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Written By
Kayley Blanchard

For today’s businesses, following SEO best practices is crucial for success. A properly optimized website will rank organically for high-value keywords, receive organic search traffic, and ultimately generate sales leads that will convert to paying customers. It’s no secret that search engine optimization is important, but who is going to do the SEO work? Marketing teams have two options: build an in-house team of SEO professionals, or hire an SEO agency to help.

In this blog post, we take a look at:

  • What is in-house SEO and what is an SEO agency?
  • What’s the difference between the two, and the pros and cons of choosing either one?
  • Which should you choose?

What is in-house SEO?

In-house SEO relies on an internal team of marketing professionals hired by your organization to carry out daily marketing and SEO operations. These individuals will be responsible for things like internal SEO audits, on-page optimization, technical SEO issue resolution, content creation, link building, competitor analysis, and keyword research. 

Members of an in-house SEO team might have titles such as:

  • SEO Specialist
  • SEO Manager
  • SEO Director

The number of employees on your team and their titles will vary depending on the size of your company and your industry. 

It’s important to note that SEO tasks are often allocated to members of a more general marketing team. For example, you might hire an additional Marketing Specialist to join your team to help with SEO work. As a generalist, this individual might also be responsible for things like email marketing, public relations, and paid social campaigns. In-house marketers often wear many hats, so it can be difficult for them to devote the necessary time to SEO.


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What is an SEO agency?

An SEO agency is a team of experts that provides search engine optimization services to different organizations in various industries. Agencies work alongside their clients to conduct SEO audits, develop comprehensive SEO strategies, and resolve both technical and on-page issues.

SEO agencies employ experts who have extensive training and experience in the field. Quite often, agency employees specialize in a specific dimension of SEO, such as link building or technical SEO. Team members work within their specialty for each client, ensuring that all SEO best practices are being followed and that no sight goes unseen.

The Difference Between In-House SEO and an SEO Agency

The main difference between hiring an agency and doing SEO in-house is the fact that the members of your in-house team are hired to do SEO work for your company only, while an SEO agency provides services to many clients in different industries.

If you choose the in-house route, your organization will hire employees dedicated to marketing and SEO, whereas if you hire an agency, they might be completely responsible for your organization’s SEO depending on the contracted scope of work.

At this point, you’re probably wondering how to pick between the two. Should you hire new employees to tackle your organization’s SEO, or should you work with an agency to do the work for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Pros and Cons of In-House SEO

Pros:

  • You’ll have greater visibility to the work that’s being done and have the ability to quickly make changes
  • In-house staff are focused solely on your company’s website 
  • Internal team members will have a solid understanding of your organization’s culture, values, and overall business goals
  • It’s easy for in-house SEO teams to collaborate with other teams, such as public relations, web development, and sales

Cons:

  • Hiring and training qualified employees can be a long (and costly) process
  • It can be expensive to hire a full-time employee or team of employees
  • It’s unlikely that in-house employees will be an expert in a specific area of SEO since they will have many responsibilities
  • The work might get done slowly since in-house employees have to prioritize different tasks and responsibilities

Pros and Cons of Hiring an SEO Agency

Pros:

  • You’ll save time and money by eliminating the internal hiring process and you’ll be instantly provided with an experienced team
  • Agencies have the industry knowledge needed to provide insight into SEO issues that your team might not otherwise know how to resolve
  • It’s often more cost-effective to hire an SEO agency compared to an in-house team
  • Agencies employ experts who specialize in specific areas of SEO, which means that all aspects of SEO will be considered
  • The turnaround times for deliverables can be shorter than they would be in-house since agency employees are both experienced and efficient

Cons:

  • Agencies work for many different clients
  • Although good agencies will maintain open communication with their clients, it can sometimes be easier and faster to communicate internally
  • Finding the right agency for your organization can be difficult
  • Hiring an agency requires a great deal of trust, so finding a team that you like and think is trustworthy is crucial

Which should you choose?

Ultimately, whether you decide to hire an in-house SEO team or an SEO agency depends on a variety of factors including your organization’s size, industry, and overall business goals. Hiring an agency is often the better investment seeing that it will likely cost your business less money than hiring full-time staff and have a larger return on investment.

The best way for you to decide which is best for you is to set your SEO goals (if you haven’t already done so) and determine whether an in-house team or agency will be more effective in helping you to drive the needle on important SEO KPIs. Consider the amount of work that needs to be done, its difficulty level, and the budget that you have. 

If you’re not sure what SEO work needs to be done, consider an SEO audit with a reputable agency like Pepperland Marketing. This will give you a better idea of your website’s overall health so you can make a more informed decision about whether an in-house SEO team or an agency is a better fit for your needs.

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