefore considerably cheaper.
- Expertise and broad skill range: in every speciality area, there are varying levels of expertise. You want access to the very best – the specialists. An agency focusing on SEO as their main offer, will have the level of expertise to develop an SEO strategy that will integrate seamlessly with your business.
There are many different areas to master in SEO:
- overall strategy
- keyword research
- technical SEO
- link building
- content creation
- on-page SEO
- local SEO
- off-site SEO
as well as many other small strategies making up your overall campaign.
What does an SEO agency do? They have a team of qualified SEO specialists who all have unique insights in different areas on how to help your business grow. When you engage the services of an SEO agency, you gain access to the full range.
It’s impossible for one person to be an expert in every area. Although an in-house SEO specialist may be good at SEO, you won’t get the full skill range that you would from an agency. To ensure that you receive the maximum benefit when outsourcing your SEO requirements and gain access to a wide skill range, look for an agency that consistently delivers high-quality services across all areas to its clients. Have an initial informal chat with an SEO agency to see if they have the capacity to manage your SEO requirements.
- Save on expenses associated with having an in-house team: you won’t have to devote time, space and money to the necessary resources hiring an in-house SEO team would require. You won’t need to find work space and equipment, or invest in expensive SEO software and training.
- Minimise the risk of knowledge decay: As with many other areas, SEO is a constantly evolving field. In-house SEO specialists have little incentive to continue outside learning and adapt as necessary. They often become ‘stuck in a rut’ and continue with their habitual processes. They generally only know SEO for the specific niche they’re working in and don’t stay up-to-date on other best practices which could have an impact on the end results. This is a big disadvantage of SEO in-house vs. outsourcing.
SEO agencies on the other hand, are highly committed to staying well-versed in the latest SEO best practices, including sending their employees to training. They also tend to be doing SEO for multiple niches and therefore apply what they learn in one niche to others, with great success.
Doing SEO In-House vs. Outsourcing
Although there are a number of disadvantages of hiring an in-house SEO team as detailed above, there are also benefits. What are the pros of in-house SEO?
What’s good about in-house SEO?
- Full visibility: one of the main advantages in doing SEO in-house, is that you will have a sense of ownership over your SEO processes. You will have nearly full visibility and control over which in-house SEO strategies get implemented and how. Your employee will be directly answerable to you at all times.
A downside of outsourcing SEO is that you lose some managerial control. Many agencies have a level of opaqueness where the clients can’t see the work they do and have to rely on monthly reports. You need to give the agency full access to your website without being able to watch them at work whenever you wish. This is why it is so important to research the SEO agency you choose to outsource to and make sure you fully trust them.
- Brand familiarity: if you’re using someone who lives and breathes your brand all day, they’ll have a much better chance of successfully representing what you stand for. SEO includes content creation, social media posts and relationships with external sites. Doing SEO in-house vs outsourcing gives you a greater advantage in this area, with more chances of keeping everything consistent.
An outside SEO firm doesn’t know your business as well as an insider. If considering outsourced SEO vs. in-house SEO, ensure the SEO agency takes the time to truly get to know your offer, target audience and brand.
- Team collaboration: the best SEO strategies involve teamwork – designers to design engaging websites and blog graphics, developers to set up the structure and other personnel as necessary. Building an in-house SEO strategy is generally highly successful due to the possibility of collaboration with other, existing teams within your corporation. An in-house SEO team can also generate excitement when it comes to creating workable business solutions.
- Less security risks: doing SEO in-house vs. outsourcing mitigates security concerns that may otherwise occur. Whenever you hire an outside company to manage part of your business, you open yourself up to potential security risks. Before outsourcing your SEO, consider the confidential information your company has and decide whether this is the best option for your business. You could always ask the agency to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
- Minimise quality issues: although SEO agencies generally deliver high-quality work, there still may be quality issues. They’ll have a range of clients they’re dealing with and will have to divide their attention. When you hire an in-house SEO team, they will be fully devoted to your company and won’t have to split their time and attention.
What’s the Better Option for me: SEO In-House vs Outsourcing?
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to deciding what works best for your business. Every business is unique and has its own priorities and needs.
The decision to do SEO in-house vs outsourcing will ultimately depend largely on what type of corporation you have, your budget and also on personal preference.
- run a large-scale established operation
- have a budget to match, and
- prefer to have more control, in-house brand familiarity and team collaboration,
then hiring an in-house SEO team would be the best option for you. However, be aware of the potential risks that come with doing SEO in-house and be proactive when it comes to these areas.
- run a small to medium sized operation or a rapidly growing startup
- have a lower budget, and
- prioritise hard, measurable results and growing with the times, but don’t have the time or headspace to devote to building your own in-house SEO team,
an SEO agency is the way to go for you. With the opportunity to work with a full team of SEO specialists and experts, you have greater chances of them being able to solve your trickiest SEO challenges. Again, knowing the potential risks and preempting them before they happen is vital to ensuring success.
Get more information about whether outsourced SEO vs in-house SEO is best for your business by having an informal chat with one of our experts.