Freelancer vs Agency: A Comparison of SEO Services
Updated: Dec 18, 2022
It's no secret that SEO is essential for businesses. It’s what helps your website rank higher in search results, generating more traffic, leads, and sales for your business. SEO strategies also help position you as an industry leader and build trust and credibility with your customers and clients. You can transform your business and accelerate success by developing, implementing, and managing a comprehensive SEO plan. So, how do you choose the right person to help you do it? Keep reading to learn the differences between freelance vs agency SEO services to decide who to hire for SEO.
5 Key Differences Between Freelance vs Agency SEO Services
While I am an SEO freelancer, I’ve worked at digital marketing agencies for nearly a decade, so I understand the pros and cons of freelance vs agency SEO services. By recognizing key differences, you can choose the right level of support to help your business thrive in today’s competitive marketplace.
Point of Contact
One of the most significant differences between freelance vs agency SEO services is who you work with directly: your point of contact (POC). SEO agencies typically have large teams of account managers, research analysts, copywriters, etc. Your primary POC is likely not the person doing the behind-the-scenes work but rather relaying your business goals to team members. The main issue with this is turnover rates at agencies. Rather than someone becoming an expert at your business, you’ll likely have multiple people working on your SEO strategy, and these people may change over time.
That’s typically not the case when you work with an SEO freelancer. While a freelancer may have a writer on their team to help with copywriting tasks, your POC has complete control over your SEO strategy. It’s not passing through hands or getting placed into a new person’s lap every few months. There’s continuity and familiarity that generates more streamlined processes and better results.
SEO agencies typically have set services that don’t allow much room for flexibility. This is because agencies are setup to scale and growth becomes more complex when you add service flexibility to the mix. While there may be some room for customization, you’ll likely choose from a pre-defined SEO service package with a minimum level of engagement. This is because it is a lot easier to forecast revenue and employee headcount goals when you have predefined service tiers.
When you work with a freelancer, you will receive more personalized service than you would from an agency. Freelancers typically have fewer clients and can devote more time to each one. There is also more room to accommodate client needs, schedules, and budgets. For example, rather than offering cookie-cutter SEO packages, I customize every service to fit the needs of my clients. I set my deliverables in the form of hours, which enables me to work on what’s most important for your business–not arbitrary optimizations that may not provide you with the best results.
When you work with an agency, you may not know what’s happening behind the scenes. Is the person working on your keyword research and technical SEO strategy an SEO expert? Or is it a social media marketer with a few extra hours to help out? Because there are many moving parts at large agencies, it can be difficult to get a complete picture of who is working on what and whether the deliverables are worth the cost.
You will usually have a better idea of what a freelancer is doing since they are touching your SEO strategy themselves. You also have a direct mode of communication and don’t have to wait for messages to get passed to other team members. You’ll get regular updates and reports from the person actually doing the work.
When comparing freelance vs agency SEO services, it’s essential to consider the cost. Generally speaking, agencies are more expensive than freelancers. Not only do they charge for the services provided, but their pricing covers overhead costs, such as office space, employee salaries, benefits, non-revenue generating departments, and more. This is not wrong by any means–agencies have to pay their employees, and running a business costs money. However, it does mean you will pay more for the same (or similar) services a freelancer provides.
Most SEO freelancers have very little overhead cost, and you only pay for actual services provided. For example, because I structure my packages hourly, you can be confident you’re getting X amount of hours dedicated to your SEO strategy every month. And you’ll have a clear understanding of the cost per hour.
SEO agencies can generate positive results for their clients. If they have a well-established team of dedicated SEO experts, you’ll typically experience growth in your business. However, getting those results may take more time, as agencies typically have a larger client list. You are just one of many clients hoping to see substantial results from their SEO efforts. All too often, corners are cut for the sake of bandwidth and unless you are a squeaky wheel, your SEO service wont be fully executed on a monthly basis.
An SEO freelancer can also generate positive results for your business. A key difference though is that with a freelancer, your project deliverables move through fewer hands, which means work gets done faster, and you’ll see results sooner.
Why Choose a Freelancer over an Agency?
When you compare the cost, service, flexibility, knowledge, and transparency that you get from a freelancer vs an agency, it’s clear that working with a freelancer provides better overall value for most businesses. When you hire an SEO freelancer, you’ll have peace of mind that your business is getting the attention it deserves to see results that make a difference.
What's more, studies show that top talent at agencies are leaving at alarming rates to go off on their own and become freelancers. It is expected that by 2028, the majority of the US workforce will be freelance. What this means is if you want to ensure you have the best SEO's working on your site, your odds are higher for finding them in the form of a freelancer.
How Much Do SEO Freelancers Charge?
As I mentioned, most freelancers customize their packages to suit the needs of their clients. This is one of the benefits of choosing freelance vs agency SEO services. You can view my most popular SEO packages and rates to get an idea of the investment, but I strongly encourage you to reach out and discuss a customized service for your site.
Ready to See Results with Personalized SEO Services?
As a freelance SEO consultant, I can assist you with developing and implementing an effective SEO strategy. I will work with you to understand your business goals and target audience, optimize your website, and track your progress. I am passionate about helping businesses succeed and confident that consistent SEO efforts will positively impact your company over time. If you’ve decided that freelance SEO services are right for you, contact me today for a customized proposal.