outsourcing or in house team

Published on: September 8, 2023

SEO In House vs Outsourcing: What’s Right For Your Business Goals?

Yesh Quijano

Founder/owner

SEO In-House vs. Outsourcing: What's The Difference?

SEO has become a cornerstone of the digital marketing landscape globally and business are increasingly using SEO to give themselves a competitive edge

However, with increasing competition and ever-evolving search algorithms, businesses are often overwhelmed and lost in how to best utilize SEO.

Companies, big and small, now find themselves at a crossroads: should they build an in-house SEO team or outsource the responsibility? Each choice comes with its own set of implications and potential outcomes.

What does "in-house SEO" mean?

In-house SEO teams are typically composed of a mix of content creators, analysts, technical experts, and often a team leader. They manage everything from keyword research, technical SEO, content optimization, and link-building to reporting and strategy planning.

One of the greatest strengths of an in-house SEO team, as opposed to outsourcing SEO services is the collaborative environment. This team is often closely knit, aligned with the company's vision, and can easily collaborate with other departments like PR, content, and tech.

What does an SEO agency do?

An SEO agency, skilled in search engine optimization, wears many hats. From performing website audits, optimizing content, conducting competitive analysis, and employing link-building SEO strategies, agencies often handle a diverse client portfolio.

Whether it's managing in-house tactics or outsourced SEO projects, they adeptly adapt their SEO strategies to various industries.

Some agencies have niche specializations - catering to e-commerce, local businesses, or specific industries. This depth of experience in search engine optimization can often provide insights and strategies tailored to that niche.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing SEO Services

advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of In-House SEO

In-house SEO teams understand the company culture, have quicker turnaround times due to proximity, and can align SEO strategies with broader business objectives seamlessly.

In-house teams can liaise in real-time with other departments, ensuring SEO goals align with the company's broader marketing and sales targets.

Advantages of Outsourcing SEO services

Outsourcing SEO might be good for one-time projects. Product launches, site migrations, or penetrating new markets are instances where project-based SEO outsourcing by a skilled SEO agency shines. It brings specialized expertise without a long-term commitment.

However, that doesn't mean that such an SEO agency isn't suitable for ongoing monthly search engine optimization campaigns.

Leveraging an SEO agency means consistent access to industry experts, cost savings, and scalability. Businesses benefit from a diverse skill set ranging from content creation to technical SEO, all under one umbrella.

Furthermore, the contractual nature of collaboration ensures a focused approach to meet specific targets. This not only drives result-oriented strategies but also allows in-house teams to redirect their energies toward core business tasks.

SEO In-House vs. Outsourcing: Things to Consider

considerations when outsourcing or hiring an inhouse team

Deciding whether outsourcing SEO or hiring an internal team is for you, it's crucial to compare the two via these six considerations:

Cost Efficiency

When we talk about the financial implications of SEO, it's crucial to consider both the immediate and long-term outlook.

How Much Does In-House SEO Cost?

In-house teams, with their dedicated personnel, training requirements, and resources, can be cost-intensive initially. They involve fixed salaries, potential hiring costs, investments in continuous training, and the necessary tools to manage and monitor their SEO strategies.

However, when you factor in the intimate knowledge they hold about the brand, their ability to work closely with other departments, and the reduced learning curve over time, they might offer a more cost-effective ROI in the long run.

How Much Do Outsourced SEO Services Cost?

On the other side of the spectrum, outsourcing SEO brings with it a unique set of financial advantages.

Outsourcing can be remarkably cost-efficient from the outset. Businesses can tap into a pool of experts without the overheads associated with full-time staff. The costs are scalable, allowing companies to adjust their SEO services based on budget and needs.

However, while basic packages might seem economically attractive, as you incorporate more specialized or additional services, the costs can add up, potentially becoming pricey.

Yet, for many, the flexibility and expertise available through outsourcing SEO, combined with the ability to optimize costs based on requirements, make it a cost-effective choice in its own right.

Expertise

There's a distinct contrast between in-house teams and outsourced agencies in terms of expertise.

What Expertise Does An In-House Team SEO Offer?

The strength of an in-house SEO expert team lies in their deep-rooted, company-specific knowledge.

Embedded within the organization, they're acutely aware of its ethos, culture, and nuances. This intimate understanding can be an invaluable asset when crafting an SEO strategy, ensuring it's perfectly aligned with the company's goals, vision, and target audience.

What Expertise can an SEO Agency offer?

Conversely, outsourced SEO agencies, with their diverse clientele, have an extensive breadth of experience that spans different industries, market segments, and challenges.

Such an SEO agency has the advantage of drawing from a vast pool of strategies and tactics, which have been tested and refined over multiple scenarios and clients. Their broad perspective can infuse fresh, innovative approaches into an SEO strategy, offering solutions that an in-house team might not have encountered or considered.

In essence, while an in-house SEO expert can deliver a strategy tailor-made to a company's unique identity and objectives, an outsourced agency brings a wealth of insights from the wider industry, enriching the SEO approach with proven tactics and fresh perspectives.

Scalability

Scalability is a cornerstone consideration for businesses, especially when aligning with the ebbs and flows of market demands and internal objectives. The gist of it is that agencies can scale efforts up or down easily, while in-house teams might require hiring or training.

Are SEO Agencies Scalable?

Outsourced agencies, with their pool of SEO professionals, are structured to adjust their efforts with agility.

If a company experiences sudden business growth, requiring more intensive SEO services, agencies can readily amplify their operations. Conversely, in lean periods or during budgetary constraints, these agencies can scale down without affecting the core service quality.

Are In-House SEO Teams Scalable?

On the other hand, internal teams face a different set of challenges when it comes to scalability.

An in-house team might have deep-seated knowledge and alignment with company objectives, but adjusting to rapid expansion or contraction can be cumbersome. Upscaling might necessitate hiring additional staff or investing in further training, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

Similarly, downscaling could pose challenges related to redundancy or underutilization of team members. Ensuring that the internal team remains agile, especially in the rapidly evolving realm of SEO, requires strategic foresight and a commitment to continuous learning and development.

Responsiveness

Responsiveness in Search Engine Optimization is pivotal, especially when market dynamics or search engine algorithms shift or unexpected opportunities arise.

How Responsive Are In House Teams?

In-house teams, fortified with company-specific insights, often have the advantage of proximity.

Being an integral part of the company, they're typically more aligned with internal processes and can be quicker to respond to immediate needs. If an SEO strategy in-house needs tweaking or if sudden adjustments are required for ongoing SEO campaigns, in-house teams can implement these changes almost seamlessly.

How Responsive Is An SEO Agency?

When you consider the scope of resources, agencies typically have the edge.

With more hands on deck and a pool of diverse SEO professionals, they have the bandwidth to tackle multiple tasks concurrently.

While an in-house team might be more nimble in making decisions, agencies can execute extensive SEO campaigns or undertake multifaceted projects with relative ease. Their structured teams, equipped with specialized roles, ensure that every aspect of the marketing strategy is catered to efficiently.

In essence, while in-house teams bring immediacy and quick decision-making to the table, outsourced SEO agencies offer breadth, ensuring that large-scale tasks and comprehensive campaigns are executed effectively and efficiently.

Control

In SEO, where the right strategy can make or break a brand's online visibility, having tight control of the proverbial ship is a critical factor.

How Much Control Can You Have With In-House SEO?

With an in-house SEO team, companies inherently possess an upper hand when it comes to steering their SEO strategies. Every aspect, from planning to execution, remains under the organization's purview.

This means businesses can intimately shape, refine, and adjust their Search Engine Optimization efforts on the fly, aligning them closely with internal objectives and market dynamics.

How Much Control Do You Have When Outsourcing SEO?

However, when companies outsource SEO, the dynamics of control shift.

While outsourced agencies bring their expertise, diverse experiences, and specialized resources, entrusting them with your SEO strategy demands a degree of trust. Successful collaboration then hinges on clear communication, establishing shared objectives, and regularly checking in to ensure alignment.

While businesses might not have the same immediate hands-on control as with an in-house team, building a strong rapport with the outsourced agency can lead to a harmonious partnership where both entities are synchronously working towards the same SEO goals.

Reliability & Results

When examining the "SEO in-house vs. outsourcing" conundrum, businesses must factor in both reliability and the ultimate results produced by each approach. Regardless of the chosen path, it's essential to have consistent and transparent tracking of metrics, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and tangible outcomes to gauge effectiveness.

How Reliable Are In-House SEO Teams?

Choosing an in-house SEO approach ensures that the company retains direct oversight over the entire process.

The team's direct alignment with the business's objectives can sometimes result in more tailored strategies, ensuring reliability in execution. Moreover, the immediate feedback loop within the organization can mean quicker adjustments, ensuring that strategies are consistently aligned with the intended outcomes.

How Reliable Are SEO Agencies?

On the other hand, outsourcing SEO introduces an external agency with its unique set of methodologies and experiences.

These agencies have usually honed their processes across a variety of projects and clients, which can translate to a wealth of best practices and proven strategies. Their breadth of experience can drive innovation and bring about results that might be challenging for an in-house team to replicate.

However, this does rely on clear communication, trust, and ensuring that the agency truly understands and aligns with the business's goals.

Summary: Comparison Table

Criteria

SEO In-House

Outsourcing

Cost

Initially cost-intensive. Potential for better ROI in the long run.

Scalable costs. Can become pricey with additional services.

Expertise

Deep, company-specific knowledge. SEO strategy tailored to the company's unique identity and objectives.

Breadth of experience across industries. Can offer fresh, innovative approaches.

Scalability

Might require additional hiring or training for scaling up. Can face challenges during rapid expansion or contraction.

Can easily scale efforts up or down based on requirements. Access to a pool of SEO professionals.

Responsiveness

Quick to respond to immediate needs due to proximity and alignment. Nimble decision-making

More hands on deck for executing extensive campaigns. Requires clear communication for alignment.

Control

Direct oversight and control over SEO strategies. Quick adjustments to strategies.

Built on trust and clear communication. Potential for shared objectives and regular check-ins for alignment.

Reliability & Results

Direct oversight ensures tailored strategies. Immediate feedback loop for strategy adjustment

Proven strategies from diverse experiences. Requires trust, clear communication, and alignment with business goals for effective results

How Difficult Is It to Work with an SEO Agency?

The answer, quite simply, is that it's not difficult at all, provided you select the right partner.

One of the undeniable advantages of partnering with an SEO agency over maintaining an in-house SEO team is the self-sufficiency they offer. With an external team, you are relieved of the micro-management and training responsibilities that sometimes come with an in-house team.

Instead, you have a motivated, skilled set of professionals ready to dive deep into the nuances of your business and produce tangible results. They're driven, not just by their professional ethos, but also by the success stories they craft for clients like you.

How Difficult is it to work with an in-house SEO?

One of the most undeniable perks of having an in-house SEO team is the unparalleled control it offers. You're at the helm of steering the team's daily tasks, fine-tuning strategies, and having an SEO specialist just a desk away to answer pressing queries or pivot strategies in real time.

However, this intimate control comes with its set of challenges. An in-house SEO team isn't just about ensuring top-notch SEO performance.

It also involves team management, which extends from the recruitment phase – where you're hunting for the right talent – to the ongoing commitments of training and ensuring they're updated with the latest SEO trends.

What SEO activities should I outsource?

what can you outsource
  • Local SEO
  • Off-Page SEO
  • Keyword Research
  • On-Page SEO
  • Content Creation

SEO In House vs Outsourcing SEO? Our Recommendation Per Business Type

The ideal choice often varies depending on the size and nature of the business. Here's our recommendation based on the business type:

recommendation based on business type

Startups - At this nascent stage, costs and flexibility are paramount. Startups, often operating on limited budgets, may find it beneficial to outsource SEO services.

This approach provides access to expert keyword research, technical SEO, and other specialized services without bearing the costs of hiring a full-time team. As the business grows, it can consider transitioning to an in-house team or continuing with a blended approach.

SMEs - SMEs, having established a footing in their respective industries, often juggle between scaling operations and optimizing costs. Outsourcing SEO can provide advanced expertise without the need for resource-intensive endeavors like training and setting up an office space. 

However, as SMEs have a better financial cushion compared to startups, building an in-house SEO team for core search engine optimization strategies can offer more control and alignment with business objectives.

Large Businesses - With more substantial resources at their disposal, large businesses can effectively manage an in-house SEO team, ensuring that the search engine optimization strategy is tightly knit with the company's broader goals.

While core SEO tasks can be managed in-house, specialized tasks like link building can still be outsourced to ensure cutting-edge execution.

Multinationals - The sprawling operations of multinational companies benefit immensely from a hybrid approach. While central strategies can be conceptualized in-house, the execution, especially in diverse regions, is best left to local experts.

Outsourcing ensures that region-specific keyword research and optimization strategies are tailored to local trends and preferences, providing a more targeted reach.

Should I Outsource SEO at My Company?

After diving deep into the "SEO in-house vs. outsourcing" debate, if you're leaning towards partnering with an SEO agency, consider SEOExpert.ph.

Our client-centric approach, driven by a team of top-tier SEO specialists, ensures consistent and strategic search engine excellence. Catering to businesses of all sizes and sectors, we stand ready with diverse packages tailored to your unique needs.

And to kick-start your SEO voyage, we offer a complimentary website audit and strategy session. With SEOExpert.ph, embark on a results-driven journey, seamlessly crafted around your brand's narrative.

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