Pros and Cons of In-House SEO

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I’m just coming up to the end of my first year of being an In House SEO, and it was clear in the first few months how much more beneficial it was to be on the client side rather thank the agency side. I have now decided to weigh up some pro’s and con’s of being an In House SEO.


If like me your company only runs one website you get to dedicate 100% of your time to doing SEO on that one website. In reality I run at 80% with 20% research and catching up on industry news. I get 100% control on the strategies and paths to success.

Being the first SEO in a company and after showing them your worth you can sell the idea of building an SEO team of copywriters, link builders etc. This is, in my opinion, every In House SEO’s idea of bliss, In my position I could bring in people under my wing and really help to develop them in the online marketing world.

Also being an In House SEO does not mean I do just SEO. I, like most digitally minded people, enjoy a whole load of things around the Internet. Social Media is something that I brought to my company and now we have a very solid and stable Social Media presence. Also as is the way of an SEO I can find anything on the internet, once a week I will look for negative reviews and issues that our customers have posted on forums and website.

I will try to find the customers details and get our Customer Relation team to help the customer out and turn the negative customer into a positive customer. I am also working on our Mobile strategy too as it is something of interest.

It reminds me of a quote I seen late last year Aaron Bradley’s “Flying Solo: The One-Person In-House SEO Team” post on Search Engine Land. In it he showed the “Fictional In house SEO Job description” quoted below.

SEO specialist required for growing website. Responsibilities include on-page search engine optimization, inbound link development, PPC management, making HTML changes to the main website, developing PHP scripts, writing content for two blogs, creating landing pages and developing marketing campaigns.

Some people would find this a bad point. I however like this and really enjoy the variation of my role.

Last but not least because of the very high monthly rates that some agencies can charge for their services you can usually find yourself on a very good salary package and the company you work for will still make a great saving in its marketing spend. (Its not all about the money though!)


If you are a sole SEO in the marketing team it can be quite a challenge to bounce ideas of other members of the team. I am lucky however to work in an area of the UK with a thriving digital scene that meets up once a month for a bit of SEO networking. Twitter is also a good place to bounce ideas and find like minded individuals to share idea.

If something goes bad, your the one that has to take the blame and you are the one that has to fix it (usually ASAP). So remember everything you did, why you did it and when you did it. It will help you greatly if some keyword suddenly falls outside of the top 3 pages for no reason.

You can find some tasks very long winded on your own. Agency side I remember grabbing help from other SEO’s after all 6 heads on one long winded task is better than doing it yourself. Luckily I manage my time well and spread out the really long winded tasks that an SEO strategy can incur.

So there you go, some pro’s and con’s from an In house SEO that is well and truly converted to this way of working. I think this is definitely a “once you try it, you won’t go back to an agency” kind of career.

Shane Jones is an In House SEO working in for a leading Online Travel Agent in Manchester, England.



Shane Jones
Shane Jones is an In House SEO working in for a leading Online Travel Agent in Manchester, England.
Shane Jones
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  • Kay

    Really good read Shane!

    I think it’s important to consider the size of the company you are going to work for as an inhouse SEO and what other skills that have inhouse.

    I worked very briefly for a small company after being assured I would get full support from all staff there. I didn’t. The single guy who was considered the ‘IT Guru’ completely influenced some major changes within the company that he had neither the skills or the experience to maintain and he became very troublesome and obstructive in my efforts. The owner and other staff never had time to do anything that was asked of them either so there I was trying to do the SEO, PPC, website changes, blog posting, link building for 3 websites. Nightmare! It was impossible to manage AND implement the work required to meet the demands and targets expected by the business owner.

    My advice for anyone considering an inhouse SEO position would be to find out the following:
    How many websites are you expected to work with?
    What are the targets for each of those (traffic/ranks)?
    Are you expected to manage PPC budgets for each of those sites as well as optimising them for organic search? (And what are the budgets for the PPC campaigns)
    What support is available inhouse/externally? (E.g. web design/development, server maintenance/changes, website updates, staff available to assist with writing, link building, blogging, etc)
    What decisions are down to you and which are down to someone else? (Ie do you have control of how much is spent on what?)
    If required will there be a budget for employing additional staff specifically to assist with the online marketing?

    Some companies when looking for inhouse SEO’s expect too much from one person and have no idea of the support network that is required to effectively manage an online marketing campaign.

    It sounds as if you have a great support network around you Shane. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • Alex Moss

    Brilliant article, and covers everything an in-house SEO can do really. Coming from the same background and area, I can see that the cons never outweigh the pros, especially when it comes to career development.

  • Neil Yeomans

    Yo Shane, hope all is well @ work & enjoyed your domain migration article. Enjoyed the IM leading up to it. 🙂

    I think another major con with working in-house is how it limits your experience in verticals other than who you’re working for. As you know SEO in the travel vertical is very different to, say, B2B or personal finance. Whilst it’d be great to handle other campaigns on the side this is extremely difficult if you’re fully committed to your in-house role.

  • home builder seo

    Great blog, absolutely amazing content, when it comces to inhouse seo I would definetely say there are pros and cons which I would like to …