In-House vs. Outsourcing: Who has the SEO Advantage?

[We welcome back Casie Gillette as a guest blogger!!]

This past May I left the world of consulting (and my good friends here at KoMarketing) to take an in-house SEO position at, a virtual phone system provider for small businesses.  After four years of being on the agency side, I thought it would be interesting to get a new perspective.

There are certainly some big differences when it comes to in-house and agency life but I have been learning that each side has its own advantages. Lucky for me, KoMarketing was nice enough to let me come back and share them with you:

In-House SEO Advantages:

Team Collaboration

The main difference has been having all facets of the business in one place; Marketing, Design, Engineering & Decision makers. One of the most frustrating things as a consultant is waiting on approval and implementation.

Recently I needed some new pages created for SEO. I worked with our usability expert in laying them out and then our design team put a template together. Our PPC manager was able to test them out to see if it the design would convert and then adjustments were made. All-in-all the process took about three weeks from start to finish and I was able to add new content-rich, converting pages to the site. Having everyone in one area can make it much easier to get things done in a timely manner.

Time Time Time

The biggest difference between working at an agency and working in-house has to be the amount of time spent on a site.

As an agency you have a designated amount of time you can spend on a client based on cost and man-hours. When you are in-house and only have one client (aka your company), the entire week/month/year is dedicated to that business. There is more time to do research, come up with ideas, implement ideas and make changes.

SEO Agency Advantages:

SEO Team

One of the greatest advantages an agency has is the people; Experts that work next to one another and have years of experience with SEO/PPC. These people get to sit with each other, bounce ideas off one another and work with each other during those times when your brain just can’t think of what to do next.

Sometimes when you spend so much time on one site, it can be easy to get caught in a tunnel. Having another search marketer to talk with and generate ideas with is a huge asset. Plus, having several SEO nerds in one place means that they have probably worked on a number of clients and in turn know what works and what doesn’t.

Time Time Time

Wait a second Casie, I thought you said that was an in-house advantage? Well, truth be told it can be an advantage for both sides. An agency may have a limited amount of time they can spend but that means they have to really prioritize and figure out what will have the quickest and most effective impact for a client.

A good SEO agency will work with you to learn about your business, marketing, sales and what needs to happen to make those sales. Then they will tailor a program to your needs, more importantly to your bottom line. And even more importantly, the success of your business directly affects the success of the agency so you know they will be doing everything they can to improve your business!

Whether a company should outsource or bring their SEO in-house is really dependent on their own needs but you can see that the two do have their own advantages. I am sure those on each side can bring about an argument of which is better but I can tell you this, being in-house, I am glad that I still have my agency and consulting friends. That is one of the best parts about SEO…no matter what side you work on, everyone is always willing to help each other out.

Casie Gillette is the SEO Manager at Grasshopper, a provider of virtual phone systems for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Feel free to shoot her an email (cgillette [at] or follow her on Twitter.

“KoMarketing is instrumental to the success of CDNetworks global search marketing efforts. The relentless attention to detail and strategic approach continues to push us toward greater results.”

William Vuong — William Vuong, Senior Marketing Manager

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