Stuart Marler
Stuart Marler 31 July 2015

SEO In-House Or Outsourced?

Should you do SEO yourself or outsource it?

SO, if you are reading this, you probably know that SEO is very important for promoting your website and business, or you have an inkling that it is quite important.

So you want to know, can I do this myself or wit my in-house team? OR is it best to outsource it to a professional agency?

There are several main questions to ask if you can do it yourself? Lets go through these one by one:

1. Knowledge Of SEO

How much do you know about search engine optimisation?

Are you very knowledgeable about SEO, do you know how important these are:


  • Keywords
    • Which ones to use?
  • TITLE tags
    • Do you know how long these should be?
    • Do you know which words to use?
  • Description tags
    • Do you know how long these should be?
    • What words to use?
  • Heading Tags
    • Do you know what words should be used?
  • Anchor text
    • Do yo uknow how to make one?
    • Which words should be used?
  • Links
    • How to make one?
    • Where they should go
  • Backlinks
    • Which ones are good – NOFOLLOW or DOFOLLOW
    • Who to link to?
    • How to link?
  • Alt Text
    • What words to use?
    • Where to use these?
  • Robots.txt
    • How to make this?
    • Why use one?
  • XML Sitemaps
    • How to make one?
    • Where to use it?
  • Content
    • What is GOOD content?
    • What is BAD content?
    • How much content to use?

OK, if you know all the above – excellent, likelihood is that you could do this yourself but can you put all this into action on your website? Do you have access to your website CMS? Or will you need to do it via coding? However, if you don’t know all of the above, still consider outsourcing the work, as you know what to check for, but is it worth doing a job half done? Or it worth doing a job almost done?

2. Do You Have The TIME To Do SEO?

Whilst having the knowledge to do SEO, do you have the time? There is a considerable amount of time to set aside in any busy diary for search engine optimisation, we would advise on approximately 20 hours of dedicated work per month, minimum for an average sized business – hey what is an “average sized business” you might ask – exactly!! We reckon with a small to medium sized business, with 10 – 30 pages, ongoing digital marketing services averagely work out about 20 hours of time we need to book for. This would include optimising all content, either provided by the client, or written b  our team, promoted across social media and other relevant sites, and social media interactions and backlinking work.

This does not include the setup of the work above, to fully optimise a website. for that, we need to look at the Keywords first, plan a strategy with the client to find out which keywords COULD be used, then find out which SHOULD be used and put them into action. This is site wide, not just one page, or for the blogs, but everywhere, including social media (hey, we get onto THAT subject later!!) then we need to add them to areas on the site that search engines will find them.

3. The Inclination To Actually Do SEO

What? Of course you want to do it, got the experience and knowledge but do you REALLY want to do it? Is it something that you will do wholeheartedly? Do you feel that your time and effort will be better suited to something else in your business? It is not worth doing a job half done, it will reflect in the results of your work. It will not produce the expected results, causing you in the long term to do less work, get less results and eventually give up.

4. Do what you are good at not SEO

If you are a car mechanic, or a business coach, do what you know best, is what you set up in business for, to do what you know and do best; leaving the marketing work to a professional. After all, would you service or repair your gas heating system? Unless of course, you are a certified gas fitter; would you repair or replace the brakes on your car? Similarly, if you can concentrate on the running of your business, that brings in the basis of your business, then concentrate on that; outsource to a professional, whether its the brakes on your car, the gas servicing of your boiler, or the digital marketing of your business.


A new client we took on 6 months ago, was doing their own search engine optimisation, they thought they had the knowledge, time and inclination to do it themselves. However, after 18 months of doing it in-house, they were not achieving the results expected. They were not getting any leads from their website, no enquiries and were getting despondent.

We were approached by the client and with a limited budget, we provided a report based on the site. We found that the site was not optimised at all, was not using the keywords relevant to the business – and actually being used by people to search for their services. Why rank for keywords that nobody actually uses in Google? It might well be good to be ranked No.1 in Google but if nobody actually uses those keywords, how are you going to be found by people actively searching for your services? For instance, for an Accountants company in Brighton, The keyword “Accountants in East Sussex” is on average, used 50 times per month, however, “Accountants Brighton” is used 320 times per month, by people searching in Google for these services.

We also looked at the amount of visitors that the company attracted to their website, we found that they only had approximately 1300 visitors per month, and the majority of these were bad referral traffic. This also resulted in a high bounce rate – 86% – so visitors were finding the site but not the content they expected.

Their social media was not being used effectively and they had low amount of content on their website, which limited their use to drive visitors to the site from social media.

Whilst the budget did not allow us to provide a new website, we set to work and conducted keyword research. We made some small design changes to the site, installed contact forms, and set up goals in Google Analytics. We used our keyword research to fully optimise the website, added better quality and quantity of content and started a full social media service.

Within 4 months we started to see great results, the visitor numbers initially were reduced as we blocked bad referral sites, and started to target UK based visitors. The bounce rate dropped significantly to 60% and is reducing each month, by providing the content people expect, so they stay longer on the site. The enquiries and leads generated from the site have increased from ZERO to upon average of 8 per month. This are REAL leads, generating enquiries that have so far lead to on average 3 full sales, 3 new clients for the last three months.

Social media is still growing, with more LIKES and followers across all platforms and as the site now has great content in the form of blogs and actual informative content on the pages, social media is helping to drive visitors to the site.


More qualified visitors to the site, those actively looking for an accountant. New clients, higher rankings and a satisfied customer who is focusing on what they do best and outsourcing the SOE to a professional agency.

Social media

5. Social Media

Again he we ask the same or very similar questions:

  • Knowledge of Social Media
    • How to do it
    • When to do it
    • Which social media platforms to use
    • How often
  • Do you have the TIME to do social media
  • The inclination to do social media
  • Do what you are good at and not Social Media

Social media is a time consuming service, and posting just any old content might do you more harm than good. Not posting often enough and at the wrong times of day can only waste your time, not produce results and then cause you to be despondent and give up.


I have a new client who was doing her own social media – only Facebook though, as she did not like Twitter or Google+. I looked at her Facebook account and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of LIKES she had, 1257 – all earned, not purchased. However, there was very little, almost ZERO  interactions between her friends. Also she was not promoting her own website or services but instead actively promoting her competitors.

We took over her social media promoting and by working with the client, added more content to her website in the form of informative content on individual pages – which will result in better SEO rankings, and blogs. In fact, her website had very limited content, not fully promoting all of her services.

We have increased the LIKES on Facebook, started to build organically the followers on her Twitter account and Google+ too.


This has increased referral traffic of people actively looking for her services and resulted in an increase of leads and sales. She is a small niche tour operator but since we helped her, has received 3 direct bookings for her tours, and it not paying 10% to referral sites.

CONCLUSION On Whether To Outsource SEO Or Do It In-House:

If you have the knowledge, inclination and the TIME to do SEO and social media – go ahead and do it; as long as it does not interfere with what you do best – running your business.


If any of the above seems daunting, and will result in you not doing the job fully, then outsource it.


Original Article


Find out more on the future of Content Marketing at our DLUK - Trends briefing on the 24th September 2015



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