How Third Party Partnerships Boost In-House SEO Teams

by Jul 6, 2017

Digital marketers continue to expand the respon­si­bil­i­ties of their role. Within the past couple of years, we have seen massive disrup­tions in social, paid, search, and mobile market­ing. Each one of the concen­tra­tions has depth and nuances that require time and dedi­ca­tion to master. Misman­age­ment, under­fund­ing, or neglect­ing any one of these chan­nels will be detri­men­tal in an age of ever-rising compe­ti­tion.

Natu­rally, this is where outsourc­ing comes in. But outsourc­ing can be more than just assign­ing certain projects to a third party partner. Rather, these part­ner­ships can allow your in-house teams to thrive.

The responsibility of an in-house SEO

The respon­si­bil­i­ties for search engine market­ing (SEM) managers have ballooned over the years as compa­nies squeeze produc­tiv­ity out their employ­ees. Iron­i­cally, in 2015, Google posted a job listing for a Search Engine Opti­miza­tion (SEO) Program Manager. There are many advanced qual­i­fi­ca­tions for a typical SEO within this Google job posting. This posting is becom­ing more reflec­tive of the indus­try as a whole. There are numer­ous post­ings for SEO related  posi­tions that are just as demand­ing, requir­ing exper­tise in multi­ple of the follow­ing areas:

  • Creative
  • Paid Media
  • Digital Market­ing Strat­egy
  • SEO Strat­egy
  • Social Media
  • Manage­ment
  • Email
  • Web devel­op­ment
  • Report­ing, Analyt­ics, and Fore­cast­ing

Finding people that are knowl­edge­able in many of these may be possi­ble and expen­sive. However, finding someone who is an expert or knowl­edge­able in ALL of these areas is synony­mous with finding a unicorn.

While Google’s listing may be on the extreme end of tech­ni­cal SEO for many orga­ni­za­tions, it does demon­strate the depth and level of exper­tise SEO may require at the enter­prise level.

How can you maximize the ROI of your in-house SEO or digital marketing team?

  • Assess the strengths of your in-house team
  • Obtain Strat­egy from an agency
  • Define clear goals and time­lines for digital market­ing initia­tives early
  • Contin­u­ally assess the capac­ity of your in-house SEO staff

Assess the strengths of your in-house team

Every team has their strengths and chal­lenges. Part­ner­ing with the correct exter­nal part­ners and agen­cies can comple­ment your strengths, and deliver results that are greater than the sum of their parts.

For example, your in-house team has years of digital content expe­ri­ence but lacks the tech­ni­cal exper­tise neces­sary for website plat­form migra­tions. A company has to consider spend­ing capital or labor resources on devel­op­ing inter­nal compe­tency or outsourc­ing to a partner with website migra­tion exper­tise.

There are bene­fits to both scenar­ios. However, final deci­sions rely on decid­ing on solu­tions that allow your inter­nal teams to deliver the most value. You may assess your in-house team’s strengths and deter­mine your team doesn’t have the expe­ri­ence and capac­ity to complete certain projects within the firm’s expec­ta­tions, time, and budget. When that’s the case, it’s worth consid­er­ing outsourc­ing to allow your team to focus on what they do best.


Obtain Strategy from an Agency

You don’t have to sign on to a long-term part­ner­ship with an agency to reap the SEO bene­fits. Instead, bring a third party on board for initial plan­ning, strate­giz­ing, and hiring to ensure that your SEO goals are met. It may even spark inter­est in more customized solu­tions.

There are night­mare stories of compa­nies not seeking sound SEO guid­ance and losing 40%+ of their organic traffic overnight. Small errors may cost compa­nies millions of dollars, so outsourc­ing strat­egy can be a worth­while invest­ment in the long run that allows in-house teams to focus on flaw­less execu­tion.

This is espe­cially true when consid­er­ing an agency that under­stands your verti­cal and your busi­ness; it can be the differ­ence between an SEO success and a night­mare. Maybe during discus­sions, you’ll learn it’s not a great idea to build your entire site with Angular JS even though that is your devel­op­er’s pref­er­ence. Or possi­bly, the CMS you choose will never allow you to alter the title tags of your pages. Obtain­ing a second opinion and possi­bly a reli­able long-term partner can spare you from costly mistakes down the road.

Define clear goals and timelines for digital marketing initiatives early

Without measur­able goals under an enforce­able time­line, market­ing campaigns can fail to deliver mean­ing­ful results. While this may seem obvious, we see this happen far too often.

A lack of well-defined goals makes the eval­u­a­tion of need resources extremely diffi­cult and leads to sub-optimal return on invest­ment. Addi­tion­ally, not setting expec­ta­tions early with an agency often creates unde­sired and unnec­es­sary tension in the part­ner­ship.

Nobody likes being stressed out, so prior­i­tize setting clear goals. It’s easy for orga­ni­za­tions to put SEO on the back burner, despite its record of gener­at­ing traffic and leads. However, when SEO has been decided on as a market­ing tactic it requires coop­er­a­tion and buy-in from devel­op­ers, design­ers, finance, and the rest of the market­ing depart­ment. Conse­quently, invit­ing expe­ri­enced SEOs in the conver­sa­tion early to set well- defined goals and expec­ta­tions can save many people headaches and long nights that would occur other­wise.  

Continually assess the capacity of your in-house SEO staff

Orga­ni­za­tions have ever-chang­ing needs and capac­ity. The deci­sion to partner with an agency should not be a one-time deci­sion. Regular eval­u­a­tion is needed to ensure that all company objec­tives can be met. You may find that certain outsourced objec­tives can be brought in-house, or that new objec­tives are better off outsourced.

For example, let’s say your company has multi­ple websites, and two of them are under­go­ing aggres­sive market­ing or devel­op­ment campaigns. Website A needs some serious content market­ing, while Website B is an e‑commerce site needing to tran­si­tion from HTTP to HTTPS on top of day-to-day main­te­nance respon­si­bil­i­ties.

Under such a scenario it may not make sense to develop a new depart­ment or hire a few new employ­ees. It isn’t usually neces­sary or cost effec­tive for most orga­ni­za­tions to develop and launch websites in-house, even in today’s highly digital age. Instead, orga­ni­za­tions may be better off outsourc­ing this web devel­op­ment project and hiring tech­ni­cal SEO experts to handle the HTTPs migra­tion (if you don’t already have tech­ni­cal SEOs on staff, of course). If you have in-house content writers, it may be worth­while to have them handle content devel­op­ment. If not, hiring free­lancers could be more cost effec­tive.

For more on HTTPs Migra­tions, read: The Why, When, and How of HTTPs Migra­tions

Compa­nies have aggres­sive goals for the year, so it’s impor­tant to know early on which SEO projects may need outsourc­ing. Keeping a close eye on what website initia­tives are in the queue will benefit strate­gic plan­ning and let your in-house SEOs focus on what they do best.

We are a consultancy, so why are we vouching for in-house SEOs?

First and fore­most, our capac­ity-build­ing approach seeks to empower our clients, so we enjoy seeing in-house teams thrive. Addi­tion­ally, in-house SEO teams also help exter­nal part­ner­ships be as success­ful as possi­ble. While we of course work with compa­nies lacking in-house SEO teams, the exis­tence of those teams helps the part­ner­ship run smoother and more effi­ciently in three main ways:

  1. In-house teams cham­pion SEO and digital market­ing, enabling us to deliver high-quality results on time and within budgets.
  2. They under­stand the inter­nal culture from the begin­ning of an engage­ment, allow­ing for smoother commu­ni­ca­tion with key deci­sion makers.
  3. In-house teams are instru­men­tal in helping deliver effec­tive, inno­v­a­tive, and quality solu­tions.

In short, in-house SEO teams not only help our clients thrive on the daily, but they also help clients get the most value from our part­ner­ship. What’s not to love?

For more on how we can collab­o­rate simply click here to contact us.