September 23, 2019 | By: Tony Mastri

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Outsourcing SEO vs. Doing It In-House

It’s no secret that organic traffic to your website is important, but attracting your target audience comes at a cost. As a small business owner or marketing manager, if you’re not willing or able to invest your time and effort into search engine optimization, you won’t be found by potential customers and clients.

Hiring SEO talent is the best way for your organization to reach your ideal audience at the right time. The question you should ask yourself is – should I outsource SEO, or hire an in-house SEO expert?

What Is SEO Outsourcing?

SEO outsourcing is the act of hiring an external agency or contractor to handle on-page and off-page search engine optimization for your website. This may include the creation and execution of SEO strategies, content marketing, link building, digital PR, local SEO and web design.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing SEO

The main advantages of SEO outsourcing are cost savings and expertise. This may seem counterintuitive, as hiring an agency is considerably more expensive than doing SEO yourself.

However, our comparison here is between hiring in-house vs. outsourcing marketing talent for search engine optimization. At the time of this writing, hiring an in-house SEO expert will cost you an average of $51,000 per year in the U.S.

The above figure accounts for this employee’s salary, but employees will cost your business around 25% more than their salary. Thus, a staff SEO specialist will cost you around $64,000 a year… on average.

SEO Benefit = [SEO Value] / Cost

When you do the math, that price is the equivalent of a $5,300 SEO retainer if you outsource SEO services to a full team of experts. The fact of the matter is, the benefit is going to be greater when you contract this function to an outsourced marketing agency. Just make sure you know how to choose a good SEO company for your business before you make such a large and important investment.

what is SEO outsourcing?

Outsourcing your SEO to a full team of professionals is also a great way to tap into different strengths. An agency might be comprised of UX and graphic designers, web developers, writers, and search engine optimization strategists. Each of these specialists has in-depth insights on how to help your business succeed.

Lastly, an agency is able to tailor budget expenditure based on the SEO strategies that will be the most effective for your business. If different software tools or niche third-party subscriptions can help improve your rankings, a marketing firm has the ability to make that shift.

There are several more advantages of advertising agencies and marketing firms that you may want to know before making a choice.

What Is In-house SEO?

In-house SEO is when a business’s search engine optimization strategy is created and executed (at least in part) by internal staff. The phrase “in-house SEO” frequently denotes the staff member in charge of this function. This SEO professional can work alone or as part of an internal marketing team.

Pros and Cons of Hiring an In-House SEO Expert

A major benefit of employing an SEO expert at your business is the proximity they have to you and your business goals. This staff member not only has a deep understanding of on-page and off-page SEO, but they know your product/service. They can communicate what makes your products and services special without needing you to explicitly outline it for them.

Unlike most SEO agencies, an in-house SEO specialist is able to build relationships with team members. They converse with web designers and developers, writers, and production staff in order to execute a more personalized product.

As mentioned in the SEO outsourcing section, hiring an employee is very costly compared to hiring SEO agencies or contractors. You have to pay a salary in addition to certain amounts of their Medicare, Social Security, unemployment insurance and workers’ comp.

Another con is that your internal marketing employee will have a single set of strengths and weaknesses. For example, they may be great at SEO writing and keyword research, but bad at link-building and web development. This could impede their ability to generate business leads and cause your results to plateau.

For more pros and cons of each marketing option, check out our analysis of in-house vs. outsourced marketing today.

Should I Outsource SEO?

outsource search engine optimization

Your decision to keep SEO in-house vs. outsourcing will depend on where you lie on the control – budget matrix. If you value high control and have a higher budget, in-house SEO might be for you. If you are more flexible, and your budget is limited, you may be better off outsourcing your search engine optimization.

One last dimension that you need to consider is whether you need ongoing services or a one-time project.

Outsource SEO Services (Ongoing)

Most SEO strategies require ongoing services, especially if you’re in a competitive industry. Ongoing marketing agency fees are set up as monthly retainers, and will typically require a certain contract length or cancellation notice.

Ongoing services frequently include content marketing, link-building, local SEO, on-page and technical SEO, and sometimes digital PR to help reach your goals and drive revenue for your business.

Outsource SEO Projects (One-time)

Outsourcing your SEO in project form is not as common. This is only recommended if you have an internal marketing specialist or team that can partially manage your search engine optimization strategy, but needs supplemented for certain tasks.

For example, if your internal team struggles with technical SEO, it would make sense to outsource for a one-time audit. Your internal marketing team or web developers can use the audit to seamlessly blend your web design and SEO. You may also be interested in a limited number of sessions from an SEO consultant. Only opt for this type of marketing project if a current staff member has the time and know-how to benefit.

Outsource Your SEO to MARION Today

If you’re in search of Houston or Austin SEO companies that you can trust to get the job done right, MARION is your solution. Our team has a proven track record of organic search growth in a variety of industries.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about the future of your business’s growth.

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About Tony Mastri

Tony Mastri, Digital Marketing Manager at MARION, is an experienced agency and in-house digital marketer. With a proven background in content strategy, relationship-based link building, and technical SEO, he makes data-informed decisions that drive client growth.

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