#seo411 Recap: Agency vs In-House SEO

By Avelyn Austin | Jul 21, 2010
More Articles by Avelyn


Yesterday Search Mojo hosted this week’s #seo411 Twitter chatAgency vs In-house SEO session, Agency vs In-House SEO. As you can imagine it was a great discussion with both sides respectfully defending their stance.  Here’s a quick recap of what happened:

Q1: Have you chosen to do your SEO with an agency? Why?

Surprisingly, there were many attendees who said that they use an agency AND do SEO in-house. Of those who said they do SEO in-house and with an agency, @gatzseo said “I like the fact that with an agency you can rely on their knowledge and experience to jump start a/the project”.

If you’re looking for an SEO agency, here are some tips to help make the choice a bit easier: Choosing a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Agency Checklist.

Q2: Have you chosen to do your SEO in-house? Why?

@Thos003 expressed what I imagine most in-house SEOers feel, “If I could find an SEO agency that cared as much about my business as I do then they would have a contract… the other difficulty with an agency OFTEN is that they don’t know my business”.

If you’re doing SEO in-house, take a look at Search Mojo’s SEO Quick Reference Card.

Q3: Where do you think most SEO is done? In-house or agencies?

Individuals that answered this question were mostly agency people who thought that most SEO is done in-house, but more results happen with an agency that focuses strictly on search. From @jstatad “Most people handling SEO in house have a million other tasks they are also handling & don’t make the time to invest in it”.

Q4: What challenges, if any, do you face when practicing SEO efforts in-house?

Even @janetdmiller had challenges when she did SEO in-house, “Biggest challenge I had as an inhouse SEO was knowing when [algorithm] changes happened, sine I only had MY set of data”. It was also mentioned that link building efforts are much more challenging with in-house SEO as well as “getting interdepartmental buy-in” (@inflatemouse).

Q5: What are the benefits of doing SEO in-house?

@ruthburr said “Biggest benefit of in-house SEO is that nobody knows your business as well as you do” and @loudoun said “Benefit of in-house SEO is leverage of industry expertise in terms, phrases, competition, events – getting the semantics right”.

Q6: What challenges do you face when practicing SEO efforts in an agency?

Fighting for the agency side: @tim_eschenauer who said “Making clients understand the value of SEO and its ROI” and @janetdmiller “…coordinating right departments for client. Like coordinating IT to make site changes”.

In-house side: @gatzseo “Slowwww….. Turn around on review/suggestions. Only work for number of hours on contract.” And @Thos003 even said earlier in the chat that his agency “won’t report their work”! (Side note: Dear @Thos003’s SEO agency, You’re not making us agencies look very good. Please give your client a report.).

Q7: What are the benefits of doing SEO with an agency?

Reading over the transcription I noticed that a lot of side conversations were going on, but @VincentAmmirato did bring up a great benefit of working with an agency, “You can review portfolio, past clients, and shop prices. With an internal hire it gets a little more risky, harder to fire”.

Q8: Is it more cost effective to do SEO with an agency, or in-house?

A definite answer did not arise for this question. While many individuals thought it may be less costly to do SEO in-house your results were probably going to be better by going with an agency. Of course this brings up the point that often “You get what you pay for”.

Q9: Anyone else out there that has worked in both situations (in-house and agency)? Which do you prefer?

@janetdmiller and @VincentAmmirate both agreed that doing SEO in-house is less challenging on a day to day basis and now enjoy working in the SEO agency world.

Q10: If you are considering hiring an agency for SEO, what are your hesitations?

@VincentAmmirate nailed it, “If an agency messes up, my site gets penalized…that’s my reputation, not theirs. I’d want to know an agency’s ethics first”. This is something to look into for sure when hiring an agency, make sure they are practicing ethical SEO. It may take a little more work on your side to find out what are some unethical practices, but it will be worth it in the end.
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Thanks again to all of our followers who help make our #seo411 chats successful! I hope everyone will spread the word and join us next Tuesday (7/27/10) at 2pm ET for our next chat session: #seo411: SEO Friendly Website Redesign.

Want more?  Check out the full transcript of the #seo411 Agency vs In-house SEO.

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