Does your business need to hire an SEO company? How can you tell when the time is right to hire out your SEO? Or, should you build an in-house SEO team? Should you just attempt to handle it yourself?

Are you even able to do it all by yourself?

Digital marketing covers a broad array of strategies, activities, channels and platforms. Depending on the specific needs of your company, a plan that combines in in the proper amounts; PPC, Email Marketing, Social Media, SEO, Conversion Optimization, Web Design, Content Marketing, and more may be appropriate. You can go even deeper too, by dividing each of those categories further into specializations and sub-categories.

Consider whether you are actually in a position to develop your own in-house SEO or marketing team? Might it be wiser to delegate those needs to an agency that specializes in those tactics so you are able to keep your focus on running your own fundamental business activities?

Here is a simple diagnostic test – we will call it a company marketing assessment – that can help you determine where you currently stand and if you should hire a professional company or go the in-house route. Simply total the numbers of each of your answers to receive your results at the end.

What Is Your Monthly Budget For Online Marketing?

$12k/year (4)
$25k/year (3)
$50k/year (2)
$65k/year (1)
$1k/year (5)

According to several online sources, the average digital marketing manager who works full time on your account will cost in the $65k a year range. Someone with more experience may cost you more, and since it would be atypical to find the broad skillset that is required for SEO work in a single person, it is likely that you will need two or three people, which may cost you upwards of $200k each year.

Most SEO firms will work with you at a variety of service and pricing levels. However, if your budget is very small, $100 a month, for instance, then you may want to consider doing some research to see what you can do to optimize your website on your own.

Do You Think Your Web Team Can “SEO a Web Page”?

(3) Maybe if I ask nicely
(5) It is the internet, so obviously that’s their job
(1) Web development and search engine optimization are clearly different things.
(2) Not really, but my team should already know the basics, though, right?
(4) Isn’t all that “online” stuff related?

It is understandable to think that since your web team is already building out your website, getting it to rank well is not a big stretch for them. Unfortunately, this is not always true. The skills needed to optimize your website are very specific, so whomever you place in command of it really needs to know what they are doing.

Do You Already Have Employees with Skills Related to Online Marketing?

(3) A few. We have people who can write.
(2) We have people with some experience in this area.
(4) Probably not, there are a few staff with Facebook who post sometimes
(1) We have data miners, writers, developers, advertisers, and designers
(5) My employees don’t even know what SEO means.

The right combination of skills may already exist within your company, and you may have a wealth of SEO and marketing knowledge right under your nose. Even if your team currently possess the right skills, they may still need a manager to help them work cohesively.

Do You Have the Resources to Recruit and Maintain a Team?

(5) HR only happens to other people
(3) It is tedious, but we can handle it
(4) We are not ready to deal with all the health benefits, PTO, and taxes, for too many employees.
(2) We have an HR department, and it helps us manage our employees
(1) We have the talent, people, and time to build out a spectacular team

If you do decide to handle your digital marketing in-house, you need to ensure you are hiring the best people who align with your company’s culture.

How Much Do You Rely on the Internet for Your Business?

(1) Every click and query is priceless
(2) We are in the ecommerce business. One click is great, but doesn’t do much for our bottom line
(3) We manage both brick and mortar and online stores.
(4) We were told our business had to have a Facebook?
(5) The web? People actually use it still?

E-Commerce sites with massive lines of product are going to need more search engine optimization work than highly-focused or smaller businesses. The amount you rely upon the digital presence of your business will help decide if you should outsource your SEO and marketing.

Are Your Products and Services Too Complex and Specialized for Non-Employees to Understand?

(3) It might take a little work on their part, but it is certainly doable
(1) Very much so, and our clients know when someone is faking it
(2) Possibly, we would need to educate the team to bring them up to speed.
(5) There is probably something wrong with you if you cannot live without our products
(4) We deliver everyday objects people are commonly looking for.

Even in complex industries, it is still possible to outsource your company’s digital marketing, because the majority of principles regarding SEO do not change. It may however, require a little more time to bring all parties involved fully up to snuff.

Do You Have the Tools?

(5) We have spreadsheets. You can work with spreadsheets, right?
(4) We are handy at re-purposing our existing tools
(1) We always have and always will have top-of-the-line everything so we’re ready for every possible contingency
(3) You can talk us into getting new tools if we absolutely had to
(2) We have no problem adding to or updating the our “toolkits” to ensure things are done properly

There are tons of tools out there designed to make digital marketers more efficient at their jobs. Some are simple and free, others have a pretty steep learning curve to go along with their pretty steep prices.

Can You Keep Up with Changing Trends?

(2) We have people who make keeping up with the industry their life.
(1) Google lets us know when changes are coming.
(5) I heard posting the exact same article to 15 different platforms effective.
(3) We are going to wait until new “best practices” are better established.
(4) We do not have time read articles about search engine optimization

The digital marketing world is constantly changing. Do you have the research time and resources to keep up with the trends? If your in-house marketing team is inflexible, they may not be able to stay current with industry trends.

What is Your Target Audience?

(1) Digital distribution
(2) Global
(3) National
(4) Local
(5) Niche Audience

If you are targeting a smaller, niche audience, you probably do not need to hire an entire team to manage your campaigns in-house. Targeting a larger audience, who’s browsing and shopping methods flux constantly, however, you will likely need a dedicated crew.

Do You Believe that SEO is a Critical Part of Modern Marketing?

(4) Duh
(1) Definitely
(3) Obviously
(2) Absolutely
(5) Of course

There never seems to be a shortage of articles claiming search engine optimization is dead, or a waste of resources. Those who truly succeed with their digital marketing understand that as long as there are search engines that rely on an algorithm to deliver high-quality, relevant results there will always be a combination of best practices that you should follow to optimize your digital presence.

What is Your Score?

Add up the numbers by each of your responses to see where your business fits in this scale:

You may be ready to start building your own internal SEO and marketing team

A mixture of outsourced and in-house SEO could be the most effective

Outsourcing all of your SEO/marketing work to an agency might be the most efficient choice

You need to get started with an SEO firm, even if it is on a small scale

Consider selectively outsourcing one project at a time

Start slowly, investigate options and best practices, and see what you can do for your site on your own

Whatever your score, AdInfusion’s talented team of digital marketing experts can help get your website where you want it to be.  You can work with us, or we can show you how.  Contact us today for more info!