For anyone running a business, whether it’s a big company or a small local business, it’s becoming more and more obvious that claiming your space on the Internet is more than just having a website to put on a business card. There are real sales and branding benefits involved, but it’s often like swimming with sharks, especially if you’re new to optimizing your website for Google: your competitors – your online competitors – are doing it much longer than you, they have connections and links that you can only dream about in the beginning, and outranking them often looks like mission impossible.
You can decide to be a good hard working student and learn how that SEO thing is done, but soon you’ll realize that while you learn enough to do your own SEO without putting your website at risk with Google, your competitors will get even stronger, and it can be long months, even years, before you outrank them. So you decide to hire an expert to speed things up – and there’s another thing to think about: to hire an in-house expert, or to outsource the whole process to an agency? Let’s see the positives and the negatives of each, so that you can make that decision more easily.
Hiring someone to work for your company – and your company only – can be a good decision, since he or she will be a part of your team, more involved in what’s going on and what your business is all about. One special benefit of having an in-house expert is that you will know the person who is doing your SEO, which isn’t the case with most of the agencies, so if you are willing to learn more about it, you can ask him all sorts of questions, and you’re in complete control of your strategy.
This is especially important because the changes in search engines world are becoming faster and faster, and it will sometimes be necessary to change the direction of a campaign; it is much easily done when the person responsible for your SEO is right down the hall from you. And it’s generally more expensive to pay for the services of an agency than to pay a single person.
If you don’t want to be involved in how your SEO campaign is done and you just want to see the results, than an agency might be a better solution. In an SEO agency, an entire team of SEO experts will work on your campaign, from creating a strategy to content creation and its placement; on the other hand, that same team will work on other projects as well, and you have to be aware of it.
An agency will in some cases be much more effective than a single person: since their teams are made of SEO experts and people related to SEO, they can come up with more effective strategies and find the solutions quicker.
If you don’t know much about SEO yourself, then the risks are pretty much the same for whichever option you choose. You should ask for previous experience and recommendations whether you’re interviewing a potential in-house expert or searching for an agency, and that is one part that you want to be extremely careful about – just like individuals, there are the agencies that are selling article submissions and blog commenting as valid SEO services. But ultimately it comes down to your own preferences – what you are willing to pay and how involved you want to be. There’s no right or wrong choice, as long as the person or the agency you chose know their stuff.
Andrew is an in-house SEO at midisnaldcollision.com, with a long experience in agency SEO work.