Embarking on the quest for superior online visibility leads many to the crossroads: Should I Hire An SEO Company or bring an in-house SEO expert under my wing? This decision is not just about choosing a path; it’s about setting the course for your brand’s digital future.

On one hand, an SEO agency brings a mosaic of expertise, a treasure trove of industry insights gathered from a spectrum of clients. Their external vantage point could be the catalyst your business needs to leapfrog competition. On the flip side, an in-house SEO expert offers undivided allegiance, their strategies intricately woven into the fabric of your brand’s identity.

The choice between external agility and internal alignment is a delicate balancing act. Each option harbors its own set of advantages and potential pitfalls, tailored to different business models and growth aspirations. As we dissect the merits and drawbacks of each, consider not just the immediate impact on your search engine rankings, but the long-term effects on your brand’s narrative and resource allocation. This exploration is not merely academic; it’s a strategic step towards harnessing the full potential of SEO to sculpt your online presence.

So, let’s delve deep, beyond surface-level comparisons, to uncover the nuanced dynamics that will guide your decision in the pursuit of digital dominance.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves enhancing various aspects of your website to improve its visibility on search engines like Google and Bing. Consider how often you use a search engine to find a product you want to buy. You enter your query and usually select one of the top results. This is SEO at work: you want your website to rank among the top results for relevant searches. SEO services focus on multiple website elements that influence how search engines perceive your site’s quality and relevance, such as:

Keyword and Research Strategy:  Identifying optimal keywords for your business to rank for, attracting relevant traffic and high-quality leads.

Link Building: Earning backlinks signals search engines that your website is a reliable information source in your industry.

Technical SEO: Involves behind-the-scenes elements like user interface and loading times, which search engines consider.

Local SEO:  Enhances your site’s visibility to local customers searching for your products or services.

On-Page SEO: Involves optimizing website content according to relevant keywords, including homepages, category pages, product pages, and meta descriptions.

Off-Page SEO: Strategies like guest posting and content marketing on news, social media, and other websites to boost your domain’s authority.

Franchise SEO: Manages SEO for multiple locations, ensuring each franchise is visible in search results.

eCommerce SEO: Utilizes targeted SEO strategies to boost sales through your website or online marketplaces like Amazon.

An SEO specialist can manage one or more of these aspects, working in tandem with other experts to ensure your website is optimized for both search engine algorithms and user experience.

Hiring an In-House SEO Expert

Hiring an in-house SEO expert means bringing on a dedicated professional exclusively focused on enhancing your business’s online presence. This individual plays a crucial role in customizing SEO strategies to align with the specific goals and needs of your business.

An in-house SEO expert gains a deep understanding of your company’s brand, culture, and industry nuances. This knowledge allows for a more personalized and targeted approach to search engine optimization. Their constant involvement facilitates seamless collaboration with internal teams, ensuring that SEO efforts are well integrated with the broader business and marketing strategies.

In-house experts offer a deeper insight into the unique aspects of your brand and customer base. Their personalized attention, combined with the ability to quickly respond to changing market trends, makes in-house SEO experts invaluable for navigating the ever-changing terrain of online marketing and search rankings.

When choosing this route, your hiring team will need to search for suitable candidates to join as staff members. Depending on your SEO requirements, you may hire a single in-house SEO expert or assemble a team to manage various aspects of your website’s SEO strategy.

  1. Benefits

You Can Quickly Adjust Your SEO Strategy

An internal SEO specialist allows for swift changes in strategy. Being dedicated solely to your company’s SEO marketing initiatives, they can implement changes rapidly, reducing the time it takes for these adjustments to take effect.

Focused Team Committed to Your Website

Unlike SEO agencies managing multiple clients, an in-house team focuses solely on your website. Agencies juggling numerous projects may not always prioritize your SEO strategy, especially if overburdened. This risk is mitigated with an in-house team, enhancing your online presence through a well-managed SEO marketing strategy.

Collaboration Within the Office

An in-house SEO team offers transparent collaboration towards common goals. While this doesn’t necessarily mean working from a physical office, the advantage lies in visibility. Many agencies deliver SEO results without revealing their methods. With an in-house team, you can be assured of their collaborative efficiency and optimal outcomes.

  1. Drawbacks

Hiring an Entire SEO Team Is Expensive

Outsourcing your SEO needs means paying only for services, but hiring an in-house team entails bearing all associated costs. Glassdoor reports that the average employer spends $4,000 and takes about 24 days to hire a new employee. The recruitment process involves several costs, including:

  • Job sourcing
  • Background checks
  • Pre-hiring assessments
  • Job board fees
  • Recruitment outsourcing
  • Employee referral awards
  • Marketing
  • Sign-on bonuses

Once you’ve hired an SEO specialist or team, consider these one-time and ongoing expenses:

  • Salary
  • Equipment expenses
  • Benefits (401(k), monthly rewards, allowances)
  • Paid tools for SEO and additional office software
  • Benefits under statute (insurance, social security, paid time off for illness)

There’s also the risk of additional costs due to poor hires, who may not meet performance and quality standards despite a strong application, necessitating their replacement.


Your SEO Expert Needs to Wear Several Hats

Deciding between hiring a full team or just a few SEO experts affects the distribution of tasks and expertise. A larger team increases onboarding costs, while a smaller team requires individuals who are versatile in various SEO aspects, as opposed to having specialists focused on specific areas.

Slow Work Progress Due to Several Responsibilities

The advancement of your SEO strategy is tied to your team’s capacity. Considering the diverse components needed for a successful SEO marketing plan, your team’s performance may be limited by their existing roles and resources. This limitation might necessitate prioritizing certain tasks, which, while facilitating rapid strategy adjustments, could also lead to delays in other important areas.

Hiring an SEO Agency

Opting to hire an SEO agency means engaging external experts specializing in search engine optimization. These agencies comprise dedicated teams capable of managing various optimization tasks, ranging from keyword research and content strategy to technical enhancements of websites.

An SEO agency provides access to a wealth of experience, diverse skill sets, and advanced tools that might be prohibitively expensive for individual businesses. Agencies typically adopt a holistic approach to optimization, employing various strategies to enhance online visibility.

Agencies stay abreast of industry trends and algorithm updates, enabling them to swiftly adapt their strategies for optimal results. Moreover, the external perspective of an SEO agency often introduces fresh ideas and innovative solutions, which are instrumental in developing an effective, comprehensive digital marketing strategy to bolster your online presence.

By hiring an SEO agency, you pay only for the services rendered, while the agency handles all the necessary SEO work. It’s crucial to carefully research and consider customer testimonials, services offered, and other factors when selecting an agency, as your choice significantly affects the quality and efficacy of the services you receive.

  1. Benefits

Pay Only for the Service, Not the Skilled Team

A reputable SEO agency is only as strong as its team. Typically, these teams comprise skilled professionals who are experts in their field. When hiring an agency, you pay for the services rather than the cost of attracting and maintaining such high-caliber talent in-house.

This can be a more economical option for small businesses, considering the expenses involved in recruiting and maintaining an internal team. Since an agency takes care of providing its staff with the necessary tools and resources, it becomes a cost-effective choice.

Dedicated Industry Knowledge

While considering outsourcing, you might weigh options like hiring a freelancer or a smaller team. However, hiring a single SEO specialist or a small team has its risks. The success of your SEO strategy might hinge on the performance of one person or a small group, and a shortfall in their expertise can have significant consequences.

Moreover, a comprehensive SEO strategy requires multifaceted expertise, and it’s rare to find one person proficient in every aspect of SEO. For instance, someone skilled in technical SEO might not be equally adept at local SEO.

Collaborating with an agency provides access to a diverse team of experts, each specialized in different facets of SEO. This ensures that there’s always someone capable of managing the workload and delivering effective solutions for your website.

Faster Turnaround Time

After setting expectations with your chosen SEO marketing agency, you can anticipate timely delivery of their work. Agency professionals, seasoned in their field, often deliver high-quality results within the agreed timeframe.

This efficiency can contrast with the productivity of internal teams, particularly if you have limited staff to allocate to specific tasks. In contrast, well-established agencies have a larger pool of professionals, enabling them to complete work more quickly and efficiently.

  1. Drawbacks

You Don’t Have Complete Control

Handing over your SEO strategy to an agency can be daunting for some business owners, as it often means relinquishing a degree of control over their online presence. While some SEO agencies may expect you to trust their deliverables as the best outcome, others are more open to providing updates and addressing concerns. To avoid feeling out of the loop, it’s advisable to partner with an agency that prioritizes results and transparent communication, ensuring you remain confident in the value of the partnership.

Choosing a Reliable SEO Agency

Internal issues within an agency, such as subpar hiring practices or high staff turnover, may initially seem inconsequential but can be indicative of deeper problems that could eventually impact the quality of their work. When scouting for an SEO agency, be wary of the following red flags:

Bad Client Record: An agency with a limited or unimpressive client history can be a concern. While you don’t want an agency that’s too overwhelmed with clients to focus on your needs, it’s crucial to work with a team that has a proven track record in delivering optimal SEO results.

Unrealistic Promises: No agency can guarantee rapid, high rankings in search results, regardless of their expertise. Be cautious of agencies making such promises, as they may resort to unethical practices or misrepresent the nature of SEO success.

Less Visibility: If an agency struggles to rank their own website effectively, it raises questions about their ability to manage your SEO. Agencies that do not feature prominently in search engine rankings may not be applying the best SEO practices to their site.

Not Every SEO Company Provides the Same Outcomes

It’s important to recognize that no SEO agency can guarantee specific outcomes. The efficacy of an agency’s results varies due to factors like their strategies, tools, and adherence to best practices. As a business owner, exercising due diligence in selecting an SEO agency is crucial.

Consider factors such as case studies, pricing, custom package options, client reviews, and other elements that could influence the results. Careful consideration is key in finding the most suitable SEO partner for small businesses like yours.


Employing In-House SEO Experts vs. Hiring an SEO Agency: Which One Should I Opt?

Deciding whether to hire in-house SEO experts or an SEO agency hinges on your business’s unique needs and objectives. Opting for in-house SEO experts offers the advantage of focused attention, deep brand understanding, and seamless collaboration within your organization. In-house teams can tailor their strategies specifically to your company’s goals, ensuring a personalized and integrated approach.

Conversely, hiring an SEO agency brings the collective expertise, diverse skill sets, and access to advanced tools. Agencies are equipped to provide a comprehensive and adaptable strategy, quickly responding to industry changes. Key factors such as budget, business scale, and the intensity of ongoing SEO efforts should guide your decision.

Both in-house expertise and external agency resources have distinct benefits for businesses seeking an optimal strategy and effective SEO implementation. If you lean towards hiring an SEO agency, ensure they can meet your specific needs through thorough evaluation. Consider these aspects when making your decision:

Budget: Hiring an in-house team can be more expensive initially, but it may yield a higher return on investment once fully operational. In contrast, working with an SEO agency is generally more cost-effective since you pay only for the services provided.

Skills: SEO agencies employ experts with varied digital marketing skills and experience across multiple SEO tools and sectors. Collaborating with an agency offering comprehensive SEO services can be more straightforward than assembling an internal team or outsourcing tasks individually.

Scalability: As your business grows, so will your SEO needs. Agencies offer scalable solutions, allowing you to adjust your package as needed. They handle the internal scaling to meet your evolving requirements.

Turnaround Time: An internal team will dedicate their efforts solely to your company, whereas agencies manage multiple clients simultaneously. Ultimately, the efficiency depends on the specific agency you choose.

Training: Staying abreast of the latest SEO techniques and industry updates is crucial. Your internal team will require ongoing training, either provided internally or through external sources. If this is not feasible, partnering with an agency that employs industry experts and regularly trains its staff may be a more suitable option.

Wrapping Up

Choosing between an SEO agency and in-house SEO expertise involves weighing the unique needs and resources of your company. Working with an SEO agency grants access to a diverse team of professionals experienced in various aspects of the marketing funnel, and can lead to long-term cost savings through investments in testing and innovation. Conversely, employing an in-house team allows for a focused approach to SEO success, prioritizing strategy, technical improvements, and content production.

The decision should be based on your organization’s size, budget, and the intensity of your ongoing SEO requirements. Whether you opt for external expertise or internal hiring, adopting a strategic approach to SEO is essential for long-term success in the competitive digital landscape.


When isn’t there a need to hire an SEO agency?

If your marketing team already includes web developers, copywriters, and other digital marketing professionals, collaborating with an in-house SEO expert might be more advantageous than engaging an SEO agency.

Are SEO agencies cheaper compared to hiring in-house?

The cost-effectiveness varies based on the extent of your SEO needs. While agencies may offer a more affordable entry point, in-house hiring can become more economical in the long run, especially for continuous, specialized tasks within larger organizations.

How quickly can an SEO agency produce results compared to an in-house expert?

The speed of achieving SEO results is influenced by various factors, including industry competitiveness and the strategies employed. Agencies, with their collective expertise, might speed up the process. In contrast, in-house experts can focus on tailored, long-term strategies.

Can an in-house SEO specialist provide personal attention to our brand?

Yes, an in-house SEO expert provides personalized attention, deep brand understanding, and the ability to swiftly respond to changes. They integrate seamlessly with your team, aligning SEO strategies closely with the company’s specific goals and values.

Related Articles

Close icon Support Girl

Talk strategy with an expert

Get expert advice on the right strategy for your business!