When it comes to getting SEO done for your website, you have two options
1). Do it on your own – for a small website with less competition, create your own team by hiring the 1-2 SEO specialist, 1-2 content writer, 1 Website developer and manage them with your in-depth knowledge about SEO to ensure you see the results and create new strategies.
For the above-mentioned team in India, it can cost you anywhere from 1.2 Lakhs ($1700) to 1.5 Lakhs ($2100) per month. Most of the resource you will acquire in this cost will have a maximum of 2 – 3 years experience.
Pros of such setup: You can manage the team and ensure you are getting content, website optimization and other important factors done as per your own priority. You can use the expertise of the individuals hired to ensure quality work is done across all the factors and leverage their experience to rank quickly for the targeted keywords.
Cons of such setup: As you are dependent on the hired resource, you have to manage their work performance including leaves, leaving the job, hiring replacements, etc. You have to keep a very close on the work is done on the website including the content placed on the website. If you are, a business owner who is busy in managing the work it becomes very challenging for you to manage an SEO team and stay up-to-date with their performance or work done. If any delay in hiring a resource can affect the overall performance of the website.
2). Hiring an Agency: Hiring an agency is the easy way out as you are outsourcing the entire SEO work to a setup which has things well established and have surplus resources in each team. On average an agency will have anywhere from 10 – 15 employees in SEO team, 5 – 10 content writers, 4-5 website developers, 4-5 creative employees for images, banners, creatives, etc. This gives them the flexibility to take on multiple projects at a single team.
Agencies are well structured and have a hierarchy established in an organization, which allows them to create multiple escalation points in case a customer is not happy with the work done and wants to escalate the concern.
Billing for the account is done on a monthly basis, which allows the owner of the website see the performance, and then continue every month. The website owner or the point of concern can view the reports like GA number, Backlinks creation, Off Page report, on page report, etc. and then decide to continue for next month.
Pros of such Setup:
1). More accountability
2). Performance Driven
3). Multiple escalation points
4). Enough resources to allocate to your project
5). Easily scalable, after reviewing performance you can ask the agency to do more work by paying extra to see better results.
6). Agencies have access to multiple tools, which allows them to do in-depth analysis.
7). Expensive resources with huge experience who can implement unique strategies to get results delivered.
8). Dedicated account managers are available for you to answer any of your queries.
Cons of such Setup:
1). Not every agency invest heavily in resources and can have fresher’s (Zero or no experience) working on your website. You should talk to employees working on a project to avoid such issues.
2). Giving complete access of your website to the agency so that On page changes can take place, sometimes you have a website where you might not be comfortable sharing access and may have to then hire an additional website developer on your side to implement the recommended SEO changes.
3). Communication gap, even when a dedicated account manager is there for your SEO campaign you still may feel you are not getting the updates as mentioned and may have to do follow-ups from your side.
4). Content and Graphics not up to the mark, content or graphics generated for your website may have issues as you have more expertise for your own product or services. The content team has to research and find out which can sometimes create this issue. To fix this when you initiate a project do a con call and explain about your brand, product & services.
For a big company, which has a big Digital media setup in the house having an SEO team in-house makes sense, however; if you are a small or a mid-size company having an agency is the right way to move ahead.
You are taking a chance with an agency however, few things, which can make sure that you have taken a good decision:
1). Check case study shared by the agencies.
2). Use the SEMrush free version to check how much traffic was increased in the last 6 months for the project the agency worked on.
3). Talk to team members who will work on the project.
4). Take fortnightly follow-ups on what is happening on the project, especially how many contents have been placed on the website.
5). Talk to the Project/Account manager about the first quarter strategies.
I hope this helps you in deciding what kind of setup you need and what to ask for when choosing an SEO agency for your website.
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Harmit Taunque (Digital Marketing Specialist)