Stuck between the never-ending dilemma of choosing between an SEO consultant or a full-time employee?
Worry not, we are here to help you decide. The answer to the question is completely ambiguous and depends completely on your requirements.
Large organizations overcome this problem by combining the best of both worlds, that is, they hire a full-time employee who works with the SEO agency amongst other things, just like an HR does.
Unlike everything else in life, choosing anything will present you with a set of pros and cons. First of all, let us take a look at what an SEO Consultant and a Full-time employee has to offer
An SEO agency is a team of professionals who work constantly to improve your search rankings on the web. Each agency is packed with a team of experienced SEO specialists who excel at what they do.
Since they are working on multiple clients concomitantly, SEO agencies are able to bypass the infrastructure of your organizations and provide you with their expertise in the field without any hiccups. If your website has a particular SEO problem, there is a high chance that the agency has already worked out on a solution which will help you climb that ladder at a rapid pace.
But beware, there are a lot of these consultants out there which might trick you by offering to drastically improve your ranking and traffic at a fraction of cost. There is a lot of background work and it takes many years for any consultancy to do a good job.
There are some things which need to be taken into consideration before you take a leap of faith and outsource your work to an SEO agency.
The first thing to ask an SEO consultancy is a record of their current and past clients. Any respectable SEO will never ever deny sharing a list of all their clients and their contact information. Past clients are often a reliable source of information when considering how good of a job an SEO agency does.
Even if they cannot provide you with all the analytics and the statistics, they can surely tell you if the consultancy had any positive impact whatsoever.
Strategies and methodologies used
Beware of consultancies who won’t tell you how they will actually work on improving your website. Confirm if the agency is going to work on “on-page” optimizations, which makes your website search engine friendly.
Also, you should ask them if they are going to work on some “off-page” optimizations as well. These methods include publicizing your website using blogs or social media.
Since SEO agencies make usually involve making a great number of changes to the website’s existing code, you should always ensure that the agency you are dealing with is really reliable.
For example, the people from the agency will make modifications to the existing HTML tags. Therefore, make sure that the people you hand over your code to know exactly what they are doing.
There are strict policies and rules which the SEO agencies have to stick to if they want a web page to get more traffic or rank higher. Ask your consultancy if they adhere to these and constantly update themselves with any changes whatsoever.
If these simple guidelines are ignored and the agency makes the mistake to include spammy and bogus content, your website might even get banned from search engine results.
Although there are some advantages such as the expertise that comes with the team, full-time employee’s can offer services where these “SEO agencies” fail to deliver their promises. Since the consultants are obviously working with multiple clients at the same time, there may be a chance that the agency you hired outsources their work to some shady SEO consultancy, if they don’t have the required time and manpower for your project.
In this case, your business might not get the advantage only which a full-time dedicated employee can. But things are not green here either. There are a few things to keep in mind before hiring an employee for the SEO process.
Part of the core team
Keep in mind that the employee you hire will have to know the inner working of your organization. The best time to hire a full-time SEO expert is at the early stages of the business, which will give you a fair advantage over your competitors.
This also means that the expert can easily coordinate and communicate with all the other employees, and will be able to deliver more, especially if hired during the website development.
Strategic control and micro-management
A full time employee is bound to work under your supervision, giving you the extra edge to make him clearly understand your companies vision. Want to suddenly change your strategy on how to advertise and promote your website? No problem. An employee can easily make the changes necessary as you seem fit once you tell him to do so.
Compared to an SEO consultancy, a team of SEO employees can literally help you save money in the long run. A typical agency charges anywhere in the range of $70-$100 per hour, where an employee will be happy enough to work for you for merely 1$12-$25 per hour depending on their experience and expertise.
Since small businesses cannot simply afford the costs associated with an agency, it is better off to hire a single employee.
Since the employee is going to focus only on your business, they are usually, more productive than an SEO agency for almost the same price. Find an experienced SEO expert and you are good to go.
Apart from the SEO process, you can make him focus on other aspects of the company too, such as PR management and web marketing.
When making the hard choice between the two, always, always keep in mind that SEO is an ongoing and continuous process. You might not see the expected results in a few days or even months. It is, in all honesty, a fairly demanding task.
One should always remember that like advertising and marketing, SEO is not free. Although there is no extra cost associated, you will always get results depending on how much you spend on the process.
The best way to ensure that your website gets organic traffic is by combining both. Hire a full-time employee who can easily tell the consultancy on what and when to do something. Allocate a considerable amount of funds on SEO, irrespective of your choice.