Building a superstar in-house SEO team can yield significant results for companies that are in the position to do so.
The importance of SEO in any company’s marketing strategy cannot be overlooked. But how do you build a killer SEO team that can significantly impact your company’s performance in the SERPs?
The truth is, search engine optimization is a highly specialized skill, which requires expertise in order to really dominate the SERPs. Having a dedicated team for improving search engine positioning and rankings can result in more traffic, clicks, leads, and conversions.
In this article, you will learn everything there is to know about creating your own in-house SEO team. We will look at the different roles in a typical SEO team, the skills each SEO team needs, and ultimately look at how to build your own one.
What is an SEO Team?
An SEO team is a group of professionals who take responsibility for improving a website’s visibility and keyword rankings. This includes everything associated with SEO such as:
- Performing keyword research
- Creating content
- Building backlinks
- Improving the technical elements of the website
- Monitoring SEO performance and rankings
- Staying updated on the latest Google algorithm changes
Should You Build an SEO Team?
An experienced SEO team will drive more organic traffic to your website, and likely help generate more leads and conversions for your business.
Hiring an SEO team is no small decision. Before hiring an SEO team, you must carefully evaluate your business’ ability to sustain and support an entire group of professionals for the foreseeable future.
For example, a small startup or local business will likely not have the necessary financial resources to hire an entire in-house SEO team. For such a business, it would be more advisable to hire an agency or a digital marketing freelancer.
Medium to large businesses are more likely to be in a better position to hire an SEO team to expand their businesses.
Investing in your own SEO team is a significant financial commitment that shouldn't be overlooked. While having an in-house team can provide you with greater control and customization over your SEO strategies, it also comes with substantial costs.
For instance, the average salary for an SEO specialist is around $60,000 per year depending on their skills and experience.
Therefore, the total cost of building and maintaining an SEO team can range from $60,000 to a staggering $240,000 per year for a team of 1-4 people. This estimate doesn't even account for other potential costs such as training, employee benefits, and overheads like office space.
Why Hire an SEO Team?
There are significant advantages to hiring your own in-house SEO team.
If your business is in such a position, here are the benefits of building your own team of SEO professionals:
Unlike when you outsource SEO services or hire an agency, when you build your own team, you’re able to keep expertise within your company.
If you’re able to hire people that are top-level experts in the field of SEO, this will give you a competitive advantage over your competitors. Whereas with hiring an agency or freelancer, their skills and expertise are distributed to all their clients.
By attracting and retaining top talent, you add to the value of your business.
An in-house SEO team will also get to know your business, competitors, and the industry in general, compared to an SEO agency that might serve businesses in multiple industries.
Because of this, they’re more likely to obtain better results since they know the ins and outs of the business and the niche.
Stay Updated on Latest SEO Changes
One of the primary advantages of creating your own SEO team is that your business is able to stay updated on the latest SEO changes, and therefore, align your website according to the latest search engine algorithm updates.
When you’ve got a team of full-time SEO professionals, you can task one or two of them to be responsible for staying updated on the latest SEO changes, and communicating that with the remainder of the team.
Building an in-house SEO team gives management more input and control over the business’ SEO and search performance.
When you outsource SEO to an agency or a freelancer, you’re reliant on another person or organization for your search performance and results.
If that agency or freelancer suddenly disappears or drops you as a client, you’ll be left hanging without anyone working on your SEO.
On the contrary, when you have your own in-house team, you won’t be left dry since the chances of your entire team resigning are very slim.
Furthermore, company management and the team can work more closely together and can have a lot more input in the process, thereby eliminating the reliance on an external party.
What are the Roles in an SEO Team?
Now that you know the advantages of building your own team, let’s look at the different roles within an SEO team.
SEO Team Leader
The first and also most critical role within an SEO team is that of the SEO team leader, also referred to as SEO director or SEO manager.
This person is responsible for the planning and management of all the SEO activities that the team takes on. You can think of an SEO team leader in the same light as a project manager.
This person doesn’t necessarily have to perform hands-on work, but needs to have a complete understanding of SEO concepts and technical jargon.
The SEO team leader is the ideal person to assign the responsibility of staying updated on SEO changes and algorithm updates, since they “manage” the entire team and all activities associated with SEO.
The average yearly salary for an SEO team leader is estimated to be around $104,000.
Link Building Specialist
A key component of any SEO campaign is link-building and backlinks.
Without building links to your website, you won’t be able to obtain high Google rankings, especially if you find yourself in a competitive industry.
This is why every successful SEO team should have a link-building specialist to focus solely on acquiring new links and managing the entire link-building process.
A link building specialist’s role will consist of the following tasks:
- Finding new websites to partner with
- Maintaining current relationships with link building partners
- Assisting content creators (copywriters) in writing guest posts
- Reaching out to new link partners
- Creating and managing link outreach campaigns
- Analyzing link building performance and results
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a link-building specialist in the United States is around $61,800 per year, however, it can change depending on the city.
An SEO analyst is the person responsible for the research, planning, reporting, and monitoring of an SEO campaign.
This person should have experience in using analytics tools such as Google Analytics in order to find and interpret SEO performance data and KPIs such as site traffic, sessions, traffic from search, top performing pages, etc.
An analyst’s roles and responsibilities also include tasks like auditing a site’s SEO and performing keyword research since these require analytical thinking.
The SEO analyst is typically responsible for creating SEO reports for the team leader and company management.
The average salary for an SEO analyst in the United States is around $69,600 per year.
SEO Content Manager
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand. No SEO team is complete without someone dedicated to managing the SEO content production process.
This person is responsible for researching new content opportunities, as well as writing the content itself.
It’s also common for this individual to manage freelance writers if the organization outsources this aspect of their content marketing strategy.
The content manager will work closely with other members of the SEO team to ensure that the content is optimized for search engines and follows SEO best practices. As mentioned, link building specialists also work closely with the content manager for developing content specifically for guest posts.
Other than that, the content manager is also responsible for updating old SEO content in order to keep all on-site content fresh.
The average yearly salary for a content manager in the United States is $78,000.
How to Build an SEO Team?
Building a killer SEO team is not just about hiring professionals who understand the ins and outs of search engine algorithms.
It's about nurturing a group of individuals who can work together to drive your website's visibility to new heights, while aligning with your brand's goals and values.
In the following sections, we'll delve deeper into the process of building a strong SEO team.
Establish Your Goals, Needs, and Capabilities
Before embarking on the journey to build your SEO team, it's crucial to establish your specific goals and understand your needs. While the overarching objective is to improve your website's ranking on search engines, you need to define what that means for your business.
Does it involve improving organic traffic? Increasing conversions? Enhancing brand visibility? Or perhaps it's about outranking specific competitors?
By setting clear, measurable goals, not only do you provide your SEO team with a target to aim for, but it also aids in determining which roles are essential to achieving these goals.
When establishing your goals, consider using the SMART framework - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This approach ensures your objectives are clear and within reach.
Image source: TechTarget
Once you've set your goals, it's time to assess your needs and capabilities. Are you in a position to hire a full-fledged SEO team? If not, you need to prioritize.
Determine which roles are critical to your goals and should be filled in-house. Identify tasks that can be outsourced to SEO agencies or freelancers.
For instance, you might hire an in-house SEO strategist to oversee your SEO initiatives while outsourcing link-building to a link-building agency or freelancer.
Remember, building an SEO team isn't a one-size-fits-all process. It requires careful planning and thoughtful decision-making to ensure your team aligns with your business's unique goals and needs.
Finding the Best Talent
Once you've clearly identified the roles you need to fill, your next crucial task is finding the right people. The importance of this step cannot be overstated, as the individuals you bring on board will not only contribute their technical skills but also significantly shape the culture and dynamics of your organization.
The right team members will drive innovation, deliver results, and foster an environment conducive to growth and learning. They will bring diverse perspectives that can elevate your SEO strategies and align with your company's values, leading to increased productivity, improved job satisfaction, and a positive work atmosphere.
Now, where can you find such talent? Here are some effective platforms to start your search:
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a veritable treasure trove when it comes to professional talent. By searching for specific SEO skills or browsing through industry groups, you can uncover potential candidates who might be an excellent fit for your team.
- Job Sites: Platforms like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster are teeming with professionals actively looking for opportunities. Posting your job openings here and filtering candidates based on your requirements can lead you to your next valuable team member.
- Networking Events and Conferences: These gatherings provide an ideal opportunity to meet industry professionals and potential hires face-to-face. Attendees at these events are typically serious about their careers and passionate about SEO, which is always a promising sign.
Finding the right talent involves more than just scanning resumes.
It's about understanding the individual's approach to SEO, their problem-solving abilities, and their adaptability in this ever-changing field. Therefore, take the time to interview candidates thoroughly, ask for references, and consider conducting a trial project to assess their skills.
If you're not ready to build a full in-house team yet, freelance platforms like Upwork and Freelancer offer a pool of SEO experts offering their services. This can be an excellent option if you're looking to outsource some tasks temporarily while you're in the process of building your team.
By investing time and effort in the recruitment process, you'll assemble an SEO team that's committed, capable, and ready to propel your business to new digital heights.
Managing Your SEO Team
Once you have assembled your team, managing them effectively becomes the key to unlocking their full potential. This involves creating the right structure for your team and ensuring they have access to the best tools.
Structuring your SEO team effectively is crucial for ensuring smooth operations and efficient communication.
The structure of your SEO team can significantly influence the efficiency of your workflows and the clarity of your reporting lines. While the specific roles within an SEO team are critical, how these roles interact and collaborate can truly make or break your SEO efforts.
The structure you choose will directly impact your reporting lines and workflows. A centralized structure facilitates straightforward reporting, as all data flows through a single channel. It also standardizes workflows, promoting consistency and efficiency.
On the other hand, a decentralized or hybrid structure might require more sophisticated reporting systems to gather and consolidate data from various sources. Workflows might also be more complex, requiring coordination across different teams or departments.
To choose the right structure for your SEO team, consider factors like the size of your organization, the diversity of your offerings, and the resources available for SEO. Remember, the goal is to create a structure that enables effective collaboration, clear communication, and efficient workflows, ultimately driving better SEO results.
For a more detailed look at structuring a team, you can refer to our article on how to organize a marketing agency structure. Although it's geared towards marketing agencies, the principles can be applied to structuring your SEO team.
Your team needs the right tools to excel at their jobs. This is where SEOptimer comes in.
Our SEO audit software and reporting tool provides comprehensive insights into your website's performance, helping your team identify areas of improvement and track progress over time. It's an essential tool that will empower your team to drive better results.
Managing your SEO team effectively is a dynamic process that requires constant evaluation and adjustments.
However, with the right structure, tools, and management practices in place, you can create a high-performing team that propels your business to new heights in the digital landscape.
In-House vs Outsourced SEO Team
Even if your business is in the position to bring on a full-time, in-house SEO team, you might also want to consider the advantages that outsourcing SEO can bring before you make your decision.
We’ve gone into detail on what the advantages are of hiring your own internal SEO team. So this section will focus solely on the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing SEO.
Instant Access to Expertise
When you outsource SEO to an agency, you get instant access to their expertise.
Unlike with your own in-house SEO team, you wouldn’t have to spend time training new employees since agencies already have a team of skilled staff that are often highly specialized in their respective fields.
When you build your own in-house team, you’ll have to spend time recruiting and interviewing candidates to add to your team and organization.
Recruitment can take a significant amount of time especially if you want to hire the best in the business.
Whereas with an SEO agency, you won’t have to worry about recruitment or employee turnover, since the agency’s management is responsible for their own staff.
Access to Other Types of Digital Marketing
It’s likely that a digital agency can also provide other digital marketing services such as social media marketing, web design, PPC, etc.
If you hire an agency to do your SEO, you’ll be able to tap into these types of digital marketing when you feel the need to.
Whereas when you build your own team of SEO professionals, you’ll only have access to SEO-specific services.
For instance, if you want to add PPC marketing to the mix, you’ll have to find individuals that are specialized in PPC marketing since it is significantly different from SEO.
Essential Skills Every SEO Team Needs
Right, so you know what the roles are in a typical SEO team. However, the people in your team should have at least some general skills, even though these areas of expertise may not be their exact specialization within the team.
For instance, you can have a content writer who also has an understanding of technical SEO and web development. This is not to say that the writer will be building a website, but that he/she merely understands basic web development concepts.
The common skills all the people in your SEO team should have include:
- Web design and development
- Content creation
- Digital marketing and promotion
- Link building
Building your own SEO team certainly has multiple benefits, however, going in-house isn’t ideal for all businesses, especially smaller businesses and startups that don’t have the financial resources.
Before you hire your own team, take some time to think long and hard about whether this is the right decision for you and your business. Remember, having your own team requires commitment and responsibility from your part too.
However, if you’ve come to the conclusion that this is the right decision, having your own team of SEOs can put you in a position to outperform and outrank your competitors.