Natural Search Blog


In-House SEO vs. Out-House SEO

Not long ago I posted a list of some Top In-House SEOs I identified, and I touched on the subject of in-house development vs. outsourcing of natural search optimization work. As an “in-houser” myself (as one of my many roles, I perform SEO for Superpages.com’s sites), I thought I’d develop this out further and give my thoughts on the relative pros and cons of in-housing versus outsourcing, followed up by a list of the merits of doing either.

I should mention that my reference to “Out-House SEO” is firmly tongue-in-cheek. WebMama used that term in commenting on my previous post, and I couldn’t resist using it myself. (Coincidentally, I see that she’s just yesterday posted an article on the merits of outsourcing SEM work, “Does Hiring a Search Marketing Firm Cost or Save You Money?“)

Out-House vs. In-House

Read on for my commentary and lists of the relative advantages of each approach.

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In-House SEOs: The Aftermath

So, my article a week ago, Some Top In-House SEOs, got a surprisingly large amount of attention. The tipping point was likely when Search Engine Land mentioned it in a brief post entitled The SEOs Doing It In-House.

In House SEOs: The Aftermath

Yet the traffic we got from it was not solely parasitic referrals from SEL, but also lots of direct hits and referrals from elsewhere. It seems as though it tapped into some tiny, niche zeitgeist, resulting in lots of people in the industry sending it to their friends and acquaintances. Accidental linkbait! Read on for more details.

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Some Top In-House SEOs

In-House SEOs are a special demographic of optimization specialists that we don’t hear a lot about. Circumspect, they toil in the shadows while controlling vast networks of links and content of some of the highest-ranked sites on the internet. Many of the articles about in-sourcing versus out-sourcing of SEO seem to be biased in favor of optimization firms. Independent SEOs often view In-House SEOs enviously, assuming that they are paid premiums for optimization work of sites that already have natural degrees of PR due to prestige and already-existing marketshare.

Top In-House SEO Specialists

While these ideolized impressions may be off-base, In-House SEOs do enjoy some influence in the SERPs rankings for their site subject verticals, and some of them are undoubtedly paid well for their roles. Due to concerns about proprietary intellectual property, most In-House SEOs have to be fairly quiet about their work. Even so, some of them have engaged with public technological community, and a number of them blog to various degrees or are active in other ways.

In-house SEO specialists have some advantages that outsiders can’t have. They know their own technical environment – servers, networks, domains, specialty applications, content, internal analytics, and they’re experienced in their own industry with its unique needs and concerns. In a lot of cases, an outsider can’t do as good a job at designing and integrating an optimization strategy as an in-house resource. Even considering this, external SEO firms shouldn’t bash internal SEOs quite so defensively – many in-house search marketers still call in consultants and service providers for special projects.

I’m an In-House SEO (among other roles). I was curious about who my peers were in this arena, so I’ve set out to identify some of the top In-House SEOs here. It’s not possible to identify anywhere close to all of them, and I’m likely just scratching the surface here. I’m mainly interested in those others who blog, though I’m open to listing any I find. I’m trying to focus on SEOs for top-ranked companies and huge internet sites.

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