Hanging between the horns of dilemma when it comes to deciding between an in-house SEO and hiring an SEO agency?
Well, find comfort in the fact that you are not alone in answering this riddle. Several businesses hop on from one solution to other in their indecisiveness, often not benefiting from any.
While you contemplate whether to hire a full time in-house SEO or appoint an SEO agency, one fact is undeniable. Businesses can’t do without SEO.
SEOs ensure that your business has high visibility, and tops all relevant search engine results. Moreover, SEOs play a key role in defining and implementing your marketing strategies.
Still, do you really need an in-house SEO to achieve all this?
More importantly, can you rely completely on a single in-house resource to deliver on all complex and ever evolving SEO requirements?
Are you absolutely sure that an in-house SEO can counter all the merits offered by an agency? I am afraid, in most cases, the answer to all these questions is, ‘No’.
Let me build a case for you, block by block, on why outsourcing SEO to an agency, or hiring an SEO expert to train and mentor your team members, is much more advantageous than hiring an in-house SEO:
While your in-house SEO may be highly experienced and a pro in some aspects of SEO, face it, s/he cannot virtually be a master of all SEO technologies. Add this to the fact that web and mobile technologies are constantly evolving; SEO efforts need to be in-step with these changes.
A typical SEO agency spends time and money on continuously training its resources on new technologies, systems and software.
SEO experts, too, are much exposed to new hacks and techniques, which they can pass on to your team members.
This, however, is not the case with an in-house SEO, who might develop a narrow perspective, being confined to a static work environment.
Scope of work
For short and simple websites, in-house SEOs can certainly meet business objectives. However, as the business grows and number of pages to be optimized run into thousands, a single resource simply can’t deliver all SEO requirements.
On the other hand, an agency allocates more resources to handle heavy SEO requirements for a large client. In case you have hired an SEO expert to mentor your team members, s/he would better allocate the workload among team members basis their skills and work schedules.
Source : GIPHY
Contrary to common belief, in-house SEOs may cost you a pretty penny and turn out to be much more expensive than engaging an agency.
While there is a pre-determined fee to be paid to the agency or an SEO expert, your annual spend on an in-house SEO will go beyond salary and bonuses to include benefits such as healthcare, taxes, leave encashment, etc.
The core job of an SEO in any organization is to come up with a winning search strategy that is well mapped with the overall digital marketing strategy of the business.
A skilled in-house SEO who is not only technically sound but a great strategist, too, is a rare find.
I advise you not to waste precious time looking for a unicorn in the herd of horses. Instead, hire an agency to devise an agile, flexible and holistic search strategy for your business.
Let many experts brainstorm and implement SEO ideas to increase your brand’s searchability.
Lack of fresh perspective
While an in-house SEO may have better understanding of the business, s/he would have a singular approach towards dealing with issues.
This repetition of actions leads to adoption of a stale, myopic SEO perspective, which limits, and may even diminish, SEO results.
An agency, through its multiple SEOs representing different backgrounds, contributes fresh perspective to its clients’ search strategies.
The Audit Factor
While the in-house resources may frown at the mention of the word ‘audit’, treating audits as a break in BAU (Business As Usual), business owners must understand the improvement opportunities that audits bring to the fore.
Audits are the first thing that an SEO agency or an expert will do to your business; in fact, a slew of audits to understand where things are going wrong, the inherent flaws in the search strategy and best possible measures that can ensure instant results. All this is not possible without audits!
Conclusion: The Ideal SEO Engagement
Through the above listed factors, one can understand that hiring an in-house SEO comes with its own set of limitations. However, you would ask what is the ideal SEO engagement?
Should businesses rely on an outside agency for each big or small SEO activity? Wouldn’t this lead to time lags in seeking advice or instructions from the agency / expert?
Of course, hiring an SEO agency or expert comes with its own set of challenges.
However, they are fewer and easily manageable in comparison to those posed by hiring an in-house SEO.
In my various interactions with agencies, experts and businesses, I have found out that the best way of SEO engagement is the ‘mid’ way!
After studying several businesses, I strongly believe that the most ideal SEO engagement is one where the business opts to hire an SEO expert to craft initial search strategies, set systems and processes, as well as train a team of employees.
In this model of SEO engagement, the expert trains the team members for a long period of time, usually around six months. During this period, the expert continually monitors the team’s performance.
Once the training period is over, the expert evaluates the preparedness of the team, and on being satisfied, allows the team to work independently.
However, the role of the expert doesn’t end here. The expert continuously monitors the implementation of the search strategy, runs SEO audits and trains the team on emerging trends in the field at regular intervals – transforming the role from mentoring and training to more of advisory and handholding.
The hybrid approach can buy businesses the best of both the worlds.