If you’re new to the SEO game, then you’re probably wondering which route to take. Should you hire an SEO agency or just grab a freelancer who seems half-decent and go with them?

The decision isn’t as easy as you might think. As it turns out, there’s no right or wrong answer: it depends primarily on your objectives and priorities. Freelance SEO specialists are best in some situations; SEO agencies in others.

In this article, we’re going to take an unbiased look at the pros and cons of using each. You’ll learn about some of the positives that an SEO agency can bring, and the negatives too. So, without further delay, let’s dive right in.

What’s The Difference Between An SEO Agency And An SEO Freelancer?

Both SEO agencies and freelancers offer services designed to help you rank higher in search results. They engage in a variety of on-page and off-page activities that boost your visibility on Google and funnel more organic traffic to your site.

The way that they go about this, however, differs. An SEO freelancer is just an individual who provides SEO services, often under the umbrella of a single product. They promise to help you rank higher using their skills and network of contacts in exchange for a regular fee.

An SEO agency is a different animal. Here you pay for the services of an entire team, each with specific talents and focus. Some might be dedicated to web design, while others to content generation. Thus, with an agency, you get access to a group with mixed abilities who individually focus on a specific aspect of your SEO push.

The Pros Of Using An SEO Agency

If you run a larger business, then hiring an SEO freelancer is probably out of the question. It’s unlikely that a single individual will be able to serve your business as and when you need them to. They just don’t have the resources.

An agency, on the other hand, does.

The way agencies work is rather clever. Once your order goes through, an account manager will begin dividing up the work among various members of the team. Some might start work on creating blogs while others get to work on building links. The details don’t matter so much: what is critical is the sheer volume of work that an agency can get done in a short amount of time. You could place an order at 9 am on a Monday and receive fifty articles ready for your site the very next day: that’s how quick some of these services are.

When you choose an agency, you’re also tapping into a wealth of knowledge that you might not get with an SEO freelancer. While a freelancer might be highly skilled, it’s unlikely that they have the same depth of experience as an entire team of specialists. Groups, in general, tend to do a better job per hour spent on SEO than individuals.

The Cons Of Using An SEO Agency

Of course, it’s not all good news: otherwise, everyone would switch to using agencies. Using an agency, for instance, typically costs more than a freelancer. The reason? Agencies usually have higher overheads (such as a real office!)

What’s more, some agencies specialise in certain types of project, while many have a minimum monthly spend or contract term. If you only have a small budget, you might find that you struggle to outsource your campaign to an SEO agency.

Finally, agencies are typically more rigid in their provision of services. While it’s true that many have experienced teams of “link builders,” “web designers” and “content writers,” they may struggle to break out of these core domains and address the weak link in your SEO campaign.

The Pros Of Using An SEO Freelancer

Freelancers have got it tough. Unlike agency employees, they can’t hide behind a brand or the work of other people on their team. Everything they produce must offer value – otherwise, they’re in trouble.

Freelancers, therefore, are often passionate about their work and desperate to please. They tend to work exceptionally hard on any project you give them, seeing it as their mission to bring it to fruition.

Freelancers are most useful when you have a small niche project that you’d like to complete. Often individual SEO experts are better able to divert resources to your specific goals than agencies that might only have a few blunt instruments with which to work.

You’re also likely to pay less for freelancers than agencies. Many attempt to undercut agencies to entice more business.

Finally, there is a lot to be said for the personal touch. When dealing with a freelancer, they will dedicate their time to your project. You will deal with the same individual every time you have a query, and they won’t have to relay information to other parties, because they will be doing the work themselves.

The Cons Of Using A Freelancer

As we discussed earlier, you’re less likely to find a single individual who has all of the skills required to conduct a full SEO campaign. SEO involves analytical work, thorough research, content writing, link building, outreach, graphic design, and potentially even coding. You could find yourself in a situation where the freelancer you’ve hired doesn’t have the skills that you need, forcing you to take on another, and then another. In the worst-case scenario, you could wind up building a de facto SEO agency comprised of random freelancers all over the web.

There’s also a degree of risk involved with hiring a freelancer. You’re putting a lot of faith in a single person. If they are ill, there’s nobody to pick up the slack.

Lastly, you could find yourself suffering in the customer service department. Freelancers might not provide in-depth reports on work they’ve done, or they may fail to provide adequate customer service and communication. You could find yourself in a position at the end of a campaign where you don’t know if it was successful or not.

So, Which Should You Choose: An SEO Agency Or Freelancer?

If you only have a small project with minimal requirements, then a freelancer is probably your best option. However, if you require many elements of SEO, from programming to outreach, then going with an agency might be a better deal.

Whichever route you take, ensure that the individual or business that you opt for is experienced and qualified to work on your project. Check that they are communicative by emailing and calling, and ask for verified results from previous projects so that you can fairly and reasonably judge their work before investing in their services. SEO services can be extremely beneficial to a business, but they can also be money down the drain if you don’t choose wisely.