Which is a better choice for small business SEO Consultant; Freelancer or Agency?
If you’re are a small business and you’re looking for an SEO Consultant, the first decision to make is whether to hire and manage a contractor yourself, or to outsource the whole task, and it’s responsibility to an SEO or Digital Marketing consultancy.
Like anything, there are pros and cons to both, and it’s important to consider them so you can make the best choice for you business.
This type of engagement is usually taken out between your business and a single individual, who then progresses the task you ask of them.
Payment is usually by the hour, and they will probably suggest a set number of hours per month or week.
You can find very skilled and high quality people at www.upwork.com. Now that they have merged with www.elance.com, the quality of the contractor pool has improved immensely.
Advantages of freelance SEO experts.
- Often cheap, or very cheap hourly rate.
- Possible to find SEO’s with their own tools so you don’t need to buy software.
- Freelancer global pool is enormous.
- Some highly skill and hard working people all over the world.
Disadvantages of freelance SEO experts.
- You will need to manage them in most case in the same way you would any other contractor.
- Many contractors will take what you ask them to do literally and will not think on their feet, so make sure you are explicit.
- You may have to micro-manage some people.
- You need to understand what they are doing, and how they are doing it.
Hiring an SEO Agency
A typical SEO engagement is between you and a local, national or international business.
Payment is usually a fixed monthly fee.
There is never a shortage of SEO companies in any area, state or country, but quality can be up and down, so it’s worth sitting down with a few agencies to get a feel for them and choose the one you feel the most comfortable with.
Advantages of SEO Agencies
- You are working with another business and they have a business and a name to protect, which often means that customer support and commitment will be superior.
- Businesses can often help with higher level strategic support which can be a huge help defining the scope of a project. SEO doesn’t work for all industries and all keywords.
- Even a small business will have a larger pool or resources than most freelancers, so may be able to bring greater specialism, and better tools to bare for your project.
- Local knowledge can be very useful, especially for local SEO.
- Native English speakers are able to create far better content than off-shore freelancers can, and a good agency should be able to create compelling, and remarkable content marketingthat humans and not just search engines want to read.
Disadvantages of SEO Agencies
- In all cases SEO Agencies will be more expensive than freelancers.
- There is usually a time based commitment from agencies, whether 6 months or 12 months. This is because SEO takes time, and SEO projects take a lot of work, especially at the start.
- There are agencies out there that still do questionably SEO, so make sure they play by Google’s rules.
It’s usually a very good idea to learn something about SEO before you hire a freelancer so you can tell them what you want and don’t want them to do. Watch their work for quality, timeliness and staying within their remit, as these three things are often the first to slip.
There are some great people out there, but there are also many charlatans. Use your own judgement and if something looks fishy, move on.
Don’t allow any freelancer to use automated SEO tools like SeNuke, and get them to submit weekly link reports.
With both freelancer and agency SEO consultant, it’s possible to get risky, damaging or low value SEO done, but the risks are likely to be much higher with freelancers, especially if you don’t know a thing about SEO yourself.
What’s right for you and your business depends on what stage you are at, your own SEO skills, and more importantly your budget.
If you’re budget is too low to cover the cost of an agency then using a freelancer can get you to a point where you are making money from leads sent from Google searches.
Once you get enough revenue, you could then turn to an agency. Get them to do a review of your current efforts and take it from there.
Read this guide for simple and powerful SEO tips you can use today.