4 Reasons To Partner With An Agency For SEO

The following is a guest post by Justin Champion. If you’d like to contribute thinking here, please read the guidelines.

Previously, Adam shared a post outlining 7 signs you shouldn’t hire that SEO agency. But what happens when you find a quality agency? Should you hire them at all, or should you have someone in-house instead?

As a search marketing sales consultant, this is a common question I am asked. While there are advantages of having personnel in-house to manage your SEO efforts, there are also advantages to partnering with a tier-1, trusted digital agency.

The ideal situation of course is to have a knowledgeable SEO on your team who manages an external SEO agency. This provides the best of both worlds and will greatly scale an in-house marketer’s ability to achieve results.

However, we understand this isn’t always possible. Working at agencies we may be slightly biased, but if you had to choose between one or the other, following are 4 reasons a dedicated digital  firm might be the better bet. At least until you’re ready to dedicate an internal resource as well.

1. Ongoing training and expertise

Search engines are dynamic: updates to search algorithms can alter rankings and visibility as well as create new opportunities to help your brand stay ahead of the competition. Understanding the changing landscape is critical to the success and failure of an account and can be mean making updates that are technical in nature.

Something to keep in mind: Because search engines are always changing, it is vital to have ongoing search engine marketing (SEM) training. It is the job of a digital agency to monitor and stay ahead of industry trends. Not only will this help you achieve and maintain visibility within search engines, but also help you better prepare for updates that can alter your visibility within search engine result pages (SERPs).

Being prepared is half the battle!

2. Resources at hand

There are many aspects of a successful SEO program, many ongoing, such as:

  • Keyword research
  • Content edits
  • Inbound links
  • Social / search integration
  • Online reputation management
  • In-depth reporting

Something to keep in mind: Generally speaking, no single area of a successful SEO program is weighted more than the other. For example, focusing your efforts solely on inbound links will not help you achieve your goals for visibility. It is best to keep a balanced, holistic program.

Think of an SEO program as a table and the elements that comprise the solution as the legs. If one of the legs is missing, then the table will become unbalanced and fall over.

There are various tools that help make this process easier and more efficient. Agencies not only pay for the latest and greatest tools to manage these efforts, but also have a process and a system for implementing these strategies for optimum results.

3. Team vs. individual

This is pretty self-explanatory: Would you rather have one specialist managing your account or a team of specialists?

Agencies offer a team of experts that will constantly monitor your account. And while some agencies have different models set in place for team structure, most offer a team that is dedicated to specific elements of the SEO process, such as:

  • Strategy
  • Implementation
  • Monitoring
  • Reporting

Something to keep in mind: Having dedicated specialists working on various aspects of an account with a checks and balances system in place, equals more work performed in a timely, efficient manner (this ties back in with my second point, resources at hand).

4. Cost effectiveness

One of the biggest constraints that many decision makers face–“How much is this going to cost me!?”

Consider this: Hiring on an SEO specialist in-house means a salary plus benefits. First of all, the starting rate for an SEO professional is around $45,000 a year. Secondly, what’s included within you benefits package?

  • 401k
  • Health insurance
  • Vacation time
  • Sick leave

And this is not including:

  • Future pay raises
  • Bonuses
  • Ongoing training

Now you are looking at $65,000+ a year. Starting to add up?

When looking for pricing from an SEO agency, the most important thing to keep in mind is, “you get what you pay for.” If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Most reputable, ethical SEO agencies start small programs around $4,500 a month (however can increase significantly based on program scope and desired outcomes).

Compare the prices:

  • In-house SEO Specialist: $65,000+ a year
  • Outsource to a team of SEO Specialists: $54,000 a year

Something to keep in mind: Make sure to research and do your homework to help find the agency that best fits your company.

One final note: Companies mature in their marketing tend to have digitally savvy team members who use agencies to scale execution, evolve strategies and push their team forward. Ideally, you’ll get there too, at which point it becomes crystal clear when to hire, when to partner and who to choose for both.

Justin Champion is a Search Marketing Sales Consultant with Search Mojo, a dedicated search engine optimization and pay per click advertising agency. He works with new prospects to determine the best fitting search marketing solution to achieve their goals. He also is a regular blogging contributor to Search Mojo’s blog, Search Marketing Sage.

image credit: Shutterstock