Should I Hire an SEO Reputation Management Agency or an In-House SEO Analyst?

  • May 2, 2024
  • 8 min read

Building a strong online reputation isn’t just important – it’s a game changer. Search engines are the home of modern business, and showing up in the right search results dramatically increases your exposure and conversion possibilities. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) and reputation management go hand in hand. When you rank well with search engines, your brand’s online reputation grows – and when you polish up your reputation, your rankings improve.

This makes SEO reputation management one of the most critical initiatives your company can focus on. The question is, do you handle this in-house, or do you outsource it to SEO professionals? 

Truthfully, there’s not a right or wrong answer. Choosing to work with an external agency can be a fantastic move for your SEO strategy, but it depends on your needs, preferences, and budget. 

Not sure what’s right for you? Keep reading. We’re diving into the pros and cons of hiring an SEO agency vs. in-house SEO.

Hiring an SEO Agency

First, we want to explore why many companies (especially small businesses) hire SEO agencies. As you’ll soon learn, there are some big incentives to working with a full-fledged team of professionals with expansive knowledge and resources.

The Pros  

Expertise and Experience

SEO reputation management agencies specialize in enhancing online visibility and managing brand perception. As a result, they bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, staying updated with the latest trends and algorithms from search engines.

Diverse Skill Set

Beyond search engine optimization specialists, these agencies typically comprise SEO professionals with diverse skill sets, including content marketing experts, social media managers, and PR experts. This multifaceted approach ensures comprehensive online reputation management strategies, from keyword research to paid advertising and beyond.

Although you can hire an in-house SEO professional, chances are, they can’t do the jobs of multiple people. For full SEO services, you’re better off working with a well-developed team. 


A huge benefit of outsourcing your search engine goals to agencies is that they can scale their SEO services according to your needs. Whether you require a one-time reputation repair campaign or ongoing monitoring and maintenance, your partner has the means to tailor services to suit your SEO strategy requirements.

In other words, you get precisely what you need (and want to pay for) – no more and no less. If your needs change, you can update your SEO plan without hiring or firing employees. 

Access to Tools and Resources

Whether we’re talking about keyword research or content marketing, the best SEO reputation management agencies invest in cutting-edge tools and resources. This helps them accurately analyze data, track online mentions, and monitor brand sentiment. In turn, they can provide actionable insights and strategies for improving your brand’s reputation and appearing in Google search results.

Although you can find and use some of these tools on your own, they come at an added cost – one that will already be rolled into your agency plan. 

The Cons 

We won’t lie – working with an external agency isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. Let’s examine two of the biggest drawbacks that push some companies to hire internally.

Cost of SEO Services

If your marketing budget is fairly limited, you might not be interested in shelling out the bucks to work with an SEO marketing company. 

Agency fees can include retainer charges, project-based fees, or monthly subscriptions, which add up over time. In the United States, average SEO hourly rates can run between $75 to $100 while monthly retainers usually fall between $500 and $1,500. 

However – as we mentioned, most agency services are scalable, so you have the option to tailor your pricing and make it more manageable. 

Furthermore, it still costs money to hire internally. Any worthwhile SEO specialist in America is going to ask for an annual salary of at least $60,000, which is probably more than you’d spend on a standard SEO package.

Lack of Direct Control

The next big problem is that if you’re working with an external company, you’ll need to entrust your online reputation management to strangers – and that can be hard. 

If you’ve been managing your own SEO strategy, turning to SEO specialists might feel like giving another company the keys to the castle. You’re exchanging full control for a stronger digital presence, and if that doesn’t sit right with you, you may want to hire internally. 
Of course, a good SEO agency won’t just snatch the reins out of your hands. Instead, they’ll get to know your brand inside and out, then involve you in all the big decisions and changes.

Hiring an In-House SEO Analyst  

It’s time for us to play devil’s advocate! Certain benefits come with hiring someone to oversee your SEO strategy in-house, which is why many companies still do so.

The Pros

In-Depth Knowledge of the Brand

An in-house SEO specialist will be intimately familiar with your brand – because they work there! They’ll be 100% in tune with your business goals, target audience, branding standards, and many other important details.

If your internal team can translate this knowledge into better rankings in search results and a sparkling online brand reputation, that’s gold.

Immediate Availability

With an in-house search engine analyst, you have direct access to expertise whenever you need it. This can be particularly advantageous in handling urgent online reputation management issues or responding to real-time feedback.

Greater Control

As mentioned earlier, some business owners struggle to turn over their business to strangers. When you hire an internal search engine optimization team or specialist, you retain more control over your SEO strategy. You can also closely collaborate with them to align efforts with overarching business objectives.

The Cons

Keeping your entire digital marketing strategy under one roof might seem like a great idea, but doing so limits your capabilities. Let’s take a look at some of the potential drawbacks.

Limited Expertise and Resources

While an in-house analyst may possess valuable skills, they tend to lack the breadth of expertise and resources available to specialized agencies. This can hinder the effectiveness of their reputation management and SEO efforts, especially in complex scenarios.

Conversely, agencies are knee-deep in the latest SEO best practices and algorithm updates. That’s their job, and they’ll ensure you benefit from all their research and knowledge.

Training and Development Costs

Working with an SEO agency costs money, but so does building an in-house search engine team. You’ll need to invest in recruitment, training, and professional development. Additionally, retaining top talent may entail competitive salaries and benefits, further adding to the price of your SEO services.

Risk of Tunnel Vision

If you don’t work with a third party, your team can become too immersed in internal affairs, potentially overlooking external factors influencing your online reputation and SEO strategy. This tunnel vision could lead to missed opportunities or delayed responses to emerging trends or issues.

Sometimes, it helps to have an external team that can look at the full picture, especially in comparison to other clients in your industry.

The Bottom Line: It’s Up to You

Ultimately, the decision to hire an SEO agency or an in-house analyst depends on various factors, including your specific budget, organizational goals, and the complexity of your reputation management needs.

If you’re seeking specialized expertise, scalability, and external perspective, partnering with a reputable SEO company might be the best option. On the other hand, those prioritizing brand intimacy and direct control may opt for building an in-house team.
Regardless of your choice, proactive reputation management is essential in today’s digital landscape. You don’t just need to rank well in Google search results – you need to foster trust and loyalty among your audience, in whichever manner best suits your business.

Looking for Comprehensive SEO Services? We’re Your Team.

As a trained SEO agency, our marketing professionals specialize in reputation and SEO campaign management. Whether we’re responding to negative reviews or producing high-quality content for our clients, our goal is always to help them shine.

Want to appear in better search results? Have questions about how SEO agencies operate? Reach out to our marketing team and we’ll answer all of your questions.

Better yet, set up a free consultation! We’ll discuss your needs and provide an honest recommendation on the best SEO path for your organization.

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