Back then, businesses would hire an SEO expert to optimize their site while focusing on running their business. But search optimization is no longer a one-person job.
You need programmers who code with performance in mind, content marketers who consider audiences and search engines, social media managers to promote your content, and advertisers to generate the leads that SEO isn’t really designed for.
You need a team.
Which leaves you with two options: hire an agency or build your own team of SEO and marketing professionals. Today we’re going to look at the pros and cons of each approach.
Benefits of hiring an SEO agency
Essentially, hiring an SEO agency means that everything is set up for you from day one. You pick an agency, work with them on your goals, and you’re good to go.
- Instant Experts: You get an instant team of experts ready to get things done – no training required.
- Cutting edge: A good agency will always be up to date with the latest developments, techniques and technologies in the industry.
- More than SEO: Modern SEO needs strong content marketing, paid ads, social promotions, and other marketing strategies to make an impact.
- Software and tools: Agencies have powerful tools, all bought and paid for.
- Hassle Free: Besides not having to hire a new team, you don’t have to worry about an office to onboard them or anything else.
Using an agency means you can focus on running your business. Trying to fit a marketing team into your current setup can be more of a hassle than it’s worth — and that’s before you even think about achieving your goals.
The disadvantages of using an SEO agency
As always, there are no perfect answers in this area and hiring an agency to handle your SEO efforts comes with a few trade-offs.
- Choose a good agency: Many agencies claim to offer SEO and identifying the right ones can be a challenge
- Agencies have other clients: Unlike an internal team, an agency will have to think of other clients.
- The possession: You may not have the accounts or data for some tools (check this before signing anything).
The biggest issue with hiring an agency is making sure you have a good one. Although, it’s not really different from the old days of hiring just one SEO expert. It’s also easier to choose an agency than a full team of SEO/marketing experts, which sort of sums up the main problem with in-house teams.
Benefits of building an in-house team
Having your own in-house SEO team puts your business first, which is important for some brands.
- It is your team: An internal team is working on your SEO strategy and yours only.
- Company knowledge : They will naturally be exposed to more events in your company
- Communication: You can talk to them instantly and anytime.
You probably won’t see the benefits right away. It will take time for your team to get up to speed and you will need a good marketing manager to work between them and senior management.
Disadvantages of in-house teams
The main issue with building an internal team is the time and money it takes to get things up and running. It won’t happen overnight.
- Recruitment: Instead of hiring an agency, you need to hire a full team of talent – and this is where most companies struggle.
- Training: It will take time to upgrade them.
- Limited resources: You have an SEO team, but who is going to manage your content, advertising, and social workload?
- Cost: Building a team in-house usually costs more than hiring an agency.
- Tunnel-vision: An internal team doesn’t always see things from an outside perspective.
If you can handle these issues and don’t need quick results, then building your own team of SEO professionals could be the way to go.
SEO agency vs internal team: the cost
You might think that hiring an SEO agency costs more than building your own team, but it doesn’t tend to work that way. Yes, an agency should make a profit on top of their workload, but they also take a lot of the financial burden off you at the same time.
For example, a full suite of enterprise tools would cost you thousands of dollars. While an SEO agency has already bought and paid for these tools, ready to be exploited to the fullest. You also need to think about salaries, benefits, employer obligations, equipment, and all sorts of other expenses. Every uniform, chair, and even every tea bag adds expenses that would otherwise be covered by your agency.
It is not only the financial cost, but also the time. With an agency, you don’t have to find staff, hire them, train them, and hope that they will eventually fit in well with your existing business.
Who Should Hire an SEO Agency?
If you want to focus on your business while the marketers take care of the marketing, the agency route is for you. You don’t have to worry about building a new team or the disruption it might cause, let alone the financial aspect.
Similarly, if you need quick results, flexibility, or to have an edge over your industry rivals, using an agency is probably the best option.
Who should build an internal SEO team?
The best candidates for building in-house SEO teams are industry leaders. They tend to have the budget for it and they’re already high in search rankings – so they can afford to be a little more patient.
They also have a history of hiring a lot of staff and have a reputation for attracting top talent.
However, this is not always a debate between large and small companies. If you’re in the software game and your team already has developers, designers, and other creative/techies, it might be a good idea to expand your existing team. There’s a big difference between that and a construction company creating a whole new marketing team.