Should businesses hire an SEO agency or build in-house SEO team?

What is better hiring and SEO agency or building your own SEO team in-house?

Unfortuantely, like a lot of things in the SEO world the answer is it depends.

With the rising costs of paid search, SEO has become a fundamental part of every successful business marketing strategy. In today’s world simply having a nice looking website is not enough to compete for the valuable leads that come from the search engines. Most enterprises will choose between hiring an SEO agency, hiring an in-house team or a combination of the two. Fortunately, both routes can be successful but how does a business determine which route is best?

An SEO agency brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the table. They have a dedicated team of professionals who specialize in various aspects of SEO, from keyword research and on-page optimization to link building and content creation. Collaborating with an agency allows you to tap into their knowledge and benefit from their industry insights. Moreover, agencies often have access to cutting-edge tools and resources that may be too expensive for an individual business to acquire.

On the other hand, building an in-house SEO team offers certain advantages as well. Having a dedicated team within your organization allows for more control and flexibility. You can directly oversee their work, provide immediate feedback, and tailor strategies according to your specific needs. Additionally, an in-house team can develop a deeper understanding of your brand, industry, and target audience over time, resulting in more personalized and effective SEO campaigns.

However, it’s important to consider the costs associated with both options. Hiring an SEO agency typically involves a monthly retainer or project-based fees, which can vary depending on the agency’s reputation and level of service. On the contrary, building an in-house team requires investing in recruitment, training, and ongoing salaries. It’s essential to evaluate your budget and long-term goals to determine which option makes the most financial sense for your business.

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Is it more expensive to hire an SEO agency or build an SEO team?

Short-term it is cheaper to hire an SEO agency, long-term it can be about equal when you factor in things like agency turnover rates.

When it comes to navigating the SEO landscape and deciding between an agency or an in-house team, budget considerations play a significant role. Understanding the cost comparison between the two options is crucial in making an informed decision.

Hiring an in-house SEO team means taking on the responsibility of recruiting, training, and managing a team of professionals. Along with salaries, you’ll also need to consider additional costs such as benefits, office space, equipment, and ongoing training. While this provides you with full control and dedicated resources, it can be a substantial investment.

On the other hand, working with an SEO agency offers a more cost-effective solution. Agencies provide a team of seasoned experts who specialize in various aspects of SEO. They already have the necessary tools and resources, eliminating the need for additional expenses. Furthermore, agencies often offer flexible pricing models, allowing you to choose services based on your budget and goals.

When comparing costs, it’s important to consider both short-term and long-term perspectives. While hiring an in-house team may seem more expensive initially, it can provide long-term value and potentially reduce costs in the future. Agencies, on the other hand, offer immediate access to expertise without the upfront investment.

What are the benefits and risks of hiring an SEO agency?


Benefits of hiring SEO agency:

  • The benefits of hiring an SEO agency is that you are generally getting a multiple person team to service your website.
  • Oftentimes SEO agencies have experience in working with your industry.
  • Agencies generally do a great job at staying up to date on current market trends and algorithim updates
  • Cheaper than hiring a multiple-person team in-house

Risks of hiring SEO agency:

  • High turnover rates and replacing top talent – oftentimes when working with an SEO agency things are going really well but then your key account person leaves for another job which means you are starting from scratch with a new person learning you, your brand and the challenges that lie within.
  • Conflict of interest – some SEO agencies do not have a limit on the number of accounts they will service in an industry type which means they are not focused on your business, they are also helping competitors.
  • If you are not using an SEO-friendly CMS like WordPress, Agencies can struggle implementing work. 

What are the benefits and cons of building an in-house SEO team?


Pros of building in-house SEO team:

  • They are dedicated to your brand(s)
  • They can pivot to the most urgent task at the drop of a dime
  • They can work closely with your other marketing teams
  • They are privvy to more information about your business
  • If you have a tricky CMS, it’s easier to train your own team long-term.

Cons of building in-house SEO team:

  • Can be more expensive than hiring an SEO agency
  • Takes time to recruit the right SEO candidates
  • If you have a small team and they go on PTO, no work is getting done.
  • Someone knowledgeable needs to manage the team

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the decision between an agency and an in-house team depends on your specific needs, budget, and organizational goals. Assessing your financial capabilities and weighing the pros and cons of each option will help you make the right choice for your business. Remember, it’s not just about the price tag, but also the value and expertise that align with your SEO objectives.

If you would like a proven SEO consultant to help you with this important decision, please connect with me, I would love to talk strategy with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do business use both SEO agencies and in-house teams?

Yes, it is very common for businesses to leverage both SEO agencies and in-house teams. Sometimes the SEO agencies will be hired for content creation while the in-house team is responsible for overall SEO strategy and technical SEO or vice versa.

Shane Hampson

Shane Hampson

Ethical SEO Consultant

Data Driven Marketer. Fantasy Football Champion. Dog Lover. Foodie.

Read More of Shane’s Blog Posts

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Now that you have read about SEO on the blog, it’s time to plan your next move. Please book a strategy session, and we can discuss your plan of action.

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