SEO Consultant vs In-House SEO Specialist: How to Decide?


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SEO Consultant vs In-House SEO Specialist: How to Decide?

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SEO Consultant vs In-House SEO Specialist: How to Decide?

Deciding between an SEO consultant and an in-house SEO specialist can be a challenging task for any business. To help you make the best decision for your company, we’ve gathered insights from nine industry experts who share their perspectives on factors such as resources, required expertise level, and business characteristics. Read on to discover their valuable advice on choosing the right SEO solution for your business.

  • Consider Your Available Resources
  • Choose the Right SEO Strategy
  • Evaluate Required Expertise Level
  • Assess Your Business Situation
  • Examine Business Characteristics
  • Compare In-House and Agency Benefits
  • Determine Online Presence Needs
  • Weigh Value and ROI
  • Think About Business Size and Freelancers

Consider Your Available Resources

If I have enough resources for marketing needs, I always try to go with an in-house specialist because of the control over the entire marketing campaign.

But if I’m short on resources or need to make a significant investment for my particular needs, I will go with an SEO consultant for the campaign.

Typically, having a consultant means they bring more experience, and an in-house specialist can make swift modifications in real time. However, the effectiveness is often around the same ballpark. So, it really comes down to my available resources.

Arsh SanwarwalaArsh Sanwarwala
Founder and CEO, ThrillX

Choose the Right SEO Strategy

When deciding between an SEO consultant and an in-house specialist, the primary consideration is whether your strategy is a do-it-yourself or a bouquet-buy.

In the former, you need an in-house specialist to help you execute the different tasks necessary to make the strategy work effectively. With a bouquet-buy strategy, an SEO consultant is the right fit as they will recommend tasks to do and even offer a service for executing them, all while you focus on other growth areas of your business.

Liam LiuLiam Liu
Co-founder and CMO, Parcel Panel

Evaluate Required Expertise Level

In deciding between an SEO consultant or an in-house SEO specialist, it’s important to consider the level of expertise required for the specific SEO needs of the business. Here, ‌SEO consultants and freelancers often have a wider range of expertise than in-house specialists.

SEO consultants and freelancers expose themselves to different SEO challenges and techniques by working with multiple clients in various industries. This wide range of experience and exposure can translate to a broader range of expertise that can benefit a business seeking SEO services.

In contrast, an in-house SEO specialist may be limited in their knowledge and experience because of working on only one company’s website. The in-house specialist may have limited opportunities for professional development and exposure to the latest industry trends and best practices.

Nick ZviadadzeNick Zviadadze
Founder, MintSEO

Assess Your Business Situation

As someone who has done both, I think there are a few benefits and drawbacks of each, but it ultimately depends on the situation the business finds itself in.

For example, where you need a short-term project such as a site migration or a new web design, in this case, an SEO consultant can make sense given the time frame.

Whereas when the business grows and scales up, getting an in-house SEO specialist makes sense as they can adapt within different departments and grow with the business, whereas the consultant will be more limited‌.

Another instance could be where hiring an SEO consultant can provide greater flexibility as they can be brought in for specific projects or tasks. This can be useful if you need to address a particular issue or want to test a new strategy before committing to a long-term investment in an in-house specialist.

Harry BoxhallHarry Boxhall
SEO, Boxhall Marketing Ltd

Examine Business Characteristics

A typical SEO answer here is that “it depends!” I think the right answer will depend on the business you have, the stage it’s in, and what you’re looking to get from working with an SEO.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. For example, hiring in-house can be a far more option than looking to hire an external SEO consultant. But you couldn’t expect the amount of input from an external consultant to match that of an in-house hire.

External consultants often will have more experience from working across multiple industries and with many businesses, but, an in-house hire will find it easier to learn about your business and to work across a range of departments—something that is harder (but still possible) when using an external consultant.

Matt TuttMatt Tutt
SEO Consultant, Matt Tutt Digital Marketing

Compare In-House and Agency Benefits

A dedicated in-house SEO specialist will work solely on your company’s website, ensuring that it runs smoothly. With this approach, distractions are minimized and prioritization is less likely to occur. However, an in-house SEO specialist may not be the best option if you’re seeking to expand your company beyond its current level of growth.

It is typically more difficult for an in-house SEO specialist to keep up with the latest technology trends and algorithm updates than an SEO agency. SEO agencies can often finish tasks more quickly than internal marketing teams, thanks to existing plans and procedures.

Marco Genaro PalmaMarco Genaro Palma
Co-founder, TechNews180

Determine Online Presence Needs

Does your business thrive on the internet, requiring agile and constant updates to maintain its competitive edge? If so, get an in-house specialist to keep full control of the schedule and course of your SEO activities. Does your business need to maintain a web presence or shopping portal, but most of your clients will come from in-person locations? You can probably get away with an SEO consultant to help set your strategy and then just maintain it yourself.

Kate KandeferKate Kandefer
CEO, SEOwind

Weigh Value and ROI

While your budget will remain a primary concern, what matters more is how much value you derive from each option. Even when hiring an in-house SEO specialist seems like a heavier financial commitment than hiring the temporary services of a consultant, first weigh the gains against your costs.

If an in-house specialist can provide your SEO efforts with the consistency it needs, and if the value in ROI is a lot more in revenue and growth, the investment is well worth the spend.

However, if you only need a rush job that can give your website the spike it needs to gain momentum by itself, an external SEO consultant would make more sense. Eventually, it’s all about your SEO goals and what you wish to gain from your payouts.

Tony AngeleriTony Angeleri
Vice President, Lone Wolf Paintball

Think About Business Size and Freelancers

When choosing between an SEO consultant and an in-house SEO specialist, one of the most essential items to consider is the size of your business. While hiring an in-house specialist may not be financially workable for smaller businesses, consulting services can offer cost-effective solutions within a lower budget. Hiring a consultant also represents a lower risk if you’re starting out with SEO, as you won’t need to onboard a full-time employee.

I work only with freelancers in my business and love the flexibility they offer. You can hire freelancers within days using platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, so it can be a helpful route to take if you’re torn between the two options. In addition, you can work with the freelancer on a single campaign or project, which will help you see how you work together and if it’s the right long-term fit.

Axel DeAngelisAxel Deangelis
Founder and Marketing Strategist, Jumpcoast

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