SEO is becoming increasingly important to all who look to do business and use the Internet as a marketing tool. It is the path in which your market finds your offering. It has become almost a necessity for businesses to incorporate SEO in to their marketing plan. Many companies struggle with the decision on whether to hire a firm or conduct their SEO in-house. Unfortunately many companies lack the knowledge about SEO and assume it will be cheaper for them in the long run to hire someone “in-house”. For some companies this may be efficient while others the overlooking the hiring of a professional firm to SEO can be costly. It is as critical to your business’ health as if you were to feel that you could heal a fatal disease yourself because you have access to the Internet and books instead of going to a highly trained physician. Now you laugh and say that would be absurd, but is the growth of your company worth the risk.
Knowledge Versus Cost Versus Time = Your Success
SEO is an ever changing business. Search engines change their algorithm frequently and new rules are put into place. One has to have the resources to find this information and understand how to implement the changes. An SEO firm is more likely to be aware of changes to search engine optimization protocols than an in-house individual. Many in-house individual will focus on developing and implementing your SEO strategies but typically remain in the dark about what goes on outside your organization due to they do not work with other scenarios. Outsourced SEO professionals must perform these same functions while constantly studying the industry, staying current with changing trends and familiarizing themselves with the latest SEO techniques. It is a part of their day to day business and necessary if they intend to compete in the marketplace and wish to survive.
What about cost? Surely the cost of hiring an individual is substantially less than the cost of hiring a company, right? This is a common misconception. Let’s look at it this way. You hire an E-Commerce Marketing Manager whose job is to develop and implements the strategic online marketing plan for an organization. Staying abreast of changes in the online marketing environment to best serve the objectives of the organization and adjusts plans accordingly. They may even be responsible for overseeing other aspects of the website such as the advertising and content components. In most cases the individual will be wearing many hats spreading them thin. His or her base salary according to Salary.com on average would be $85,703. That is $7141.92 a month and roughly $42 an hour. This is for one individual with hopes that they bear positive results. Let’s say they do not. It will take 3 to 6 months to start to truly see if the individual is an asset or not. That is $21,425.76 if you decide to let the individual go in just the third month. Not to include cost of taxes and benefits. And if successful, your company just paid $85,703 per year for SEO.
The average SEO firm charges anywhere from $5500 to $35000 to perform the same task with a staff of highly trained professionals in the area of link building, writing, optimizing, web development etc. Even on the high end you are getting a staff for the entire year for around what it cost you to hire an individual in-house for a quarter. And if it does not bear positive results and you decide to terminate the relationship you will only have lost less than $10,000 if prorated based on the $35000. in most cases you can even get some of that back. This logistically saves you time and money.
Would you agree that having one individual do the job of five is rarely a good idea? Would you feel it cost effective?
Time is another concern with in-house SEO. Will one individual be able to optimize multiple pages, write content, tags, build links, run reports and perform other SEO tasks in a timely fashion? One person can only do so much. Would you agree that time is money? Most SEO firms can do in a matter of days what might take an individual weeks to do. Many companies who use in-house SEO personnel spend more than necessary to get the same amount of work done in a longer amount of time. Once again you have one individual doing many task versus many individuals doing one task effectively.
In any case, is outsourcing the right move for you or your company? Whether you choose to outsource or not, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Do your research by performing a simple cost/benefit analysis on what outsourcing versus in-house SEO will cost. It cost twice as much when you do it wrong the first time.
Results are all that matters. Top rankings for phrases no one is searching for means little, and shouldn’t be used as a guage of someone’s abilities. Ensure they can provide you with keywords that work for your business as well as a diverse plan of action.
What do others say about the company or individual? Ask for references and check them. But even if they have limited or no reference don’t panic. They still may know what they are doing. Just test them on a small project and see if they bear results for you. This is a true way to measure if they work for you. There are many variables you may not have privilege to in a reference such as their personal relationship or if they were a part of a team that was successful but they contributed little.
Remember, SEO is important to your business growth and time is money one way or another. Do the math and ask yourself what makes sense for you.
Jeff Beale is a marketing specialist that has worked with planning and implementing marketing strategies for several businesses ranging from independently owner organizations to government and corporate entities. He is known for saving thousands in marketing budgets and increasing growth with the utilization of a diverse online marketing strategy.