“I could pay someone full time for that!” In-house SEO vs hiring an agency.

I mean, just because you COULD, doesn’t mean you should. As a business, when does it, or doesn’t it make sense to outsource your SEO and hire an agency? Should you build your own in-house team? Should you try and do it by yourself? Would it even be possible to do it by yourself?

By now, you should know that online marketing is a big umbrella term that covers a range of projects that all require a significant amount of attention. And you should also know that there’s no running away from search engines anymore – they play a major role in how well your business performs online. 

From SEO, social media, content and email marketing, to pay-per-click, conversion optimization and web design, now’s the time to think – are you really in a position where you can achieve top results fast for each by developing your own team?

Let’s talk in-house SEO vs outsourcing, and determine whether your company would benefit from allocating these non-negotiables to an outsider company that specialises in them. 

What Does an SEO Team Look Like?


Before you shut your laptop and delegate tasks to your current workforce, or you decide you want to build an in-house squad on top of your current staff, you’ll need to understand the inner workings of an SEO team, and what it looks like to run one. If you have the following professionals with enough time on their hands, great. If you don’t – well – you already know the answer if your budget isn’t big enough:

SEO Team Lead

Or the SEO manager, if you will. Responsible for guiding and supervising the rest of the professionals, the team lead will have the management experience and technical knowledge needed to generate successful results.

Tech Specialist

This professional is the SEO technical whizz. They stay up to date on the changes in every search engine’s algorithm, and how content, metadata and keywords affect a brand’s ranking position. 

Outreach Specialist

Or the link-building professional. This professional is required to build relationships with publishers, media, and other companies in order to encourage websites to link back to your business via their content.

Content & Copywriters

The word people! This bunch create SEO-friendly content for your website, including articles, web copy, landing pages and social media posts – all designed to boost your SEO.

Data Analyst

These professionals analyse the performance data of your site to see where they could improve on current SEO strategies and where they can create new ones.

SEO-Focused Project Managers

This one is more for the larger companies that have multiple big SEO projects running at one time. The project managers oversee each project to see if they’re on track and help out accordingly.

Language & Localisation Manager

Got a multilingual website? These will be the people who make sure your company’s copy is both relevant to each country’s market and available in all languages.

That’s a lot of people, right?

The Pros of Outsourcing SEO


If you’ve realised you may be taking on more than you can handle with an in-house SEO team, here are the benefits of outsourcing one:

Money Saver

The big one. Hiring an in-house SEO team could easily cost you a hefty sum in contrast to outsourcing one. Paying for the latter will get you a diverse team of experts for a similar price as hiring one or two in-house pros. 


Good outsourcing companies typically work with more than one client at once. This means they’re always up-to-date with the latest trends and the constantly changing or updated SEO developments. 

You’ve Got More Time to Focus on Other Business Areas

If you’re optimising your content and site pages to rank higher on SERPs yourself, you’ll know that if you’re not totally clued up on it, it can take a long time. With the help of experienced agencies, you’ll be able to leave these technical aspects of your business to them so that you can focus on other core aspects.

Outsourced SEO Agencies are Flexible

Employing a full-time in-house team is a big commitment. In contrast, outsourced SEO agencies are way more flexible, and you can terminate their services on your terms. (Depending on the contract, that is.)

No Black Hat SEO Techniques

Reputable SEO companies will ensure they do not use any black hat SEO techniques. These are spammy and often unethical techniques that are used to try and rank higher on SERPs. This includes keyword stuffing and buying backlinks, which will inevitably incur penalties and lower your search engine rankings. Instead, they will use white hat practices – the ethical version which will only improve your SEO.

Agencies are Well Equipped

Outsource agencies adopt a variety of tools that help to optimise your SEO growth. And with certain software being very costly, when you outsource, the price of the necessary SEO toolkit is already included in the contract. This means you don’t need to fret about paying out for these costs.

The Pros of In-House SEO


It would be unfair to just cover the pros of outsourcing SEO. After all, if you do have a big budget (because it costs way more than outsourcing) and you’d prefer all your SEO work to be done in-house, this may be the option for you. 

Quick Communication

Hiring an in-house team means you have immediate access to each team member. This means quick action on requests and quick answers to questions. The communication would not be as fast with an outsourced team, as you’d have to plan in remote catchups.

They Only Work For You

An in-house SEO team are essentially your staff. Which means any training is exclusive to you, and will always remain within the company. Your team are only required to focus on one project at a time, and you don’t need to compete for attention.

Brand Knowledge Stays In-House

Your in-house team will only be running your project, unlike outsourced companies that run multiple campaigns at once. This means your group of professionals will have top-level brand and product knowledge, which after a long time of working together, will morph into in-house techniques that you know work for your brand. 

You Have Full Control

Yes, an outsourced company works for you, but they are not indebted to you. Handling an internal SEO team will ensure you have full control over each project and every process and have access to every aspect of a strategy.

Choose Your SEO Based Upon Your Business Needs


Let’s break it down. Each option has valuable pros, it’s just about deciding what’s best for your business. And the option is largely determined by the size and scale of your company, and whether you can make these resources easily available to you.


If you run a small to medium-sized business, outsourcing your SEO is the most advisable option. Not only is it much more affordable than creating your own in-house team, but it’s also the most flexible, which allows you to be able to adapt and react to any changes within your company. You’ll also be able to gain insight into how the SEO process works and explore different outsourcing options before you commit to an in-house team.


If you run a large organisation or corporation, it may make more sense to build your own in-house team. Number one, you’ll be able to afford it. Number two, an in-house SEO squad typically has unlimited resources, (which will be necessary for hiring the required number of staff) and number three, you can be sure your team will have a long-term approach, which means they’ll be able to retain the knowledge learned from previous campaigns.

Sophie Crosby

Head of Content (UK & ES) at Minty.

CIM qualified. Brand and content nerd. Cat lover and full time ice cream enthusiast.
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