When it Comes to SEO, When Should You Hire An In-House Expert And When Should You Hire A Freelancer?

When it Comes to SEO, When Should You Hire An In-House Expert And When Should You Hire A Freelancer?

The trend of working from home is one that is a force to be reckoned with, especially when you consider the sheer number of people who enter the gig economy in exchange for their full-time, regular desk jobs. There are many reasons why workers may like to take on a freelancing job, either full time or on the side. Some of the more common reasons include the option to bolster their income, to help them make ends meet, or because they want a more flexible schedule.

In fact, about 50% of the total workforce in the USA is comprised of freelancers. This in itself presents a huge labor pool that businesses can potentially tap into, and this labor pool is not restricted by location. You can easily gain access to professionals you might not have been able to if you were to hire them locally. So, how do you ensure that you’re able to put this labor pool to optimal use? When are the best times to hire freelancers or a team of freelance SEO experts to help you optimize your SEO campaign?

Shifting Workloads

When a company is growing, there will be periods when there’s a lot of work to do, then there are periods when there’s no work to do. This is a good time to hire freelancers because you can simply hire and rehire freelancers depending on the workload you currently have. There are many freelancers that you can hire on a per-project basis. This is what allows many companies to maximize profit margins and to avoid hiring people that they don’t necessarily need over the long term.

When You Need Rare Skills Sets

When you opt to hire freelancers, you have a very large labor pool to choose from. This is especially useful when a task you need done requires a rare set of skills to do properly. You are not constrained by location, giving you a lot of candidates to choose from. This also means that you have access to experts who have varying degrees of experience, and naturally, pricing.

When The Company Cannot Afford To Train New Hires

Training new hires is expensive. One of the best parts about hiring freelancers is that there are a lot of highly-trained freelancers who require little to no training at all. This is especially valid for skilled designers, copywriters or digital marketing experts. An added bonus is that you’re able to deploy them right away. If you have new hires, they generally need about a month or two in training before they can perform their tasks efficiently.

When Your Company Needs A Fresh Perspective

Because the freelance labor pool is so diverse, you have access to professionals who have a range of perspectives and training in their field of expertise. This is incredibly helpful if you need new ideas or a different perspective or if current solutions are not getting you the SEO results that you require from your team. You can also consider the fact that because you have access to professionals who are as diverse as possible, there is a very high chance that they are going to have different approaches to the same problem and they are also going to be able to make use of different tools with different degrees of efficacy to solve a certain problem. In addition, the rise of online jobs and remote work has made it easier to find and collaborate with freelancers from all over the world.

However, working with freelancers is not without a few pain points. Because they can come from anywhere in the world, getting their payments processed can be a complicated deal. If you aren’t already using tools such as invoice automation, which is a tool that helps streamline the payment process and allows you to focus on the more important aspects of your company, you might want to consider implementing it. Don’t let a little thing like payment processing prevent you from finding the best freelancers for your projects.

Now, freelancers aren’t the ultimate solution to every problem. There are times when it would be much better to hire in-house SEO specialists, and these are some of the most compelling reasons you might want to consider doing so.

In-House SEOs Have A Better Understanding Of Your Company

Whether it’s by way of learning over time or through extensive training, in-house SEO specialists are going to understand what your company needs and what it wants to achieve, much better than a freelance SEO specialist. They are also going to have knowledge of indirect factors that affect your company, such as budget constraints, time frames, how your teams perform, and even team dynamics. The effectiveness of local SEO techniques will vary between businesses, and an in-house specialist can make the correlation between what techniques your business needs the most.

Dedicated Time To Your Projects

Another prime benefit that hiring an in-house SEO expert yields is that they are solely dedicated to your projects, which means that greater thought and care are taken when dealing with your needs. This is something that freelance SEO experts rarely afford a single client because their time, focus, and resources are often divided between multiple projects. Having a professional SEO expert means that they are able to respond to problems and setbacks much quicker.

Cost-Effectiveness Over The Long Run

While it’s true that hiring an in-house SEO specialist means paying a full-time salary and benefits, it may turn out to be more cost-effective that hiring a new freelancer specialist every time you need an SEO task achieved. As your in-house specialist gains experience, they also gain a better understanding of how your company works and what it needs, SEO-wise. Having a single person appointed to a single task also means that they are able to dedicate much more effort into ensuring that the task is performed successfully.

The true cost-effectiveness of hiring an in-house SEO specialist lies in the fact that SEO rules are constantly changing and if you were to hire a different specialist each time the algorithm has changes applied to it, you’d be missing out on a timely solution to the changes. Your in-house SEO expert, on the other hand, has been monitoring the trends and has a profound understanding of how your company’s digital marketing needs will be affected by them.

Better Team Cohesion and Collaboration

While interpersonal interactions between team members aren’t necessary, they are inevitable. This is not only in terms of regular, non-work-related interactions, but rather it is also the normal course of business, especially when you’re working on a big project. Having an in-house SEO specialist allows for regular interaction to gather information about how specific members of the team are functioning or how they can best work together as a team.

You can never downplay the role that group dynamics has on an organization, much less, a team. You can build a team that gets better over time as they learn how to work together much more efficiently.

Businesses that hire freelancers do not enjoy that kind of unit cohesion, simply for the fact that it’s like taking out a piece of the puzzle, unsure if the piece you’ve picked will fit correctly with the rest of the image you’ve already constructed. Teams are built, not bought.


One of the most important benefits of hiring an in-house SEO specialist comes in the ability to supervise and direct your specialist. There is an utmost level of transparency that comes with the control. As long as you’re able to trust your SEO specialist, you’re going to be able to move on with business SEO operations without so much as a need to worry about sabotage or the use of black hat SEO methods. While it’s best to give your SEO specialist a good degree of autonomy, control and transparency are effective preventive measures.

The Possibility For Cross-Training

Growth is one of the main advantages of hiring in-house specialists for any role. Your team can grow and they are bound to become more effective at their task as long as they are trained and sustained properly. Cross-training is a benefit that is so often overlooked because of the nature of SEO-related tasks. However, that doesn’t completely bar the possibility of cross-training, such that your team members could learn from each other. This will help with personal development and also ensures that should a team member be unable to perform his or her functions, other members of the team can step up and fill the void temporarily.

This ensures that business operations will be reliable, which almost certainly means steady revenue and growth.

SEO is a difficult business because its skill, knowledge, and experience demands are steep. There is minimal room for error, and the smallest changes could have projected and exponential effects on your campaign. It’s for this reason that you have to choose carefully between a freelance SEO specialist, an in-house SEO specialist, or even both.


I'm an SEO Consultant with over 10 years' experience, including both SEO agency-side and in-house SEO expert. I work predominantly with B2B, startups, SAAS, IT, technology and software companies who are looking to acquire new customers and add zeros to the revenue with SEO and content marketing. If you are looking for someone who is results orientated and has experience in growth marketing and sales pipelines, then connect with me on LinkedIn and schedule a free SEO consulting session!