There are a number of considerations that should be taken into account when deciding to keep Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts in-house. For example, the importance of SEO needs to be advocated from the top down in order for the goals of the program to be accomplished. Additionally, high-quality SEO work requires the integration of multiple disciplines. In order for your organization to avoid potential pitfalls, consider these in-house SEO dynamics:
Documenting the process of optimization is a good first step in order to determine whether or not your organization has the necessary time and resources for SEO. A well-maintained SEO program typically requires a minimum time commitment of 40 to 50 hours per month. The speed with which your company wants new optimized pages in market is another consideration. In-house SEO typically faces fewer roadblocks when implementing changes, but the SEO team may or may not have the time or expertise to address every issue. Results will heavily depend on time management and internal organization.
In-house SEO typically has greater control over content requirements because they have easier access to other departments involved in implementing changes. This can be a significant advantage of keeping SEO in-house, but it can become a disadvantage in some circumstances. Depending on the size and scope of resources available, inter-departmental communication issues may prove to be a challenge if they hinder an in-house SEO team from delivering results. Lines dictating responsibilities can also become blurred internally, so it may prove difficult to hold an in-house team to the same level of accountability to which a third-party agency can be held.
The search marketing industry is an ever-evolving one. In addition to the ongoing management of an SEO program, you should consider whether or not an in-house team has the bandwidth to stay current with industry trends and changes. Your company should take steps to ensure that time is being dedicated to staying current (or even ahead of) the trends and developing in-house resources. Employees may need supplemental training on software or procedures to maximize productivity and effectiveness. So in weighing the financial considerations of in-house vs. outside agency SEO, remember that the salaries of your in-house team are not the only factor to consider.
Whether working through an agency or not, those responsible for SEO work should be well-versed in a brand and its technical and legal nuances. One question to keep in mind is whether your SEO team needs to be equipped with an exceptionally rich understanding of your company’s industry and/or products at hand. Companies that make significant ongoing updates to their websites and franchise operations, and companies that provide highly technical products or services may prefer to keep SEO in-house rather than hiring an agency. The benefits of having a staff member dedicated to finding and resolving issues may outweigh any associated costs if the job requires a deep understanding of industry or brand-specific nuances.
Although in-house SEO teams tend to have greater control over resources, they may not have full control. Unexpected challenges may or may not outweigh the cost-saving benefit of not hiring an agency. If your organization decides to keep SEO in-house, it is imperative to make sure the individual or SEO team is well-equipped with the resources needed to deliver results and drive overarching business goals.
What benefits does your organization find with keeping SEO in-house?