Chalk Talk

SEO. In-House or Outsource? The Sequel. (Part 2 of 3)

You’ve been going back and forth. Made pros and cons lists and we bet this has probably made your head spin — should you bring in your own SEO team from scratch or should you hire a top agency for your SEO campaign?

Part one of our in-house/outsource discussion covered two foundational elements to consider when deciding to hire either an in-house SEO team or an agency — your money and your time. (We did not start this discussion off lightly.) If you haven’t read that post yet, start there and come back. Here in our sequel, we stride deeper into the weeds. The plot thickens…

When do you want to get your SEO effort started?

If your timetable is flexible, then an in-house team (especially if you hire experienced SEO professionals) will have time to acclimate and formalize a gameplan. But if you’re on a tight timeline, it might make sense to at least start with an agency while getting an internal team together. You may end up loving the agency’s work and find it’s the right fit anyway.

Do you already have someone (or someones) on staff who has the right skills?

Look to your left. Look to your right. One of those co-workers could be the SEO “optimizer” for you. If you already have someone with foundational optimization knowledge, this is an excellent place to start. Or, consider someone with exceptional organizational skills, the desire to research and problem-solve, and has good project management skills. Resources are available to help them learn SEO best practices and even get certified. Moz, an industry leader, has a terrific course for beginners.

However, if no one in your company even knows what SEO stands for, then consider an agency.

Then thank the universe for making this decision for you. An agency wouldn’t offer SEO services if they didn’t know what that entailed. But don’t assume all agencies implement SEO in the same way. You’ll want to make sure they offer and can implement the tactics and strategies that match your goals.

Can the same person handle all aspects of SEO or will you need multiple people?

This is a big question. And it starts with your SEO goals. From minor tweaks to a major overhaul, this will dictate how many SEOs you may need. There is a wide range of expertise in SEO—from website development to copywriting to citations management—and your SEO goals will determine whether your SEO team is a one-person team or if you’ll need three or five or seven team members. This could mean you’ll need to hire multiple people or extend your search for the right one person. Either way, SEO is a highly multifaceted business and creating an expert staff from scratch is doable, but will take time and effort.

According to a 2017 article on, the span of what works vs. top priorities demonstrates that great span of talent needed for holistic SEO efforts.

Content development requires a different set of skills than technical onsite optimization, which is different from outreach link building… And they all rule this survey.

On the other hand, an agency already has those pieces in place. After all, they aren’t starting to build their team from scratch. If managing your SEO is too much for one (exceptional) person on your staff, consider hiring an agency that will come with a team of experts. The other perk of hiring an agency is that their team of experts likely extends into other digital and/or more broad marketing disciplines to help your business grow beyond SEO.

The conclusion of this epic tale will come to fruition in our final post in this series. As always, if you have any questions or want to chat, Red Chalk Studios is right here, ready to help.

Red Chalk Studios has been helping clients understand, develop and grow their brands for over 16 years. Interested in building a strong and successful brand? Let’s talk!

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