As an SEO consultant, your job is not limited to acquiring better visibility for a website in SERPs; your job is also to bring in more leads and sales for the business.
The role as an agency-based SEO consultant is very different than an in-house consultant, so if you’re just making the transition to a career as an in-house SEO consultant, here are a few things you should know.
There Are No Clients
This sounds like an obvious statement, but in my experience this can have a major impact on your daily routine.
When you’re working at an SEO agency, your daily routine includes a list of clients to whom you send daily project updates and check in with via email, as well as check their SERP rankings and make adjustments if necessary.
When working in-house, you only have one client, and your daily work routine includes understanding the need of that business, ensuring the quality of work, looking in to what competitors are doing, and keeping track of how many new leads and sales your SEO practices are acquiring.
Instead of sending SERP progress to the clients, you have to send reports directly to your superiors and you are often solely responsible for ensuring the success of various websites, blogs, advertisements, and/or campaigns.
You also have to pitch ideas to your directors for new and innovative plans to increase the company’s SERP rankings and bring in more leads for the business.
Pro Tip: As an agency SEO expert, your job is more directed towards making your clients happy, whereas in an in-house role you are more responsible for sales and reporting the progress of newly launched online marketing techniques to your directors.
Different Tools to Play With
Marketing tools can give you insight into the website you’re working on and what you need to do in order to optimize it for maximum online traffic.
When working in an agency you are generally limited to tools like Google Analytics, Moz.com, and few other commonly available programs.
Working in-house can give you the opportunity to work with more advanced tools such as Kiss Metrics, Majestic SEO, and various other new and exciting programs.
It’s great to get your hands on number of different tools, but don’t fall into the trap of trying to use every SEO tool out there—more data sometimes can be more confusing than helpful.
When working in-house you need to be smart when it comes to dealing with data; focus on how you can benefit by converting that information into more business and branding for your company.
Pro Tip: When you first make the transition to working in-house, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data you can accumulate. Decide what data is most important to your company and only focus on those numbers.
If you don’t see online traffic rising after a few weeks, re-evaluate your data to decide if you’re concentrating on the right areas.
You are Surrounded by Business-Minded People
The major difference I see between agency and in-house roles is that in an agency you are surrounded by digital marketers, but in an in-house role you are surrounded by business-minded people who work hard to get more sales for the business.
In an agency you can discuss ideas and work together to find solutions to problems, but when working in-house your colleagues will often be more interested in the bottom line than in the strategies you used to get those results. This means that you may be on your own when it comes to planning, launching, and troubleshooting new marketing techniques.
Pro Tip: When working in-house, construct your reports to revolve around the sales and profits of the company rather than the tools and strategies you used to get them. Unlike agency reports, these need to be all about the bottom line.
Master an Industry
When you are working as an agency SEO consultant you have to deal with multiple clients at once—possibly from several different industries. In-house SEO consultants, on the other hand, generally work within one specific industry. This gives you the opportunity to become an expert in your company’s niche and allows you to learn specific tricks and tools that work best for your company.
As an in-house SEO expert, it’s your job to stay on top of industry standards and trends. Using standard SEO protocols may be enough for an agency, but will not foster the kind of results expected from hiring an in-house expert.
Pro Tip: Find what gap hasn’t been filled yet in your industry and fill it. Write bold, new ideas that will interest potential clients, not just content pieces that will up your SERP ranking.
Agency SEO consultants face many limitations including slim budgets, outdated tools, an overwhelmingly wide range of clients, and more. Working in-house often eliminates many of these limitations, allowing consultants to put in their full efforts to get the best possible results for the company.
In an agency environment you are limited to a strict budget that limits both the time and tools you can use to get the job done. When working in-house, particularly if you’re hired by a large and/or successful company, your time is significantly less limited, and often a single great presentation is all that’s needed to secure a budget increase for a new project.
Pro Tip: In-house SEO experts should present their ideas by explaining the sales and branding benefits that the company can expect out of them. Ideas without clearly explained expected results are often dismissed by boards unfamiliar with advanced SEO tactics.
Making the transition from working at an agency to working as an in-house SEO expert can be rough—many of your colleagues and superiors will be more focused entirely on results and won’t understand the strategies you use to get them there. However, if you can stick it out and learn to speak the lingo of the business world, the opportunities provided by an in-house position can make it more than worth your while.