Need SEO? Agency vs. In-House vs. Consultant

How do you know if you need SEO?

First, you must…

  1. see non-branded keyword demand for what you are solving.
  2. have enough marketing resources.

SEO is a knowledge base and not a skillset for creation, so most small businesses won’t benefit enough from it. You need existing assets, and/or a multi-functional team capable of building a product, to justify SEO.

Many companies hire an agency that appears to have a track record. If things go awry, at least the manager isn’t blamed for making a poor decision. This seemingly careful way to address SEO could backfire when facing a real SEO problem though.

Have you worked in a typical agency? Junior-level associates do most of the work, and they are pulled in many directions. The most experienced in SEO usually get promoted to management, becoming too busy or having left for in-house already.

A consultant can help when they bring expertise. They tend to focus on a handful of projects so you get proper attention. However, good ones are specialized so aren’t ideal like agencies to get holistic marketing campaigns up & running.

Bringing someone in-house could help, but you’ll have an inefficient employee for all but the largest enterprises and perhaps a lack of experience.

What makes SEO exceptional today is not someone writing content & building links but capable of integrating best practices across the larger marketing effort.

For instance, UX/UI is vital for SEO because it limits clickbacks to the search results that harms keyword rankings. A good SEO recognizes opportunities like breadcrumbs. Still, they can’t make a visually appealing yet functional website.

Like any complex problem, the key to finding the right solution is to address it as specifically as possible.

If you…

  • are a midsize business with a multi-functional marketing team.
  • have found clear non-branded search intent for the problems you solve.
  • will encounter real SEO problems.

…then partnering with a consultant will be a great fit.

Test out someone with proven experience that can explain SEO problems they’ve solved. Industry knowledge is mostly overrated. Begin with small projects to ensure good & prompt work, transitioning to a retainer as they show their value.

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