Comparing In-House vs Agency SEO
“We do our SEO in-house.”
In this article, you will learn the 6 reasons why doing SEO in-house never works and what you should do instead.
So take a look because it could be the difference between whether you have a steady stream of inbound sales or not.
There’s something about SEO where everyone “also does” SEO. I’ve met so many Google Ads people who “also do SEO”, programmers who “also do SEO”.
This leads to a lot of SaaS & tech companies wanting to try it in-house. After all, you already have tech savvy people on your payroll.
Here’s why that never works and you’ll have MUCH more success pairing your team with an expert instead.
What is In-House SEO? An Introduction
To understand why managing search engine optimization in-house is rarely an effective choice, we first need to establish what in-house SEO actually is.
In-house SEO refers to a method of marketing management which involves hiring an internal team of search engine optimization experts to manage your search engine performance.
With an in-house SEO team, you invest in bringing marketing professionals into your business, who work with you on a day-to-day basis. They handle everything from internal SEO audits to technical SEO issue management, content creation, competitor analysis, link building, and on-page optimization. While this might seem like the most effective way to access comprehensive SEO-support, it comes with a number of challenges.
Finding the right people to manage your SEO strategy, and ensuring they have the right skills and expertise to deliver results takes significant time and effort. Depending on the size of your business, you might need to hire not just an SEO specialist, but an SEO manager, SEO director, content creation team, and SEO analyst.
The Pros and Cons of In-House SEO
- Control: Choosing in-house SEO team means you can maintain a higher level of control over not just which employees you hire, but the training they receive, the tools they use, and even the strategies they implement. If you already have a specific strategy you want to implement for search engine optimization, you’ll be able to directly guide your team.
- Company knowledge: In-house SEO professionals aren’t contractors or freelancers working with a variety of different companies. They’re internal employees dedicated entirely to your brand. This means they’re more likely to have a deeper understanding of your business, your target audience, and the strategies you want to implement.
- Communication: Since in-house employees work alongside your other team members on a consistent schedule, they’re likely to be easier to reach and communicate with than an agency or freelance team. You probably won’t encounter as many schedule issues as you would hiring a team from another part of the world, either.
- Expertise: As mentioned above, one of the biggest challenges of running an in-house team is finding the expertise you actually need. It’s difficult to find professionals capable of handling everything from content marketing to on-page optimization. You may even need to hire multiple members of staff to fill the gaps in your team’s knowledge.
- Cost: While working with an agency can seem expensive at first, hiring full-time teams for your SEO strategy is often a lot more expensive. Not only do you need to pay for the salary and benefits you give to your employees, but you’ll need to pay for software, technology, training, and other resources too.
- Scalability: With a SEO agency, you’ll be able to scale the services and support you need up and down according to your specific requirements. Alternatively, when you’re hiring staff-members in house, you won’t have the option to scale as rapidly or easily. You may also find it takes longer to get your SEO strategies off the ground, as you’ll need to train new staff.
- Resources: In-house SEO agencies only have access to the resources that you provide. Great SEO requires strategy, quality content creation, link building, and technical expertise. There’s no one person who is amazing at each of these. This means, depending on your budget, you might struggle to access the best analytical and research tools, automation software, and other solutions. Agencies and SEO teams that work with your brand from outside of your business already have access to these tools.
- Focus: Your team is already taking care of a million other tasks. So their job security doesn’t hinge on your search rankings. You will always get better SEO results from someone whose livelihood depends on it. According to the BLS, your Marketing Manager already is working 40+ a week focusing on their marketing efforts; they simply don’t have time to dedicate specifically to SEO.
- Never urgent: When SEO is done in-house, it stays on the backburner. The daily fires that come up will always take priority. So proper SEO just won’t get done! With an SEO team working for you, you are their priority. Your SEO specialist will monitor Google Search Console, perform additional keyword research, check your SEO metrics, and more.
- Time: If you do have a unicorn that can crush it at every facet of SEO, do they have an extra 40 hours per month to do it? No way. An SEO agency does. In fact, all their hours are focused on the on page SEO, off page SEO, and technical SEO.
- Testing: We handle SEO for dozens of websites. This allows us to see trends at scale with Google’s algorithm. If something works well for one site, we roll it out to the others. Years of SEO experience takes the guesswork out of your SEO strategy.
- Processes: We know exactly what levers to pull to get results and the order to do it. Someone who doesn’t only do SEO will do what they’re comfortable with. For example, if they’re a programmer they’ll stick to technical stuff. If they’re in marketing, they’ll focus on content creation. You cannot outrank your competitors when there are gaps in your SEO strategy.
What is an SEO Agency? The Alternative Solution
Ultimately, in-house SEO teams aren’t the most effective choice for most businesses. While they do have their benefits, there are numerous challenges you’ll need to overcome just to reach your business goals. The question is, what’s the alternative? The answer: an SEO agency.
SEO agencies are teams of specialist SEO experts, who work with your team according to your specific needs. These companies often work alongside a variety of different SEO clients, offering services ranging all the way from SEO consultation to strategy implementation, and auditing.
SEO agencies consist of a wide variety of different specialists, all with their own knowledge and experience in specific aspects of search engine optimization. This means an agency can tailor-make your service to the goals you have for any search engine strategy.
Not only is working with an SEO agency a more flexible, scalable option than hiring your own in-house team, but it can offer a variety of other benefits too. For instance, you’ll be able to access expertise without investing in training yourself, and you won’t have to worry as much about purchasing tools for your in-house staff to work with.
The Pros and Cons of SEO Agencies
In general, working with a SEO agency offers a lot more benefits than hiring an in-house team. SEO agencies give you exceptional knowledge, expertise, and resources, while reducing the work you need to do to optimize your own in-house staff. They have access to the latest tools, and constantly train staff members to ensure they’re delivering the right results.
Plus, because SEO agencies are reliant on their relationships with their clients to make a profit, they’re far more committed to ensuring you achieve your goals. Of course, there are some downsides too, such as slightly higher cost and less control. However, the pros generally outweigh the cons.
- Extensive expertise: With an SEO agency, you don’t have to waste time finding, hiring, and onboarding professionals for various SEO tasks. Agencies are already filled with all of the specialists you need to handle all of the different nuances of search engine optimization. You can gain instant access to every resource you need, without the effort.
- More resources: Speaking of resources, an SEO agency doesn’t just give you access to the knowledge you need to excel at SEO. The right companies will already be using a variety of tools and cutting-edge solutions they can use to improve your results. They know how to use the latest technology, and can drive results faster than most in-house teams.
- Flexibility: Unlike an in-house team, an SEO agency can adapt to your needs as they change and evolve in the marketing world. If you need to focus more attention on link building, you can choose to work directly with link experts. If you want to boost thought leadership and reduce your investment in PPC, you can work with organic content creators. You have the freedom to choose which services you want to access at any time.
- Growth: SEO agencies deliver opportunities to grow your business and improve your search rankings a lot faster than most in-house teams. With an in-house team, you’ll need to hire, onboard, and train each team member before you can even get started on an SEO strategy. With an agency, you’ll be able to dive into improving your rankings straight away.
- Communication: Sometimes, communicating with an agency can be slower than connecting with an in-house team. Your agency will be working with a variety of different clients, which means they may not be available to answer your calls and messages instantly.
- Costs: Although hiring an SEO-agency can be more cost-effective in the long-term, certain packages and strategies can be expensive to begin with. The good news is that most agencies will work with you to devise a service that fits your budget.
- Company knowledge: Since agencies aren’t working internally with your team, they may not know as much about your brand as an in-house team to begin with. This means it’s up to you to provide your agency with all the resources they need to understand your products, services, target audience, and other core factors.
Trust the process
Your team will still play an essential role in getting you to rank. But if you want to own that value real estate on top of Google, you’ll want a proven SEO partner to guide you every step of the way.
You are great at what you do so let us be great at what we do! An experienced SEO agency like Amplifyed will integrate with and enhance your existing team.
Just say no to in-house SEO!
Hey! I live in San Diego and have been involved with SEO since 2010. Our amazing team at Amplifyed specializes in helping SaaS and tech companies dominate the search rankings. We serve as an extension of your team to make sure your content ranks and drives the right people to your website. Let’s connect on LinkedIn and schedule a chat.