As e-commerce is developing in Romania, online marketing starts to become the main concern of numerous businesses. Larger and smaller companies invest in marketing services, to improve their online presence and to get higher sales.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the most important online marketing tools now, along with paid campaigns (PPC), and social media promotion. Although there are businesses that prefer to invest in PPC services since they guarantee results in a shorter time, SEO services offer a much higher ROI (Return on Investment) and long-term results.
SEO is a long-term investment and businesses who want to have a good online presence should invest in such services. But the question that many entrepreneurs ask themselves is if they should hire an in-house SEO specialist or sign a contract with an online marketing agency.
“10 years ago, the answer to this question would’ve been, without doubt, an in-house SEO specialist. However, since then, the way we do SEO has changed considerably, in such a way that one person is certainly not enough to achieve the desired results”, says Ovidiu Joita, CEO of iAgency.ro, one of the best-known online marketing agencies in Romania.
In the past, SEO optimization was done by an IT or Engineering student, who wanted to earn some extra money in college. The main activity consisted of creating a few backlinks for the client’s website. However, in time, search engines have evolved greatly and changed their algorithms to deliver the best results to users. And how else could they do it if not by analyzing their online behavior and taking their preferences into account?
“If in the past it was enough to create a few backlinks for a website, to obtain high rankings in Google SERPs, nowadays this is not possible anymore. Search engines started to take more and more into account user interaction with your website, and, if they are not pleased with what they find online, search engines might downgrade you. This is why, to do SEO optimization today, you have to try and offer users a pleasant experience, through the website’s design, the messages you send, and the content you publish. To do this professionally, you have to know a little bit of psychology, marketing, and even business. SEO optimization is nowadays a very complex activity, that could generate long-term results if it’s done well”, Ovidiu Joita adds.
What are the advantages of hiring an SEO agency?
An agency usually has a team of SEO specialists, copywriters, programmers, and project managers that work on different projects from different areas. Their experience and talent, combined with a series of tools, specially developed for this activity and which generate a series of data that can determine a website’s growth, represent an advantage for every company that wants to develop its online presence.
“A company offering SEO optimization is permanently connected to what’s going on in the industry. Specialists from an SEO agency are always updated with all the algorithm changes. At iAgency.ro, for example, we hold training sessions frequently and we encourage reading a lot on the topic, to keep up with the changes”, Joita says.
Companies who work in the SEO optimization industry have tens of projects simultaneously and face different problems every day, which is why they don’t tend to stall, as an in-house specialist would. And because of their extensive experience in different domains, if your website has a problem, they will quickly identify it and come up with a solution.
SEO agencies already know what works, what doesn’t work, and what strategy can bring the fastest results.
“In an SEO agency, strategies are not developed at random because regardless of the problems a website has, people in the team have most certainly encountered them before and it’s much easier for them to come up with a solution and to deliver results quickly”, Joita adds.
Furthermore, companies offering SEO optimization services make sure their employees are qualified because, if they don’t deliver results, the company’s reputation could suffer.
When it comes to costs, at first the price charged by an agency might seem high. But even a good SEO specialist (freelancer or employed) can cost you as much. Furthermore, you could invest extra money in tools, training sessions, equipment, etc. When you work with a company that does SEO optimization, these costs are part of the monthly allocated budget.
What are the advantages of hiring an in-house SEO specialist?
An in-house specialist will be 100% devoted to your business. He will be permanently connected to the industry you activate in, as well as your needs. Furthermore, he will be able to communicate with employees from other departments as well.
“An in-house SEO specialist will build connections with other members of the team. This could influence the marketing or PR strategies, considering that he can communicate to them daily”, Joita says. “On the other hand, a company offering SEO optimization services can forward the problems to those managing a company, when the employees from the marketing or PR departments are not receptive. Furthermore, when in-house communication is poor, an SEO agency can be the outside voice that can clarify things”, he adds.
An in-house specialist can be an ideal option if you want to have direct control over the SEO optimization strategy. Because they are your employee, they can adopt your vision easier and they can focus on what’s more important for you.
However, this permanent focus can be a double-edged sword. The risk of having a limited vision and stagnating is relatively high, especially when there is only one specialist in the company’s SEO department. Because their focus is exclusively on your business, it can be difficult for them to have another perspective when problems occur.
Last but not least, an in-house SEO specialist can be quite expensive, especially if you hire them full-time. In this domain, there is an acute shortage of qualified people, which is why the fees charged by freelancers or those who want to get a job in this domain are quite high, sometimes even higher than what an agency would charge you.