SEO Agency Vs In-House SEO Team: The Pros & Cons

SEO Agency Vs In-House

In the perpetual world of digital marketing, the pursuit for increased visibility and online traffic reigns supreme. As a result, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) represents a pivotal tool for achieving these goals, ultimately helping businesses to achieve those coveted top rankings of search engine results pages (SERPs).

However, the pathway to SEO success isn’t always straightforward, presenting a crucial decision: should you entrust your SEO efforts to an external agency or cultivate an in-house team? This sparks an ongoing debate within the marketing realm, with advocates on both sides enthusiastically championing their preferred approach.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of SEO agencies and in-house teams, focusing on their respective capabilities, costs, and effectiveness to establish which is the superior strategy in the pursuit of SEO excellence.

How does an SEO agency work?

An SEO agency works collaboratively with clients to enhance online visibility and drive organic traffic through strategic planning, execution, monitoring, and optimisation of SEO initiatives.

Agencies begin by understanding a client’s business goals, target audience, and current online presence through consultation and analysis. They’ll then develop a tailored strategy that includes various SEO techniques, such as keyword research, content creation, technical optimisation, and link building. They work as an extension of your existing team and strive towards the same success metrics as you do within your business.

Once approved, the agency actions the strategy, continuously monitoring performance metrics like keyword rankings and organic traffic, which are then reported back to the client. Regular communication and reporting keep clients informed of progress and allow for adjustments to optimise results over time.


What are the advantages of an SEO agency?

An SEO agency offers several distinct advantages, including the following:

  • Specialist Expertise

SEO agencies bring a wealth of expertise to the table, typically comprising highly experienced specialists from across various aspects of SEO, including content marketing, technical SEO, and digital PR. Hiring just one of these experts in-house would be a costly exercise. Whereas, an agency gives you access to senior figures without the hefty salary outlay, enabling your business to tap into the expertise of seasoned professionals when you need it.

  • Tailored Strategies

One of the key strengths of SEO agencies is their ability to craft tailored strategies that align with each client’s unique goals, target audience, and industry landscape. By conducting thorough audits and analyses, SEO agencies can identify specific areas for improvement and develop customised plans of action to address them effectively. Working with an agency, you have access to the best in the business. With a huge wealth of experience in numerous sectors, agencies can think outside of the box to ensure your SEO is always on the up.

Not only this but if they are linked with a PPC team, they can create long-term strategies based on previous successes. This enables them to further understand consumer search behaviours and conversion patterns.

  • Scalability

SEO agencies have the resources and scalability to handle projects of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises. Whether a client needs a comprehensive SEO overhaul or targeted campaigns to address specific objectives, agencies can adapt their strategies and allocate resources accordingly to meet the client’s needs.

  • Access To Advanced Tools

SEO agencies typically have access to a wide range of advanced tools, analytics platforms, and technologies that may be costly for individual businesses to invest in, from Ahrefs to Semrush and everything in between. These tools allow agencies to conduct in-depth analyses, track key performance indicators, and gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their SEO efforts.

  • Specialised Skill Set

SEO agencies house a diverse team of specialists with expertise in different areas of SEO, allowing them to tackle complex challenges with precision and efficiency. Whether it’s optimising website content, conducting link outreach, or troubleshooting technical issues, agencies have the necessary skills and know-how to deliver results.

  • Adaptability

The dynamic nature of the digital landscape demands constant adaptation, and SEO agencies are well-equipped to navigate these changes. They keep on top of evolving trends, algorithm updates, and best practices, adjusting their strategies and tactics to ensure clients maintain a competitive edge in the ever-changing SEO landscape. With bigger teams, there is also greater scope for knowledge sharing that will be cascaded back into your business.


What are the disadvantages of an SEO agency?

Despite the numerous benefits of hiring an SEO agency, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider.

Firstly, the cost of engaging an agency can represent a significant outgoing, particularly for small businesses with limited budgets. Some businesses may also struggle with losing direct control of their SEO efforts. This can potentially lead to a misalignment between the agency’s approach and the client’s objectives.

On the flip side, there’s also a risk of developing a dependency on external expertise. However, despite these drawbacks, careful vetting, effective communication, and a careful alignment of goals can help to mitigate any risks and maximise the benefits of partnering with an SEO agency.


How does an in-house SEO team work?

An in-house SEO team operates within a company, focusing on improving its online visibility and search engine rankings. In-house teams typically have a deep understanding of the company’s goals, products or services, target audience, and industry landscape.

It’s their job to develop and execute a customised SEO strategy that’s tailored to the company’s specific needs, leveraging their insider knowledge and direct communication channels with other departments. They’ll continuously monitor the performance of the company’s website and SEO efforts, making adjustments as needed.

Regular reporting and collaboration with internal stakeholders ensure alignment with broader business objectives and long-term sustainability. An in-house SEO team works closely with other departments to boost online visibility and drive organic traffic through strategic planning, execution, monitoring, and optimisation of SEO initiatives.


What are the advantages of an in-house SEO team?

An in-house SEO team presents several notable advantages:

  • Internal Integration

Being part of the company, an in-house SEO team is deeply integrated with its culture, operations, and decision-making processes. This can allow for better alignment of SEO strategies with broader business objectives and ensures that SEO efforts are seamlessly woven into the company’s overall marketing and branding initiatives.

  • Company-Specific Knowledge

In-house SEO teams possess intimate knowledge of the company’s products, services, target audience, and industry dynamics. This insider perspective enables them to develop highly customised SEO strategies that leverage the company’s unique strengths, address its specific challenges, and capitalise on market opportunities.

  • Direct Communication

In-house SEO teams have direct access to other departments, stakeholders, and decision-makers within the organisation. This facilitates open communication, collaboration, and coordination across various teams, ensuring that SEO efforts are closely aligned with marketing, sales, product development, and other business functions.

What are the disadvantages of an in-house SEO team?

While an in-house SEO team offers some advantages, it also presents several potential disadvantages. These include limited expertise in diverse industries, resource constraints, challenges in scalability, potential silos that hinder cross-functional collaboration, risks of tunnel vision and dependency on internal resources.

Businesses need to carefully consider these factors when weighing up the decision to build an in-house SEO team, ensuring they have all the necessary resources, support, and strategies in place to overcome any potential challenges and maximise the benefits of their internal SEO capabilities.


So which is better?

Ultimately, the choice between an SEO agency and an in-house team hinges on budget, goals, resources, and strategic priorities. Each option offers distinct advantages, depending on your needs.

The agency’s advantage lies in its specialised skill set, adaptability, and resource availability, making it suitable for companies seeking immediate results and flexibility. On the other hand, an in-house team often has a more immediate understanding of the company’s intricacies, a good option for businesses that want to prioritise control and continuity.

Ultimately, the choice is yours! But if you’d like to work with an experienced SEO agency with a team of high-performance specialists who are willing to invest their time, expertise and passion into the success of your business, chat to Resident North and find out how we can help grow your business.


Image credit: Dayvi Wong

Simon Grant

Simon Grant

Published 30 April 2024

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