In-House vs. Outsourced SEO: Which Is Right For Your Business?

When dealing with SEO, there are two directions that most businesses can take and that’s whether to do in-house or outsource it to another company to deal with.


During these turbulent times of the outbreak of COVID-19, the pandemic has affected a lot more than just our health. Businesses have suffered huge losses and so much so that some have gone under because of the lack of funds and inability to keep it going despite any help that’s given from governments and local authorities. Households are suffering too, but one thing is clear - that the internet is reigning supreme. 


As many of us work from home or not working due to the virus, we’re all spending a lot more hours online. A lot of businesses have begun looking at how they can continue to make their business thrive. Playing the long game when it comes to SEO seems to be a decision that many are making in the hopes that it pays off when we’re out of this bizarre period.


However, when it comes to working on your SEO, do you hire in-house professionals to help, or do you outsource it? This article will look at what is worth doing for your business when it comes to SEO.


What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is essentially the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic for your website through organic search results. So in the most basic description, it’s a practice that helps your website feature higher on the search engines. So what goes into SEO? The quality of traffic is something you want to achieve when it comes to business because the more of your target audience you get coming to the website, the more of that traffic is likely to translate into sales. It’s important that the traffic coming to your site is genuinely interested in the product or service that you’re selling, right?


You also want to help bring in more quantity of traffic, and the internet has already proven time and time again that any business, no matter where they are based, can break into a global market. Organic results make up a significant portion of the many SERPs you’d get (SERP meaning Search Engine Result Page). This organic traffic means that you’ve not had to pay for it and that, of course, is the best type of traffic that you want. 


It’s also worth knowing how SEO works because, as a business, it’s good to know what you can contribute from those staff members who might write content for the website. Having an understanding of how to effectively optimize the content for the search engine is crucial. Search engines have crawlers that go out and gather all the content and information that the individual has asked for when searching. This is then built into an index, which is put through the search engine’s algorithm to pull up the most accurate results that match what the query is asking. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this algorithm, and you can see a breakdown of the most important ones on Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (2020). The optimization side of SEO is the actual refining of content to help make it as attractive to those crawlers as possible. The more professional and SEO-friendly your content is, the higher it’s likely to appear on the search engine.


Learning about the basics of SEO can help you to figure out what’s needed for your own business and what you’d want to focus on when it comes to helping influence your business growth and success.


Do I Need SEO For My Business?

So do you need SEO for your business? It really depends on what your business is and whether the results of SEO can actually help your company. There are many reasons why you might not need it and these can be listed below.


  • No one is searching for your product or service. This, for example, could be a new product or service that is not yet on the market.
  • You may be a business who needs results faster and this type of strategy to make money or to build a business can take time. It’s a slow process and that might not be beneficial for some companies.
  • You might have a product or service that changes quickly and therefore the effect of SEO might not be substantial enough for the amount of effort, time, and money that goes into promoting this. For example, this could be an one-off event or a limited opportunity.
  • The business could be running on referrals only and that wouldn’t benefit from using SEO.
  • A business that doesn’t want outside traffic such as a private club or restaurant as an example and that might not want to be visible publicly.


It’s very much based on what benefits that SEO can bring to the table and whether that’s a need or want that’s relevant for your business. Many businesses can benefit from it but it’s not something that every company must have out there.




Ecommerce sites need to use search engine optimization for low-cost brand awareness. Some of these businesses might not have big marketing budgets available. A strong SEO strategy for your e-commerce site can be just as good in its ability to draw in the traffic that hopefully converts into lots of customers. Elevating your content, such as naming products and descriptions with the right keywords, can help those customers who might be looking for said products. By doing so for all of your products, you are likely to feature more in their search. Blog posts and how-to articles are beneficial in elevating your quality of content for Google and other search engine crawlers to take notice of. SEO for e-commerce is definitely a must if you are that type of business.




SEO for Brick-And-Mortar companies can be helpful because traditionally, these businesses would usually rely on word of mouth and local advertising to bring in customers. There are a number of ways that you can use SEO to improve local business and hopefully expand the net in terms of gaining new customers. Positive Reviews on your website make it easier for Google to understand that you are a trusted business, which makes it easier for Google to recommend your business over a competitor's listing. There are also plenty of places where you can list your site as a service. The more online directories that you sign your business up to, the more you’re helping your site to rank higher in search results. 


Professional Services & Private Practices


Similar to local businesses in different industries, there can be a benefit to using the internet in order to find new clients. A lot of buying decisions for those who are looking at private practices are made on how high they are ranking. That means that the more reviews you get on Google or via other review platforms for these types of businesses, like TrustPilot, the more clients you’ll bring in. Whatsmore is that you can charge higher fees if you have more referrals coming to your practice or wanting to use your professional services. By providing blogging content on your site, it helps to position you as an expert in your field and that in itself can generate more customers by making it SEO-friendly. SEO for professional services & private practices is worth doing because there are still lots of private practices that don’t take advantage of SEO.


Home Services (Plumbing, Electricians, Etc.)


SEO for home services is worth doing. Even if the website is in its most basic format and isn’t used so much, SEO can still be utilized in a number of ways. Adding your contact information onto online directories creates backlinks from these sites that lead back to your own website, which can improve your rankings on Google. By using more targeted keywords that relate to the areas that you cover can help pull local traffic to your site. This could be changing content from ‘local plumber’ to ‘local plumber, Washington’ or wherever it is that you’re based. These small changes can make a big difference.


Restaurants and Cafes


Restaurants and cafes used to rely on the footfall of their customers passing by or recommendations by friends or family. However, nowadays a lot of us rely on Google to tell us where to go. SEO for restaurants and cafes is essential to help bring in local customers, and to help customers within a reasonable distance of your business, to find you. Creating listings on Google and various search engines is crucial in our Google Maps-driven world.


Why is SEO Services important?

So why are SEO services important for business? Well firstly, it’s good for your customers and any traffic that heads onto your website in regards to user experience. A  website that’s functional and can be navigated without coming across any slow-loading pages or broken links, will be a more enjoyable experience for the visitor. By concentrating on this area of your business, it creates a lot more leads for your company and has also been proven to have a higher success rate in closing those leads and converting them into customers. It is also worth mentioning that the cost-efficiency that comes with using SEO is important for businesses that might not have a lot of funds to work with. Lower advertising costs are useful to implement without having to sacrifice on the 


Ignoring the uses of SEO can also cost your business in a number of ways. You’re likely to spend a lot more on advertising in order to get your content out there. As it’s been mentioned already, using search engine optimization can help reduce these costs. Paid Ads are great for boosting traffic when you’ve optimized your content, but you could be spending more and for a longer period of time because your content isn’t as good as it could be. Using SEO can really help in providing more opportunities for your business, and missing out on these could impact the amount of success and growth your company achieves when it comes to benefiting from the online market. There is also a lot of change that happens in the way search engines find quality content, and these changes might result in fewer engagements with your content.


In terms of your own marketing plan, SEO can encompass everything from your PR to your social media marketing and advertising. It’s firstly important to understand where you can fill in the holes in your process. Where are your losing customers, or what could you be doing in order to gain more? Are your sales dropping at certain times of the year? These are just a few questions that can help you decide where SEO can fit into your marketing strategy as you move forward. It’s an element of your business that can further drive success and growth, so it’s not something to be ignored if it can provide solutions.


PPC (pay-per-click) is still a great advertising model that’s used in order to drive traffic to your website. SEO can work hand in hand with PPC if it’s planned right. Remember that keyword targeting is important to test your SEO progress and what you might have done so far in terms of improving it. Pay-per-click can also give you an indication of what’s working and what isn’t. That way, you can continue to tweak and change your SEO until it works effectively. Using this combination together can be particularly effective for those young businesses who are trying to build up a reputation and an audience. Well-targeted PPC adverts can do better if they are ranking higher with the same keywords you’re providing in the content.


For brick-and-mortar businesses, as an example of those industries that can benefit from SEO, they don’t even need to do much to their website to find it effective. In times like these where the online world is thriving, local businesses that don’t have a digital influence can start to lose customers or find the pool of available customers is a lot less due to more people shopping online. Many businesses that were previously successful without an online presence are struggling to remain relevant. Why not get ahead of your competition by taking advantage of search engine optimization?


Can you perform SEO by yourself?

When it comes to performing SEO by yourself, is it possible? Of course! There are so many different techniques, products, and guides out there on the internet that can either be digested for free or for a fee. The problem with doing it by yourself though is that it takes a lot of time and that it requires a dedicated team of experts that can work in-house. If you’re attempting it yourself, then creating high-quality content is a great place to start. A lot of blog posts tend to do well when they’re over 500 words, with long-form content being well-liked by Google’s search engine. Updating old content can be useful, especially the content that’s commonly referred to as evergreen. This is content that performed well the first time around and can be adapted and re-published over and over again.


Researching keywords is also a main part of improving SEO, as well as creating quality backlinks to your site. However, if you have a lack of expertise or the time to properly manage this area of business, then it can be more difficult to successfully do as a company.


Monthly Budget For Online Marketing


Using an in-house team for your SEO requires you to look at your monthly budgets for online marketing. As it’s an important element of your marketing plan, you will need the funds to help put toward SEO. This isn’t cheap, and you’re likely going to be paying a lot more for in-house staff than outsourcing it. As well as the salary of these individuals doing the work, you’ve got to factor in the right tools needed, and these can all cost money. There might be issues with how much money you can commit to your online marketing as SEO can just be an extra cost that you have to manage. When your budget is limited, the in-house option might not be the most cost-effective. 


Does Your Team Have The Skills?


One of the biggest factors for having an in-house team that can handle the SEO for your business is whether they have the experience and skills necessary. Not everyone who works in marketing or social media will have extensive knowledge and experience of working on SEO. You may have a majority that has a basic knowledge and only a handful who have anything useful in the way of skills for search engine optimization. When you’re putting a lot of money into this, you want to ensure you have the right team to do it effectively.


Training is an important element of your business that you should invest in, but unless you’re putting them on quite lengthy and expensive courses to do SEO effectively, the quality that they provide, might not be as good as it should be. 


Do You Have The Resources To Manage In-House Teams?


Resources are needed to manage an in-house team who are working on SEO, they’ll need direction, management, and strategies in place to help make the most out of their working day. That’s not something that all businesses can provide, particularly if there are not enough staff members to help manage this properly with the time they have available to them. It’s only going to be a waste of time, money, and effort if you have an in-house team that’s working at a fraction of the pace because they have very little direction or monitoring. 


Managing a new team can be difficult to balance, and that might require you to hire more staff as a result. Each staff member that you recruit is only going to put more financial strain on your business. Sometimes new staff is needed, but when you’re trying to save money, it’s important to not haphazardly spend it.


Do You Have The Proper Tools?


As is mentioned above, to work on search engine optimization, you need to have the right tools for the job. This can include keyword tools, social media tools that you pay for, and more. This only adds to the costs that you’re paying out, and an understanding of how to use these tools is needed too. That might be something you need to train your staff on, and that again eats into your marketing budget. There are lots of free tools that you can take advantage of to help you tackle some of the most basic SEO tasks. Google Analytics, for example, is a great platform for learning more about your audience and tailoring your content. This is free, but you might want to invest in more paid-for tools that can give you more technical information for search engine optimization.


Hiring A SEO Agency

SEO agencies can be outsourced by a business to take the reins and focus solely on maximizing your business potential by perfecting this technical side of your company. As well as being a lot more affordable than doing it in-house, hiring an agency can help if you simply have no idea of how these strategies can work for your company. It’s useful to carry out research before picking one in order to make the right choice for what you need.


When it comes to meeting with an SEO agency, it’s important to outline your goals as a business. Clearly defining what it is that you want to achieve can help those agencies get the most out of your efforts. This is a collaborative process where the agency will be working with your marketing department on the strategies that are in place and helping them to be more effective.


Comparing In-House vs Agency

When it comes to choosing between in-house and agency, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons to each before deciding on one over the other. There are also different ways that companies will tend to use SEO when doing it in-house. Although these are suitable options, there can be some disadvantages to these that can be avoided by picking an agency to do it for you. 


In-House Dedicated SEO


In-house dedicated SEO is something that was touched upon above, and although it can be effective in some ways, there are some downsides to this. Companies will often choose to do it in-house because they consider it to be separate from marketing, PR, and other advertising strategies that might be in place. However, search engine optimization should be seen as something that can be incorporated within all these departments and strategies as a way of strengthening them. To have another in-house department means you have to do more managing of this team and to ensure they’re all communicating with each department. Deciding to do it in-house might be done because it’s a way of keeping track of the work that’s being done, but it makes more sense to hire an agency.


Student/Summer Student


Some businesses can find it beneficial to hand SEO responsibilities over to students or those who need some work over the summer. This might be an option picked by a business because it’s more cost-effective. Students will likely not charge or charge a small fee for the work done because they’re not yet qualified. While cutting costs might be beneficial to a company, you will be sacrificing the quality of the work done and the level of results it will provide. There’s only so much a student will know about conducting SEO strategies, whereas an agency contains a team of experts, qualified and skilled within the industry will likely perform a lot better. You want results as a company and when it’s a student doing this, they might not be able to provide much. It really needs to be handled by a team or someone qualified.


The Owner


As a business owner, it might seem like a good opportunity to do it yourself, especially if you have some free time. There are certainly plenty of resources online to get a better understanding of how to build an effective strategy and process for SEO, and it can be beneficial for you to be able to do the basics so that you can actively contribute where possible. After all, many hands can make light work! However, again, managing this is something that takes a lot of time, and it might be more effective to offload this responsibility to an outsourced agency. As an owner, you’ve got a lot of different plates to juggle, and effectively managing SEO on top of it can be difficult.



It’s handy to have admin support and receptionists who can pick up the extra workloads when needed in busy periods. Although it does blur the line slightly for these roles, if the staff in question have the time and basic knowledge to do some of this, then it’s good to do. However, if it’s not a priority to their role, then you could find that this is something that gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. That’s not something you want to happen when it comes to SEO, and so it’s worth hiring an SEO agency that can dedicate more time to it.


When you’re asking a receptionist or admin staff to help with this area of business, it can be difficult to manage such a time-consuming task that will be never-ending. There’s always going to be something new when it comes to having a strong presence via the search engines. Algorithms can change, making it important to always be on the ball with the work needed. That’s not always something that someone in said role would be able to keep up with.


There are also additional costs when it comes to in-house SEO that might be worth considering. You might want to buy certain software and pay for subscriptions to enable you to make better content. There are many tools available for SEO management, including tracking and keyword analysis tools. The effort that it takes to set up an SEO department and to put all the plans and strategies in place might outweigh the cost efficiency of having it done by an outside party. If you have the ability to do it, then you might as well try it out in-house, but it’s never going to be as cost-efficient as outsourcing can be.


If you’re currently using an in-house department to handle search engine optimization, then it’s worth assessing how much time and effort goes into it and what results you’re getting out of it. Comparing this to the quotes you get from SEO agencies could open your eyes to just how financially beneficial it could be to have an agency take over. There might be a lot of time saved, and it frees up your employees to focus on other areas of the business that take priority.


SEO can be used to elevate a business, regardless of the success your company currently has. When choosing an SEO agency, it’s important to find one that knows your industry and can utilize their time efficiently in order to get the most value for your money. It’s certainly something that as a business you should be investing in and can only help elevate your marketing strategies for this year and beyond.


The effects that SEO can have on your business take time, but since the internet continues to evolve, it’s more effective to use it than to not use it. You could be hindering your business by not taking the steps to improve search engine optimization. Whether your company is ecommerce or you run your own handyman service, consider all the ways that you could benefit from hiring an SEO agency.


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