Hiring an SEO agency vs. an in-house SEO team

If you want to lead your company to success and growth, SEO is a good path to follow. However, you need to understand that optimization is a process, one that requires professional assistance. And this is where most business owners come across a fundamental question on how to move forward? Hiring an SEO agency vs. an in-house SEO team – which is the winning solution? Digital Dot offers you a detailed analysis of this topic, complete with a list of pros and cons, to help make your decision easier.

SEO agency vs. an in-house SEO team
SEO helps your business grow – it’s just a matter of choosing the right experts for the job.

Hiring an SEO agency vs. an in-house SEO team – the pros and cons

If you hope to remain competitive in today’s market and maintain your authority online, you can’t hope to accomplish it without SEO. It is the tool of modern marketing warfare that can set you apart from the rest of your competitors and ensure the growth of your business. And sure enough, you want to opt for the best option for your business. Knowing the good and bad sides of hiring an SEO agency and hiring an in-house SEO team can definitely serve to make the decision easier.

The cost of hiring – SEO agency

When you consider everything, the simple truth is that hiring a professional SEO company is more budget-friendly. On average, contracts with experienced and reliable agencies vary between $3000-5000 monthly payment plan for all services rendered.

Additionally, you need to consider the other specialists that an SEO agency can offer and an in-house SEO expert can’t, such as:

On the other hand, hiring a good in-house SEO specialist involves an average $5k-10k salary. And that usually involves only SEO services and expertise. So, you can see how that exceeds the monthly plan you will have with any agency out there.

Availability in terms of time – In-house SEO team

The advantage of having your personal SEO specialist is that they will be committed 40 hours a week to your website alone. As a result of this, the chance of mistakes or neglect is much lower.

Hiring an SEO agency leads to your business getting a more limited amount of hours to work on your website per week. However, we should also note that the first couple of months of working on a website can take up a lot more time, something that SEO companies are aware of and include in their action plan.

Clock, piggy bank, and office plant
An in-house team can devote all their time just to your website.

Skill Set – SEO agency

With companies that specialize in search engine optimization and other digital marketing services, you have a team of employees trained for that specific service. You can certainly invest in training in-house experts, but it will take years for them to reach the same level of those in agencies. Or you can hire ones that are already skilled enough but that will cost you more. But as their level of knowledge grows, so does their monthly salary.

An SEO agency brings the Diversity card into play

With in-house hires, you only get what you signed up for – they rarely hold knowledge beyond the area of expertise you pay them for. With SEO companies, you have a larger staff of people, and so the range of services tends to expand to other areas such as:

Hiring an SEO agency gives you access to a much wider range of resources and manpower, enough to meet your expectations when it comes to large-scale projects. With in-house hires, you can only go so far without having to expand your SEO team.

Experience – SEO agency

You can never be sure about the amount of experience an in-house hire has. It depends a lot on their background. However, with SEO agencies, you have a team of employees that are used to adapting and resolving the needs of clients instantly. Even in cases of young agencies, you still have an entire team of people with a combined experience that can easily outmatch that of a single person.

Efficiency – SEO agency

In-house SEO experts or teams need time to change and adapt their work habits and procedures to your particular business. By hiring an SEO agency, you gain a clear set of procedures to ensure optimal productivity in the shortest amount of time. Just as an example of the differences here:

  • If an average content writer needs 3-4 hours to write an article, a trained one can do it in 1-2 hours.
  • An in-house outreach coordinator might need an entire day to plan out an email campaign whereas one in an agency does it in 3-4 hours.

Your control over the process – In-house SEO team

Having a contract with terms and conditions laid out clearly, you have less control over the entire process because the SEO company you hire distributes most of the information. This can sometimes lead to slower response times or a lack of transparency. Digital Dot is among those agencies that uphold a transparent relationship with clients.

On the other hand, having an in-house employee enables you much more control over the work process, with the option to fire them for insubordination at any moment.

Industry Knowledge – SEO agency

Finding a reliable and knowledgeable in-house SEO expert can be challenging enough – finding one that knows your industry is close to impossible. On the other hand, given the wide range of clients digital marketing companies have, you have a much higher chance of matching expertise with industry knowledge.

SEO Knowledge – SEO agency

Professional agencies and companies need to stay competitive in order to survive in the market. That means they need to monitor all changes and updates related to monitoring rankings, analyzing trends in organic visits, brand awareness, SEO news, algorithm updates, latest trends, technical problems, strategy revision several times a year, etc. In-house SEO teams have far less pressure and motivation when it comes to keeping a close eye on digital trends and SEO news.

Reliability – SEO agency

With licensed companies, you actually have reviews and testimonials, not to mention a portfolio of past projects, and so on. And you can use all this to verify quality and reliability before hiring an SEO agency vs. hiring an in-house SEO team, where all you have is a portfolio and recommendation from a past employer.

Professionalism – SEO agency

You can never really be certain what to expect from freelance SEO experts at the start. It takes time to establish whether or not they match your business ethics. You can’t really rely on them as quickly as in the way you can on an SEO company, where professionalism is one of the pillars on which they maintain their reputation.

Scalability – SEO agency

With agencies, you always have the option to ask for additional services and consultations. They have the resources you need to keep on growing your online presence. Hiring an in-house SEO team brings about limitations in terms of scaling your business without occurring additional expenses and hiring more people.

Maintenance – In-house SEO team

With turning to professional companies, you might come across lower responsiveness in terms of the maintenance of strategies and results. Once you achieve notable results, it might become too expensive to hire an entire SEO business to maintain those results long-term, fix glitches, do minor modifications, etc.

The advantage of having an in-house team is that, since they are devoted to your website alone, they will be better suited and a more affordable solution when it comes to everyday maintenance tasks.

*This scenario, of course, works only in cases where you’re not faced with aggressive competitors that invest a lot into SEO.

Speed – SEO agency

In-house departments have limits when it comes to deadlines – it varies with the number of employees, resources, other tasks, etc. Agencies confidently establish clear deadlines that they can and need to honor to safeguard their reputation.

ROI – SEO agency

Agencies that specialize in SEO have studies and formulas to determine how to earn clients the best possible ROI. In-house teams need to run those tests, experiment and learn long-term before getting there.

Tools – SEO agency

Professional SEO software and tools cost money – so to have your in-house SEO team use them would cause extra costs. Agencies, however, have the tools they need at their disposal – otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to do the work they do.

People in an office.
An SEO company already has all the professional tools for the job.

Why is SEO more challenging to do in-house?

It is no real secret that search engine ranking can make or break a business today. Therein lies the importance of you establishing an efficient and diverse Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. The results you can gain from quality SEO are endless. Not only can you rank your business high on search results, but you also increase website visibility, boost brand development, attract more traffic which generates more leads and conversions. All this makes up the complex machinery that optimization represents.

So, you can understand how having one person handle it all can become overwhelming after a while. That is where the knowledgeable hand of an experienced SEO agency can come in handy. Either one of these can be there to make sure that your business is operating at full power.

Then again, every solution has its upsides and downsides. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is no different. The complexity of it what makes the need for help from an SEO agency all the more necessary. In truth, there are two very important sides to it that you need to carefully consider and explore:

• The need for Technical Expertise by an SEO expert

Whether you are looking into hiring a full-on SEO company or an in-house expert, they need to understand on-page SEO. That refers to concepts directly related to creating content on your website. These concepts include:

  • Homepage and inner page design
  • Keyword selection and placement
  • Quality images with captions
  • User experience (UX)
  • Alt tags
  • Structuring the article with heading and sub-headings
  • Menus and sub-menus
  • Metadata
  • CTAs
  • ADA compliance
  • Categories and tags
  • Readability
  • Markup schema, etc.

All these elements are essential pieces of the larger puzzle that is on-page SEO. And this technical aspect is the foundation on which search engines will grade and rank web pages. Miss out on one piece, and it can easily sink your progress when it comes to optimization. That is where professional assistance comes in handy. SEO agencies are more versed here because of their experience and a vast number of clients from different niches. In-house SEO specialists can devote more time to each of your pages, and make sure that everything is up to standards.

• The Holistic Experience that is most familiar to SEO professionals

There are also external factors that you need to take into consideration when dealing with optimization. Unlike an SEO agency, it can prove harder for an in-house SEO manager to determine what works best when it comes to your off-page SEO:

  • Brand reputation management
  • Building a strong backlink profile through other sites that link back to your site
  • The complexity of conversion rate optimization (CRO)

Given the complexity of it all, an in-house SEO expert will never be able to match the combined work effort of the entire staff of specialists within an SEO company, no matter how much time you give him/her.

These are just some of the examples you will come across in your efforts to rank higher. However, ranking higher is not the only goal here – you have to ensure that the ranking brings in the right kind of traffic, suited to drive conversions for your company. All in all, it is an enormous undertaking that requires a team of professionals.

Looking at the bigger picture is crucial

We outlined the advantages and disadvantages of both SEO agencies and in-house SEO teams. So, it’s up to you to decide which suits your particular business plan more at this point. From everything noted here, the obvious conclusion is that, despite the few advantages of hiring an in-house SEO specialist, most of the arguments go in favor of having an SEO agency to handle it all. Of course, each business owner needs to have his/her priorities straight before making the final call. But now you have all the information you need before you do that.

If you decide to opt for hiring an in-house SEO expert, there are plenty of recruitment sites where you can post an ad, and we wish you the best of luck in the selection process. However, if you want a top-rate SEO agency that is aware of all the downsides and is determined to overcome all of them – contact us and let’s talk more.

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