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SEO: In House vs Outsourcing, What is Best?

SEO: In House vs Outsourcing, What is Best?

When it comes to SEO there are many different approaches you can take to get your campaign going. You can choose to focus on one aspect at a time, for example, focusing on content creation before link building. One of the major considerations though will come down to whether or not you want to outsource your SEO or keep SEO in house. This decision will depend solely on your company and the stage of your business you are in. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each and tips on doing it right no matter which method you choose.

Benefits of Doing SEO In House

Doing SEO in house can have its fair share of benefits. Here are a few reasons you may want to consider taking on the effort yourself.

Quality Control

Picking someone to do your SEO can be a risky endeavor because its hard to discern between those who speak well vs those who do well. When you do SEO in house you will have complete control over all the content, link and audit efforts. You will be able to control the quality before it gets implemented, rather than trying to put out the fires later from a bad outsourced engagement. You can determine the type of content that should be created and the type of websites that you should try and earn a link from. This can be valuable in order to make sure that you’re not engaging in any black or grey hat SEO tactics.

Low Cost

If you’re already paying content creators or are willing to get to work yourself, then there will be savings for you in comparison to paying someone else to do it. Because not only will the efforts cost you, but when outsourcing, you have to add on that person’s or agency’s fees on top of the base costs of getting the work done. If done right, there could be significantly more resources that you will be able to reinvest back into your efforts. This means more links and more content for an equivalent investment.

Understanding of Your Business

Another thing you risk when outsourcing is picking an agency that doesn’t necessarily understand your business. The downfall this can have is that they will focus on bringing you traffic rather than focusing on traffic that can bring revenue. When doing it yourself, you will be able to spot the intricacies in your efforts and pick the right keywords to target. You will have a unique insight into what your customers are looking for and in what ways they refer to your product or service. This is something that an agency not familiar with your industry may overlook.


Doing your SEO in house isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, it can have some major drawbacks, most that are due to limits and errors.

No Accountability

This is perhaps the biggest drawback of them all. When you decide to do your SEO in house, it can fall by the wayside of other “priorities.” When you outsource you can be sure that the agency has to deliver by a certain date if they want you to renew with them again. They have to build their reputation on being reliable.

I’ve worked with many businesses that requested a “strategy only” service and came back six months later not having started a thing and requesting our help with the service. This can be a common pitfall for most businesses as their resources may be limited.

Lack of Expertise

If there is something that can negate the savings of in house SEO, its lack of know-how. If you’re not sure that you can execute or know enough to execute an SEO campaign, then its best you don’t take on that challenge. This can cause you a lot more harm then good if you end up going down the wrong path. You will waste valuable time, money, and even have the potential to set yourself back rather than make progress. SEO can be hard to navigate for a newbie and you want to avoid making mistakes early on that can cost you big time.

Lack of Resources

Lastly, a lack of resources is the main reason you may want to outsource your efforts. If you’re employee 1,2, and 3, then maybe adding an “SEO expert” that isn’t realistic for you. This falls more in line with reason number one, as you may think you can do it, and end up letting a year go by without having done much. Your lack of resources can be a huge downfall and prevent you from making the kind of progress that is possible.

Benefits of Outsourcing Your SEO

Outsourcing can often be the better option of the two, let’s discuss why.

Disciplined Delivery

When you outsource your SEO, you can expect things to be delivered on a good cadence if you chose the right partner. An agency will be able to put a team behind their efforts and get you on a schedule. There will be no such thing as a priority over your efforts because you will be a client who they will want to have renewed monthly, and the only way to do that is to do good work.

Better ROI on Time and Money

There are a few things you have to consider that affect your ROI when it comes to SEO. One is the actual money spent vs results achieved. With this, you may want to consider that it may actually cost you more to do SEO by yourself because you don’t have the systems in place to make it affordable. Agencies often have writers on staff along with link builders and auditors. All they have to do is plug you into a working system. So you may spend the same for much better results when you outsource.

The second part of ROI is time spent. The more time you spend without organic traffic is revenue and opportunities lost. If hiring an agency will get you to organic revenue faster, then it makes sense to spend a little more upfront in order to get a return much sooner then if you were to pursue it on your own.

More Hands at Work

To an earlier point, the one thing you will have with outsourcing is more hands at work. Even if you have the ability to do it some work yourself, then you can just pile it on top of any outsourced work you do for faster progress. Most agencies that you outsource too will have dedicated people for each aspect of your effort, or at the least, a dedicated person to your business.


Outsourcing can have drawbacks, mostly revolving around cost and reliability.

High in cost

If you’re just starting up and don’t have a lot of cash flow, you may be hesitant to invest what you do have in anything other than keeping the lights on while you get to revenue. This can be a major hurdle with outsourcing. Most agencies will ask for payment upfront before they do any work. This can also add up as you progress your efforts. SEO can take 6-12 months to start seeing the results, and even longer in order to help those results compound on each other. This can be a long investment, most of which startups cant afford when it comes to their marketing. Picking an agency that focuses on startups can help avoid this.

Quality Control

This is more of a hiring issue than anything, but you can run into a problem where the work you will be getting won’t be quality and you won’t know until its too late. In those cases what you end up with is lost time and lost money, or worse, a penalty. The best way to avoid this is to go through a thorough vetting process. If you work with someone reputable, the chances of that happening are lower.

Determining Which is Right for You

There are three things that will determine whether you should outsource or keep it in house.

  1. Your Budget – first and foremost is your budget. If you can’t afford to do it, then there is no reason to debate whether you should outsource or not. You simply have to grow your revenue or cut costs until it becomes an option.
  2. Your Know-How – if you don’t have the necessary expertise to do it yourself, you will be better off outsourcing it if you are able. This will save you time and money on trial and error, which can pile up over time and lose you both time, and valuable time in generating revenue. If you’re not 100 percent confident you can generate organic traffic, then it’s better to do leave for the pros who can do it faster and more efficiently.
  3. Your Manpower – if there is not enough people that can help you, doing it yourself can be a daunting task. You will have to play content creator, strategist, and outreach expert, on top of all other responsibilities you may have.

Wrapping Up

Overall, I will always recommend outsourcing SEO over doing SEO in house if you can find the right agency to outsource to. You just have to make sure that their expertise aligns with their value and cost. This will allow you to focus your mental and tangible resources into improving other parts of your business.

Sean Dudayev
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