Working out the best way to make your SEO project successful, and have it be profitable for your company or business, can be a confusing one. In practice, you have a couple of obvious options:
Outsource your SEO or Keep your SEO in-house.
The answer isn’t the same for everyone. And your choice today might not be the same a year from now, but here are a few reasons, as recently posted in Search Engine Land, why outsourcing might be the right path for you.
1. To remove responsibilities
Depending on the size and composition of your team, you may have a lot of marketing, technical, and/or content people wearing a lot of hats or having multiple responsibilities.
SEO requires functions that go beyond the core aspects of research, strategies, and implementation of tactics. It includes content, IT, UX and the ability to navigate any legal or compliance functions.
Outsourcing SEO often removes a responsibility (or multiple) from marketing staff, allowing them to quarterback more of the effort than to have to become an expert and go really deep in a specific channel.
2. To create accountability
Going deeper than thinking about day-to-day responsibilities is thinking about accountabilities.
When someone is wearing too many hats (including the SEO hat), it can be hard to stay focused on the work needed and be fully accountable for progress and performance.
SEO takes time. Yet, it needs a lot of tactical implementation short term to get to the benefits long term. There has to be accountability for the work.
That means the ability to equip the responsible party with the budget, resources, tools and adjacent needs (content, IT, etc.) to do the job right. Plus, there has to be an expectation of a strategy, KPIs and time for how it will happen and be measured.
A part-time resource, or one that doesn’t have all of the resources and expertise needed, can’t fairly be held accountable for the performance and quality of the effort.
3. To have moderation
I have learned over the years even on the agency side of things what it means to have someone in the middle as a moderator.
Having a third party, or someone who isn’t embedded in the organization’s day-to-day, can be a big plus.
That person or group can see things that get missed while dealing with other marketing activities, operations, sales activities or customer service.
Much like a writer proofing their own copy isn’t ideal, marketers who do their own work, with no outside perspective, can have a difficult time.
4. To create consistency
Consistency can be an issue for in-house SEO focuses. Unless part of a dedicated SEO team, there’s always likely to be a competing interest.
A customer service fire, or the need to work leads, often can take priority over SEO and elements of a plan that won’t have an immediate impact today.
Inconsistent efforts and commitments to the overall SEO strategy suffer if not done consistently and prioritized.
5. To bring in expertise
The ability to stay up-to-date and to be an expert at the level needed to craft, maintain and adapt an SEO strategy can be hard to do in-house.
Algorithms and search results are constantly changing. Competitors are everywhere. And there is a flood of information (accurate or not).
Even the most brilliant in-house SEO has to be able to stay engaged in the SEO community to stay sharp. Beyond the strategy and tactical execution, there is always a new problem to solve or something to troubleshoot.
For a complex organization or big website, it’s challenging to be a jack-of-all-trades SEO. For smaller brands and businesses, it’s hard to hire someone, let alone multiple people, only for SEO.
6. To improve ROI
It is possible to measure SEO ROI whether the effort is managed in-house or with a partner. However, it isn’t always the easiest when “hats”, accountabilities and expertise can be issues.
If you’re doing SEO, you’re investing in people, tech, content and measurement. You want to know you’re getting a return on that investment.
Are you able to tell that with an in-house team? Are there reasons or excuses why SEO isn’t going well? Do you have a moderation issue?
Really, all the reasons I noted for outsourcing point to ROI in some way. Sometimes the best option is to get a dedicated partner to take on SEO and have that be their sole focus or a primary focus to keep that effort moving forward in an accountable and ROI-measured way.