SEO Agency Vs. In-House SEO: Advantages And Disadvantages

By Mike Reiss- Jan 09, 2023 103

Your company needs search engine optimization! Should you hire someone for this, such as hiring a so-called "in-house" SEO, or hire an agency? Today we are going to present to you the advantages and disadvantages of both the parties and all the possible combinations. We then suggest proper use for each constellation.


At our SEO Agency, we always suggest you visit an agency. No, seriously: sometimes one thing makes more sense, sometimes another. And sometimes even both make sense at the same time.


We will now explain to you objectively and purposefully, from years of agency experience, how you can make the best decision. We will first tell you the advantages and disadvantages of an agency, then the advantages and disadvantages of in-house SEO. And finally, we will tell you how and in which case which type of SEO makes the most sense for you. Here we go!


What advantages do agencies have over in-house SEO?


     Agencies are flexible, which is a big advantage. Services can be booked without hiring new employees. Utilization Peak, such as Relaunch, works great with an SEO agency.

     The knowledge environment in good agencies is very fertile and dynamic, the level of knowledge is often more up-to-date than in-house SEOs.

     The organization takes care of further education and training. Companies don’t get sick or go on vacation. Employees also get sick, but services then continue through alternatives. If your only in-house SEO has been sick for weeks or even months, he's sick! This cannot easily happen to you in an agency.

     Agencies have insights into many different markets and industries and can bring a lot of experience from other regions.


Disadvantages of agencies


     Agencies are certainly harder to realize than an employee sitting directly in the company. Communication is sometimes more difficult, especially when the agency has many other clients to look after the employee.

     Target groups, markets, and products are probably not present and are known as internal employees.

     The company has little, sometimes no access to corporate resources, you have no interface like an internal employee. As an agency, we can't search for images of suitable products on the company's internal servers, but we need to ask here.

     People who contact the agency can change often, but they don't have to.


Now let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of in-house SEO.


Benefits of in-house SEO


     An employed SEO is just the focus of your company and nothing more. He knows the philosophy, product, customer, and marketing strategy till the last detail.

     Your SEO can respond quickly, it only has you as a "customer".

     He knows the internal processes and knows who to go to. He sits in marketing meetings and is always up to date.


Disadvantages of in-house SEO


     Operational blindness can become a major problem, especially after a few years. Many in-house SEOs and the whole team, therefore, go to the agency regularly to get an outside view.

     The knowledge of your employees must be promoted and developed. Otherwise, it may be that the current trend and development will not reach him so fast.

     Your in-house SEO can only communicate with each other with difficulty within the company, other SEOs can only reach through conferences and non-professional communications such as meetups or Facebook groups.

     Must fill a full-time position. If you do not do enough, the company will lose money and pay too much. SEO cannot do too much by itself. 35-40 hours is normal, more or less very difficult.

     Need to set up an in-house SEO. Hiring a good SEO is incredibly difficult. Flexible work hours, flextime, home office, and much more are ideal in the world of online marketing. If you are an industry firm that is still quite reluctant in this regard, it is difficult or impossible to find a good in-house SEO. Why would he come to you and come to a team where he has several more SEOs, better advancement and career opportunities, and better working conditions?

     If you only have one SEO, giving them up will be a huge problem for you. And then again filling this position can be quite difficult and very tiring. This is a big advantage of agencies: they give you more consistency and stability.


When should you get an agency and when should you get an in-house SEO?

Agency only

You should get an agency only if your budget is limited. Because then an SEO worker leaves questions about his thousands of euros per month. Even if SEO is not yet implemented in the company, we suggest you do at least one SEO audit by a company first. Because then you know what you need and what the scope of your efforts should be.


Agency + in-house SEO

If you find that your SEO needs a lot, then you should hire several people for your SEO. Many companies make a real start with an agency and at the same time look for in-house SEOs. So you can start SEO once in a few months. As soon as you have an employee, you will gradually reduce the agency time. In this type of model, if you're still behind the agency on board, it's smart: restoring to the top of performance (like during a relaunch) or doing things that your in-house team can't handle. And above all as a partner to challenge your inner team and point out new trends.


The advantage is that you can book agency time in case of a shortage of staff. If you notice that you need more manpower permanently, you can advertise a new position. On our platform, we will not be angry with you, as many of our big customers do.


Agency + in-house marketing for the control

Another, very common or even the most common solution for us is if you usually have an employee for online marketing, who controls various specialized companies. This person must be a very strong communicator but then can offer the best combination of internal connection and agency knowledge. Many of our most successful customers use this model.


An example: Isabella is an employee as an online marketing manager and takes care of the company's newsletter, Google Analytics, and some SEO. For the rest of SEO, he has an agency in his hand, which gives him the latest information so he stays up to date. He also booked Google ads and blog posts for the company's blog from the same agency and has a second agency for web design and programming. He doesn't like these things at all, so he's glad he can give it up. Above all, he ensures that the development of all online marketing systems and websites is consistent with corporate strategy as a whole. He manages and controls the company and also controls the results of the work.


In-house SEO only

A single in-house SEO who only does SEO and works alone is relatively rare. This is mainly due to the disadvantages listed above, such as low growth potential and no exchange. Career prospects are very bad, you can only be a marketing director or something like that - and only if the supervisor leaves. These external SEOs do not feel so comfortable in many classic companies and prefer to go to companies that have multiple SEOs in your team - or they go to an agency.


If you have little to do permanently for full-time SEO, you can decide if you want to do SEO next to an employee. If you choose this variant, it will ensure that it will never be 100% up-to-date - this is not possible if you only do it side by side. This is why we personally do not find this solution so good.


A great solution for an initial situation is "very little work for a full-time SEO" an SEO freelancer. He worked in different companies at the same time. For example, a freelancer works two days a week for a spectacle maker, one day a week for an online store, and two more days a week for you. Freelancers, like most in-house SEOs, have a good outlook on the company from the outside and they are still relatively deep within the structure.


If your company is still very small or only in its own right, then an agency is most understandable. As the managing director, you then act like the employee who controls the agency. Here it is important that you communicate what you actually do, that is, what your goals are and what you want to achieve.