To Hire or Outsource SEO? How to Decide What’s Best

Hire or Outsource SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a pivotal component of digital marketing strategies. With more consumers using Google and other search engines to find products and services, businesses are investing heavily in SEO to drive qualified traffic to their websites. 

However, many companies struggle with determining whether to hire dedicated in-house Hire or Outsource SEO the work to an external marketing agency. Both options come with their own unique sets of pros and cons.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the key factors you should weigh when deciding between an Hire or Outsource SEO solution.

The Potential Benefits of Hiring In-House SEO

Bringing SEO completely under your roof by hiring in-house talent can offer some compelling advantages, such as:

  • Greater Institutional Knowledge

An in-house SEO expert will take the time to deeply learn about your specific business, brand, products, and target audience. This allows them to craft highly tailored strategies that align with your precise goals and needs. An external agency simply won’t have the same depth of intimate understanding.

  • Faster Implementation Times

With SEO managed internally, you can remove delays related to correspondence and alignment with an outside team. In-house talent can begin optimizing and rolling out strategies faster. They don’t have competing priorities and client accounts pulling their time.

  • Potentially Lower Long-Term Costs 

While an in-house SEO professional represents a fixed ongoing cost, their salary and benefits may eventually be cheaper than paying monthly or recurring retainer fees to an agency over several years.

  • Enhanced Collaboration & Communication

Having your SEO expert sitting on-site makes communication and collaboration more seamless. They can work hand-in-hand with your content team, designers, developers, and other groups. This close integration breeds better strategies.

  • Increased Control Over the Work

With in-house SEO, you have maximum oversight of the work being performed. You don’t have to worry about misalignment issues or lack of transparency from an outside partner. The work remains firmly in your hands.

Potential Drawbacks of In-House SEO 

However, assuming all SEO responsibilities in-house also comes with a few risks to consider:

  • Resource Constraints

A single in-house SEO expert – or even a small team – may not offer the same breadth of skill sets and bandwidth as a full-service agency. Their time and capabilities are finite.

  • Lack of Outside Perspective 

While intimate company knowledge has benefits, it can also lead to blind spots. An in-house resource may make assumptions or overlook gaps in strategy without an outside perspective.

  • Hiring & Retention Challenges

Depending on your location, hiring and retaining top-notch in-house SEO talent can prove difficult. There is stiff competition for skilled SEO professionals.

  • Limits on Scalability

With an in-house SEO team, you have more fixed constraints around resource availability. It’s not as easy to scale efforts up or down like you can with an agency.

The Potential Benefits of Hiring an SEO Agency

If you decide outsourcing SEO to an external agency makes more sense, some key advantages include:

  • Broader Capabilities 

SEO agencies employ diverse teams with specialized skills in technical SEO, content strategy, link building, analytics, and more. They can handle the full spectrum of optimization work.

  • Outside Perspective

A seasoned SEO agency brings an objective outside perspective to strategy development. They actively keep tabs on emerging trends, technologies, and algorithm changes.

  • Proven Methodologies

Established agencies have honed and tested their SEO processes and systems across many years and with clients. You benefit from their expertise.

  • Reduced Risk

With an agency managing your SEO initiatives, they shoulder more of the burden for meeting goals and performance milestones. The risk shifts from completely internal.

  • Flexibility & Scalability

SEO agencies can readily scale the size of your account team and resources allocated based on your evolving needs. It provides flexibility.

Potential Drawbacks of Outsourcing SEO

Partnering with an SEO agency also comes with a few potential downsides:

  • Higher Cost Over Time

Agency retainer fees add up quickly. And you lose some control over those recurring costs if your contract has longer-term agreements.

  • Lag Time

Communication and alignment with an external team inevitably involve some lag time versus having things handled in-house. Projects can take longer.

  • Less Control Over Work

When outsourcing to an agency, you must relinquish some control and oversight into how and when tasks are completed. You place greater trust in them.

  • Potential Misalignment of Goals

Agencies can sometimes prioritize their own objectives – like service expansion – over their specific goals. This misalignment can undermine results.

Assessing Your Situation Holistically

At the end of the day, deciding between in-house SEO talent or Hire or Outsource SEO partner comes down to honestly assessing your specific situation and needs:

  • Current internal resources and bandwidth
  • The expected volume of work and desired scale
  • The complexity of your SEO needs 
  • Your budget constraints or willingness to invest
  • Whether an outside perspective would be beneficial

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