Published on: February 8, 2021
In House SEO vs. Hiring an Agency – 7 Things to Consider
So you’ve decided to work on your SEO.
Nowadays, that’s the only realistic way you can put up a fight against the giants in your industry.
And even though you don’t have millions to splurge on marketing, you can still win.
But here’s the big question:
Should you go for an in house SEO team, or should you hire an agency instead?
Today, we’re going to help you find the better option.
Yes, we are an SEO agency. But we have to admit that our services aren’t for everyone. And that some businesses will profit better from an in-house team.
So if you’re looking for the most informative article to help you make your decision, read on!
Should You Hire an In-House SEO Team or an Agency?
Every business is unique.
Everyone is at various stages of growth, and everyone has different needs.
So if you’re wondering whether you should hire an SEO expert in-house, or get the services of an agency, think about these seven things:
- Finding the right fit
- Working together
Let’s have a closer look at each one.
In House SEO vs. SEO Agency: Cost
When it comes to pricing, one beats the other every day.
Hiring an agency is ALWAYS going to be cheaper than having an in-house team.
That’s the most substantial trump card agencies have.
A good SEO firm will cost you anywhere from $1,500 – $5,000 a month, depending on your goals.
Hiring a professional, on the other hand?
That can easily cost you over $10,000 a month(if they’re a good one).
Yes, you can hire cheap workers from India or Bangladesh online.
But you have to remember the adage:
“You get what you pay for.”
If you’re looking for a quality in-house SEO team, you’ll have to spend for it.
Otherwise, you won’t get good results.
In House SEO vs. SEO Agency: Industry Knowledge
If you know anything about SEO, you know that there is no one-size-fits-all plan.
Every industry has unique goals, and there are several ways to get to those goals.
That’s why seeking out someone that has your industry knowledge and experience is a good idea.
This is yet another area where SEO companies take the cake.
SEO specialists handle a variety of businesses. The chances of finding one that specializes in your specific niche aren’t too slim.
Contrast that to finding an SEO professional.
It’s way more difficult to find someone who:
- Knows your industry inside-out, AND
- Knows how to do professional SEO
That said, if you do find someone with those two characteristics, you’ve hit a gold mine!
These people are rare, though.
And if you find them, you’ll still have to get them to work for you (which might cost you $10,000/month).
That’s why we say hiring an agency that knows about your niche is the more realistic option for most businesses.
However, we should give you a quick warning:
If you’ve read our “Questions to Ask SEO Agencies” article, you’ll know that some agencies pretend to be industry experts.
These agencies advertise themselves as such, but it’s all a marketing ploy to get more clients in reality.
It’s not the end of the world. If they’re willing to listen to you and learn about your niche, then you can form an excellent partnership.
But keep that in mind as you talk to your potential SEO company! Make sure you ask before you get their services.
In House SEO vs. SEO Agency: Skills
There are several branches of SEO:
- SEO strategy
- Content writing
- On-page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Digital Pr (link building, press releases, social media, etc.)
- Local SEO
Now, ask yourself:
“Can one person master all of these skills and handle the entire SEO of my company?”
The answer, of course, is a resounding NO.
Each of the branches of SEO requires in-depth knowledge and skills.
That’s why when it comes to skills, going for an SEO company is once again the better choice.
An SEO agency will have a complete SEO team. They will have the planners, the writers, the developers, and everyone in between.
And these people are professionals.
They know what they’re doing.
These aren’t office workers who also do SEO on the side. They are trained professionals who have been doing this for years.
They know how to make things work.
Now you’re probably wondering, “is there any case for in-house SEO? “
Well, yes. You see, some professionals take it upon themselves to become the very best at their branch of SEO. Whether that be an SEO manager, a writer, a developer, or a graphic designer, these people are the masters of their craft.
These people are superstars.
They’re like famous actors.
You don’t hire a film crew and get Brad Pitt for free, do you?
No, there’s a LOT of negotiation that goes on before you can get him for your film. Plus, you’ll also have to pay a LOT.
So is the case with these superstar professionals.
They’re few, far between, and very expensive.
Also, they only master one branch of SEO. So you’ll have to hire at least 4 of them to create your superstar team – your Brad Pitt movie will flop if the film crew sucks.
In House SEO vs. SEO Agency: Tools
Next up: tools.
Good SEO is IMPOSSIBLE with a handful of tools.
- A keyword finder
- An audit tool
- An NLP tool
- A backlinks tracker
If you were to grab all of these tools for yourself, the prices would stack up.
Right now, Ahrefs most popular price is $179/month.
SurferSEO, which is known for its NLP tool, is at $99/month.
And even the simple KWFinder goes for $69/month.
And remember, you’ll need a couple of these for a comprehensive SEO plan.
You could easily spend well over $500/month on tools alone.
On the other hand, SEO agencies use ALL of these tools for your business with no extra fees.
When you hire an agency, they’ll use the latest and the greatest SEO tools on your website.
That’s why you can be sure that you’re going after the right keywords without worrying about spending extra.
In House SEO vs. SEO Agency: Hiring
Here’s where things even out a bit.
Finding the right person to join your in-house team is tough, but finding the right SEO company isn’t a walk in the park either.
You know how hiring someone goes.
You’ll have to screen that person, go through interviews to find out if they’re the right fit, and then you’ll have to deal with all the paperwork.
However, getting a good SEO agency isn’t as easy as hiring someone to fix your leaking faucet.
You’ll have to ask them the right questions to find out whether they are legit or not.
Too many people offer SEO services that produce empty results.
That’s why we put together a set of questions to ask the agency you’re thinking of working with. Make sure to use these.
With those questions, you’ll find out whether or not the SEO company you’re speaking with is legit and whether or not you should work with them.
You should also do a little screening on them as well.
You can check out their case studies, yes.
But doing a little sleuthing and asking companies they’ve worked with how their experience was is a great idea.
Remember, SEO takes time.
SEO relationships are long-term relationships.
So don’t rush into hiring anyone, whether that be a professional or an agency!
In House SEO vs. SEO Agency: Working Together
If you’re starting to feel that hiring an in-house SEO expert vs. an agency is a one-way street, it’s not.
At least not always.
You see, when it comes to working together, in-house SEO has some significant advantages.
For one, you will have someone who is focused solely on your business.
This person doesn’t have other responsibilities. They work for you full-time, five days a week.
That’s why they will get to learn about your brand identity and culture. They will know your business inside-out and will have a firm grasp of your message.
If you hire a couple of people for your team, you can expect them to push your brand and message.
In contrast, an SEO agency has other responsibilities.
They aren’t going to put in as much time to your business as in-house SEO teams would.
SEO agencies work with several clients at a time. While good agencies will take the time to learn about your business, your needs, and your goals, they won’t be a part of your company in a strict sense.
Furthermore, you can control good in-house SEO teams.
You can tell them what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.
Sure, it might not be the best content strategy, but at least you decide what goes to your website directly.
On the flip side, a good SEO company has an SEO manager that knows the best digital marketing practices for you.
You won’t get as much control, but you can rest assured that they are working on the best digital marketing strategy for you.
An in-house SEO team will allow you to walk right up to your SEO specialist and tell them what you want.
You can call a company team meeting any time you wish.
On the flip side, with an agency, you’ll have to schedule appointments to talk with the SEO specialist.
Make sure to do this so you can get regular reports. Again, a good company won’t make it difficult for you. But it’s just not as convenient.
All in all, when it comes to working together, an in-house SEO team is more convenient, gives you more control, and can better represent your company.
In House SEO vs. SEO Agency: Results
Lastly and most importantly, results.
What’s the point of anything if you don’t get the results that you are looking for, right?
So here’s the biggest question to ask:
Which produces better results? Hiring an in-house SEO team or an agency?
Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer.
If there were, there wouldn’t be two options.
So what’s the answer?
Here it goes:
For small to medium-sized businesses, hiring an SEO agency will ALWAYS be the better option.
Think about it.
For your search engine optimization to succeed, you’ll need a bunch of experts in your team.
And unless you have a boatload of cash to spend, you just can’t hire an SEO specialist after specialist for your team.
You’ll either have a team full of people who aren’t experts with SEO work, or they’ll cost you a fortune.
And the results?
The results will be mediocre at best.
Compare that to an SEO agency, where the entire relationship is results-driven.
Plus, before you even start working, you can discuss what you are looking for. You can set your KPIs, and they will deliver.
That’s why most of the time, an agency will deliver better results than building teams.
However, if you’re looking for perfect results and have a bottomless bank account, forming a star-studded SEO team for your business website may be the better choice.
Yes, you can make an in-house digital marketing team rock, but you’ll need the perfect person for every position.
The problem with in house SEO teams is that they’re always either:
- Extremely expensive, OR
- Not the best at what they do
That’s why only big corporations can realistically afford an excellent team.
In House SEO vs. Hiring an Agency – What’s Better for You?
With all that knowledge, let’s go through a quick overview.
Building your in-house SEO team is better if:
- You want more control of the process
- You want a team that knows your company inside-out
- You want a professional with the best skills in a particular field
- You want a team that works for you, and you only
That is why for large scale corporations, we recommend hiring an entire SEO staff.
Having in-house experts to do your content marketing, blog posts, web development, link building, and social media won’t be a problem.
Meanwhile, hiring an SEO company is better if:
- You don’t have all the money in the world
- You want a comprehensive SEO treatment for your website
- You want access to the best tools without having to buy all of them
- You want the best results for your budget
If that’s the case, hiring SEO companies will trump hiring individuals every day.
So what will you choose for your website?
P.S. If you’re looking for an SEO firm that’s transparent, has a proven track record, and can work on your business to push it to the top, sign up for our FREE audit and let’s work together!