SEO Contractor, In-House Consultant Or Employee?
Want to drive more traffic to your website and make sure you’re the number one choice over your competitors? Then you’re going to need to boost your SEO.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is an important part of your marketing plan, helping to improve your Google search rankings and make sure that when people are looking for a business, product or service like yours - you’re top of the results list.
The thing about SEO is, it’s not something that you do once and then leave alone. The rules are constantly changing, which means SEO needs to be consistently worked on, part of your ongoing activity, you need to consistently build links, optimise the sites performance and content to stay ahead of the game.
Having an SEO expert in your team is a great way to ensure your SEO is always taken care of. Fortunately, there are several routes you can take to make this happen. You could hire an in-house SEO employee or you could use an SEO consultant or agency to make continuous improvements to your SEO and help you drive results.
It’s a tough decision to make, but which is the right one? Read on to explore the options in more detail and decide the future of your company’s SEO today.
Why SEO matters
Businesses rely on growth, especially in difficult markets. Being able to drive traffic to your website from organic searches can ensure that you’re regularly attracting new visitors to your website, new customers, with the aim of converting them into a sale or taking another kind of action once they’re there. Organic search is a high source of website traffic, usually the largest and continues to grow at a faster pace than other sources, such as social media or PPC.
SEO is nothing new. It’s something that’s been evolving for more than a decade and has come a long way since its origins. Remember reading keyword-stuffed content pages that barely made sense because they were so stiff? This kind of SEO practice is a thing of the past, with today’s content needing to be smarter, current and with changing audiences and algorithms in mind.
What’s great about SEO is that it doesn’t just apply to Google. If you use SEO wisely, you can improve search results on websites like Amazon, eBay, YouTube and others if you have a presence in these places. This means both small and large businesses can benefit from SEO if it’s done effectively.
Successful SEO has long-term benefits, proving to be a better investment than paid-for search and other types of digital marketing – SEO should consistently drive large volumes of traffic and customers to your business. It can also help ensure your website has an effective structure and allows you to find out more about the people who are landing on your site. SEO will improve the usability of your website, converting more traffic into customers. And to top it all off, improvements in automatic translation means more effective results on a global scale, allowing you to attract new customers and clients from all over the world.
Why you should use an SEO expert
SEO seems like a simple idea: identify the keywords, use them in your website content and wait for the traffic to come in. Right? It’s actually about a lot more than that.
An SEO expert not only knows how to identify the right keywords and create strategies and content based around their research, but they also understand the intricacies associated with the different algorithms that search engines use. Google and Bing may ultimately do the same thing, but their ranking systems are different.
They also think beyond adding keywords into copy and focus on content development that is relevant - understanding that factors such as layout, and even the quality of the information can all improve search rankings and provide a better user experience for the visitor. They also consider mobile-friendly content, recognising that a significant portion of web traffic now comes from mobile phone browsing. Know how to build high quality links and more importantly how to avoid penalties.
It’s an SEO expert’s job to stay on top of the latest trends, do research and make sure they’re using the latest best practice to stay ahead. While SEO could form a part of your content creators’ roles or sit with your website manager, it pays to have someone whose focus is purely on SEO – SEO expertise should not ever be ignored or undervalued.
To help your company benefit from SEO, you could bring in an SEO expert as a permanent member of your team, or you could look to hiring an external consultant or agency. There are pros and cons to both approaches, and you’ll want to think about your business’ unique needs to help you make the right decision.
Bringing in an in-house SEO employee
In-house employees have a number of benefits for businesses. Having people in the office makes it easier to have conversations, bounce ideas around as well as check on progress. But on the other hand, you could potentially lose the expanding knowledge and experience that a contractor has.
The pros of bringing in an in-house SEO employee
Face to face contact, helping to ensure clearer communication to speed up delivery of key work and projects.
You’ll be able to retain control of the process, with the focus of your SEO expert’s work on your business, and not on their own.
They’ll be integrated within your teams, helping to understand company objectives more clearly and work better with other key members of your marketing team.
Your SEO expert can work in a multi-skilled role, contributing to other business needs such as content creation and copywriting.
It could save your business money, as daily consultancy fees can be higher than an in-house salary. However be aware that if you employ an SEO on a low(er) overhead you are probably buying less experience.
For your employee, it gives them job security as well as the chance to benefit from HR, employee benefits and more.
The cons of bringing in an in-house SEO employee
It’s another member of staff for your books.
They might not have enough SEO-related work to make it worth your while.
Working for one company could mean that they lose sight of external trends and developments, putting your business at a disadvantage.
It’s a long-term financial commitment.
Bringing in a new employee will also mean having to bring in new equipment, training and other elements which add to the cost.
Internal processes can slow down the work, compared to an agency that will do everything in its power to deliver to an agreed deadline.
Despite being experts in their field, some tiers of management can find it difficult to take advice from an in-house employee, with a consultant or an agency having more gravitas despite having the same expertise.
Using an SEO consultant or agency
Choosing to work with an SEO consultant or agency is a popular choice for businesses. It provides flexibility and professionalism, while also ensuring that your company benefits from the latest knowledge and practices. While you’ll have less control over the day-to-day work, this can be a suitable option for smaller businesses.
The pros of using an SEO consultant or agency
Benefit from the years of knowledge and experience built up over the years to create the right strategy for your business.
Use them as and when you need them, without the long-term commitment. Services can be scaled up or down according to business need.
Small businesses can benefit from outside expertise without having to hire additional members of staff.
Consultants or agencies have their own equipment, office spaces and training, meaning your business can save money in the long-term.
It’s an SEO consultant or agency’s job to stay up to date on the latest practices and ensure they have the latest information about what’s working.
Benefit from the latest monitoring and analytics tools without investing in the software yourself.
With years of experience under their belt, and SEO agency or consultant will be able to create an effective SEO strategy that delivers for your business. They are far more likely to drive greater growth, faster, knowing how to take short cuts and where to focus energies.
The cons of using and SEO consultant or agency
Face to face meetings need more proactive scheduling.
Agencies and consultants work across multiple projects, meaning your business won’t get 100% of their attention.
With an SEO consultant or agency, what you see is exactly what you get - you’ll need to spend additional money if you want to benefit from additional skills and services.
Which one should you choose: in-house or SEO consultant / agency?
While there are pros and cons to both options, many businesses prefer to employ or use an SEO consultant over bringing in someone in-house. The cost of hiring a consultant or agency might seem higher, but as you won’t need their services full-time, you’ll undoubtedly get more value for your money.
Using an SEO consultant or agency means your business will benefit from ever-increasing knowledge, multi-sector or industry learnings, they’ll be able to respond quickly to the latest trends and developments. SEO is very much a moveable feast, and you need professionals with their finger on the pulse to make sure you stay ahead. An SEO agency or consultant relies on your business to help them grow and succeed, so they’ll want to ensure the best job to keep up their own reputation and experience. Know this, that SEO consultants and agencies want to keep you long term, to do this they have to earn their fee, provide a good ROI and pay for themselves.
The decision will ultimately come down to your level of need and the budget you have available. In-house SEO experts provide reliability and familiarity, while an external source can be more flexible and dynamic. Weigh up the pros and cons of both options to help you make the best choice for your business.
Improve Marketing is a full-service marketing agency and award-winning digital marketing agency who provide SEO consultancy and marketing services. If you would like to discuss how your benefit might best benefit from SEO then contact us today and let us talk about how we can build your business with SEO.