What’s the real difference between freelance SEO consultants and agencies? The real difference is obvious, freelancers work as independent consultants. They’re usually self-employed as well as their client base is often localised, although in theory freelance SEO’s can work from anywhere with clients from anywhere.
SEO agencies offer similar consultancy services but they have a large team. The size of a search engine optimization agency will range from anything from several people to hundreds. SEO agencies often offer other website marketing services like web design, pay per click marketing advertising or display advertising as well as SEO.
As with other service based industries typically freelance SEO’s are less expensive than SEO agencies. Agencies have higher overheads like offices and sales teams, finance departments and account managers. Most freelancers work independently from your home offices making their overheads significantly lower.
Most agencies an freelance SEO’s price their work hourly or on a day rate.
The particular SEO process which agencies and freelance consultants follow is usually quite similar. There’s a relatively well developed best practice process for optimising a web site which normally looks something like:
* Keyword research
* Technical optimisation
* On location optimisation
* Link building
Terminology and also the specifics of each area of the process can vary from agency to agency and consultant to consultant but many will follow this formula by and large. Some freelancers may focus on a specific area of the SEO process like link building but many are common rounders who can complete all the parts from the process.
The biggest difference with the agency is one of the amount of account management involvement which can be useful for larger campaigns with big brands.
The caliber of SEO work delivered by agencies and freelancers varies greatly so no real comparison can be drawn so that as a business considering working with either a consultant or a consultancy it is actually your responsibility to seek assurances about the reliability, credibility and gratification of who you hire to do your SEO.
Seek references off their customers concerning the experience with utilizing the company or even the freelancer and check their clients leads to Internet search results.
Agency’s often sell themselves on the advantage of having a multi-disciplinary team at their disposal composed of departmental specialists like link builders and copywriters. This can certainly be a benefit but just as much freelancers can give you a better quality of service and results with more personal experience on your project.
Using a team may give agencies a benefit in this respect but often freelancers are ex-agency employees who may have been in the SEO business longer and therefore are on the top of their game. When you use an agency make sure to seek assurances concerning the knowledge of the team members working on your project. Sloppy SEO work conducted by under qualified consultants can in some cases damage your websites search rankings more than it can help.
Managing a search engine optimisation campaign has different challenges in different industries and often specialist experience working in a certain sector can become a big advantage. Some freelance SEO consultants will specialise in a sector like travel, retail or finance or in a certain geographical area like local businesses in London. Most SEO agencies don’t specialise in a sector simply because they would soon use up all your potential clients (being an agency should only work with one site in a particular niche in order to avoid conflict between clients) what this means is they may become more generalists however they are frequently able to draw on knowledge using their company campaigns in the same niche.
Some larger SEO agencies have developed bespoke tools to handle their clientele campaigns and generate reports. Technology is unquestionably an important part of SEO however in most cases the best SEO tools are available to everyone (at a cost). Most agency tools are designed to create reports and streamline areas of their SEO process. They can certainly help but remember that there’s no secret tool or part of technology that will deliver you higher search rankings- only good solid SEO work is going to do that kqekqa it always involves the human touch.
There’s certainly no person size fits all answer for whether a freelancer or agency will be a better fit for the SEO project. When you’re seeking proposals I’d recommend talking to both, comparing the pros and cons of each and every and ultimately choose based on the quality of their proposed solution and integrity of personal references.