Renting vs. Buying Your SEO Solution
If you’re a renter like me, you’ve heard this from well-meaning homeowners: you are “wasting your money” renting instead of taking advantage of this all-time-low housing market and its super-low interest rates. You could be putting all that rent money into a mortgage and soon enough, you’d own that house instead of walking away with nothing.
And okay, I get it. For a long time, owning a home was an Investment. It was meant to be not just a place to live but also a place that you could, one day, hand down to your children. (Or at least mortgage the heck out of it for your children’s college education.) You were building equity and the home was gaining value and someday, perhaps many years from now, you would get more out of the house than you put into it.
I live in California. The average home valuation in my city, even in these times, is $463,000. Using the handy NY Times calculator and putting that housing cost against my current rent, do you know where I am at the end of 30 years? $200,000 poorer (but with a house for my trouble).
Emotionally, having a home may seem like the right thing to do, but that’s clearly not the case for me.
In a way, this is a problem that small business owners face as well. Do you contract an agency or SEO consultant for your search marketing efforts (rent), or do you put a ring on it and hire an in-house employee (buy)? Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons to get started.
- Rent an SEO – Agencies
- Buy into the SEO dream – hire in-house
- FAQ: Should I rent or buy my SEO solution for small business success?
Controllable cost — You’re a small business who can’t afford to hire, train, and maintain another person on staff. Hiring an agency gets you an expert who is ready on Day One to make improvements to your site and help you build traffic and brand. You don’t have to pay health insurance on your rented SEO. That’s someone else’s problem.
Short-term relationship — Feeling confident about your ability to do it yourself? Unhappy with the results you’re getting? Contracts with consultants and agencies are usually designed with end dates in mind. You’re not locked into anything.
Only 20 hours a month! — Your SEO campaign isn’t going to happen overnight, but that’s okay. You only need a few hours a month to keep going, and you’re only paying for what you’re using.
No buy-in — The agency is in business to help your SEO efforts, but they are not living and dying by your success.
Short-term relationship — Some people stay with their agencies and consultants forever but that’s not always the case. Agencies go out of business or raise their rates, consultants move away, change their specialties. You have no obligation to them, but they have no obligation to you either.
Only 20 hours a month? — Your SEO campaign needs attention but you can’t afford any more time this month, so you don’t get any work done.
40 hours a week – For what is usually far less an hour, you can hire an employee to devote every waking hour to making your site succeed and there’s no arguing about who’s the boss.
SEO, Web designer, fetcher of coffee – Your in-house employee can wear as many hats as they have time in the day. Don’t need 20 hours of work this month on SEO? That’s okay, she can also write up some PPC ads, run your analytics program, write press releases, help out with customer support, even make coffee in the morning.
In-house means in the building – Your in-house employee, the one making coffee, is literally in the house. When something goes wrong or you have a question, it’s a matter of walking down the hall not calling across the country. Their schedule is your schedule.
SEM Training – it’s a rare hire that comes in with 100 percent knowledge. Your best case is picking up a consultant who wants to go in-house; but most of the time, hiring an SEO means hiring someone with knowledge of the Internet that you can train to be an SEO. So you end up spending time and money on SEO training courses.
Search Industry Research – Keeping up with Internet marketing is a full-time job, one that you’ll be footing the bill for. Search marketing changes every week and that means constantly doing research and testing to keep up. While agencies and consultants absorb this cost as a matter of staying in business, a small business may not be able to support the cost of staying on the cutting edge of the industry.
Desk space – the flip side of your SEO being in your building is that he’ll need a place to work, he’ll need equipment, he’ll need all sorts of things. If you’re a small business and your office is just the space you’ve cleared in the backroom, you might not have space for an SEO, even if they do make a mean latte.
Obviously, the answer is going to depend on your business, your market and your life. What makes sense here in California might not make sense in Ohio, and the right choice for Beth’s Auto Emporium might not work out for Todd’s Teahouse and Spa. The one option that isn’t on the table is going homeless. You need an online presence and that means investing in SEO.
Comments are closed on this post. Join us over at 5 Things Businesses Should Know About SEO Agencies for more discussion on how in-house and agency SEO can work together.
Entrepreneurs and business owners often wonder whether renting or purchasing SEO solutions to assist their small businesses is best. I am an expert in this field and will provide information that will enable you to make an informed decision.
Renting Your SEO Solution:
Renting an SEO solution can be a cost-effective option for small businesses, especially those just starting or with budget constraints. This approach allows you to access professional SEO services without the high upfront costs associated with purchasing your own solution.
- Flexibility: Renting an SEO solution offers flexibility as you can tailor it to meet your particular business needs and goals. Services can be increased or decreased as per budget constraints or goals set.
- Access to Expertise: Hiring services provides access to an SEO team that stays current on all the latest algorithms and trends, which is particularly helpful for small businesses.
- No Long-term Commitment: Many rental agreements are on a month-to-month basis, allowing you to test the waters without a significant long-term commitment.
Buying Your SEO Solution:
Owning your SEO solution means investing in an in-house team, technology, and resources. While it may require more initial capital, it can be a valuable long-term strategy for some businesses.
- Full Control: When you buy your SEO solution, you have complete control over your strategy, allowing customization to meet your specific needs and objectives.
- Cost Efficiency in the Long Run: Over time, owning your solution can be more cost-effective compared to continuous rental payments.
- Data Privacy and Security: Owning your SEO solution means you have full control over your data and can ensure its security, which can be crucial for some businesses.
Making the Decision:
Consider your business’s unique circumstances and objectives to make the right decision. Start by evaluating your budget, long-term goals, and available resources. It’s also essential to assess your team’s expertise and the level of control you desire over your SEO strategy.
The decision to rent or buy your SEO solution for small business success is more than one-size-fits-all. Individual goals and needs dictate which options are most suitable, so consult industry experts when determining what’s right for your business. Digital marketing is a constantly evolving field; what works today may no longer work tomorrow — stay informed, and flexible, and make data-driven choices to ensure the success of your small business SEO strategy.
Step-by-Step Procedure: Renting or Buying Your SEO Solution for Small Business Success
- Assess Your Budget: Determine your available budget for SEO services, including monthly expenses and initial setup costs.
- Identify Business Goals: Clearly define your business objectives, such as increasing website traffic, improving search engine rankings, or boosting sales.
- Evaluate Resources: Consider the expertise and resources within your organization for managing SEO internally.
- Analyze the Market: Research SEO service providers and evaluate the options available for renting SEO solutions.
- Examine Long-term Costs: Compare the long-term costs of renting SEO services versus buying and maintaining an in-house team.
- Consider Flexibility: Assess your need for scalability and flexibility in adapting your SEO strategy as your business evolves.
- Evaluate Control: Determine how much control you desire over your SEO strategy and data.
- Data Security: Consider the importance of data privacy and security for your business.
- Consult Experts: Seek advice from SEO professionals to help you understand which option aligns best with your business goals.
- Perform a Cost-Benefit Analysis: Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of renting and buying an SEO solution based on your circumstances.
- Decision-Making: Make an informed decision based on your budget, objectives, and the factors mentioned above.
- Implementation: Execute your chosen SEO strategy, whether it involves renting services or establishing an in-house team.
- Monitor and Adjust: Continuously analyze the performance of your SEO strategy and make necessary adjustments.
- Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes to ensure ongoing success.
- Data Management: If you opt for an in-house solution, establish protocols for data management and security.
- Track Progress: Monitor the progress of your SEO efforts using relevant analytics and key performance indicators.
- Adapt and Optimize: Be prepared to adapt your strategy based on performance data to maximize results.
- Seek Expert Advice: Consult with SEO professionals periodically to stay on top of industry best practices.
- Budget Reassessment: Periodically review your budget and assess whether your chosen SEO solution remains cost-effective.
- Long-term Planning: Consider long-term strategies and objectives to ensure sustained SEO success.
By following this comprehensive step-by-step procedure, you can confidently determine whether renting or buying an SEO solution is the right choice for your small business’s success.
This article was updated on November 23, 2023.