As an entrepreneur, you know how important a proper SEO strategy is to your success, both online and off. Surely then, hiring a professional SEO expert to work daily in your office, focused only on your website, must be the best option. Actually, that may not be true. For a small- to medium-sized business owner, this type of specialist is usually not needed or wise. If you’re trying to make the decision on either an in-house specialist or a SEO agency for your business, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. You Have Budget Concerns
A business just starting or not yet taking up a large portion of their industry’s pie probably doesn’t want to designate over $40,000 a year (yes, that’s the nationwide average) to a full-time salary. In order to have a specialist on staff, you will have to pay a full-time salary, plus insurance, and other benefits out of your budget and even if you get away with offering a lower salary than average, it’s still significantly more than you would pay an agency.
2. You Already Have a Qualified Option
Standard SEO is no longer a dark and secretive art that can only be done by a fringe group. Most people in the digital industry know the basics of SEO. If you have a small website with limited SEO needs, you might already have someone on staff who has the SEO skills to help you rank, like your web developer. Or, if you already employ a marketing or creative agency for other services, SEO can probably be added to what they already do for you.
3. You Need a Whole Strategy
As competent as a single SEO strategist is, he or she may not be able to create a detailed SEO strategy that correlates with your sales and marketing strategy for total alignment. One of the values of agencies is that they can reset and define a business’s search strategy in correlation to what is already being done throughout the entire brand. In inbound marketing, strategy is extremely important. An SEO strategist who doesn’t have the full picture of the website design, marketing materials, and content being created may head your strategy in the wrong direction.
4. You Need a Fresh Perspective
If you are facing a particularly hairy SEO problem, you probably want to get the opinion of more than just one person. Some in-house specialists can get locked into a certain way of doing things, especially if they aren’t doing any work for other websites. In SEO, such tunnel vision can be harmful. Agencies benefit from the perspectives of multiple professionals from various backgrounds. If you only have one specialist and they aren’t taking it upon themself to keep up to date, they could still be using old strategies that no longer work.
5. You Want to Avoid Office Politics
Let’s not forget the whole dynamic of office politics. One of the reasons your organic rankings are in trouble could be because of past mistakes, like the wrong set of keywords being implemented or a shady backlinking profile, by employees who are still employed. It’s sometimes hard for a person who works for the business to work on the business. Afterall, telling their coworker or worse, their boss, that their idea won’t work isn’t something that most people enjoy. But an agency is in the position to tell it like it is, professionally of course. It may take an outside force to clear the political rubble and make much-needed changes.
6. You Need Quick Results
An in-house person and an agency can get you results, but not always in the same amount of time. Just like any of your staff, an in-house specialist only has a certain amount of time to dedicate per week. But if you need a massive overhaul or an issue needs dedicated attention, you may find a problem that will take more work than one person can handle in a given timeframe. In a situation like this, you may need to hire an agency anyway, an agency can dedicate more than one person at a time to your project, getting the results in the time frame needed.
7. You Just Don’t Need It
If you have a website that consists of just a few pages, you probably not need a full-time SEO.
SEO is simply a piece of the marketing pie. This isn’t to say that SEO is any less important for a small company; SEO is critical, but it takes less time to optimize and maintain the optimization of a smaller website.
Hiring a specialist to work daily on your site that doesn’t need it runs the risk of them changing too much, just to give themselves something to do or prove their worth. Over-optimization is not the best use of their time or your money, and your website (and your company) may suffer because of it.
For most businesses today, SEO, combined with a proper inbound marketing strategy, will deliver measurable ROI. The benefits it provides exceed the value of other outdated marketing approaches, but only if done correctly. For the most up-to-date information on all things SEO, download our free eBook Modern SEO.