In-House vs Outsourced Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Which Is Right For Your Business?
Does your business’s website attract little or no traffic from search engines? According to Salesforce, four in five consumers begin their purchasing journey on a digital channel like Google or Bing. Without a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, your business will struggle to reach these potential customers. When planning and executing an SEO strategy for your business, however, you have one of two options: in-house or outsourced.
What Is In-House SEO?
In-house SEO involves optimizing your business’s website internally within your business, meaning either you or your employees perform the work. If you’re familiar with the basic concepts of on-page and off-page optimize, you can cut out the middleman by performing in-house SEO.
What Is Outsourced SEO?
Outsourced SEO, on the other hand, involves hiring a professional digital marketing agency to optimize your business’s website for increased search engine visibility. There are hundreds if not thousands of digital marketing agencies. While different agencies sell different services, nearly all of them offer SEO. After partnering with a digital marketing agency, they’ll identify your SEO goals and attempt to make them a reality by performing all the required legwork on your behalf.
Benefits of In-House SEO
In-house SEO costs less than outsourced SEO. Digital marketing agencies use a variety of pricing models for their SEO services, some of which include multi-tiered packages, hourly and monthly retainers. According to a survey conducted by Ahrefs, nearly three-fourths of digital marketing agencies require a monthly retainer for their services, with most monthly retainers costing between $501 and $1,000. By performing SEO internally within your business, you can avoid this expense.
You’ll have the freedom to assess and change the direction of your business’s SEO strategy at any time if you perform it in-house. Maybe you want to focus on ranking your website for a new target keyword, or perhaps you want to increase your website’s search engine visibility for mobile users. Regardless, in-house SEO allows you to change your approach immediately.
Benefits of Outsourced SEO
While in-house SEO requires a smaller monetary investment, many digital marketing agencies accommodate businesses that are on a tight budget. Statistics show over 98 percent of U.S. businesses operate with fewer than 100 employees. To capture these small businesses as paying clients, digital marketing agencies typically offer low-priced packages.
Unless you’ve done SEO work in the past, you probably won’t have access to essential tools needed for an effective SEO strategy. From Moz Pro and Ahrefs to SEMrush and HootSuite, these tools can prove invaluable when optimizing your business’s website. If you choose in-house SEO, though, you’ll have to purchase a subscription for each premium tool. Even then, you’ll have to learn the mechanics of a new SEO tool in order to use it. Digital marketing agencies already have access to common SEO tools such as these, and more importantly, they know how to use these tools to drive higher search rankings for their clients’ websites.
With outsourced SEO, you can rest assured knowing your business’s website is in good hands. Digital marketing agencies know which optimization methods work and which ones don’t work. If an agency has been successful when using a specific method to optimize its clients’ websites, it will likely use that same method when optimizing your business’s website.
Your business’s website is less likely to receive a rankings penalty if you partner with a digital marketing agency. Google and Bing have guidelines that webmasters must follow when building and optimizing websites. If your business’s website is caught violating one of these guidelines, Google or Bing will penalize your site by lowering its rankings in their respective index. You can educate yourself about Google’s and Bing’s guidelines, but an easier way to avoid rankings penalties is to partner with a digital marketing agency.
Outsourced SEO: How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Agency
If you’re going to use an outsourced SEO strategy, you must choose the right digital marketing agency with which to partner. Not all digital marketing agencies have the tools, experience and skills needed for an effective SEO strategy. Some are simply looking to make a quick buck. You may purchase a $500 package from a fly-by-night digital marketing agency, only for it to outsource the work to another agency or freelancer for $100. As a result, you’ll really only get $100 worth of true SEO work.
You’ll gain a better understanding of a digital marketing agency’s SEO competence by browsing its official website. Specifically, check the agency’s website for on-page SEO factors, such as relevant title tags, custom meta descriptions, rich content, fast page speed, Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and a mobile-friendly design. If its website lacks any of these factors, it probably won’t use them on your business’s website, in which case you should look elsewhere for SEO services.
While digital marketing agencies typically perform SEO services over the internet, they still have a physical location from which they operate, and they should be transparent about their location. If a digital marketing agency doesn’t publicly reveal its address, it probably has something to hide. Only partner with a digital marketing agency that’s transparent about its location.
Check the digital marketing agency’s website to see if it has any case studies showcasing the success of its SEO services. It’s not uncommon for digital marketing agencies to publish case studies involving their past clients. By reviewing these case studies, you can see exactly how an agency’s services impacted its clients’ websites.
Finally, make sure the digital marketing agency’s SEO services are within your business’s budget. You may be able to negotiate a lower price, but if an agency’s prices are well beyond your budget, choose a different agency with which to partner.
Planning and executing an effective SEO strategy is hard work, but you don’t have to do it alone. An alternative solution is to outsource your business’s SEO needs to a digital marketing agency. Assuming you partner with the right agency, their services will cement your business’s website at the top of the search results, allowing more prospective customers to find and connect with your business.