In-House vs. Outsourced SEO: Which Is Right For Your Business?

SEO is slowly becoming an indispensable part of every online business. It is the driving force behind organic search traffic, online visibility and, ultimately, the growth of your business.

According to statistics, in 2023, e-commerce sales will grow by 10.4%.

Studies also show that by 2040, 95% of purchases worldwide will be done online.

So, if your business doesn’t have a solid online presence, you can probably miss out on the wealth of opportunities and profits.

To up your business, you need to have a solid website and online reputation; for that, you will need Search Engine Optimization.

Being on the top of the Search Engine Result Pages is a dream of every business. But the question arises: In-House vs. Outsourced SEO: Which Is Right For Your Business?

An in-house SEO team and an outsourced SEO agency have their own pros and cons.

If you are confused about which is better for your business, keep reading to find the answer:

What’s the difference between in-house and outsourced SEO?

In-house SEO refers to building an in-house team of professionals to handle all your SEO needs. In in-house SEO, you appoint your own SEO personnel to look after various aspects of your business’s online activity.

In outsourced SEO, you partner with a business or third party to provide you with SEO services. You have to pay this party a monthly payment, in return for which they will handle your website SEO.

Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let us look deeper into it:

Pros and cons of in-house SEO

Having an internal team for SEO is a good step. You have a group of people that you can always rely on to get work done. However, an in-house has its own pros and cons.

Pros of SEO In-house SEO

You Have Better Control Over Your SEO Game Plan: Firstly, with an in-house team, you will have complete control over the hiring process of your SEO team. SEO agencies don’t always have full transparency on how they function and work. However, when you hire an in-house team, you will have complete control over who works on which project and their strategies.

Moreover, you can align your SEO efforts with your organisation’s overall marketing and business objectives.

Your Team Understands Your Brand Voice: Deep knowledge about your brand is essential for effective SEO efforts. Someone who knows about your brand voice will be able to create superior SEO strategies.

You will ideally create content for your SEO strategy, do keyword research and build your linking portfolio. Therefore, someone who is fully immersed in your brand and knows all the ins and outs is always an added advantage.

When you hire a team that is a part of every meeting in your business and knows about your work ethic and what you stand for, creating a strategy that aligns with your voice is easier.

You Will Get Quick Responses from Your Team: Good communication is essential to a properly implemented SEO plan. You can talk and communicate with an in-house team in real time and make necessary changes based on algorithm updates. This leads to fewer delays, and you will always be at the top of your game.

It is Cost-Efficient in the Long Run: Hiring an in-house SEO team might seem costly initially, but it is cost-effective in the long run.

Your in-house SEO experts can also take up some dual responsibilities. Suppose you have an employee who is good at creating content but understands how keyword research works. In this situation, they can work on both things simultaneously.

How you find out the strengths and weaknesses of your team members and give them appropriate responsibilities will depend on your expertise.

Cons of Hiring an In-House SEO Team

You have to spend a lot of money initially: Building and maintaining an in-house SEO team is expensive. You may think that hiring an SEO agency will be expensive. But in reality, building a team and maintaining it is more expensive.

You will need to pay a monthly salary to your in-house team and take care of various other working expenses. Appointing an SEO agency will cost you less in comparison.

You have to hire many people: SEO has different aspects, such as on-page SEO, technical SEO, international SEO and local SEO. It is very unlikely that one person will have expertise in all the areas.

SEO is an ever-evolving field, and you will need people for various work such as content creation, social media, link building, better experience, etc.

You can’t find one single person who can handle all of it. Therefore, you will need to hire a whole team. This will lead to an increase in expenses.

Your SEO efforts will take a lot of time: With an in-house team, you can’t expect growth immediately.

Firstly, you have to hire the team and train them, which requires a lot of time. Secondly, you will have to do everything from scratch, understand the market, make SEO strategies and implement them. You have to be extremely patient in this process.

This may lead to losing valuable time while your competitors will excel.

Pros and cons of outsourcing SEO

Outsourcing your SEO needs has tremendous advantages. According to statistics, companies save between 70% and 90% of their labour cost when outsourcing some of their business functions.

Outsourcing your SEO needs is cost-effective but has some disadvantages, too.

Let us look at the pros and cons:

Pros of Outsourcing SEO:

You will have access to world-class experts: SEO agencies are experts in what they do. So, when you outsource your SEO services to an agency, you can rest assured that your SEO game will be top-notch. They can develop more effective strategies that will bring quicker results.

Moreover, with outsourcing, even if you are a business in the US, you can hire services from India. This makes a wealth of worldwide knowledge accessible easily.

You can easily scale your SEO tactics: Outsourcing your SEO needs to an agency will give you the flexibility to scale your efforts and meet the changing needs. The online arena is competitive. You must always remain updated with the latest trends and algorithm changes to increase online visibility.

An SEO agency will change its strategies with your evolving business needs and take you toward positive development.

Outsourcing is cost-effective: Outsourcing your SEO requirements is more cost-effective in the short term than maintaining an in-house team.

You also don’t have to pay for the expenses associated with hiring, training and retaining an in-house team, making it a more cost-effective choice.

Additionally, When outsourcing your SEO needs, the agency uses premium tools and resources for competitor research, keyword optimisation and performance analysis.

If you avail of the premium versions of these tools for your in-house team, the process won’t be cost-effective. This can lead to you lagging behind in your SEO game.

Cons of Outsourcing SEO

You have less control: When outsourcing your SEO services, you can’t exercise direct control over the strategies. You have to rely on an external partner for your SEO. Sometimes, they may be unable to understand your brand voice, resulting in inconsistent content.

There is a communication hurdle: Effective communication is critical when working with an external agency. While you can always communicate with them via phone or email, it is not the same as working directly with them. This can lead to misalignment of ideas and miscommunication that can hinder the success of your SEO efforts.

There is inconsistent quality: The quality of services can vary widely among different SEO agencies. Therefore, choosing a reputable and reliable agency is crucial to ensure you get the most value out of your investment.

Is in-house or outsourced SEO better for me?

Whether in-house or outsourcing SEO is better depends on your business goals, resources and circumstances.

Therefore, before you decide which route will be better for your business, ask yourself the following questions.

What’s your SEO budget?

The first and foremost thing you have to consider is your budget. Having an in-house SEO team may seem cheaper. But if you look at the overall cost, it is very expensive.

First, you need to hire a team that is efficient in what they do. Then, you have to pay them a monthly salary. The starting salary of an SEO professional in 2023 is $40,000 (average).

However, when you outsource your work to an agency, they already have a team of experts with access to the advanced tools.

Therefore, hiring an agency is cost-effective in the short term because you avoid the expenses of appointing and training an in-house team and getting premium tools and software.

What’s the scope of your SEO project

If your project doesn’t require specialised knowledge or extensive resources, handling it with an in-house team is a good choice.

However, outsourcing to an expert SEO consultant agency will be more economically viable for complex projects involving advanced technical SEO, high-level content strategies and international SEO efforts.

Further, for a smaller project that doesn’t have a lot of time, an in-house team is enough. However, outsourcing the work will be a better route for larger projects that require significant work and resources.

Do you have the experience and resources to do SEO internally?

Whether you should outsource your SEO to an agency or have an internal SEO team depends on your team’s required experience and expertise.

SEO agencies are experts in what they do. They have dealt with a lot of clients with different needs and problems. This makes them well-equipped to handle every problem your business faces.

They also have a dedicated team with specialised knowledge and experience. This will help in developing more effective strategies and quicker results.

Even though you have an in-house team, ask yourself if they are experienced enough to take care of the complexities your business is facing. Can they do international and technical SEO for you? Ask these questions and analyse the situation before you make a decision.

Does your team have the bandwidth to keep up with evolving SEO trends?

Your team’s ability to keep up with the SEO trends will depend on the time and resources available.

If your team is already occupied with other responsibilities, making them handle more work can lead to poor results.

Moreover, if you don’t have an adequately trained team, you have to provide training and development opportunities.

Additionally, even if your team is trained, the SEO scenario forever changes. So, keeping up with the latest trends and algorithms is difficult if your team is already stretched too thin.

On the brighter side, an SEO agency always stays updated with the current SEO trends. So, they provide their teams with all the necessary training to adapt to the new algorithms.

Do you operate in an extremely niche industry?

Some industries are more complex than others. Industries like finance, healthcare and technology require a deep understanding of complex regulations, keywords, and specialised technology. In this case, outsourcing is always a better option.

Do you have the software and tech needed for SEO?

The advanced tools and software needed for SEO are very expensive and can consume a chunk of your total budget. Agencies are already equipped and well-versed with these tools.

If you plan to hire an in-house team for SEO, you have to get the premium version of these tools, which can be very expensive.

Moreover, you also have to train your team to work with these tools, which can be very time-consuming.

Partner with a trusted SEO agency

You are making a huge mistake if you are not partnering with a trusted SEO agency. SEO agencies have the power to take your business to the next level. They know what works in your niche and what does not. This knowledge can help you stay ahead of the competition.

Here are 5 solid reasons why you should partner with a trusted SEO agency:

  1. Improve your online visibility: An SEO agency will plan out a solid strategy that will help improve your online visibility and drive more organic traffic. Every agency has an SEO specialist who can conduct extensive keyword research and competitor research to ensure that when a potential client searches for the products and services related to your business, your website appears at the top of the search results.
  2. Cost-effective marketing: Outsourcing your SEO needs to an agency is a cost-effective way to inbound marketing. Traditional marketing, such as TV and newspaper ads, is very expensive, and it is difficult to measure the success of these ad campaigns. However, SEO agencies have access to tools and software that can help you analyse the success of your strategy in a cost-effective manner.
  3. Industry expertise: SEO agencies know what they are doing. Your in-house marketing team may find it difficult to stay updated with the Google algorithm changes and what should be done to stay at the top. However, SEO agencies have industry expertise. Therefore, you can be tension-free that your marketing efforts are going to bear fruits.
  4. More sales, more revenue: Once you have hired a trusted SEO agency, the only thing you have to worry about is how you will cater to the growing demands. An SEO agency can help you get started to improve your brand’s online presence and attract the highest quality leads and customers. This will lead to more revenue and growth.
  5. Build brand trust: One of the sole aims of SEO is to place your website at the top of the search engine result page when a potential customer searches for a product or service related to your business. When your website is on the top, your potential customers associate your brand with authority and credibility. This helps build trust for your brand among your customers. A trusted SEO agency will lay out tactics and strategies that will help you achieve the top rank on the SERPs.

Which is better, SEO in-house vs outsourcing, will depend on your business needs. When you hire an in-house team, you sign up for consistent quality that matches your brand voice, improved communication and more control over your SEO strategies. However, you also have the added responsibility of training your team to help them stay updated with what is happening in the SEO world. Also, you have to pay a monthly salary to your employees and pay for premium tools and software.

On the other hand, when you outsource your SEO needs to a trusted partner, you can rest assured that your business is in good hands. They have years of experience in this field and have dealt with different clients. Therefore, they will be able to help your business too. But there is a disadvantage if you partner with a company that doesn’t have a good reputation or experience; your business will suffer.

Therefore, the decision that you take should be backed by proper research and analysis of your business needs.