Outsourced SEO vs In-House SEO in 2023 – Which is Right for You?

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SEO is one of the most important digital marketing strategies in 2023. If done correctly, it can help you drive organic search traffic and increase your search engine rankings. But every business has to weigh outsourced SEO vs in-house SEO and determine which is better for their company.

Thankfully, numerous services today offer outsourcing options for SEO needs. Whether you’re a startup needing a search engine optimization strategy or an e-commerce giant looking to outsource your content creation, there’s something for everyone in the industry.

That said, not all outsourcing agencies are created equal. There are some key differences between outsourcing to an agency vs doing in-house search engine optimization. This blog will tell you about these differences and help you identify which option best suits your needs.

What is Outsourced SEO?

SEO scrabble letters

Outsourcing SEO is hiring a digital marketing agency or freelancer to create and execute your digital marketing strategy. It includes website optimization, keyword research, content creation, link building, and more.

It helps businesses achieve better ROI on their marketing efforts while freeing time for other important tasks.

Outsourcing is a great way to save time and money while still getting high-quality results. It’s best to start with a digital marketer with experience in on-page and off-page SEO and work out any necessary details with the agency or freelancer. This will ensure you get results that are both effective and efficient.

Benefits Of Outsourced SEO

Outsourcing SEO can help businesses access up-to-date technology and expertise without hiring additional personnel or needing expensive software.

The benefits of outsourcing SEO include cost-efficiencies, greater scalability, and comprehensive support. By outsourcing the technical aspects of their marketing efforts, businesses can focus on their core business. This allows them to innovate and improve their marketing strategies without worrying about technical issues.

Another advantage of outsourcing is that businesses can access a fresh set of eyes and a different perspective on their projects. This can help them identify issues and opportunities they may have missed in their marketing efforts.

Hiring an external agency can free up time for other important tasks. With a professional team, businesses can ensure their marketing efforts are highly focused and efficient.

Overall, outsourcing SEO is beneficial for businesses to access expert guidance without taking on additional responsibilities or expenses. Companies can also save money with outsourced SEO as they get expertise without needing training, benefits, or multiple people to do what a single person with experience already knows.

Challenges of Outsourced SEO

With outsourced SEO, you give up some elements of control over a project as it is handled remotely. With an outsourcing model in place, you don’t have direct access to the team working on your campaign. This can make it difficult to understand the technicalities of SEO and the best practices that come with it.

An outsourcing model can be expensive and requires someone knowledgeable to manage it from the inside. Moreover, search agencies may take a long time to understand your business enough to make an impact. This can make it difficult to measure the ROI from the SEO efforts.

When comparing in-house SEO efforts with outsourcing, you’ll want to compare the costs, the time commitment on your part or your department, the resources needed, and the training needs of hiring.

What is In-House SEO?

Outsourced SEO vs In-house SEO teams - man writing on glass board

In-house SEO is when internal staff create and execute a business’s search engine optimization strategy (at least in part). A search engine marketing specialist or an in-house team of specialists can work together to manage the campaign and optimize the website for search engine visibility.

This specialist is responsible for creating strategies, writing content, and executing tactics around on-page and off-page factors, such as keywords, metadata, and content.

They may also build digital marketing strategies, create content plans, and manage digital media campaigns. Additionally, they must be able to conduct a competitive analysis to optimize search engine rankings.

Good search engine optimization strategies require a team of experienced professionals to implement successfully, including on-site and off-site activities.

Outsourced SEO experts can help businesses optimize digital marketing efforts without burdening internal resources.

Benefits of In-House SEO

In-house SEO provides more control and adaptability than outsourcing. With in-house SEO, a team can specialize in search engine optimization and better understand a company’s needs.

In contrast, an outside agency may not have the same expertise or understanding. This allows the in-house team to create optimized content and strategies that address a company’s unique needs and objectives.

An in-house team can have more direct access to company data and internal resources, which can help them better understand your marketing goals and strategies. This could help them create unique and effective strategies that target your audience effectively.

Finally, in-house teams are dedicated to the tasks you’ve hired them for, whereas an outside SEO will work on multiple campaigns for more than one client.

Challenges of In-House SEO

In-house SEO is a time-consuming and challenging process to manage. A team needs to be well-versed in the ins and outs of search engine optimization to execute an effective in-house strategy.

Additionally, a team needs to have experience in digital marketing to adapt and adjust strategies rapidly to keep up with the latest trends and technologies.

An in-house team also needs top-quality resources such as marketing automation tools, social media marketing platforms, and keyword research services.

Lastly, hiring an in-house team can be costly and requires a lot of coordination between different departments. All these factors make in-house SEO difficult but not impossible.

SEO Services You Could Outsource

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You can outsource SEO to agencies or consultants locally and abroad, as agencies or consultants are skilled in systematically and precisely handling digital marketing.

Outsourced SEO services are far-reaching, much more so than an in-house individual or small team. They can help you with strategic planning, digital marketing strategies, content marketing, and keyword research.

Additionally, agencies and consultants are typically well-versed in on-page and off-page search engine optimization, content creation, link building, digital PR, local SEO, web design, etc.

Outsourcing SEO services provide access to up-to-date technology, cost efficiencies, and comprehensive support. With expertise, outsourced SEO services can help businesses achieve better ROI on their marketing efforts while freeing up time for other important tasks.

Outsourcing SEO services is the best option for businesses looking for effective digital marketing solutions that help them reach out to targeted audiences effectively and efficiently.

Keyword Research

SEO requires keyword research to identify search terms users might want on a website. This helps create content on the website relevant to the search query. Keyword research also helps determine the customer intent and create content relevant to search queries.

By identifying keywords related to a particular business, SEO services help websites increase their organic search score and compete for the highest rankings in search engine results pages.

On-page SEO

SEO involves optimizing factors inside a website to make it more search engine friendly and increase its ranking on SERPs. On-page SEO involves optimizing the content on a website to improve its search engine optimization (SEO) performance.

This includes title tag optimization, meta description optimization, and creating attention-grabbing headlines. A team of experienced professionals is needed to implement effective SEO strategies that include activities on-site.

SEO Content Creation

Content creation for SEO focuses on creating quality, interesting, and relevant content optimized to capture search engine attention. Creating high-quality content for SEO focuses on making your content unique, informative, and engaging.

You must create content relevant to your audience that provides value to your readers. Keyword research can help choose the right keywords for your content.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO services include creating backlinks, looking for guest post opportunities, creating a Google Business Profile, local directory listings, link reclamation, disavowment, and other services. These services help a website gain visibility in popular search engine results. They also help a business attract more traffic and generate leads.

Professional digital marketing agencies can also provide off-page SEO services, such as conducting a comprehensive audit, running successful user acquisition campaigns, and thoroughly framing the marketing strategy.

Off-page SEO services help a website stand out in search results and improve its visibility and performance.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO encompasses many website design and development facets, including content structure, page layout, coding, server hosting, and device compatibility. This helps ensure that your site is accessible to all types of users, no matter their computer or mobile device.

Understanding the technical aspects of website optimization can help you build a consistent and high-quality presence online while delivering a smooth experience for your visitors.

SEO Cost Comparison – Outsourced SEO vs In-House SEO

SEO Costs comparison - Outsourced SEO vs In-house SEO - pink pig figurine on white surface

In terms of cost, an in-house SEO strategy is generally more expensive than an outsourced approach. This is because it involves hiring multiple dedicated staff members to handle SEO-related tasks.

Additionally, an in-house strategy may require additional resources, such as analysts and research specialists, which can increase the cost of hiring.

SEO Cost Breakdown

The benefit of outsourced SEO is that you get expertise across disciplines for a fixed monthly fee and can realize cost savings while still getting expert services and support.

When you break down the cost structure, you can clearly see how outsourced SEO beats in-house SEO.

Outsourced SEO

2-3 SEO experts that know On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, Backlinking, Content creation strategies, Analytics measurement, and more.

Monthly Cost – $10,000

Annual Cost – $120,000

In-House SEO

SEO Manager – Salary plus benefits = $80,000 (runs point and know 2-3 varying disciplines but needs to manage staff mostly)

SEO Specialist – Salary plus benefits = $60,000 (understands on-page and some off-page or technical elements, but is not a full-stack SEO as those cost over $100k/year)

Technical SEO – Salary plus benefits = $70,000 (understands the technical elements and can fix issues or can work with a developer to fix issues)

Monthly Cost – $17,500

Annual Cost – $210,000

There are certainly other variables that can play a role and change the dynamics of what is outlined above, but only in a rare instance is hiring a complete in-house team more cost-effective than outsourcing.

This applies across most digital marketing disciplines as the skills to master these require many years of experience, and people who are experts in multiple disciplines are very expensive or freelance. They do not intend to work for a company.

SEO Expertise & Experience

Using the formula above sans the monetary breakdown, it is clear that, in most cases, an outsourced SEO approach brings greater expertise to your doorstep than hiring in-house.

That being said, it is critical to ensure the SEO agency or SEO freelancer you work with has the experience and skill set to handle everything needing to be done, uses the appropriate tools, and has access to additional resources you are not charged for.

Managing Outsourced SEO vs In-house SEO

Managing an in-house SEO team can be easier than an outsourced SEO team.


Because you’ve hired them dedicated to your needs, they do not work for other clients. You also train them to have in-depth knowledge of your products, services, company, industry, competitors, and other nuances.

You do not get this when you outsource, as most SEOs may have some knowledge of your industry or business but are not likely to be well-versed in every nuance of your business.

Understanding the value paradigms that come with outsourced SEO vs In-house SEO can help you determine the best approach for your business. There is no one size fits all solution, and depending on your commitment to organic traffic, you’ll find an approach that suits your needs.

For additional perspective on the outsourced SEO vs In-house SEO debate, check out this article on SEW: https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2022/09/26/in-house-seo-vs-outsourced-agency-talent-who-wins-the-debate/

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Final Thoughts

If your business is in the digital marketing sphere and needs expert guidance in digital presence optimization, outsourcing your search engine optimization services to an agency can be a boon. As the demand for high-quality, in-house SEO grows, many companies turn to outsourced SEO as a solution.

There are several important considerations when choosing between outsourcing and in-house SEO. First, consider the cost and the level of accountability. Some companies may be able to afford to hire an external team of specialists, while others may prefer to manage their in-house efforts themselves.

Second, understand the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. Lastly, evaluate your specific needs and goals. Different types of SEO may be appropriate for situations, so knowing what you need before you decide is vital for success.

updated on May 18, 2023

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