You did it. You or your company has built the greatest website in the world. But, wait. Oh no. Is no one finding it online? There is a need to further develop your website to rank on search engines. That’s when you realize you need Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”).

SEO has become a separate discipline with its own distinct body of knowledge, techniques, and strategies. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing, hidden text, and aggressive, automated backlinks, unless you want to get penalized by Google. And if you do have short-term gains from blackhat SEO tactics, your process of recovering from a Google penalty can be long and painful.

There are advantages of creating an SEO team, and to hiring an established SEO company. So, how do you choose?

In-House SEO Advantages

Creating an in-house team for search engine optimization requires manpower, equipment, investing in software, tools, training, and most valuable of all, time. For an SEO team to work properly, they have to know their roles within the team and the company’s direction. And, just hiring anyone and having them read up on SEO forums just won’t cut it. SEO team members have to be knowledgeable and have real-life experience with SEO. If you can get the right team, here are some advantages of keeping SEO in-house.

  • Control over your requirements.  Management can establish expectations with the team and its individual members. These KPI’s or other metrics can readily be reviewed or modified when everything is in-house.
  • Flexibility.  In-house SEO teams can often be more nimble as their own company is their only priority. This allows for easier abilities to pivot a campaign’s goals.
  • Intimate knowledge of the company.  An in-house SEO team can better understand the direction of a company because it works directly within it. They understand the company’s industry, work ethic, various departments, company goals, etc. This allows the team to coordinate with other departments for materials and media.
  • Better integration with other advertising channels.  An in-house SEO team can more easily collaborate with other marketing departments to maximize reach. For example, an SEO post can double as a social media topics or vice versa. This creates an integrated approach to SEO and a cohesive SEO campaign which involves the whole company.

Advantages to Hiring an SEO Company

Contracting an SEO company has polar opposite benefits when compared to forming an in-house SEO team. Hiring an SEO company allows for rapid ramp-up when you have specific goals identified.

  • They can start without bias.  One of the first steps that an SEO campaign should embrace is to audit the website that is to be optimized. This website audit serves as the baseline for your on-going SEO campaign. While it may sound straightforward to audit your own website, you may hate to call your own baby ugly after seeing all of the gaps in your website’s efficiency. An SEO company can clearly tell you the pros and cons of your own website, without bias, to maximize its existing assets.
  • Less hardware and software investment.  SEO teams require a unique set of hardware and software tool. Take me for example. As I write this article, right now, here is what my setup looks like.Damon Burton blog
    And that doesn’t count my two other computers that I use for reporting that are off to my right. That means, combined, I have three computers, four external monitors, and thousands of dollars in software. And I’m one person. Multiply multiple computers and software investments by multiple people and you’re looking at a significant investment. By hiring an SEO consultant or an agency, they already have everything they need to immediately start optimizing your website.
  • Less operational cost.  While there may be sticker shock with some SEO quotes, it is still less than the operational cost of hiring and maintaining a team of 2 to 7 employees. Hiring an SEO company means that you have immediate access to that company’s significant investments that they’ve already made. Paying one SEO professional can bring the results of hiring 4 in-house SEO employee’s, at 1/4 the cost, and progress in 1/4 the time, too.
  • Less time investment.   Ramping up an in-house SEO team to meet daily productivity goals takes months. Even if take-off is successful, you then have to add in recurring training, meetings, follow-up, etc. Hiring an SEO consultant or agency relieves you of managing an SEO campaign’s daily operations.
  • No HR drama needed.   Terms and conditions for engaging with an SEO consultant are clear, or at least they should be negotiated so. It is assumed that if an SEO consultant does not meet expectations, then the relationship can be terminated. Unlike hiring an in-house SEO team, there is no need hire and fire employees when using an SEO agency.
  • Avoid the never-ending rat race.   Search engine optimization is ever-changing. Hiring an SEO consultant frees your time of chasing day-to-day changes in search engine algorithms. In addition to each change in Google’s algorithms there’s a new software that comes out to compliment that change. That means more learning of software and how you can inject its benefits into your marketing strategy. Since SEO companies serve multiple clients, it is in their best interest to proactively monitor search engine algorithm changes and to embrace new technologies and opportunities. It is part of their day-to-day to keep updated with the latest SEO trends, strategies and techniques. It would be much harder for an in-house SEO team to keep their head above water by trying to stay educated on algorithm changes, all while doing
    their daily work, too.

Maybe you like the efficiency of an SEO company but would still like the control of an in-house team. Not all website developers have read the Google Webmaster Guidelines. In fact, unless you are an SEO professional, you would not even know that such a document exists. SEO is a conscious effort from the very start of website design and development, and the SEO firm can train the developers. In so doing, they can make the SEO efforts a lot easier.

Running a search engine optimization campaign takes a lot of time and money. You either need to put in the time in-house or pay an agency to put in the time for you. Or, sometimes you can get the best of both worlds and hire an SEO consultant to train your in-house team. Either way, there are advantages to both approaches. Which approach do you prefer?

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