SEO Agency vs. SEO Freelancer: What is the best for your Business?

By James Tredwell on January 5, 2019

As a business owner, you want to maximize all your resources to achieve your online goals. This means finding the least resistant path to success.

One of the best and most reliable ways to generate online buzz about your business with little effort is through search engine optimisation (SEO).

In a nutshell, the goal of SEO is to get your website to appear on top of search results for your target keyword. According to a study conducted by Chitika, the top result on Google gets the 33% of the clicks from users, the second position receives 18% of the clicks, and the third gets 11%.

To get to the top, you must apply the best and latest on- and off-page practices on and for your site. If done correctly and your site reaches to the top of Google Search, you can enjoy increased traffic, better awareness, and, possibly, more clients.

Since you as a business owner may not have the predisposition to learn SEO or have little time to study it, it is best that you hire someone else to do the optimisation job for you.

The biggest question that you must ask yourself now is this: should I hire an SEO agency or a freelancer for my business?

To answer this question much better, we need to understand the different factors involved in the decision process:

  • Cost – Does the service package and promised results offer to you justify their pricing?
  • Expertise and efficiency –How learned about SEO are the people working on your website? Does their service have a structure and process in place to ensure that the appropriate work is carried out?
  • Accountability – If the service does not deliver the results promised or meet your expectations, do they offer a discount or a guarantee as compensation?

SEO Agency

An SEO agency consists of different people who will be responsible in developing a strong SEO strategy for your business. The agency will most likely assign a dedicated content writer/optimiser, link builder, and a specialist to help optimise your website for your target keyword.

The specialist will conduct a site audit to determine the keywords to be used and areas of your website in need of optimisation.The writer will take the keywords and use them for creating high-quality content for your site. The created content will then be used by the link builder to help you acquire backlinks from authoritative sites. The specialist will then oversee how the SEO tasks applied to your site affected your site performance.

You can also expect regular SEO reports from the agency to keep you updated on the progress of your site. You should see the ranking position of your site for your target keywords and the backlinks created so you know what works and what doesn’t. Based on the findings, the specialist will make further suggestions on how to improve your site performance on site engines.

Given that an SEO agency has more people working on your site, you will have to shell out greater money for their services. The specialisation alone by each warrant a higher pay since their focus is on certain SEO tasks only.

Also, the agency has a much more organised process in place, given the numerous people they have, which leads to better efficiency regarding getting more things done.

Usually, you can expect something in return if the agency does not provide you with the promised results. Examples include but are not limited to discounted price for the next month of SEO services or a money-back guarantee policy. The contract you signed up with the SEO agency must express this. If not, make sure to discuss this issue with them to ensure that you are covered if the agency fails to live up to your expectations.

SEO freelancer

An SEO freelancer offers the same services as an agency, but probably not as comprehensive. However, unlike an agency, a freelancer is responsible for tasks that take at least three people to complete.

The freelancer should, at least, be knowledgeable on how to create content that will be used develop an effective link building strategy based on your niche. He or she will also have to conduct an SEO audit to pinpoint areas that need improvement, track the relevant metrics about the accomplished SEO tasks, and analyse the results to get a better insight on the right courses to action.

The tasks may seem impossible for one person to finish, considering that the freelancer entertains more than just one client at a month. Therefore, the SEO freelancer will be using different tools and resources to accomplish the tasks for you. The tools make the job of an SEO freelancer much easier as it helps him or her automate certain SEO tasks to save up time and focus on more time-consuming responsibilities.

Also, there is a chance that the freelancer is just a jack of all SEO trades and a master of none. As a result, the freelance may reach out to other freelancers for tasks beyond his or her skillset. This way, he or she works as a middle man between client and other freelancers and compiles all performance and data that will be reported to and analysed for the customer.

While this working process may not be as efficient as opposed to in-house specialists in an agency, the cost of hiring a freelancer is much more affordable. The freelance is aware that they cannot provide the luxury that a more organised agency can offer, so he or she comes up with a more cost-effective solution for people looking for SEO services.

As far as performance is concerned, an SEO freelancer should deliver the results as expected from him or her. Therefore, you need to prepare a contract with the freelancer to ensure that the job is done within expectations and on time. You just cannot afford to rely on the words of a freelancer, as you need to protect yourself from possible harm that he or she may do to your business.


If you have money to shell out for SEO, then choosing an agency may be the most cost-efficient choice. Its ability to provide you with a more streamlined SEO process along with its policies to ensure that your business gets results makes it a smart decision in the long run.

However, this does not make an SEO freelancer a lesser choice. If you manage a startup or a small business and are in need of affordable SEO services, a freelancer can provide you quick and easy solutions to an otherwise technical problem.

While your choice depends on the needs of your business, the most important thing to consider is doing your research before choosing an SEO agency or SEO freelancer. Make sure to ask both the right questions to gain a better understanding of their knowledge about SEO and their business practices. Through these questions, you will see which one is the most skilled and reliable enough to take on the SEO challenges that you business presents.

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