Agency or In-house SEO – Which Solution Is Better for a Small Company?



Agency or In-house SEO – Which Solution Is Better for a Small Company?d-tags
12 November 2020
Are you an owner of a small company that wants to attract website visitors with the help of organic Google search results? Investing in SEO can support the development of your business, however, first, you need to decide who is the most suitable person to conduct planned activities. What is more profitable? Choosing the services of a professional agency or developing an in-house SEO strategy?



Inhouse SEO in a small company

At first, employing SEO specialists in your company seems to be a perfect solution. They are always available, you can monitor what they do and benefit from their assistance whenever you need. Theoretically speaking, they should focus solely on your website and consequently achieve outstanding results. However, it turns out that it's a utopian vision and implementing it in real life isn’t a piece of cake. Why? The list of reasons is pretty long and below you can see a few of the obstacles:

Inhouse SEO employment

Your company probably lacks a person who knows the SEO industry. However, finding a well-versed professional is quite difficult. In this situation, it’s best to take advantage of assistance from someone who has some expertise in the field. On our blog you can access a separate article discussing the recruitment of an in-house SEO specialist.


Finding an SEO specialist with the right knowledge is just the beginning of the journey. The skills aren’t enough to achieve the objectives. Every professional needs special tools that are indispensable and quite expensive. What tools? Let’s start with solutions necessary to analyze your market rivals and keywords they use. Some necessary tools are used to analyze your competition and its links. Notable solutions include com and MajesticSEO. The cheapest variant of the first one costs as much as 990 dollars a year. The second solution is cheaper, but still involves a significant expense - 470 dollars if you choose to pay for the whole year in advance. The specialist also needs access to a program such as Screaming Frog which analyzes on-site factors. There’s a free version of this tool, however, it allows monitoring maximally 500 subpages. If you don’t want to be restricted by any limits, you have to pay 149 dollars a year.


Hiring a good SEO specialist requires having an adequate budget to pay for the work. If you want to employ an experienced person, you need to get prepared for high amounts on your payroll. The remuneration depends on many factors, including the city in which you operate.

Operational budget

Are you overwhelmed by the costs of SEO tools? Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the expected expenditures. Moreover, it’s impossible to avoid most of them if you want to achieve satisfactory results. Let’s start with on-site SEO. Of course, SEO specialists should know HTML and CSS, however, it may not be enough to implement all the necessary changes. Some of the updates will need to be deployed by a web developer. In this case, the costs won’t be so high as it’s usually a one-time commission, repeated every time the SEO specialist comes up with other modifications that might be effective. Nevertheless, other expenses will be much higher. You may need to hire a copywriter responsible for writing quality company blog articles, service or product descriptions and sponsored entries. This is an indispensable element of your actions if you want to achieve impressive results. Link building is another noteworthy issue. It’s difficult to determine website linking needs, however, in most cases it’s crucial to obtain links from sponsored articles, guest blogging, forums, comments, advertisements and many, many more. So what’s the cost of all these activities? It’s impossible to state it unanimously. It may be 1000 dollars but it may also be a lot more. It all depends on the competitiveness of the industry you operate in and the activities that need to be performed on the website.

Algorithm updates and changes

The job of an SEO specialist aims at increasing website visibility on Google as much as possible. The problem is that the algorithms are constantly modified and updated. So even if an inhouse SEO professional achieves very good results, any algorithm updates may have a negative impact on the website visibility. In this case, SEO specialists start analyzing what modifications were introduced. If they work on their own, they have a tough nut to crack. They need to draw conclusions based on the websites they manage or wait for special analyses published on industry blogs. So why do SEO agencies have an easier task to do? Because in most cases they monitor hundreds of pages and cooperate with numerous professionals, that’s why they’re able to quickly determine what updates were introduced. In the case of inhouse SEO, the time needed to re-reach expected positions may be much longer. The constant changes of Google algorithms necessitate need for continuous development. Therefore, a company should have special funds which enable SEO specialists to take part in industry events, trainings or conferences. And it’s not always about speakers, very frequently usual conversations with other specialists are extremely valuable.

Verifying the work of inhouse SEO

Hiring in-house SEO specialists involves the risk that their work won’t bring the expected results, even despite the impressive job interview and expertise. You invest in various activities, however, they don’t translate into higher visibility. Does it mean that you employed the wrong person? Not necessarily. It’s very important to realize when to expect results and what results can be achieved. There are websites whose positions improve after a few weeks of implementing modifications, however, there are also pages that require long months of work to deploy all the necessary updates, get rid of duplicate content, optimize metadata or improve linking. The task of an SEO specialist is to outline the situation and operational plan to the employer. Find out what results you can expect and how long it will take to see the first positive changes. It’s also important to remember about competitiveness, for some phrases it’s possible to reach high positions in a few weeks, however, some keywords are more demanding and time-consuming. On the other hand, it may also turn out that you hired the wrong person who doesn’t have sufficient knowledge. This is the gripe of many businesspersons who decided to recruit in-house SEO specialists without the support of someone familiar with this field. It’s crucial to establish a plan at the very beginning, then, when subsequent activities aren’t implemented or don’t bring the intended results, it may be a good idea to terminate the cooperation and find someone else. The point is that this way you can waste a lot of time and money and don’t gain any benefits. So was hiring an in-house SEO specialist profitable in the case of the abovementioned scenario? Probably not, moreover, the invested money can have been spent much wiser. To verify the effectiveness of the work of an SEO specialist, you can use Google Search Console. Pay particular attention to the total number of clicks. Website impressions are one thing but you, as a business owner, usually aim at selling products or services. If the page traffic increases but sales stay the same, it may mean that the selected keywords aren’t the most accurate. However, there may also be other reasons behind this state of affairs, maybe your market rivals offer similar products at much lower prices? Position check - search console

Is an SEO agency a better solution for a small company?

As you already know, hiring an inhouse SEO specialist may generate high costs. If you want to attract more potential customers with the use of organic Google search results, you should first check whether starting a cooperation with an SEO agency isn’t a more beneficial solution. Take into consideration:
  • The costs of hiring inhouse SEO specialists, tool fees, outsourced services, training and many, many more.
  • The monthly cost of cooperating with an SEO agency. After the first interaction, the company should provide you with a reliable plan of activities and determine what amount will be enough to achieve the expected results.
It’s highly probable that the amount you need to spend each month to hire an SEO specialist will be much higher than the costs of cooperation with an SEO agency. How is it possible? Well, let’s start from the fact that your website may not require full-time assistance and management. Moreover, the agency usually has access to the finest tools and the costs are divided equally among all the clients. Such an agency has trusted providers of particular services which allows it to optimize the time spent by the employees to achieve the intended results. Another issue is the availability of numerous solutions, SEO agencies manage diverse websites and can use them to build your link database, whereas in house SEO specialists need to settle for offers available on the market. It’s also worth noting that SEO specialists working in an agency can achieve the results much quicker as they’re surrounded by other industry professionals who help them to draw conclusions about the algorithm changes much more efficiently. On the other end of the spectrum, inhouse SEO workers don’t have such possibilities. Let's work with your website's online visibility - call Delante!

SEO agency - principles of cooperation

The activities carried out by the agency may bring excellent results, but the most important thing is to make a conscious decision. Both parties should know their responsibilities which guarantees that conducted activities translate into greater website visibility. It’s necessary to determine:
    • The operational budget.
    • Reporting principles - what information will be included in the reports? How often will the client receive them?
    • The scope of activities - should the agency have access to the website and implement necessary changes? Moreover, the company shouldn't deploy significant modifications in the page code without discussing it with the agency.
    • Contact persons - only people who are familiar with the project should talk to the company owner.
Obviously the list may also include other arrangements and decisions. It’s important to dispel all doubts before concluding the contract. In the vast majority of cases, cooperating with an SEO agency is the most beneficial solution for small companies. On the other hand, hiring a suitable SEO specialist may pay off if enterprises have many websites and want to do SEO for all of them. Below you can find a list of a few blog entries that may come in handy when starting cooperation with an SEO agency:
  1. How to choose an SEO agency? 10 things you need to keep in mind
  2. SEO outsourcing - Google’s advice on how to hire specialists
  3. SEO report - what should it include?
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Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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