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The SEO Dilemma: Pros and Cons of Hiring an Agency vs. Building an In-House Team

For businesses looking to step up your SEO, the choice between an SEO agency or an in-house team is a tricky one. Here are the pros and cons of both.

Hiring an SEO Agency vs. In-House Team: Pros and Cons

In a world where almost 69% of clicks go to Google’s top three search results, rising through the organic search rankings is essential to remain competitive. However, if your business is ready to step up your search engine SEO efforts, you have a difficult choice to make: hiring or building an in-house SEO team, or partnering with an SEO agency. Both an internal and external SEO team have their unique advantages and disadvantages; here’s a deep dive into the pros and cons to help you choose the best option for your brand.

In-house team

An in-house SEO team consists of a group of professionals dedicated to managing and implementing the search engine optimisation efforts of a company from within the organisation itself. These team members work exclusively for your company and are responsible for tasks such as optimising website content, analysing and improving technical SEO performance, improving site structure, conducting keyword research, and monitoring the website’s performance in search engine rankings.

Pros of an in-house SEO team

Deep industry and business knowledge

An in-house SEO team boasts an intrinsic understanding of your company’s industry, products, and target audience. This intimate knowledge allows them to tailor SEO strategies that align seamlessly with your brand’s unique identity and resonate with your customers.

Easy communication

Direct communication is a significant advantage of an in-house team. Being within the organisation facilitates quick and seamless exchanges of ideas, insights, and feedback. This accessibility ensures that SEO strategies can be swiftly adjusted based on market trends and predictions, customer feedback, or shifts in business objectives. Keep in mind, however, that SEO is a long-term process – it can take months to see results so asking your SEO team to target keywords that capitalise on short-term trends is unlikely to bring the best results for your company.

Alignment with business objectives

In-house teams inherently share your company’s vision, values, and business goals. This alignment ensures that SEO efforts are seamlessly integrated into your overarching business strategy. The team’s direct involvement in the company’s culture fosters a deeper understanding of how SEO initiatives contribute to the bigger picture.

Cons of an in-house SEO team

Cost and resource commitment

Building and maintaining an in-house SEO team incurs substantial costs. Alongside salaries, benefits, and training expenses, there’s the need to invest in costly SEO tools and resources. These financial commitments can be particularly burdensome for smaller businesses with limited budgets, potentially diverting resources from other crucial areas of growth.

Limited skill sets

Comprehensive SEO involves an array of skills, ranging from technical optimisation to content creation and link building. Assembling a single in-house team capable of excelling in all these facets can be challenging – especially if your resources are limited. For instance, a company might find it difficult to hire individuals who possess both technical coding skills for optimising website structure and creative writing skills for engaging content creation.

Lack of flexibility and scalability

In-house teams might struggle to quickly adjust to changes in workload or shifting priorities. This lack of flexibility can lead to inefficiencies during periods of high demand or leave the team underutilised during quieter times. This rigidity in resource allocation can potentially hinder the team’s ability to deliver optimal results.

 

SEO agency

An SEO agency is a specialised organisation that offers professional services focused on improving a company’s online visibility and search engine rankings. These agencies bring together a team of experts in various areas of search engine optimisation, such as technical optimisation, content creation, link building, and data analysis. Businesses collaborate with SEO agencies to benefit from their expertise, tools, and strategies, allowing them to enhance their online presence and drive organic traffic to their websites without needing to maintain an in-house SEO team.

Pros of an SEO agency

Expertise and experience

SEO agencies bring a wealth of experience gained from working with diverse clients across industries. This collective knowledge often leads to the development of innovative strategies tailored to specific business needs. It’s not just that SEO agencies can use the knowledge gained working with one beauty brand to other brands in this space – SEO agencies see the bigger picture and may be able to apply insights and strategies developed working with a beauty brand to a business in the healthcare space, for example.

Access to industry-leading tools and technology

Agencies invest in premium SEO tools and technologies that might be financially challenging for individual businesses to acquire. These tools offer valuable insights into keyword trends, competitor analysis, and performance metrics. By utilising these tools, agencies can offer data-driven strategies and maximise the impact of SEO efforts.

Outsider’s perspective and out-of-the-box thinking

Agencies offer a fresh and unbiased perspective on a company’s SEO needs. This outsider viewpoint often leads to out-of-the-box thinking and innovative solutions that internal teams, influenced by familiarity, might overlook. For instance, an agency might suggest unconventional content angles that resonate with a broader audience, tapping into untapped segments.

Time and resource efficient

Hiring an agency eliminates the need for lengthy recruitment, training, and management processes. Agencies can swiftly deploy a team of experts with the right skills to address specific SEO needs. This efficiency saves valuable time and resources, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations.

Scalability and flexibility

SEO agencies offer the flexibility to scale resources up or down based on project requirements. This adaptability ensures optimal resource allocation, preventing overstaffing during periods of low demand and understaffing during busy periods. For instance, during a rebrand or merger, an agency can quickly allocate additional resources to handle the surge in SEO activities.

 

Cons of an SEO agency

Time and resources involved in educating the agency about your business goals and landscape

A good agency will take some time to deeply understand your business goals and competitive landscape before getting to work on your SEO strategy. This initial learning curve might result in a brief lag before the SEO efforts get started, but it’s entirely worthwhile to ensure that the agency’s work is 100% aligned with your needs and goals.

Less direct control

Engaging an agency means relinquishing some degree of direct control over the implementation of SEO strategies. Even though the best SEO agencies enable close communication and collaboration with clients and you’ll always get the final say, offering your SEO agency a level of autonomy allows them to work at their highest efficiency.

 

Conclusion: Which is best for your business?

Assembling a comprehensive in-house SEO team presents significant challenges for many businesses, particularly smaller ones. The financial strain of hiring, training, and retaining skilled professionals – along with the need for diverse expertise and continuous adaptation to a dynamic field – makes building an in-house team unrealistic for many. Additionally, this approach can divert resources and attention away from a business’s core competencies, hindering growth and innovation.

For businesses facing these challenges, partnering with an experienced SEO agency offers a practical alternative. Agencies provide immediate access to a diverse team of experts and cutting-edge tools, without the long-term financial and managerial commitments of an in-house team. This approach allows businesses to focus on their core strengths while benefiting from specialised external knowledge. By embracing the agency model, businesses can efficiently navigate the ever-evolving landscape of SEO.

Considering partnering with an SEO agency? Viaduct Generation is a mission-led organic agency specialising in e-commerce SEO, conversion rate optimisation, and email marketing. Head to their website to get a quote and claim your free website SEO audit today.

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