In House SEO – What Every Business Owner Should Know
A decade ago the position of SEO expert did not exist but these days it is actually a fast growing field within the marketing world. Unlike traditional advertising and marketing though there are as many independent SEO practitioners as there are SEO agencies and for a business that needs SEO help (which is almost any business) deciding whether to keep SEO in house and hire the right help (or even go it alone) is a tough call.
The first choice for many business owners when it comes to SEO is to try to stick to the do-it-yourself approach, usually because of budget constraints.
Because there are so many articles, blogs and SEO courses out there in theory this should be perfectly possible but as many businesses quickly discover there is a lot more to a successful SEO campaign than just following the steps in a generic SEO guide.
Here are just a few of the problems that trying to go the DIY route for your SEO can create:
Education – SEO is ever-changing, not just from month to month but often also from day to day. The major search engines – most especially Google and Bing – release algorithm updates constantly, many of which have a significant impact on SEO.
For an SEO keeping up to date with all of these changes is an ongoing process, no SEO practitioner can ever say that know everything and in fact the whole practice is based more on best guesses than it is on actual science. For a busy business owner to even try to keep up to date on SEO best practices is very hard.
Time Constraints: The actual execution of SEO strategies is a full time job as well. Content has to be created (or commissioned), social media profiles have to be constantly tended to and links have to be built to name just a few of the tasks that a successful SEO strategy entails.
In House SEO vs Outsourced SEO
As you can now tell, for most business owners it makes more sense to hire someone to handle SEO for them. Large companies now have whole SEO departments and some smaller businesses are now hiring an in house SEO person as well rather than working with one of the many SEO agencies that have sprung up over the last few years.
There are some distinct advantages to hiring an SEO to work exclusively on your business’ SEO projects but there are also downsides as well. Here are some of the major pros and cons:
In House SEO Pros
- As a business owner you will have more control as the SEO is working directly for you and is being paid to be available throughout their working day. An SEO agency usually has a number of clients and communicating with them can be hard, especially if you need something done in a hurry.
- You will know just who is representing your brand. SEO agencies usually employ a number of different people with different skill levels and it is rare that just one person will work on your SEO campaign. This can make it hard to establish a real “voice” for your brand, something that is very important both for content creation and social media.
- You can hold someone accountable. Even the very best SEO campaigns sometimes run into trouble as a number of high profile corporate SEO fails have demonstrated When JC Penney ran afoul of Google a few years ago and their site was penalized for obvious keyword stuffing and other black hat SEO tricks the company’s management claimed that they had very little idea about just what their outside SEO agency has been up to. This may well have been true but it made no difference to Google and the company suffered anyway.
By working with an in house SEO you can at least keep good track of what is being done in your name and have someone to look to for answers if things go wrong.
In House SEO Cons:
- Not all businesses have the space in their office, or the budget, for an in house SEO. Hiring a lone practitioner online can be an alternative though and the working connection can still be easier to maintain than a relationship with an agency.<br>
- Not all SEOs are created equal. There are no formal certifications for an SEO that really mean much. Some colleges now offer degrees in SEO but they are often rather useless because what worked a year ago in the SEO world – or even six months ago – is often totally irrelevant and in some cases may even now be considered black hat. Accessing an individual’s SEO creditably can be hard and usually an agency will have the advantage that they have more referrals and credentials to back up their claims of SEO proficiency.
Whatever route you choose to take for SEO though the most important thing is that you do something. If you are hoping that your website can flourish just by existing alone you will be waiting a long time for success that is never, ever likely to come.