Freelance SEO or Agency: Which Should You Choose?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has been at the heart of internet marketing for over twenty years and, in that time, it has gone through many refinements and revisions. It may not be an art but it is certainly a highly sophisticated skillset and while search engines such as Google have made it easier for non-specialists to improve their own rankings in the search engine indexes – particularly at a local level – a comprehensive SEO campaign is best entrusted to experts. But the industry is awash with both dynamic SEO agencies and highly motivated, gifted freelancers. How do you know which to choose? Let’s look at a few comparisons.


One is an organisation and the other an individual. Not surprisingly you’ll find that an agency’s fees will be higher because they have overheads to meet while freelancers will have few or none at all. It’s a situation in which price doesn’t automatically equate to a better service. It’s not decisive, but if you want to keep costs down the freelance route may be the better choice.


Outsourcing anything can be nerve-wracking: with SEO you are asking an unknown third-party to look after one of the most important aspects of your marketing. You might prefer to use an agency because they employ a variety of people with different areas of experience and skills which embodies a strong advantage. A breadth of ideas and input is bound to be more productive. The only problem is that when you first approach an agency, your contact may make a very persuasive case for using their services but you’ve no guarantee that person or any of the senior personnel will be assigned to your account.

You may be given an account handler who is superbly talented and does a great job, or you might find yourself working with someone merely adequate. With a freelancer, you know who you are dealing with from the very start and you are appointing the person not the brand. Often they’ll have started off in an agency so they will have the necessary experience but as freelancers, they will be particularly driven to do the best job they can since their personal reputation depends on it.


The traditional 9-5 model of working is gradually breaking down but you are likely to find freelancers much more flexible in the hours they are prepared to work and the ease with which you are able to contact them even out of traditional hours. This can be enormously helpful in getting decisions made and implemented quickly

Length of Engagement

An agency is more likely to operate on contracts lasting six months or a year, which is fine if you’re happy with their work, but if you’re not, then you might wish you had chosen freelancer instead, who is happy to work for you as long as the relationship is fruitful and won’t expect to rely on contractual obligation to maintain it.

Ultimately you need to decide whether the brand, resources and fees of an agency suit your needs, or whether you’ll be better served by a hungry, motivated, resourceful freelancer who is happy to be measured by results because they know they can deliver them.

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