To be successful online, businesses need to take SEO seriously, and it needs to be a priority.
As the founder of an SEO agency, I have dedicated the past 20 years to helping businesses improve their search engine rankings. We have worked with small businesses, startups and major global brands. Regardless of their size, they all have the same primary SEO goals.
Even if you have employees who are focused on marketing, SEO is complicated and requires a specific skill set. Search engine algorithms change frequently, and it takes dedication to the field to master them. So when the time comes for your brand to hire a team of dedicated professionals, do you hire in-house help or outsource to an SEO agency? Here are some keys to consider:
Your SEO needs
Most people understand SEO as the vehicle that allows your web pages to rank for specific keywords. This is true, but on closer inspection, we discover a much more complex picture.
• Technical expertise
First of all, there is on-page SEO. Whether your team is in-house or outsourced, they should be able to understand concepts related to the content itself, such as page design, keyword optimization (proximity and prominence), and user experience. (UX), as well as backend SEO concepts like alt tags. , metadata, and specific code features such as header tags and markup schema.
These concepts, collectively, are extremely sophisticated because they communicate the content and organization of a page to a given search engine. If any of them are wrong or missing altogether, it could sink the page (and your site as a whole) in terms of being able to rank in organic search results. There are also some unique strategies for sites with little to no traffic that you should focus on when you first start out, as I explained in a recent article.
• Holistic experience
Your team should also be experienced in what works and what does not in terms of off-page SEO, which is more difficult to control due to outside factors. Things like your brand’s reputation (reputation management) and other sites that link to your pages (backlinks) can affect a single page’s ability to rank for a given keyword.
They should also understand the complexity of CRO (conversion rate optimization). Every business has unique goals, and it’s not enough to just make sure your pages are ranking. You need to make sure that your high ranking pages are generating the right kind of traffic to drive conversions for your business. This includes understanding your audience through marketing research, as I describe later here.
If you’ve ever hired to fill a position in an organization, you understand the process of finding someone who fits the culture and has the experience to do the job well. While it is unlikely that someone in your organization already has all the required skills, building an internal SEO team from scratch allows you to assess your SEO needs as outlined below. above and hire for those specific skills.
An external SEO agency, on the other hand, can start as soon as you sign a contract because they should already have experts to cover the basics. However, once an inside employee gets used to your company, brand, team, and overall SEO business strategy, it often adds tremendous value.
The question to ask yourself is how much time do you want to spend building a team. It can take months to build and onboard a team with all the prerequisites you’re looking for, but it can be worth having full-time employees with a deep understanding of your business’s unique digital needs.
Another consideration when finding a team to handle your business’s SEO needs is the impact on employment. I briefly mentioned hiring and building an in-house team, but there are also organizational barriers to having SEO specialists on your staff.
An internal team is made up of employees from your company. You’ll pay them a competitive salary (and remember, these are highly specialized roles that require a higher salary) and add them to the payroll, which means benefits, taxes, 401 (k) and more. Plus, you’ll want to weigh the hidden costs of maintaining the service, including software subscriptions, hardware, cloud storage, and IT security capabilities.
SEO agencies can be expensive too, with many charging over $ 10,000 per month. It all depends on the scope and goals of the project, as well as other external factors such as your site’s platform, boundaries, and even the target audience. Make sure you get an estimate ahead of time so you can carefully consider your budget and options.
You can hire an in-house SEO employee within your budget, but be careful; you get what you pay for, so make sure you have a clear job description and that you understand the employee’s abilities and experience level.
Agility & Culture
When you choose to use an outside agency, you have instant access to a trained team. SEO and marketing agencies typically have more staff than internal departments, so when someone leaves there’s usually a replacement waiting to take their place, which minimizes downtime.
External agencies can also increase or decrease the team they dedicate to your project depending on size and budget, giving you more agility to manage large projects like overall site optimization, or whatever. something simpler, like producing content to rank for relevant keywords.
On the other hand, having a smaller internal team allows you to have more control over the processes, maintain the corporate culture and foster internal creativity among colleagues. Again, this comes down to assessing your business needs and what you want to prioritize.
The bottom line
So what is best for your business: internal agency or external agency? Only you can meet them based on your understanding of your unique needs.