When Should I Hire an SEO Company?

Deciding when to hire an SEO agency can depend on several factors, including the current state of your website, business goals, resources, and expertise. Here are some scenarios where hiring an SEO company might be beneficial:

You Need to Build or Improve your SEO Strategy

SEO involves various tactics, including keyword research, content optimization, technical SEO, and more. If you need a comprehensive SEO strategy that covers all aspects of optimization, while prioritizing recommendations, an agency can provide a holistic approach tailored to your business goals.

Your Website is not Driving Traffic or Desired Results

Investing in SEO can yield significant returns, but it requires strategic planning and execution. An experienced SEO agency can help maximize your ROI by identifying high-impact opportunities and optimizing your resources effectively. If your website has been negatively impacted by an algorithm update or has experienced a decline in rankings, an SEO agency can help diagnose the issues, implement corrective measures, and regain lost visibility.

You Have Limited In-House Expertise

 If you lack in-house expertise in SEO or digital marketing, hiring an agency can provide you with access to professionals who have the knowledge and experience to improve your website's visibility.

You are Looking to Scale Your Business

As your business grows, so do your SEO needs. An agency can scale their services according to your evolving requirements, whether it's expanding into new markets, launching new products, or reaching a wider audience.

You are Redesigning or Making Major Website Updates

If you’re planning to redesign, replatform or make major changes to your website, you should consider hiring an SEO agency. There is a lot that can go wrong during a migration and it can be detrimental to your website and bottom line, if not done correctly. SEO should be prioritized and play a role in supporting these efforts. 

Looking for a Technical SEO team to support migration efforts? - check out our offerings! 

You are investing in other marketing channels

SEO in a vacuum doesn’t typically work. It plays nicely when used in combination with PPC, PR, email, social, and brand advocates. SEO can provide a technically sound site and well-optimized content, but if there aren’t other channels helping to drive authority and traffic to the site, SEO could take an extremely long time to pay off. Your potential SEO agency should want to collaborate with these other channels, sharing information to create a data-driven approach for success. 

What to Consider Before Hiring an SEO Agency?

Before hiring an SEO company, it's important to ensure you choose not only the right partner for your business, but that you are setting up the partnership for long term success. An agency partnership is a two way street so in order to see maximum results, you should be prepared. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind before hiring an SEO company:

You Have Internal resources dedicated to SEO

Before deciding if you should hire an SEO company, you need to make sure you have internal resources to implement the recommendations given. It’s been ages since anyone can simply go out and hire an SEO agency and “do that SEO thing and get us results” with zero effort internally. If you want to make SEO work with any company, you have to dedicate time and resources. If you can't implement recommendations, why pay for them in the first place? You also need buy-in from the top down so SEO work can be prioritized among the numerous other initiatives your company is working on.

Data Availability & Transparency

Giving your agency access to important website data and communicating internal updates is crucial for agency’s to properly align SEO strategy to your business goals. Any good SEO or digital marketing agency is going to want to clear up any data integrity issues prior to setting goals or moving ahead with a project. From double-counting sessions to having e-commerce tracking set up, to knowing your conversion funnel, there’s a lot to track (and track confidently) as you begin to build out your SEO strategy. 

Not confident in your website analytics or tracking? Read more about measurement strategy, or contact our expert Analytics team.

You’re looking for long-term success

Unless there’s something easily fixable on your site (like blocking it entirely with your robots.txt file), the majority of SEO is building long-term success and value for your site. If you need immediate traffic, paid search is a much more realistic way to achieve those quick wins. It’s important to remember working with an agency is a partnership that needs both sides to work together in order to achieve success. 

You Have Enough Budget to Support

While it's essential to invest in quality SEO services, make sure the cost aligns with your budget and expected ROI. A typical 12-month project for a medium or large sized business will be $120K or more. This typically includes technical SEO, a dedicated team, project plan/strategy, setting goals, content strategy, etc. If that budget doesn’t make sense for 12 months, hiring someone in-house who has the skills likely isn’t cheaper (salary, benefits, fixed costs). 

If you don’t have enough budget to hire a quality agency, finding a solid individual consultant to help give the site a shot in the arm could be a good move. 

Is Hiring an SEO Agency Worth the Cost?

How much does an SEO agency or package cost?

  • Agencies may charge between $500 - $15,000 per month. It all depends on the needs of the site, whether it's a smaller local business, a medium sized business targeting a larger region of customers, or an enterprise business targeting customers internationally. It’s important to go for a quality and reputable agency and get more than one quote when evaluating to understand what you get and the projected ROI.

How much does it cost to hire someone for SEO?

  • A full time SEO Manager has a salary range of $59,000 - $74,000 as of 2023. If you tack on benefits and other costs, you're looking at close to $100k for a full time in-house SEO manager (source). A senior manager with a track record of success is often well north of this range. 

Now that you've read through if you should hire, find out how to choose the right SEO agency here.

Do You Need to Hire an SEO Agency?

Ultimately, if you are looking to improve your website traffic and revenue, when your organization has the right resources and finds a company that values revenue and long term strategy - that is when you should hire an SEO agency.

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This post was originally published in 2018, and last updated April 2024.

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Adam Melson
Adam Melson
Assoc. Director, Business Strategy
Allison Hahn
Allison Hahn
Sr. Lead, Technical SEO