Published on September 16th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi


Can You Do SEO In-house?

For many business leaders, just hearing the letters SEO is enough to make them feel mild panic. Search engine optimization isn’t easy; it is a complex science that mixes data crunching, content marketing, user experience, website development and social networking in order to place a desired webpage at the top of Google’s search results. Because effective SEO cannot be performed by a novice, most startups and small businesses outsource their SEO efforts to dedicated digital marketing firms.

However, is there ever a time when SEO can come back home? Just as HR and tech might eventually become in-house departments, SEO and digital marketing could conceivably return to the umbrella of an organization — but should it? This guide will help business leaders decide whether in-house SEO is worth the time and money.

What In-house SEO Can Do for You

There are always benefits to keeping services in the office and under the umbrella of the company — otherwise, businesses would consist of a handful of executives and hordes of freelancers and outsourced firms. Because SEO is so technical, it is a common and sensible choice for outsourcing. Still, there is value in having an SEO team under the same roof as the rest of the business.

The primary reason companies maintain in-house SEO teams is collaboration. SEO is essentially an element of a business’s digital marketing strategy; while SEO can accomplish many goals, the most common one is to increase online visibility and therefore convert more customers. To optimize effectiveness, SEO should be in line with other digital marketing efforts, like content development and website design. In larger companies, where marketing departments are vast and contain salaried employees in these fields, keeping SEO experts on staff makes sense.

Additionally, SEO professionals who are part of the company have more power to initiate change from within. Effective SEO isn’t a one-and-done endeavor; it requires systematic updates and maintenance of online assets. Unfortunately, many businesses attempt SEO half-heartedly, failing to see the results they need because they are unwilling to or ignorant of company-wide changes necessary to make SEO work. As members of the organization — and therefore obligated to help the company succeed — in-house SEO can do more to ensure that SEO works by pushing the rest of the business to change.

Why You Still Probably Don’t Want In-house SEO

Even with these not insignificant benefits, in-house SEO teams are rarely worthwhile. SEO is a wide field that changes rapidly and continuously, and businesses need to be able to rely on SEO experts who have a deep well of knowledge, a novel perspective and a relatively low cost.

Twenty years ago, SEO consisted of hardly more than jam-packing keywords into any available website space, but these days, SEO encompasses a huge range of activities to keep webpages at the top of search results. As a result, most SEO professionals are specialized in one of three categories — technical SEO, onsite SEO and link SEO — and an effective SEO team contains at least one worker devoted to each. Because the average SEO salary is $76,000, few startups and small businesses can afford to keep SEO in house. Using that money, most businesses would get much more bang for their buck by hiring a qualified SEO agency in their area.

What’s more, it is not uncommon for in-house marketers, even in the technical sphere of SEO, to allow their skills and knowledge to grow stale. Unfortunately, because SEO rules can change at the drop of a hat, it is imperative that businesses can trust their SEO teams to remain up-to-date, providing the best possible services into the future. Third-party SEO firms are more likely to provide a fresh and cutting-edge perspective than complacent in-house departments simply because they need to provide high-quality customer service to retain their clients.

Business leaders typically want to control most of their company’s operations, which often means bringing as many departments as possible under one roof. When it comes to SEO, there are plenty of pros for keeping a team in-house — but for most businesses, the pros just don’t outweigh the cons. Before making any hiring or outsourcing decisions, business leaders should discuss their SEO goals and plans with SEO professionals to determine the best course of action.

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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