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Think twice before getting an in-house SEO team

There comes a time in the life of a small businesses when it’s big enough to employ additional specialist resources such as an HR manager or a second person to manage the finances.

Perhaps resources also stretch to expanding the marketing team, and hiring a specialised SEO expert. Wouldn’t that be great – someone who is spending 100 per cent of their time on improving our company’s SEO. Or is it?

Before we look at the benefits and pitfalls it is worth noting that marketing for many small businesses has got a lot tougher. Once upon a time virtually any small business could put an ad in the Yellow Pages and their marketing (in the main) would be done.

Yet with the demise of Yellow Pages and the ability of consumers to do extensive research before they buy, marketing has taken on a totally different look and feel.

Unlike the listing in the Yellow Pages, you can’t ‘set and forget’ your SEO strategy. You may be ranked on page one of Google one day but not the next. It requires constant updating to stay relevant. So can an in-house person do it as well as outsourcing it to an SEO company?

Perhaps the best way to show this is to look at what an SEO company does, and I can only speak on behalf of what we do as a company.

We have a very big picture of the industry. We have millions of records and thousands of clients. If Google changes an algorithm or introduces changes such as Penguin and Panda we can see the changes almost instantly.

We use our own proprietary algorithm. We cover a broad cross section of industries and have multiple clients in the same industry.

We have specialist teams, for example, technicians that look at link building and technicians that look at sites that are being penalised and work out why.

Twice a week we have inhouse training sessions run by people in the business. They do this voluntarily and our staff attend voluntarily. Our attendance rate is amazing. SEO is an industry that changes almost day-by-day, hour-by-hour and you need to be on top of changes to be able to provide the best service.

In the end, it is about results and our industry is pretty black and white. You are either on the front page of Google or you aren’t.

Looking at those who are inhouse, they are often less experienced or have worked for an SEO company but had a specific role so their experience can vary wildly – and may be quite specific. SEO is complicated and requires a vast array of skills that it would almost be impossible for one individual to do the job properly.

For those inhouse, SEO is often just part of their job and they also have other tasks to undertake.

Obviously there are staff costs as well. And there will be at least four weeks of the year when your inhouse SEO person is on holidays. Not doing anything for a month can have a significant effect on a company’s ranking.

So the out take is think seriously before you decide to starting building your own inhouse team and look at all the options as making the right decision is critical.

About the Author

Simon Mackay is General Manager of Web Marketing Experts, Australia’s largest SEO company.

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