Jonathan Saipe

SEO Campaigns: Outsource or In-house?

3 February 2008, Jonathan Saipe

On our travels, we have come across a wide variety of training course delegates with varying experience, roles and needs. When it comes to our SEO training courses, attendee needs tend to fall into 2 camps:

  1. Those who need to up-skill in order to run their own in-house SEO campaign(s)
  2. Those who work with, or are seeking an SEO agency and need to be able to manage their SEO agency better

Ignoring pure bottom line issues for the moment, is there a scenario that dictates whether outsourcing search engine optimisation to an agency is preferable over maintaining SEO in-house? Or maybe bottom line is always the overriding factor and simply cannot be ignored?

Having spoken to many SEO training course delegates about their experiences, the above two camps are not always so clear cut after all. There are some instances for example where companies keep their on-page optimisation SEO activity in-house, but choose to outsource their external link building strategy as this is less tied in with website development issues.

So what are the real benefits of carrrying out SEO activity in-house?

Familiarity
A major part of search engine optmisation relates to website information architecture, internal link building and a myriad of on-page optimisation issues. On a complex site, an SEO agency may take longer to attain the same degree of familiarity as an in-house design or development team or a 3rd party web design agency that produced the site in question.

Marketing campaign integration
An external SEO agency will invariably have less awareness of your company’s on-going search engine marketing or offline marketing activity. If you are running your SEO campaign in-house, you can ensure this integrates well with existing or future marcoms strategy.

Dedication
It is very likely that an SEO agency will be employing the same staff to run multiple SEO campaigns for obvious economic reasons. In-house teams on the other hand can focus their efforts on a single website or campaign with no distractions.

Expenditure versus ROI
I have left expenditure until last as there is debate concerning this issue. It is important to weigh up the pros and cons of employing external expertise (albeit at a cost) versus employing in-house staff to run your SEO campaigns.
This very much comes down to the quality of your staff, their available time and their cost to your business versus that of your SEO agency.

Skilled SEO savvy employees are not always easy to come by and furthermore they will demand good salaries; as the adage goes “if you pay peanuts you get monkeys”.

Ultimately your ROI is the most important measure of success so choose wisely!

If you have experience of outsourced versus in-house SEO campaigns, feel free to comment.

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