With more and more SMEs employing skilled SEOs to boost their online profiles, how do you go about procuring this amorphous skill-set? Here is all the information you need to decide which SEO solution is best for you: in-house, agency, or freelance. No matter what option you go for, make sure the focus is on long-term SEO strategy, not reactive and piecemeal link building

In-house SEO – visibility & brand value

Having an in-house SEO and Digital Marketing Manager is a great way to develop your brand online. By hiring an SEO in-house, you get a dedicated and consummate professional who can add brand value beyond the world of SEO.

Why hire an in-house SEO?

  • Full control and visibility over your SEO strategy
  • More flexibility and ability to change tact quickly
  • In-house SEO expertise can trickle down to other employees and departments through training & collaboration

It’s good to be aware that hiring an in-house SEO can have its downsides. Hiring an in-house SEO will mean that you are paying a full-time salary regardless of workflow. A single SEO won’t necessarily be able to provide the full skill set needed for successful SEO for your business, which will mean additional outsourcing to other professionals to get the job done.

Agency SEO – diversity & expertise

Working with an SEO agency can be massively rewarding as you get the benefit of a full room of people for the price of one contract. The key to finding a good SEO agency is to feel confident in the agency’s track record, and be happy with their approach to client management. Arrange a face-to-face meeting to get a real feel for them.

Why work with an SEO agency?

  • Working with an agency means you get a broader range of people and knowledge
  • From one agency contract, you get content, design, and technical expertise (agencies can really help you boost your overall online brand)
  • They’re likely to have the finger on the pulse and be ‘in the know’

Be aware that agency contracts can be costly, and you may be tied into a contract for a substantial minimum term. On the other hand, you will be able to get a long-term strategy at a set price.

Ultimately, working with an agency may cost a little more, but the varied skillset and focused attention to your website’s SEO will yield great results. (But don’t forget — you need to put in some legwork too)

SEO consultant – cost-effectiveness & professionalism

Some experienced SEOs are now going freelance as consultants, managing SEO contracts on their own terms. Hiring a consultant SEO means you can often benefit from a dynamic working relationship where you get full access to a considerable amount of SEO talent.

Pros of a freelance SEO consultant

  • Due to lower overheads, you often get cheaper rates by working with a freelance consultant
  • Freelancers tend to have a lot of experience working in the field, usually 5 years or more and are dedicated SEOs
  • Consultants are often hungrier for results and will be up for developing a very close relationship with your team

Do your research to find the best possible consultant to suit your unique business needs. SEO consultants are often specialists, so find someone who’s good at what you need, whether that’s content, links, or technical SEO.

Photo of Zein Marketings guest blogger Gareth Simpson.

Gareth Simpson – Technical SEO & Startup Founder

Gareth Simpson is an SEO pro with over a decade in the industry. He’s currently focusing his attention on blogger outreach and content marketing.