Here are a few things to consider if you are thinking about setting up an in-house SEO department, or thinking about outsourcing your SEO. The positive side to each aspect has been left out, since they are not the aspects that most businesses use to make their decisions. Here are the negative sides to both in-house SEO and outsourced SEO.
Things to consider when doing your SEO in-house
Here are a few of the more negative things about doing your own SEO in-house. It does not mean that doing it in-house is a bad thing, but does indicate a few things you are going to have to contend with.
Recruitment and training
This is not so much as a negative thing, as it is a part of a business. If you fix shoes in your company, then you will need to hire and train staff to do that too. The point is, that if you are going to start an SEO department, you are going to have to recruit, train and pay for new staff.
Losing staff is going to be troublesome
Again, it is going to be an expense you will have to cover. This is the same for any staff position in your company.
Keeping them up to date
This is something you will have to stay on top of. Google and Bing change their rules all the time. There are more than thirty updates on Google per year, and your staff will need to be kept up to date on the most recent changes and practices. This may require more monitoring and training than you are prepared to give/do.
Checking on their work
You will need to have an SEO expert on your staff to check the work of your other SEO staff. This also means that the expert himself/herself is going to have to be kept up to date on all the newest SEO practices. In addition, whom checks to see if the SEO expert is doing his/her job correctly? Metaphorically, who polices the police?
Three is a small way around this little conundrum. You can make the SEO expert the manger of the department. That way if online revenue slips/slows, and/or targeted traffic slows down, the manager must answer for it. If the SEO expert wishes to keep his/her job, then he/she will have to keep up to date with current SEO developments, and check and manage the work of the SEO department staff.
Time consuming for potentially no return
SEO is time consuming with potentially very little return. Sometimes, even if the SEO department keeps a website near the top of the search engine results, there is no guarantee that any revenue will be gained from it. The fault may lie with the SEO team, but it may also lie with the branding team, the PR team and/or the marketing team. It may even be the fault of one of your online competitors trying to affect your online marketing or SEO.
Things to consider when outsourcing your SEO
Again, here are just a few of the negative things that you need to consider if you are going to outsource your SEO to an external company. It goes without saying that you should do a lot of research into the company before you hire them, but you should also make sure that they are very clear and specific about what they are going to do for you. And, make sure that their service is detailed and itemized on the contract and on their bill.
It could be done incorrectly
It is wise to take a few references and arrange a few meetings with the SEO Company before you hire them. You need to be as careful as possible when choosing an SEO firm, because some people can talk-the-talk, but are in fact terrible at their job/service. It is just the same as taking your car to a mechanic; you have to find one that you can trust otherwise you have no idea what damage they may do to your car.
You also need to be ultra aware of the fact that the SEO industry is almost completely unregulated. Anybody can call themselves an SEO expert, as there are no protected terms. For example, you could not call yourself a dentist (legally) without the correct licenses and qualifications. But, you can call yourself an SEO expert or guru with impunity.
It could damage your SEO
In the same way that a mechanic can damage your car, so too can a poor SEO company damage your website’s SEO. They may employ black-hat SEO, or may simply do an inept job. They may plant articles online and send numerous poorly optimized links to your site.
They may dilute your SEO so that you have more people visiting your website, but very few of them are actually interested in your website. It is quite easy to gain more traffic if you link to/from popular subjects online, but if those subjects have nothing to do with your website, and then the increased traffic is useless.
You do not know if their staff are kept up to date
If you do your SEO in-house, then you have to keep your staff up to date on the latest SEO developments. It may even require frequent training and retraining course. But, how can you be sure that your SEO Company is doing the same? How do you know they are not still using advice given from books that are two years out of date?
Paying money for potentially no return
It is quite easy for an SEO company to tell you they have done a lot for your SEO, where as they have done nothing productive or effective. You could pay money and get nothing in return, and even the distance selling laws are going to have trouble protecting you against this. There is also a chance that they will increase your traffic, but that the traffic will be of no use to you (because it is not correctly targeted). In that way they will be able to fulfill their contract obligations of getting you more traffic, and you are left a few hundred dollars lighter with no benefit.