The challenges of in-house SEO and overcoming them • Digital Dot

The challenges of in-house SEO and overcoming them

In the digital age, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is undoubtedly at the forefront of many digital marketing efforts. Nonetheless, it’s an intricate, complex topic; it takes many forms and is a long-term strategy that takes time to fully unfold. What’s more, while the option of consulting a digital marketing agency in New York always exists, in-house SEO is becoming equally prominent. The challenges of in-house SEO are often uniquely different from those of working with agencies, however. As such, let us devote this article to highlighting the three main challenges of in-house SEO and overcoming them effectively.

In-house SEO vs. working with an agency

For many SEO professionals or businesses in need of SEO services, SEO should need no introductions. It’s an aspect of content creation and marketing with demonstrable merit, despite its complexity as regards website elements to consider. In essence, SEO is a strategy to optimize websites and content to rank higher in search engine page results (SERPs).

That said, hiring an SEO agency and hiring an in-house SEO team differ substantially. Agencies work with multiple sites, usually under broader scopes, and are simply not an organic part of a client’s business. While that does not mean they can’t meet a client’s needs – often quite the contrary – it’s a substantive practical difference. In-house SEO allows for more immersion in a specific product or page, thus deeper focus and a more narrow scope. It follows a different structure of approvals and resource allocation, which presents different advantages but also unique challenges.

In essence, the challenges of in-house SEO can be identified in three key areas;

  • Resource allocation
  • Budget planning
  • Buy-ins

They may overlap in some respects, but overcoming them often requires different approaches.

Challenge #1: Resources

Perhaps the most immediately visible challenge of in-house SEO lies in resources and allocation. This somewhat overlaps with budget restraints and priorities, as well as buy-ins, but it’s unique in many aspects. When dividing SEO into its technical component and its implementation into content, there are two distinct resource-based challenges. Namely, a small team of engineers for the technical aspect and a small team of content writers that use it.

Technical limitations – Engineers

Smaller companies may lack available technical staff. It may be that one’s Content Management System (CMS) requires more developer resources and more time. It may simply be that there’s little buy-in from higher-ups, which is a different challenge on its own.

In such cases, while securing a higher budget and more buy-ins are still essential, there’s another solution. Focusing on off-page SEO can be equally lucrative, in that it still affects SEO but requires fewer in-house engineers. Building quality backlinks, increasing brand awareness, and similar endeavors are all still a part of running a successful online business. Furthermore, producing visible results in this area of SEO can incentivize a more favorable resource allocation in the future.

Content limitations – Content writers

A person wring an article on WordPress on a laptop.
User-generated content is a viable way of boosting your in-house SEO efforts.

For similar reasons, few content writers may also present an obstacle. One of the biggest challenges of in-house SEO, or SEO in general, is creating the right content regardless. And there are a few potential solutions here as well.


If your budget doesn’t permit hiring more in-house content creators, you may wish to outsource. Contractors such as freelancers can provide content related to their expertise.

Use user-generated content

Similarly, you may wish to use user-generated content. You may find mutual benefit in having guest articles build backlinks from your site, as you build professional relationships to do the same.

Get your content creators involved

Finally, your in-house content creators can become partially involved. They may not be able to fully commit, but if you demonstrate SEO’s merit they may start embracing it. This won’t be a final, decisive solution, but it will be a positive change.

Challenges of in-house SEO #2: Budget

A stack of coins measured with a ruler over papers.
A tight budget is a common challenge of in-house SEO to overcome.

While resource allocation is visible, budget restraints are likely very high among the challenges of in-house SEO. A limited overall budget is perfectly understandable and unavoidable for smaller businesses, but it remains a challenge. In this regard, there are two key approaches; ensuring cost-efficiency and working toward a higher budget priority.

Cost-efficiency – working within your budget

First and foremost, a lower budget absolutely needs cost-efficiency. You should thus begin by ensuring there are no needless costs, no wasted work hours, and no suboptimal efforts. Next, you should try to use any and all free tools and options that are available. Many free tools may not be perfect, but they can be efficient and produce results.

Ensuring a higher budget priority

Practical budget limitations aside, ensuring a higher budget hinges on buy-in and demonstrating valuable results. In this regard, your SEO focus may be technical, and thus product-based, or promotional, and thus marketing-based. Depending on it, you can use digital marketing analytics tools and other tools that produce relevant metrics. Showcasing high potential Return on Investment (ROI) is often the best way to ensure a higher SEO budget in return.

Challenge #3: Buy-in and competing interests

Finally, on the subject of showcasing SEO’s merit, buy-in, interest, and competing interests are all challenges to overcome. Executives may be unconvinced, colleagues may be uninterested, and other departments may have competing interests. In this regard, there are two main solutions; demonstrating monetary value, and compromising with said departments.

Demonstrate the value of SEO

A woman holding a tablet that shows an upward graph.
Demonstrating the value of SEO is likely the best way to ensure buy-in.

SEO is a long-term process, so results may not be visible quickly. Losing rankings overnight may also deal a serious blow to confidence. As such, you’ll need to demonstrate value to ensure buy-in. Consider the formula for highlighting the ROI of keywords;

“Cost Per Click (CPC) x search volume x Click-Through Rate (CTR)”.

Providing executives with such clear data whenever possible can help ensure buy-in.

Find common ground with departments

Finally, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) departments, and others, may collide with SEO. Consider such common ground as optimizing for conversions, as a potent Objective Key Result (OKR). In this example, SEM could optimize their budget away from keywords SEO is ranking for, and vice versa. While there won’t always be an ideal compromise, some such common ground can help facilitate positive change.

Remember that there are other options available as well

With experience comes the innovation and flexibility to overcome any obstacle, even ones that occur for in-house SEO teams. Digital Dot understands this perfectly. And if you decide that finding solutions for the challenges of in-house SEO takes up too much of your time and resources, we are always here to offer support. Whether you are looking for someone to guide your SEO team in the right direction or to take over the entire process – you can count on us. Start by scheduling your SEO consultation today!

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