SEO: In-House or Agency?

SEO: In-House or Agency? - Pros and cons of managing SEO internally or outsourcing to an agency.

Picture of Alex Martin Alex Martin

Published: 12 Jan 2020

6 minutes read

SEO: In-House or Agency?

Having the right kind of SEO on your website boosts traffic, generates more leads, and helps to ensure that your brand has a visible online presence, which is why so many agencies offer SEO services across the UK. But do you actually need an agency or can you do it in-house? 

We’re here to help you decide. 

So what is SEO? 

Search Engine Optimisation refers to the process of making sure that search engines (specifically Google) can find your website. It not only means that your site should be technically sound, with no broken links or page errors, but that the content you produce is properly optimised. It’s a long process, that yields slow but rewarding results. Good SEO boosts your organic traffic, keeping your site visits up in a sustainable, buildable way. 

Want to learn more about SEO? Check out our complete guide here

What should I expect from an agency? 

We’ve all received the emails that promise page one, and unfortunately many agencies do the same thing. The ‘top spot’ in the search engines is guaranteed to get a reliable stream of traffic, and often thousands of websites will be competing to be in the top ten results, a.k.a page one. 

How long will it take?

SEO isn’t quite as simple as carrying out some quick fixes and shooting to the first page of Google. As mentioned, it is a slow process, which is why many agencies offer long-term contracts or retainers to make sure you are getting the most from your SEO. One-off optimisation might boost your rankings in the short term, but to see actual results you’re looking at a time frame of 6 months to a year. After this, your rankings, and organic traffic should continue to grow. 

What will they actually do? 

You can expect an initial phase lasting several weeks, as your new agency looks to remedy any technical issues on your site. This includes fixing broken links, checking the sitemap and robots files, and scanning for issues with page speed. At this point, your SEO agency will do a full review of the key terms that you are ranking for, and competitor research to discover more about your industry and what you are up against. Depending on the agency that you choose, and the plan that fits your business best, you should then receive: 

  • Ongoing content creation, or content advice and optimisation - content is key to your SEO strategy, and without useful, relevant content, search engines are unlikely to rank your site well. If your SEO agency doesn’t directly provide content for you, they should still be able to advise on topics, and proof or optimise any content that you create. 
  • Link building through the correct channels - link building refers to links from authoritative, relevant websites that add value to your site. Some agencies may create links through directory submissions, which carry less value. 

This isn’t exhaustive - every marketing or SEO agency offers something slightly different, whether this is through bespoke packages or industry-specific solutions. 

Can I do all of this myself? 

Possibly. If you have access to useful tools for SEO, then you can carry out site scans and conduct keyword research yourself. You can also use tools, some free and some paid, to identify potential topics for future blog posts. 

However, the main benefit of an agency is their expertise. Having a specialist working on your site means that SEO issues will be spotted more quickly, and you are more likely to get a clear, detailed overview of how your website is performing. An agency can also offer ongoing consultancy, so that if you try to amend something and it drastically affects your rankings, there is someone on hand to help! 

If you decide to optimise your website yourself, you may also notice that it takes more time. SEO is a slow process in the first place, but without specialist help, you may see that it takes significantly longer to see results. All too often, SEO falls to the lowest priority, and without continuous updates and monitoring, you may only start to see changes in organic traffic after a year or two. 

What now? 

SEO is not just centred around keywords, but includes a great deal of technical knowledge to implement it correctly. If you’re thinking of going it alone, you should make sure that you have in-depth knowledge of what you should be looking out for, as well as a plan for how you will understand and track results. This is one of the main reasons that B2B businesses choose to work with marketing agencies for their SEO - an agency can help you develop a full strategy, in addition to talking through your business SEO goals. 

Marketing agencies also often package SEO with other marketing efforts. You may find that content marketing works perfectly for your business, or may even decide that a full inbound marketing strategy is the best way forward to boost conversions and leads, as well as organic traffic. This means that in many cases, you can get the most out of your website, without focusing on one specific service. 

If you’re thinking that you would like to look for outside help with your marketing strategy, you can check out our ultimate guide to hiring an agency. However, if you decide to go it alone, you should start learning as much as possible about SEO - now. Get started with our complete guide. We’ve covered all of the essentials that you need to know, as well as some in-depth information regarding technical and on-site SEO. Download it below! 

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