In-House SEO vs Outsourcing? Internet Marketing Options

In today’s technological world, just about every type of business should have a strong online presence. “Online presence” can man a variety of different things to different people and businesses. This is when you must decide, “should I do my search engine optimization in-house or hire a consultant?”

This question is not specifically an easy one to answer, unless you are personally an internet marketer. Assuming you do not know the inns and outs of online advertising and marketing, these are some of the important factors you should consider:


Individuals with internet marketing industry knowledge are not normally that cheap to come across. You may be able to find a social media manager for a reasonable price, but do not expect big results. An indivudal experienced in content management, link building, on-site optimization, adwords, analytics and all of the other important features to SEO normally charges a high hourly fee.

This means keeping an internet marketer on staff in-house may require more money than you are anticipating. If this individual were to be paid $20 an hour, a full time in-house SEO expert would cost you $3,200 a month, far more than the average SEO fees when outsourcing.

When outsourcing to an SEO company, you can imagine they will charge a high hourly fee. Monthly plans normally reflect the amount of time needed, so SEO companies can range from $25 an hour on the low end, to over $200 an hour. A $300 a month plan does no good for you if the company only puts 3 hours of their time into your work. A good blog entry should take longer than 3 hours alone. A $500 plan that gives you 10 hours of work is a far better deal even though it is $200 more. It is nearly impossible to get good results when putting in less than 10 hours a month of work.

That said, it is very unlikely you will need more than 10 hours a week of work to be done on your site. Unless you are able to find a part time SEO expert that will only come in 10 hours a week, costs are normally on the side of outsourcing.

Personalization/Owner Input

As the owner of a company or small business, you want to make sure you have a wide arrange of input. When completing SEO in-house, you are able to supervise your employee and make sure they are doing what is needed to help your company. You know they are only working for you and you can put priority on some of their tasks.

If you are an individual with essentially no knowledge of what SHOULD be done for your site, then leaving the decisions in the hands of an expert internet marketing firm is likely your best option. As long as they give detailed reports, you should be able to stay in the loop and see your traffic increase.


When having an employee in-house working on your internet marketing, you can make sure things are done fast. If you want something posted by Friday afternoon, you can tell that employee Friday morning. When outsourcing, you can have a difficult time getting a hold of the firm or putting priority on a project without a business days notice.

Taking Care in their Work

While this cannot always be said to be true, it is likely that your in-house internet marketer will have more interest in your company and its success. When managing 5-10 company’s websites, marketers can often be unmotivated by one specific site. Knowing that they only have one site to worry about will make sure they provide successful results

Industry Knowledge

As with any product or service, individuals become more accustomed and knowledgeable with companies the longer they work for them. Having an internet marketer in-house will allow them to learn your products and services much better than any random firm could.


This is a huge factor when considering what you should do. You are always taking a risk when hiring a new employee, hoping that what they said on their resume and application hold true. When outsourcing to an internet marketing firm, you are not only getting a team of experts, you are getting their ability to communicate with one another.

If your in-house expert does not know the answer to a question, he is forced to Google and read message boards until he find a feasible solution. As an employee of a larger internet marketing firm, any question can be answered by a colleague. This usually leads internet marketing firms to have strong specialization and trade secrets.

Most SEO firms also have the benefit of having coders and website developers on staff. This means if you have a website need outside the normal SEO realm, they can likely help.

What to Think About when Working In-House

  • How much do you personally know about internet marketing?
  • What is your budget?
  • Employees can range from $10 an hour to over $100 an hour depending on skills and experience
  • Vet through candidates (there are many individuals who claim knowledge in this field when they have no experience. As for specific sites they have personally worked on)
  • How many hours do you need an internet marketer for in a month? Make sure to only hire employees for that amount of time
  • Do you have a lot of competition in your industry for an online presence?

What to Think About when Outsourcing:

  • How much do you personally know about internet marketing?
  • What is your budget?
  • Average cost for firms is $100 an hour (Can range from $25 to over $200)
  • Do you have other internet needs (graphics, coding, development, etc)
  • How much “expertise” do you need?
  • Read reviews of the internet marketing firm (Yelp, call previous clients they have helped, etc)
  • Find out EXACTLY what they will do for you for your budget, then compare and shop around

From my experience, you will generally be happier with the speed of the results you will get from hiring in-house. That said, you cannot beat the resources and knowledge of a large internet marketing firm.

Make sure to keep these things in mind when choosing, and know that neither is a wrong option. Internet marketing is extremely valuable and should be done for any company, regardless of if it’s in-house or outsourced.