Take It Inhouse vs Using An Agency

Pamela Obeid

In this digital day and age, there is no use arguing the importance of SEO.With more than 5.6 billion searches being completed on Google per month, putting off SEO isn’t an option if you’re looking for growth.The issue, however, might be on how actually to approach your investment in SEO to make it as effective as possible.Should you have an inhouse SEO specialist? Should you outsource to an agency? Should you have a combination of the two?Don’t worry, we’re here to help.By getting your SEO resourcing right straight off the bat, your ROI will thank you.Today, we’ve put together the pros and cons of both outsourcing your marketing and doing it all in house. Whatever your business, there’s a method for you.Let’s get into it!

What does it mean to use an agency?

By using a digital marketing agency, the process essentially involves using a team of experts external to your business to complete relevant SEO tasks.This could also include an independent SEO freelancer, but more commonly is an agency with a team of dedicated SEO experts.Whether you outsource specific parts of your marketing strategy, such as SEO, or engage with an agency for all of your marketing needs,An important aspect to note is that regardless of who your SEO is outsourced to, you need to be receiving regular reports and updates on your ranks and results.

Should I use an agency for my SEO?

Chances are that if you outsource your SEO, there will be an effect on both your Google search rankings and all other aspects of your business.With a strong team working for your business, their expertise will come in handy with higher Google rankings, grown visibility, and increasing organic traffic to your website - all whilst improving your ROI.The best option, however, will depend on each individual business and on a number of different factors, including but not limited to budget, level of expertise, working towards timelines, and having a certain level of control.

Budget & resourcing

Arguably the biggest factor to consider when deciding whether to outsource SEO or keep it inhouse is the resourcing you’re able to allocate, both in terms of money and time.Hiring a specialist as apart of your inhouse team would mean paying their salary, benefits, overheads and training - plus the hiring process.You would also likely need to pay for SEO tools, which are essential to having a solid SEO strategy.On the other hand, using an SEO agency instead means paying for a set engagement fee every month, covering all aspects of your SEO campaign.The agency you work with will cover all training and onboarding costs, and the cost of the tools needed to get the job done.

Finding experts in the field

Whether or not you should outsource your SEO is also dependent on who exactly your SEO is being outsourced to.For example, outsourcing your SEO to an agency with proven experience and results in the industry, you can find yourself with an insane payoff in rankings and ROI.If, however, you wind up with an agency that isn’t results-driven (or, even worse, uses black hat SEO techniques), this outsourcing might be more harmful than good.Outsourced agencies also have access to a range of specialists, such as copywriters, designers, and analysts, whereas an inhouse hire would need to be across all of these fields and more.

Speedy timelines

As agencies work with a multitude of clients across all of their campaigns, you’ll need to allow a reasonable amount of time for them to handle your requests.You also might not be able to receive an instant response on any requests or questions on your campaigns.This doesn’t mean that a good SEO agency won’t be extremely responsive and adaptable, it just means that you can’t expect instantaneous responses to non-urgent requests or questions.

Level of focus and control

For teams that are more flexible with their campaigns, outsourced SEO is the perfect fit.If you’re happy to let experts take the lead, outsourcing is the option for you.On the other hand, if you want to know the status of your campaigns around the clock and have total control over your SEO, an inhouse team is perfect.

What are the advantages of outsourcing SEO?

There are many advantages of outsourcing SEO - here are some of our top benefits below.

Have access to a team of specialists

Good SEO teams have experience working with multiple brands across multiple projects, with different industries and different sizes.The key benefit of outsourcing to a team of specialists is allowing your company access to this expertise instantly.An experienced SEO agency will be able to draw upon previous industry experience and completed campaigns to advise on which tactics are right for your business, how to optimize your campaigns, and where your efforts should be focused moving forward.

A team which stays up to date with all changes and trends

Google makes multiple updates to its algorithm yearly - think major overhauls like Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird.If you miss the memo on updates like these, your search result rankings will be severely impacted.Inhouse SEO teams can be so preoccupied with specific outcomes or campaigns, meaning they can miss changes in the Google sphere.SEO agencies, on the other hand, need to stay on top of the latest industry trends and movements as a part of their very job description.Because of this, a good SEO provider will stay up to date with these changes and trends, making sure your campaign is at the forefront.

Using an agency is scalable

By outsourcing an agency, it’s simple to scale your SEO services up or down based on your current business needs.You might find, for example, that you need more SEO work in your initial stages, and then can dial it back according to performance.

You have the gift of object perspective on campaigns

Since an outsourced agency doesn’t have a personal connection to your own business, their perspective is completely objective.This lends a fresh eye to previous issues that may have been overlooked, or opportunities that might not have otherwise been found.

Access to better tools

Popular and effective SEO tools are costly, but are necessary to track your performance, identify new keyword opportunities, and pinpoint potential issues affecting your rankings.At the very least, a few tools will be necessary for great SEO results:

  • SEO analytics for your own website
  • Keyword research tools
  • SEO audit tools
  • Content marketing tools
  • Competitor analysis tools

A reliable SEO agency will already have access to tools like these (we know we do!), so you’ll be saving money on licensing fees to use these tools yourself.More importantly, the expert team at hand will be experts at utilizing the tools themselves, and will know how to maximize their value best.

What are the disadvantages of outsourcing SEO?

On the flip side, there are a few disadvantages that may come with outsourcing your SEO to an external agency.

Finding the right SEO company can be challenging

Finding the right SEO provider can be challenging, especially with so many SEO agencies that claim to be the cream of the crop.Because of this, you’ll need to do some research to find a white hat SEO agency to deliver the best possible results.If you don’t have prior experience with outsourcing SEO agencies or no prior inhouse SEO knowledge, it can be difficult to complete the task.

Not having a dedicated specialist within your marketing team

As briefly mentioned earlier, outsourcing your SEO services to an agency means not having a round the clock resource constantly dedicated to only your campaigns.This isn’t too much of an issue in general, but can take away a sense of control and not being able to jump on projects as quickly.Some SEO providers, on the plus side, offer seminars and training workshops to help bridge the SEO knowledge gap within your organisation.

What is the cost of outsourcing SEO?

The cost of outsourcing SEO depends on factors like how much is currently invested in SEO, your business goals and timelines, your marketing budget, and the level of competition in your industry, to name a few.There are different pricing models for outsourcing SEO depending on your needs. These include:

  • Fixed-rate contracts: this is useful for contracting a team of SEO experts to work on one dedicated project.
  • Monthly retainers: this is arguably the most popular form of SEO outsourcing, where you pay a SEO agency a fixed monthly rate to handle your SEO needs across the board.
  • Pay-for-performance pricing: paying an outsourced SEO agency for specific outcomes (such as ranking #1 on certain keywords) as opposed to a set volume of deliverables.
  • Hourly consulting: using this model is more costly, but allows you to adjust your SEO work on a flexible month to month basis.

Mid-range services typically tend to cost anywhere between $2000 and $6000 a month for a tech audit, link building campaigns, reporting, and keyword strategy.

What are the advantages of inhouse SEO?

There are a number of advantages that come with completing your SEO inhouse.Having someone embedded into your team and understanding of the inner workings of the business can prove beneficial.

Focused efforts

With an agency, attention is split between clients. An inhouse SEO expert, however, works exclusively on your business alone.100% of their time is committed to helping you rank higher in search engine result pages, with no concern for a fixed amount of work.Again, it’s important to remember that having someone laser focused on your individual campaigns means that important updates or movements in the SEO world can be overlooked.

Understanding your business

Knowing your business inside out is beneficial for an inhouse SEO expert.Teams like this are more in tune with your company’s priorities, strengths, and internal rhythms.Insider knowledge like this can build up tailored SEO strategies, as well as being able to easily work with internal stakeholders.

What are the disadvantages of inhouse SEO?

As with everything good in this world, there are also disadvantages that can come from having an inhouse SEO expert.

Generalised skills

As mentioned previously, SEO agencies have a team of specialists across concepts like copywriting, content marketing, and analysts.Having a generalist inhouse person can be great when incorporating a jack of all trades into the team, but it means you have to sacrifice many masters of one specific avenue.This can be especially challenging for more technical issues like site migrations, which is why most businesses will have these outsourced as a one-off project.

Costs add up

The average salary for an SEO Specialist is $83,218, which translates to a rough $6900 per month.When breaking down the cost, you can see that this doesn’t even include the costs of hiring, training, and SEO tools - which would then translate to an excess of over $7000 per month.With this cost, you can instead hire a premium SEO agency which will include a team of specialists across all areas, and all SEO tools and expertise.

The final word

The decision to either outsource your SEO, or have it all done inhouse, is entirely dependent on your individual business, your budget, and your goals.A smaller business working with a limited budget, for example, might be better off outsourcing to an agency which is capable of providing top tier advice and investment tips to receive the most bang for your buck.On the other hand, a larger company might benefit from bringing their SEO projects in house, keeping your SEO expertise under one roof and being able to adhere to ideal business timelines.Either way, focus on your SEO ROI, and you’ll be able to make the decision that’s right for you.Still on the fence? Luckily for you, we’re a premium SEO agency, ready to use our SEO skills to meet your goals. Get a free proposal with Local Digital today, and see how we can transform your business from the inside out.

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Pamela Obeid
Pamela is the Digital Marketing & Podcast Coordinator at Local Digital. A self-proclaimed nerd, she thrives off all things social media, podcast, and video, propelling the LD brand to brand new heights.

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