In-house SEO: What To Consider Before Setting-up Your In-house SEO Team
Before we begin – what is SEO?
SEO, short for search engine optimization, is the process of improving your website so that it appears on the top of search engine results. The ultimate goal is to attract website traffic from users searching for products and services in your niche so they convert into paying customers.
There are several aspects to an SEO strategy, including improving page speed & user experience, creating content, optimizing a web page for keywords, and link building.
Why do you need SEO at your company
Search engines, especially Google, are how most consumers search for products and services online. If your business website is not appearing on the first page of results then it’s unlikely to be found by potential customers. As a result, you could be missing out on business.
SEO has the potential to increase your website traffic so that more users land on your page and convert into paying customers. It is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy and therefore integral to business success in the digital age.
Your company also needs SEO to compete with other businesses in your niche. If you’re not using SEO and they are, it’ll be tough to find success online.
Choosing between SEO agencies and in-house SEO
So, should you work with an SEO agency or have an in-house SEO team?
Both of these options have their own set of pros and cons, and it depends on the size of your business and how much budget you can dedicate to SEO.
Working with an SEO agency might be easier in the early stages of your business or when you first start digital marketing. They can work with a smaller budget and provide advice while also implementing all the changes for you. Working with an SEO agency can be the perfect way to learn how search engine optimization works and what tasks go into improving search engine rankings.
At some point, however, your business will be better off employing SEO specialists to do the work in-house. It’s best to transition to in-house SEO teams when you already have some understanding of how SEO works and can set some goals and expectations for your business. Your in-house team will be able to create a bespoke SEO strategy that matches your specific needs and alter it at any time.
What Kinds of Companies Should Bring SEO In-House
There are many reasons why a business should bring SEO in-house.
- Costs: If you’re spending too much money working with an SEO agency then you should consider transitioning to an in-house team. You could be spending similar amounts but on a team that’s working just for you.
- Dedication: SEO agencies tend to juggle too many clients at once and sometimes that means your website won’t be getting the time and attention it deserves. In-house teams will be dedicated to your business, which means better results.
- Industry: Businesses in an extremely niche industry are better off integrating an in-house team to do their SEO. This way you can train your employees in your industry and ensure your SEO is relevant, specific, and accurate.
- Evolving business/strategy: It can be difficult working with an SEO agency when your business evolves quickly and your strategy needs constant updating. If this is the case, you should consider an in-house team that can quickly and effectively update your strategy as your business pivots.
- Difficulty outsourcing: Some SEO strategies might require outsourcing from teams that are hard to find and train. These include link building, outreach, or collaborating with niche websites. Your internal SEO team can easily be trained on these SEO skills and save you the trouble of outsourcing to someone less knowledgeable.
How to Recruit an In-House SEO specialist
You can try searching on LinkedIn for SEO professionals with a solid resume and recommendations from previous clients. We help businesses with hiring SEO specialists and have a page where we post SEO jobs offers.
Ask your potential SEO specialist for case studies or results from previous clients. This will help you determine their skill level and whether they are suitable for your niche and industry.
An SEO specialist who has worked with an SEO agency in the past will likely have experience across several different industries and worked with many different clients’ SEO projects. This could be a valuable asset for your in-house team. At the same time, hiring an SEO specialist who has worked for a business in-house can also be valuable as they understand how to focus their skillset on a single brand.
Forming a Successful In-House SEO Team
Small businesses can start forming their in-house team by hiring an SEO manager. This person can handle all of the SEO efforts including strategy, implementation, and reporting. Other tasks can be outsourced to freelancers or virtual assistants.
Ideal in-house SEO teams for larger businesses will include SEO specialists, web developers, and a content team. A team like this can take care of all your SEO resources, from website optimization to content marketing, link building, technical SEO, and keyword research.
If you already have an internal content or development team, it will be easy to integrate SEO in-house. If you are just starting out, we highly recommend finding the right virtual assistants to help your team with ongoing tasks for your SEO campaigns. We’ve created SEO templates to make the process of working with VAs much easier.
The Hierarchy of an In-House SEO Team
Your in-house team should be more like an SEO community. While all members should adhere to your SEO manager’s rules, your internal team should work cohesively to improve your website’s rankings.
Hire the Leader
Start by hiring an SEO manager to handle all of the processes for your internal team. The manager will outline the strategy, allocate tasks to freelancers or other team members, and use Google Analytics to create reports so you can track progress.
Outreach Specialist/Link Building
Link building is an integral part of any SEO strategy. You want to get all the links you can pointing back to your website so that Google considers you an authority in your niche. Your outreach or link-building specialist will work tirelessly to acquire those links and improve your SEO program.
These are SEO experts who can create strategies to improve your online visibility. The SEO Specialist will use a keyword research tool, conduct an SEO audit, use Google Search Console, implement local SEO, and collaborate with the other teams to improve your overall online presence.
A copywriter can be used to optimize web copy, write SEO optimized blog posts, and create social media posts alongside your social media manager.
SEO Technical Expert
The technical expert or developer can handle aspects of on page optimization, including improving page speed, creating site maps, designing a mobile responsive website, and improving user experience.
Setting up processes in the SEO team
We’ve worked with countless companies over the years, and we’ve noticed without a doubt that those with SEO Internal Processes always experience much better results. Because SEO is so complicated with various tasks handled by different team members, it’s essential that you have smooth and organized processes in place to keep everyone on track and up-to-date on what needs to be done.
The success of your SEO strategy will largely depend on how streamlined your processes are, so take the time to set these up correctly before you begin.
How to track performance in an in-house SEO team?
You should start by outlining specific goals and conveying these to your SEO manager. They can then come up with a strategy that helps you achieve these goals. You can then track your performance by seeing how the SEO elements are contributing towards your goals.
For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic then you can simply track how many visitors are coming to your website and see if they are increasing over time. If not, you may need to adjust your strategy.
How to set up reporting in your in-house SEO team
Just like when working with an SEO agency, you will want to create monthly reports to track your organic traffic, organic leads, number of acquired backlinks, and numerous other SEO metrics. A bonus of having your own internal SEO team, however, is that you can extend your reporting to include metrics that may be harder for an agency to track.
- Monitoring crawl budget
- Indexed pages
- Non-brand mentions
Whatever you want to track, you can track!
Transitioning from Outsourcing to In-House
The transition from outsourcing SEO to building your own internal team may not be easy, but it will be a game changer for your business.
The first step is to make sure your new SEO lead is in touch with your previous agency and across all the work they have done so far. Get access to all of the files they’ve been using and be sure to make copies.
2-3 months before canceling your agency contract, start running your in-house SEO processes simultaneously. This will make the transition easier and things will come up that you can then amend with the agency before you cease working with them.
Make sure you have a solid SEO plan in place for at least six months after canceling your agency contract. You will then have a clear roadmap to work towards without faltering and getting lost along the way.
If you’re working with a good SEO agency, they may even be able to help you with your transition to in-house SEO. It’s up to you if you want to share that information with them.
In house SEO team and virtual assistants
Virtual assistants are a game changer when it comes to in-house SEO and can significantly reduce the costs of having your own SEO team. You can offload many of your SEO tasks to a trustworthy virtual assistant without having to pay a full-time salary.
Before using a virtual assistant, it’s essential that you first have:
- An SEO Lead who can manage them
- Streamlined SEO processes that can easily be followed
- Organized SEO templates to track progress
Virtual assistants are great with templates and doing repetitive tasks. They will be a valuable part of your in-house SEO team.
Pros and cons of Agency SEO
There are many reasons why hiring an SEO agency may be beneficial for your business:
- It’s less expensive than having your own team
- They’re useful when you’re a new business or new to digital marketing
- Their teams have experience with several industries
- They have good processes and templates
There are also several reasons why it may be time to leave your SEO agency:
- Your business is just one of several that they’re working on
- You can’t account for the exact number of hours that goes into your campaign
- It’s hard to change or adapt a strategy as many times as you would like
- If you’re spending lots of money, you could have better results with an in-house team
- The workers are less knowledgeable about your business than an employee would be
Pros and cons of In-house SEO
An in-house SEO team can benefit your business by:
- Having a dedicated team that’s focused on just your business
- Giving you more control over the SEO strategy
- Allowing you to adapt & change the strategy as often as you need
- Your in-house team can be trained on your specific niche/industry
- Better results as the team has more accountability
There are also cons to hiring an in-house SEO team:
- It is more expensive than working with an agency
- You will be in charge of processes
- You will have to create your own SEO templates
- There will be an extra team of in-house employees to manage
In-House Search Engine Optimization Summary
An in-house SEO team isn’t for all businesses. But if you’re ready to see how much your rankings and revenue can soar when you have a dedicated team working on your SEO, it may be time to consider the transition.
We’re here to help make the process easier, from sourcing the right employees for your team to setting up internal processes and sharing valuable SEO templates. Get in touch with our team to discuss how we can help you transition from an SEO agency to an in-house SEO team.