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:
- Paid Media
- Digital Marketing Strategy
- SEO Strategy
- Social Media
- 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.
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:
- In-house teams champion SEO and digital marketing, enabling us to deliver high-quality results on time and within budgets.
- They understand the internal culture from the beginning of an engagement, allowing for smoother communication with key decision makers.
- 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.