If you are a marketer or savvy business owner, you know that SEO plays a major role in your long term digital strategy.
There are certain keywords your customers type into google to find your products or services, and potentially your competitors. What you might not know is how you should develop your SEO strategy, and whether it should be done in-house or outsourced to a third party.
There are times that it makes sense to have an in-house team, but sometimes it makes more sense to outsource the work. The decision to use an agency really comes down to how large your need is and how big your budgets are.
1. Your business has little reliance on digital marketing If digital marketing is a critical part of your business model, like an online retailer, then you're more likely to need some sort of in-house team. However, if your business model is not entirely dependent on online marketing and your digital presence, then there is less reason to do your SEO in-house.
2. You can't afford to hire in-house Your budgets are also a big consideration, as hiring in-house can be expensive. A good in-house SEO resource will cost on average $75k/year, and when you add benefits you're looking at $90k. Can your company afford this? Compare this to an agency, where an average retainer for SEO is $4-6k per month, depending on how many website properties are being optimized. Agencies can often be a much more affordable option, particularly for small and medium sized companies that do not have a lot of resources.
3. You want to best SEO talent working on your business The biggest positive to outsourcing SEO to an agency is the skill set and expertise you receive. The online marketing world changes quickly and search algorithms are continuing to evolve so keeping up with those changes is critical. Agencies tend to have a larger team of SEO experts, and firms that specialize in SEO will have a larger, more diverse set of talent and skills. This gives companies the flexibility to utilize more or less resources as needed over a period of time, and with the increased variety in skill sets, different resources can be assigned to different projects that align with their expertise.
SEO talent tends to skew agency because of the breadth of the type of work offered, as well as increased opportunities for career advancement. Agencies typically already have considerable experience in the industry, so they have become adept at finding the right employees at the right skill level to successfully implement SEO strategy across difficulty levels and industries. So if you want to ensure you get the best resources working on your business' SEO, an agency can be a solid bet.
4. You already use an agency for digital work Finally, if your business already relies on an agency to support content creation on digital, SEO could be a great fit to add to their scope of work, with little increased investment. SEO goes hand in hand with the quality of the content you put out across your website. If you have a blog or social media presence, those are some of the best channels to drive traffic and increase search rankings, as long as the content you are putting out is providing value to your customer. Remember that Google values quality and usefulness when considering page rank, so ensure the investment in content creation is part of your SEO strategy, which may be an area you need to outsource help.
The decision of whether to build an in-house SEO team or outsource your program to an agency is dependent on many variables, and very reliant on how important organic search is to your business model and overall marketing goals. If you're looking for help with SEO but you can't support the hiring of an internal resource based on need or budget, using an agency will allow you to allocate your SEO work to a skilled resource so you can focus on the things you do best.
About the Author: In 2008, Jack Ogilvie co-founded Techwood Consulting, where he currently manages technical services, business development, and special projects / strategic accounts from the company's Atlanta headquarters. Jack holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.