Andrew Shum
Posted by Andrew Shum

SEO In-House vs. Outsourcing: Which is Better for Your Business?

8 min read
SEO in-house vs outsourcing

If you decide to boost the online visibility of your business, you’ll need to opt for in-house or outsourced SEO. But which of these options is best for your company?

Hiring an SEO company vs keeping it in-house is undoubtedly a confusing question because there are a lot of factors you should take into account. First of all, it’s essential to define your expectations for your future SEO campaign. Thus, it’ll be easier to understand what services you need.

Also, don’t forget to consider other important factors such as your company’s budget, the possibility of increasing the number of employees, etc. Decide whether you’re ready to spend time and resources to form and educate your new SEO team.

Key Takeaways:

  • While choosing between in-house and outsourced SEO, it’s important to consider your budget, business goals, available SEO tools, etc.
  • You’ll need to pay nearly $242k per year for your professional in-house SEO team.
  • While planning the budget for your in-house SEO, don’t forget to consider monthly payments for the necessary tools, such as Ahrefs and SurferSEO.

What is the difference between in-house SEO and outsourcing?

It’s essential to differentiate between these two types of cooperation. Here are simple explanations of these terms:

  • In-house SEO. Your company hires experts to form your own SEO team that will work to promote your website.
  • Outsourced SEO. You opt for an independent SEO agency or freelance provider of search engine optimization services.

Pros and cons of outsourcing SEO

Hiring an SEO company is a great way to preserve the nerves of your HR team members. At the same time, there are a lot of other significant advantages of outsourcing SEO.

Pros and cons of outsourcing SEO

Pros of outsourcing SEO Cons of outsourcing SEO
Immediate assistance from professional SEO experts Possible problems with communication between you, the SEO team, and the agency
Access to powerful SEO platforms and keyword research software without extra funds spent on monthly subscriptions Less control over developing your SEO campaign
A variety of services that may be tailored to your specific business goals

Take into account that these outsourcing SEO pros and cons vary depending on the agency you choose. Typically, reputable companies overcome all the drawbacks to deliver outstanding experiences for their clients. In this case, you shouldn’t worry about getting a templated SEO strategy or facing communication problems.

Pros and cons of in-house SEO

Of course, you can always have your HR team find experts to create your own search engine optimization team. Now, let’s have a look at the in-house SEO pros and cons.

Pros and cons of in-house SEO

Pros of in-house SEO Cons of in-house SEO
100% control over your SEO campaign Necessity to pay for SEO platforms and software
Ability to train a team with deep expertise in your niche High maintenance costs
A lot of time and resources required to recruit the right specialists

Although there are some benefits of in-house SEO, you still should expect to face the drawbacks and risks of recruiting your own team. Thus, it’s better to think twice and analyze your business needs before you make a final decision.

In-house or outsourced SEO: Which is better for my business?

If you Google “In-house SEO vs agency,” you may find many search engine optimization companies trying to persuade you to opt for only their services. However, it’s important to analyze your business first and decide whether you need immediate professional assistance or you can gather your own in-house SEO team.

Do I really need SEO?

In the modern world, internet search engines are among the most popular and convenient ways for people to look for different products and services. Thus, many businesses try to boost their online presence by implementing professional digital marketing campaigns, including SEO for their websites.

If you run a site with proper architecture, perfectly optimized pages, and interesting content, there is a chance that it’ll significantly boost your business. You may become the #1 company in your region or even reach the international level if you optimize your metadata and implement popular keywords.

When talking about in-house vs outsourced SEO services, we should mention that both options may provide you with outstanding results. Nonetheless, it’s essential to make sure that you don’t pay for services you don’t need and that the optimization of your website doesn’t take ages.

Your budget

Let’s analyze the salaries of different SEO specialists for a precise cost comparison of in-house SEO and outsourcing agencies. According to Ahrefs, the annual salaries for different experienced specialists are the following:

  • $56,393 for an SEO analyst
  • $49,229 for an SEO specialist
  • $43,850 for an SEO account manager
  • $92,988 for a Head of SEO

seo team cost

Thus, this short in-house SEO cost analysis shows that you’ll need to pay at least $49,000 to hire a specialist to work on a medium-sized project. At the same time, recruiting a professional team for a considerable number of tasks will cost you nearly $242k.

Of course, you can save your money by opting for less professional specialists. However, there is a significant risk that they won’t have enough experience to deal with serious SEO issues.

Alternatively, you can start a partnership with a reputable agency. In this case, you’ll save a lot of your resources because your partners will take care of the recruitment of your SEO team. Also, if you work with a time-proven agency, you can discuss each stage of the search optimization process with them. Depending on your business type, your campaign may cost you:

  • $2,500-$5,000 for small companies
  • $5,000-$15,000 for medium-sized businesses
  • $15,000-plus for big enterprises

Scope of work on your project

It’s not enough just to create a website with an attractive design and wait for a flow of online clients. If you want to keep your online visibility high, you should regularly work on your SEO. Even a tiny website requires at least 5 hours of work on search engine optimization per month. If you run a site with hundreds of pages, you’ll need to spend way more resources and time.

If you own a tiny company, outsourcing SEO for small businesses may be your ideal option. There is no sense spending days looking for specialists and managing their work on your online shop. Instead, you can simply opt for professional eCommerce SEO, and the agency will take care of all aspects of the search engine optimization.


The development of efficient in-house SEO strategies requires a lot of time. Your experts will need weeks or even months to determine which techniques are suitable for your niche and which ones are completely useless. Unfortunately, sometimes these experiments can cost you a lot of precious time and money.

Outsourcing SEO to experts may be a good idea if you’ve discovered an agency with years of experience in your niche. For example, if a company offers professional home services SEO, its specialists are likely to understand how to promote this type of business. Thus, you’ll overcome any mistakes and get measurable results relatively quickly.

Scalability of your SEO

If you work with a reliable SEO agency, its experts will do their best to make your website grow along with your business. These professionals will keep an eye on any changes in the world of search engine algorithms to implement the newest solutions in your SEO strategy. Plus, you can always ask the agency’s managers to change your service package if your business needs a change.

As for the scalability of in-house SEO vs outsourcing, things are slightly different when you create your own team. For instance, the improvement of search engine optimization may require extra training for your employees, purchasing new tools, and hiring new team members. Dealing with all these tasks is impossible without making a significant investment.

Essential SEO tools and software for effective work

When deciding between an SEO agency vs in-house team, you shouldn’t forget that efficient search engine optimization is impossible without proper software. If you don’t opt for popular tools, don’t wonder why your SEO may not be working.

It’s necessary to use at least one time-proven platform for search engine optimization. However, if you aim to achieve outstanding results, you should use a set of premium SEO tools, including:

  • Ahrefs or SEMRush to conduct comprehensive competitor analysis. Each of these tools will cost you at least $129 per month. However, you’ll need to pay $249 for the Standard Plan features on each platform.
  • Screaming Frog to check the technical SEO of your website. If you want to get access to all the advantages of this service, you’ll need to pay $259 per year.
  • SurferSEO to check the optimization of your content and implement the necessary keywords. The monthly plans on this platform start at $89 per month while it’s necessary to pay $129 for the Standard Plan.

Luckily, if you opt for a reputable SEO agency, you won’t need to pay for subscriptions to all these tools. For example, we at SeoProfy spend $1,900 on Ahrefs alone:

ahrefs cost per month

Our company uses the best platforms to make sure we have all the tools necessary to reach our clients’ goals. Moreover, we even developed our own in-house software to deliver exceptional results and unique insights for our partners.

Team control and management

And now, let’s look at in-house SEO control vs outsourcing flexibility. It may seem way easier to control your own employees. However, how can you evaluate their results or analyze the progress of your SEO campaign without a deep understanding of how search engines work?

Besides, sometimes unexpected situations happen. For example, one of your team members may get sick while another is on vacation. In this case, there is a chance that the work on your project will stop.

Fortunately, if you choose the second option in the “SEO in-house vs outsourcing agency” competition, you’ll never face these problems. If you work with companies such as SeoProfy, you’ll get detailed weekly reports reviewing your website’s performance. Plus, we’ll perfectly organize the work on your project, making sure nothing stands between you and your business goals.

Can I outsource some of my tasks to an SEO agency?

Of course, you can outsource only a portion of your tasks. For example, you can choose the most difficult and time-consuming challenges and lay them on the shoulders of real professionals. This may also be a great way to reveal outsourcing SEO benefits for startups and big companies without starting a full-fledged partnership.

For instance, your team may take care of content creation while the professionals from the agency deliver technical SEO and link building services. We have numerous outsourcing SEO success stories, in which SeoProfy’s experts united their knowledge with clients’ teams to skyrocket their websites.

So, in-house SEO vs. agency outsourcing

So, now you know how to choose between in-house and outsourcing SEO. It may be a good idea to create your own team for search engine optimization if:

  • You run a big business in a specific industry (cryptocurrency, gambling, etc.)
  • You are willing and able to pay nearly $250k per year for your in-house SEO team and the necessary software
  • You aren’t afraid of mistakes that may occur while you find the best SEO solutions for your niche

And of course, you can always rely on a trustworthy SEO agency such as SeoProfy. This is your ideal option if:

  • You run a tiny project and there is no need to hire in-house search engine optimization experts
  • You don’t have enough time and resources to recruit your own SEO team
  • You want to focus on the most important business tasks while your website’s performance is in the safe hands of true professionals
  • You want to get measurable SEO results without making hundreds of mistakes.
Andrew Shum

Andrew is the Head of SEO at SeoProfy. He has been involved in search engine optimization since 2016, gaining practical SEO experience across various niches and countries.

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