The key to a company’s online success lies largely in making search engine optimization a priority.
No matter what phase of the life cycle your company is in, the competition is going to be fierce, with millions of businesses operating online and battling for search rankings.
When your company is ready to invest in improving your online presence, the question becomes: “Do I hire an SEO firm or an in-house employee?”
First, let’s look at some data. LSEO has surveyed more than 100 companies and industry experts to see how most businesses would answer that question.
Eighty-one percent of respondents preferred hiring an agency over an in-house marketing employee to perform their SEO.
Here’s a quick infographic to illustrate my point:
Having said that, though, what’s interesting to note is that, in most cases, our own SEO team at LSEO has not become a client’s marketing arm; we have augmented and integrated with our clients’ existing marketing teams.
I feel I can hear another question already arising from this: what’s the benefit of having both an internal marketing team and an SEO agency working with you?
We have a lot of experience in this kind of approach to an SEO campaign here at LSEO, so let me lay out some points based on our history of working with so many clients over the years.
Why Do Businesses Employ In-House Marketers?
It made sense to me that, if I was going to lay out the advantages of augmenting your in-house marketing team with an SEO agency, I should first point out the real and true benefits of employing in-house marketers in the first place.
In general, in-house SEOs:
- Are physically available 40 hours a week (Need one of them? Drop by their desk, or Slack them)
- Meet regularly with other team members, such as the in-house web developers, and so have more of a cohesive picture
- Are more familiar with the inner workings of the business
It sounds like the perfect setup, really.
The issue is that in-house SEOs or other marketers are typically just one small part of a business’s whole team.
If you’re a plumbing business, you employ plumbers, managers, salespeople, customer service reps, accountants, and probably digital marketers. In this scenario, your in-house marketers are one-sixth of your existing team.
But what if you could hire an outside agency, whose one and only job is to work on your SEO, to join with your existing team and form a perfect hybrid in accomplishing what you want in the digital space?
Let me put it all out there for you.
Here are five ways that an agency’s SEO services can efficiently augment your in-house marketing team.
1.) SEO Agencies Possess Deep Knowledge of Digital Marketing
SEO agencies live and breathe search engine optimization. It’s all we do on a regular basis. In the case of LSEO, we’ve done it for hundreds of clients over the years.
This is important because SEO is an ever-changing industry.
Google is constantly putting out new information about what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to SEO.
The search engine giant doesn’t make it easy to know exactly what each of its algorithm updates is about. This is understandable, since Google is only in the market of providing the best results to users.
It is a digital marketing agency’s responsibility to stay up to date on the latest SEO tactics and apply them to client websites.
The process is based on trial and error, and SEO agencies have the time and personnel to research and continually try out new strategies.
With an in-house team, this could be time-consuming and even set back your progress if the initial strategy doesn’t produce results.
The thing is this: agencies such as LSEO benefit from their employees’ combined years of experience.
We’ve worked with clients in just about every major market niche you can imagine. We’ve seen it all, so to speak, and our case studies reflect large parts of that.
That isn’t often the reality with in-house SEOs. If your team hasn’t had the opportunity to experience what we have, it’s probably because they haven’t had the need to see and do everything that exists in SEO.
But our work has essentially forced us to be experts in our industry so that we can meet the demands of each of our clients.
This is what an SEO agency brings to the table: SEO experience to complement the intimate knowledge that your in-house team has about your business.
2.) SEO Agencies Perform Your Work for Less
My first point was an argument from experience and authority. Now, we can talk about the dollars-and-cents benefit of having an SEO agency augment your team instead of necessarily hiring into your team.
Working with an agency will almost always turn out to be more financially sound for your company long-term versus hiring in-house employees.
This rings especially true if any of your employees were to leave after just a short time.
If you are looking to hire an entry-level employee for a marketing role, you probably know how expensive new-hire training can be.
It all comes down to cash in the end. Preparing training materials, having your current employees take time for instruction and tutorials, showing an employee around the office–it’s all time spent not doing work.
Think about the time you take up doing these things versus being able to kick off your campaign on day one: no training wheels required. It’s 0 to 100 on the first day with an agency.
So, when we talk about an SEO agency augmenting your existing digital marketing team, we’re talking about an entity that provides you with more SEO knowledge and experience than your employees while still costing significantly less than one of your employees, what with in-house salaries, benefits, overhead, and the like.
Agencies employ experts who would be cost-prohibitive for your business to hire on its own. Few smaller companies and startups have the resources to bring someone like that onto the team.
3.) SEO Agencies Grant Your Team Tool Access
Depending on the level of SEO you have your in-house team performing for you on a monthly basis, you might have your marketers use a few SEO tools in their daily work. Or maybe you don’t use paid SEO tools at all because of how expensive they are.
Take a lot of people’s all-around favorite SEO tool, Semrush. The basic Pro plan is $119.95 a month. The Semrush website itself recommends the Pro plan for small in-house marketing teams.
There are, of course, limits to what you can do with the smallest plan, but what if you didn’t need to pay for Semrush at all?
SEO agencies often have the biggest and best plans of these paid tools for the simple fact that they have to have them.
Agencies work with too many clients not to have the Semrush or Ahrefs or Screaming Frog plans that allow them to crawl the most pages, track the most keywords, or run the most audits.
Depending on how large your website is, you could use up all your allotted monthly crawl pages in a single crawl!
So, my argument here is: you have the in-house team. SEO agencies have the tools. Why not combine your SEO resources to start producing real results while saving yourself those subscription fees?
4.) SEO Agencies Can Infuse Your Team with Other Digital Specialties
I mentioned above that combining an in-house SEO team and an SEO agency allows everyone to focus on what they do best: the in-house team fills in the gaps on the finer points of the business itself, while the agency provides the client with enhanced expertise.
But there’s another major benefit of working with an SEO agency: the access that businesses will get to the agency’s other staff-based resources, such as content writers, link builders, and even paid media associates if paid ads become part of the overall digital strategy.
SEO encompasses so much, but if we break it down into its simplest components, SEO can fairly be said to involve these three main areas:
If you know much about any of those components, then you know you could devote an entire marketing team to working on any one of them.
Can an in-house team of marketers handle 100,000 redirects, or three pieces of rich blog content a week, or a top-to-bottom link-building strategy?
Probably not easily or efficiently.
It may even be the case that your in-house team of three or four marketers just can’t devote any time at all to link building or even to producing a few pieces of quality blog content a month.
But the benefit of integrating in-house teams with agencies is that an agency is going to have resources to produce these add-on SEO resources for you without missing a beat.
Technical SEO is fine, but what does it mean if the website isn’t getting content? In turn, what does content matter if it isn’t getting the engagement that’s possible through an effective link-building campaign?
I hope you see where I’ve been going with this. Full-service SEO agencies literally have it all. So, if your in-house team just isn’t big enough to do what’s needed, you can let your agency pick up the slack.
5.) SEO Agencies Bring Continuity to Your In-House Efforts
The final point I want to make about how SEO agencies can complement your in-house SEO efforts is this: campaign continuity.
I think this is an interesting point that not a lot of businesses would think of on their own.
If a business employs a five-person in-house SEO team, then you can bet a lot is riding on each individual member of that team, with not a lot of redundancies. Each person is likely going to have a specialty that the others are familiar with but can’t perform as well.
I stress this aspect because now I want to talk about what is probably one of the greatest fears of a business like this: one of those employees leaving.
If your single in-house content writer or the head of the whole marketing team leaves for another opportunity, you’re in a pinch.
- It takes time to find a suitable replacement
- The right replacement might cost more than you can pay
- The role’s work remains undone or at least not done as well in the meantime
- The eventual replacement needs time to get up to speed on the business
Each of these items is a big enough problem on its own, but let’s focus on that last one.
Say you ultimately find a replacement who knows SEO and has agreed to an appropriate salary.
Your worry might be: how much quality work was lost in the interim, and how long will it take for the business to reclaim the cadence of its former output?
With an SEO agency, though, you never lose anything. Agencies are always there, working on your account in the background, keeping their own employees up to date on recent events within the work.
If you do lose an in-house employee during a campaign, an agency can just fill in the gaps with one of its own, no continuity lost.
Sure, having to rehire to your in-house SEO team is a short-term problem that you will ultimately resolve, but a robust SEO campaign often can’t afford to lose its steam on any front.
The constant presence of an SEO agency that’s augmenting your team will prevent these sorts of hiccups and keep the campaign at full strength.
Augment Your In-House Team with LSEO
We’ve been part of an augmented in-house team many times here at LSEO. A client brings us on, and we’re introduced to their in-house marketers. They coordinate everything with us based on their existing knowledge of the business.
This is a setup that just plain works, and we’re always happy to operate within that structure. Our clients trust us to integrate with their marketing teams because of our combined decades of SEO experience, and they see their trust in us pay off when we help them to scale their online visibility dramatically.
If you’d like to have a conversation about bringing us into the fold for your own growth, get in touch with LSEO for a free consultation.