In-House SEO vs SEO Agency: Which is the Better Choice?

Manoj Palanikumar
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June 19, 2024

Contents

Key Takeaways

The importance of a strong SEO strategy is no secret to B2B success. It attracts qualified traffic, converts it into leads, and ultimately fuels revenue growth. However, many businesses are at a crossroads, unsure of which path to take. 

Businesses face a crucial decision: build an in-house SEO team or outsource to a SaaS SEO agency. Both approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on the business's specific needs and resources. 

In this blog, we'll explore the key differences between hiring an in-house team and an SEO agency and provide insights to help you make the better choice for your business.

Hiring SEO Agency vs. Inhouse: Key Differences

Choosing between an in-house team and a B2B SEO agency is a crucial decision that impacts your B2B company's online presence and lead generation. Understanding the key differences will equip you to make the best choice for your specific needs.

Here are the core differences between having an entire team in-house or an agency for SEO:

Factor Inhouse Agency

Cost

An in-house SEO specialist requires a significant upfront investment. For in-house SEO cost, you'll need to factor in salaries, benefits, recruitment fees, B2B SEO tools, digital marketing budgets, and ongoing training for your entire internal team. SEO agency cost can be more economical, especially for smaller businesses. You typically pay a retainer fee for a pre-determined set of services and their SEO efforts, eliminating the need to manage salaries, benefits, and recruitment.

Pace of Operation

In-house SEO means you have more direct control over your in-house team's workflow and can potentially see faster results for urgent changes or adjustments to your strategy. Onboarding and communication cycles with an agency can introduce some initial delays in the SEO project. However, established agencies have streamlined processes that can deliver consistent results within their agreed-upon timelines.

Results

An internal team dedicated solely to your company's SEO can develop a highly customized strategy deeply aligned with your brand and target audience. This can lead to solid SEO results in the long run. However, building an internal team with the right expertise takes time for an SEO project. Agencies bring a wealth of experience by working with diverse clients across various industries. They can quickly implement proven SEO tactics and deliver measurable results within a shorter timeframe. However, their understanding of your brand might not be as in-depth as that of an in-house SEO specialist.

Control

With in-house members, you have complete control over the strategy, execution, and SEO campaigns. This allows for quick decision-making and adjustments as needed. While you collaborate with the SEO agency to define goals and strategies, they manage the day-to-day execution. This can be a benefit if you lack internal SEO expertise, but choosing an agency with excellent communication practices is crucial to ensure alignment with your vision.

Expertise

Finding and retaining top SEO specialist talent can be challenging, especially for smaller companies. Building an in-house team requires ongoing investment in training and development to keep pace with the latest SEO landscape. Agencies have a broader pool of SEO professionals for SEO tasks with diverse specializations, such as technical SEO, content marketing, SEO audits, paid social campaigns, and link building. This allows them to offer a comprehensive strategy with broader expertise.

Hiring an In-House SEO Team: Pros and Cons

Pros of Hiring an In-House SEO Team

1. Deep Understanding of Your Business

An in-house SEO professionals is immersed in your business, culture, and products, enabling them to develop a better understanding of your organization's unique goals, target audience, and industry dynamics. 

They can also easily access customer data without any approvals, which helps them create a strategy tailored to the target customers. In-house SEO specialists are always a better choice when displaying your brand identity to your target audience because they live and breathe your brand.                                                                                                                                                           

2. Increased Agility and Responsiveness

With an in-house SEO manager, you have direct access to your internal SEO professional, who can quickly adapt to changing business goals and priorities, market trends, and algorithm updates. This ensures a proactive and agile approach to your SEO strategy in-house. Since you have the sole focus, the turnaround time for any changes is reduced significantly.

3. Greater Control and Collaboration

By having an in-house SEO professional, you maintain complete control and transparency over the strategy, execution, and decision-making processes. This enables greater visibility into the in-house work and their marketing efforts.

This facilitates seamless collaboration with other departments, such as in-house marketing, product, and web development, and lets you keep your data confidential. You can customize your SEO campaigns to fit your company’s goals and requirements.

Cons of Hiring an In-House SEO Team

1. Higher Upfront and Ongoing Costs

Building an in-house SEO squad requires significant upfront investment in salaries, benefits, training, resources, and ongoing costs for professional development and tools.

According to Indeed, the salary range for an SEO specialists is $60k - $90k per year. You’ll also have to provide benefits like health insurance, allowances, monthly rewards, etc., which would cost around 30% of the salary. You must also constantly train your employees on SEO changes. So, skill development would cost around $ 3,000 per year, minimum. 

Not just this, but you also need an infra of SEO tools for an in-house SEO expert. The most essential tools are Keyword.com, Ahrefs, Semrush, and Hunter.io, which would again cost around $500-$2000 per month.

The other costs include the posting of jobs, office assets, and space in-house itself. All this adds up to $150,000 per year to hire an in-house SEO specialist.

2. Potential Skill Gaps and Limited Expertise

Depending on your marketing budget and resources, it may be challenging to assemble a well-rounded in-house SEO crew with expertise in all aspects of SEO, including technical SEO, content optimization, link building, local SEO, and analytics. A small in-house SEO team would struggle to keep up with this, and hiring more would cost a lot of pennies.

3. Potential Bias and Limited Perspective

While deep domain knowledge is advantageous, an in-house SEO team may develop tunnel vision or become too close to the product, potentially missing out on innovative ideas and fresh perspectives.

4. Slow Growth

Doing SEO in-house means SEO specialist would struggle to prioritize tasks because of additional responsibilities. A heavy workload with limited SEO tools and resources reduces the quality of the strategy and SEO campaign. Eventually, this slows down the work and, hence, the growth. 

Hiring SEO Agencies: Pros and Cons

Pros of Hiring an SEO Agency

1. Access to Specialized Expertise

Building a comprehensive SEO strategy requires extensive expertise in various areas. Established SEO company employ teams of experts with diverse skill sets and extensive experience across multiple industries, enabling them to bring a wealth of knowledge and best practices to your strategy.

With many years of experience, many SEO agencies know the ins and outs of SEO. Reliable SEO agencies pay close attention to detail, and spotting issues in SEO is easy. These skills help improve your website's rankings on search engines and attract quality leads.

2. Cost-Effective 

Hiring an SEO agency that is reliable can be more cost-effective than an in-house SEO team, particularly for small to medium-sized businesses. Agencies offer scalable resources to accommodate fluctuating workloads and project demands. Here, you pay just for the service and nothing else.

In contrast to the costs discussed for an in-house SEO team, an established SEO agency monthly retainer would cost around $2500 to $5000 per month.

Agency SEO is perfect for a small business since all the other tools have already been purchased. This also covers any training or skill development costs. Agencies give a high return on investment without you having to spend more in the first place.

3. Up-to-date with Latest Trends and Tools

Search engines constantly change their algorithms, and agencies keep up with the newly updated ones. This helps agencies tailor their strategy better to attract traffic to the website according to the requirements.

Agencies also build a stack of tools required to serve their clients better. Hence, agencies are a better choice for SEO work as they are economical and time-efficient.

4. Faster Turnaround Time and Faster Growth

Since an agency has a pool of experienced and efficient talent, this helps them deliver the work quickly within the decided turnaround time.

5. Scalability

Now, we know that a typical SEO agency has sufficient resources. These factors help businesses have the flexibility to scale up and down their SEO strategy as and when they need to change.

6. Objective and Fresh Perspective

External SEO agencies bring an unbiased and fresh perspective to your business, often identifying opportunities and areas for improvement that an internal team may have overlooked.

Cons of Hiring an SEO Agency

1. No Full Control

Since SEO agencies are external to your organization, you relinquish some control over the strategy, SEO operations, and its execution when working with an agency. There will be cases where SEO agencies don't allow you to access your website data. 

Although some SEO agencies provide timely updates and answers to all the concerns, some agencies say, ‘trust the process.’ This uncertainty can also make some business owners uncomfortable. 

Clear communication is the key here because it helps in building trust. Businesses need to provide detailed information about their needs and goals to the agencies so that they stay on track. Also, before signing a contract with any agency, research it thoroughly.

1. Finding the RIGHT Agency for Your Business

The agency can promise all it wants, but reaching the top results within a few months is impossible if any agency promises that to you, run!

Always review past clients' results and case studies and read online reviews. This will help you better understand their tricks and techniques, and building trust is easy.

2. Unethical SEO practices

A major fear of outsourcing to an external SEO agency is black hat SEO practices, which are unethical. These practices also negatively affect your business, such as a decline in rankings, reduced quality traffic, and lost brand credibility, which leads to low domain ratings. There is a high chance that you won't even realize these practices until the damage is done and is noticeable.

Always run quality research through reputable agency and online reviews on reputable websites like G2, clutch, and social media.

3. Lack of Intimate Business Knowledge and Data

While SEO agencies have broad expertise in digital marketing, they may lack a deep understanding of your specific business, products, and industry nuances, which could impact the effectiveness of their strategies.

4. Potential Conflicts of Interest

Some SEO agencies may work with multiple clients and provide SEO services within the same industry, raising concerns about potential conflicts of interest and the confidentiality of your business information.

In-house SEO vs agency outsourcing: Things to consider

1. Budget 

Evaluate your marketing budget and available resources to determine whether hiring an SEO in-house team or partnering with an agency is more feasible and economical for your business. An in-house team is an investment, but the ROI comes much later, whereas, in an agency, you just have to pay for the services provided.

2. Expertise and Skills

Assess the level of expertise and skills required for your SEO efforts. An agency has a diverse skill set and experience as they hire professionals from different industries with various SEO experiences. This may benefit complex projects more.

3. Long-Term SEO Strategy

Consider your long-term SEO strategy and whether you require a dedicated internal team with deep business knowledge or an agency's more flexible, scalable approach. Agencies usually offer package upgrades for seamless shifts.

4. Collaboration and Communication

Evaluate your internal team's capacity for effective collaboration and communication with an external agency and your ability to manage and oversee the agency's work. Undoubtedly, an SEO in-house team is dedicated to working on your business and is responsive, while an agency has to handle multiple clients. In the end, it all comes down to the agency you choose.

5. Skill Development

Staying updated with the latest developments in SEO algorithms is essential for building effective strategies. Hence, your SEO in-house team must be trained on the new updates. If you can provide training opportunities, that's great; if not, go with agencies. 

Why Choose TripleDart as Your Trusted SEO Agency?

At TripleDart, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities of SEO for SaaS startups and enterprise SaaS SEO. Our seasoned SEO experts specialize in B2B SEO, ensuring your business stays ahead with cutting-edge B2B SEO trends, keyword research tools, and B2B SEO statistics.

We have worked with 100+ SaaS businesses to help them increase their organic traffic through SEO services. One such company is Rezolve.ai, and we helped them to increase clicks from organic search by 105%

With our data-driven approach to search engine optimization and digital marketing, we tailor our search engine optimization strategies to your specific business goals, delivering measurable results and driving sustainable growth. We provide SEO services and bring SEO in-house.

Contact us today to learn how TripleDart’s SEO services can elevate your online presence and unlock your business's full potential. Feel free to reach out today to take the next step in your SEO journey.

Manoj Palanikumar
Manoj Palanikumar
A Connoisseur at creating product-led marketing strategies that are equipped to approach both organic and paid channels.

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