Even though most businesses start with just one or two people running things, it’s practically impossible for things to stay that way. As companies grow, the number of tasks you need to do each day increases exponentially. That means you either have to hire more employees to take care of them or outsource them to another company. Either way, your little baby will turn into a much larger behemoth.
When expansion becomes inevitable, it’s difficult to decide which of the previously mentioned courses of action is better to take. Handling operations within your company has its positives but so does sending it elsewhere. And of course, both options have their negatives too.
Since it would take forever to go through these pros and cons for every business department, we’ll keep things simple by only covering SEO practices. By the end, we’ll be able to help you decide if hiring an agency or doing it in-house will be better for you.
Pros of an SEO Agency
We’re going to start this guide off by taking a deep dive into what SEO agencies have to offer. Of course, that means there will be some good and some bad things. However, there are quite a few pros, so let’s cover those first.
Access to SEO Experts
One of the best benefits of hiring an agency is the fact that you’ll instantly have access to hundreds, if not thousands, of SEO experts. Granted, very few of them will actually work directly on your campaign, but with such a large group of professionals running the show, you’ll get the results you’re looking for.
Another plus is that it will be very easy to scale your SEO efforts through an agency. It already has the knowledge and workforce needed. All you need to do is pay for a more extensive package so that the agency can divert more of its resources to your campaign. If you get too big, some agencies might not be able to accommodate you anymore, but there will be another agency out there that can.
When an agency has the best people working for it, it only makes sense that it’s using the best software and tools available as well. These are normally all things that would cost a fortune for you to use on your own, but all of them are there within the agency you use.
Saves You a Ton of Time
One of the most notable positives to come out of hiring an outside agency is the amount of time it’ll save you and your company. When hiring one, you won’t have to divert any of your time or resources other than money to your SEO practices. The agency will take care of everything for you on its time.
It Can Do More Than SEO
Some agencies might offer even more than SEO services. Many companies branch out to do other aspects of marketing, and some are even large enough to cover different areas of business. While you might not need all these services, it’s nice to have access to them if you ever decide to use them.
Cons of an SEO Agency
Unfortunately, it can’t all be good news. With the pros come the cons, so let’s look at some of the more prominent downsides you should know about before hiring an SEO agency.
Not Every Agency Will Be the Right Fit
Just because an agency is good doesn’t mean it’ll be the right fit. All companies run differently, and if their management style doesn’t align well with yours, there will likely be quite a few conflicts down the road. Even though you can work through these issues over time, some agencies are notoriously stubborn, so it might be easier to find a different group to help you out.
You Won’t Be the Top Priority
One thing to keep in mind is that no matter who you hire, you’ll never be the agency’s top priority. There’s almost always a larger, more important client. But even if you are its biggest client, the agency will still need to do what’s best for itself, not you. Luckily, most agencies put in lots of effort to prove that it cares since this also benefits it. However, if that SEO company isn’t profiting, that may cause problems.
A Lack of Control Over Processes
It shouldn’t come as a shock, but when you give up your SEO campaign to another company, you’ll lose out on much of the control you used to have. Granted, many companies will work with you to make you feel like you have a say in what’s going on. But a dedicated SEO agency usually knows what’s best and will steer you in the direction it prefers.
It Could Cost a Lot of Money
Even though the pricing of many agencies is quite reasonable, this partnership will cost you. The more services you want and the higher quality you demand, the higher the monthly cost will be for your company.
Pros of In-House SEO
What kind of guide on the pros and cons of SEO agencies vs. in-house SEO would this be if we didn’t go in-depth on what you can do SEO-wise within your own company? Not a very good one. So let’s start by covering the pros of this method.
A Dedicated Team
Since you’ll never be the top priority at an agency, easily the best benefit of doing your SEO in-house is the fact that you’ll be able to prioritize what you want. Your team will be wholly dedicated to ensuring that your SEO practices run without a hitch. The only thing that could stop it is you. This could happen if you have the team start working on another project.
Access to All Company Knowledge
Another great plus is that your team will have total access to your company’s knowledge. An outside agency won’t know every detail about how you run your company, nor do you want it to. An in-house team will be much better for ensuring that your SEO efforts align with your company’s goals.
Clear Lines of Communication
Trying to stay in contact with an outside source can be quite difficult, especially if the agency you hired isn’t the most transparent about its work. With your own team, though, all communications with other divisions will run as smoothly as possible. Very few things will get lost in translation.
Total Control of Processes
When going in-house, the most notable pro is that you’ll know you have full control over everything. Even though an agency will be quite knowledgeable on how SEO works, it won’t know your company better than you do. That means no one is more qualified than you to make decisions for it. Having an in-house SEO team gives that control back to you.
Of course, this also means that problems will be easier to assess. When you have all the data at your fingertips, figuring out where things went wrong will be much easier than having an agency interpret it for you. Plus, it’ll be much more straightforward to learn how to measure the success of your SEO campaign when you have this info.
Cons of In-House SEO
Finally, it’s time for us to review the cons of running an in-house SEO division. Doing things yourself isn’t entirely good news, so let’s take a look at the negatives.
Won’t Have a Strong Team Right Away
When you hire an agency, it has a team of professionals ready to go for you. When you create the group yourself, it won’t be an all-star cast right away. You’ll need to train employees you already have and hire new ones to fill in the gaps. Even when you assemble a decent team, it could still take years for it to achieve the level of quality you could have received on day one through an agency.
Talent Retention Might Be a Problem
To make matters worse, once you’ve built up your team, some members might leave for a better position. That means you have to go through more hiring and training. Granted, that can also happen to an agency, but when it loses someone, it simply replaces them with somebody else while focusing on hiring and training someone new. You don’t have to worry about that since it’s outside your company.
Not Many Resources
You also won’t have instant access to all the best resources. SEO software and tools aren’t cheap. And even if you have the money to buy them, you won’t have the knowledge base to use them to their fullest extent immediately. Building this up will take some time.
It’ll Be Quite Costly
In the end, doing SEO work yourself can end up costing you much more than using an agency would. The consolation is the fact that you’ll be able to find ways to save money as you go, eventually getting you to a point where it might be cheaper in the long run.
Generally, the pros and cons for each format of running SEO mean that both choices are legitimate. That’s why the option that best fits your company will be up to you. It’ll come down to which key components you value more: immediate expertise or complete control.