Outsourcing SEO vs Hiring an In-House Team

Learn the pros and cons of outsourcing SEO versus hiring an in-house team to better help you in making the right investment for your business or agency.

Outsourcing SEO vs Hiring an In-House Team

In this article, I will review:
Important considerations
Outsourcing SEO
Hiring an in-house team
A combined SEO approach

Search engine optimization (SEO) has continued to become a business essential in today’s internet age, but understanding the difference between outsourcing SEO vs hiring inhouse, and deciding which will be better for your business, can be daunting for any owner or marketing manager.

Below I’ll explain what you should know about these two approaches (and when you might need both) so you can confidently select the option that will work best for your business.

Important Considerations

Search engine optimization is a complex process that is regularly changing and evolving, making it even harder to decide between whether to outsource SEO or hire in-house. Here are several factors you should consider before moving forward with your investment.

  • Budget
    One critical consideration is to determine your budget. While there are SEO agencies, consultants, and in-house professionals that range in price points, cutting corners with your budget will prolong seeing the results you want to achieve. On the flip side, overpaying for SEO services isn’t good either as it’ll eat into your ROI. Set a marketing budget and don’t be afraid to augment it if needed.

  • Expertise
    Whether interviewing an SEO agency or potential employee, it’s imperative that they have the right expertise before hiring them. Review their website, portfolio, resume, etc., with a fine-toothed comb. Ask for recommendations, testimonials, or case studies to see what other businesses say about them. Often, you can weed out the fakes through some due diligence.

    However, some businesses bring on a new hire or move a current employee into an SEO role with the intent of training them. While this is certainly an option, keep in mind that doing this may cost more in the long run.

  • Strategy
    What are your goals? The time and resources it takes to develop a strong in-house SEO team won’t make sense if you’ll only need them for a couple of months. On the other hand, an agency may not be able to understand the nuances of your business the way an in-house digital marketing team can. Additionally, if your team juggles multiple marketing duties, outsourcing allows them to focus on other projects.

Now that you understand how to determine your SEO needs, let’s examine the pros and cons of hiring in-house vs outsourcing SEO services. 

Outsourcing SEO

SEO can be outsourced to agencies or consultants based anywhere around the world as the work can be done remotely. You can find an SEO agency through recommendations, networking groups, social media, and of course, Google.

Check out the benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing SEO below to get an idea of what to expect.

Pros

  • Focus: Having a narrow focus on SEO ensures that they’re not distracted by other marketing activities, which is possible with in-house teams.
  • Lower costs: Paying salary, benefits, and overhead for employees is typically more expensive than outsourcing rates.
  • Knowledgeable: Agencies and consultants stay up to date on the latest SEO trends and algorithm updates because that’s their area of expertise and it’s what clients expect.
  • Better ideas: They can see things from a different viewpoint which can produce higher quality ideas and out-of-the-box strategies.
  • Talent: From having more technical experience to working with a variety of businesses, an outside company tends to offer more expertise than in-house teams.
  • Tools and reporting: You need data to see what does and doesn’t work to achieve top rankings in search engine results. Agencies and consultants often have more tools at their disposal and have honed analytical skills to understand the data.

Cons

  • Confusing contracts: Before signing a contract, make sure that you carefully review it and understand what you’re getting into. Unfortunately, there are some bad apples who will overcharge and under deliver.
  • Not as agile: An agency or consultant may not be as responsive and agile as an in-house team since they have other client commitments.
  • Vision disconnect: It’s possible that the SEO strategy an agency or consultant creates doesn’t align with your branding and vision because they’re an outsider.

Hiring an In-House Team

Similar to outsourcing, there are advantages and disadvantages of hiring an in-house SEO team. Whether you’re thinking about expanding an existing team or building one from the ground up, here’s what you need to know.

Pros

  • More oversight: With an in-house team, you’re less likely to wonder what they’re working on or the status of a project because you’ll have more direct oversight.
  • Shared company culture: An internal SEO team will share your company culture, ensuring that the strategies they create align with the brand.
  • Cross-department communication: Being a part of the company makes it easier for your marketing team to communicate with other departments which can lead to discovering and resolving bottlenecks.
  • Streamline processes: Since your team is focused solely on the business, they’ll be able to streamline processes and possibly achieve results faster.

Cons

  • Higher costs: As we mentioned earlier, hiring employees comes with more costs in the long run because of salary, benefits, and overhead.
  • Training and tools: You’re responsible for the ongoing training of your in-house team and providing the necessary tools and software for your team to be effective.
  • Inexperience: Employees can lack the experience and skills that an established SEO agency/consultant has.  

A Combined SEO Approach

While every business wants to rank high in Google search results, attract information-seeking customers, and ultimately grow revenue, the best way to achieve those goals will look different for everyone. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer because there are pros and cons to in-house SEO vs outsourcing.

However, some businesses may find that a combined SEO approach is what they really need. An SEO consultant can train an in-house digital marketing team on best practices, keyword research, content marketing, analytics reporting, and more so the employees are equipped to accomplish long-term SEO goals.

For example, MediaSesh customizes every SEO training session to best fit the team’s training needs and provides each student with a digital training manual and materials (via thumb drive) prior to the class date. If a business wants to completely outsource SEO, MediaSesh would be happy to help with that too.

Which SEO approach have you found to work best for your business? Leave a comment below!

About the author

Christina is an SEO consultant and the founder of MediaSesh. She has been in the SEO industry since 2009 and has helped companies of all sizes to improve their visibility on search engines.