Attempting to handle SEO in-house is an expensive, complicating, distracting and generally futile exercise. Unless you’re a global enterprise with extremely deep pockets, able to attract and hire the SEO’s best and brightest — and a lot of them — it’s going to be a real challenge to staff properly, get all the necessary work done, achieve results, and do the work for less than what an agency would charge.
The DIY SEO Math — It Doesn’t Add Up
To illustrate the difficulties of DIY SEO, let’s do a quick run-through on the numbers.
If a company is ready to invest $5,000 a month in SEO, it can outsource the work to an agency and buy itself a robust and effective SEO campaign covering a wide range of strategic, high-converting keywords.
An agency investment of $5,000 a month is the equivalent of a $60,000 salary (let’s ignore the costs of benefits, training and management to keep it simple).
Question: Can $60,000 in salary expense cover the bases needed to set up and execute an SEO campaign? Answer: No, not even close. This is what the company would need:
- At least one copywriter/content marketing specialist to produce original, engaging, professional, optimized, edited and proofread content with high appeal to the target audience(s).
- At least one outreach specialist for linkbuilding, to identify relevant and reputable publishing websites on which to place the company’s content or insert non-content links, pitch content and manage publisher relationships.
- At least one analyst to gather relevant data, research and identify strategically important keywords based on a wide range of criteria, generate performance reports focused on appropriate campaign KPIs, and review them to identify campaign weaknesses and strengths.
- At least one web designer to create design elements for SEO content (infographics, slide presentations and graphical elements within textual content), execute on-site changes to existing pages, and to create new pages for improved keyword focus.
- At least one web developer to publish new SEO-driven website content and manage SEO-driven website enhancements and technical fixes (such as improving page-loading speed, setting up 301 redirects and repairing broken links).
- A lead validator to review all website conversions (i.e., phone inquiries and form submissions) to separate sales leads from non-lead conversions. Lead validation is extremely important for campaign performance evaluation and continual improvement.
- A strategist to prioritize keyword emphasis, develop a long-term plan for on-site and off-site SEO activity, create campaign tests, evaluate test results and continually adjust course. The strategist must also keep his/her finger on the pulse of the rapidly evolving SEO industry, to ensure the company’s execution keeps pace with industry best practices.
- A campaign manager to set up and manage the workflow, make sure the team is working efficiently, and keep the campaign on schedule and within budget.
Does this sound complicated? If so, keep in mind this quick staff rundown is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the many details that must be covered in an SEO campaign.
Can this all be done for $60,000 in annual salary? No.
A Worse Idea
When these grim realities of in-house SEO set in, companies sometimes change gears and opt for in-house SEO on the cheap, with a bare-bones budget. They figure some SEO is better than none. This approach is equally ineffective, and, in fact, can expose the company to great risk.
A Better Idea
The answer, of course, is to find a reputable SEO agency that is a good fit with your company. If you’re still looking for one, please contact us. We’d welcome an opportunity to learn more about your needs and see if we can help.