Comparing Freelance SEO Consultants and Agencies

Freelance SEO Consultant

SEO experts work as freelancers. They independently serve local customers. In today’s globalized world, freelance SEO consultants can work remotely. Unlike agencies, they work from home, reducing overhead.

SEO Agencies

SEO agencies specialize in SEO and other internet marketing services. These agencies employ several to hundreds of people. They offer SEO, web design, PPC and display advertising. SEO agencies provide companies with complete digital marketing solutions.

What is the difference between a freelance SEO consultant and an agency?

The main difference is obvious, freelancers work as independent consultants. They are mostly self-employed and their client base is mostly local, although in theory a freelance SEO can work anywhere with clients from anywhere.

SEO agencies offer similar consulting services, but they have larger teams. SEO agencies can range in size from a few to hundreds of people. SEO agencies often offer other internet marketing services such as web design, pay per click or display advertising and SEO.


As in other service-based industries, search engine optimization (SEO) freelancers are often more cost-effective than SEO agencies. Offices, sales teams, finance departments and account managers are all examples of high agency costs. Most freelancers work independently from their home office, which significantly reduces overhead.

Most freelance SEO agencies charge by the hour or by the day.


The actual SEO process that agencies and freelance consultants follow is usually similar to each other. When it comes to optimizing a website, there is a fairly well-developed best-practice process that usually looks something like this:

  1. Research different keywords
  2. Optimization of related technologies
  3. On site optimisation
  4. Link building
  5. Reporting

While the terminology used and the details of each step of the process vary from agency to agency and consultant to consultant, most generally adhere to this formula. Most freelancers are generalists and can complete all aspects of the SEO process; however, some freelancers may choose to specialize in specific aspects of the process, such as link building.

Perhaps the most notable difference when working with agencies is the greater involvement of account management, which benefits larger campaigns with big brands.


Since the level of SEO work performed by freelancers and agencies varies widely, it is impossible to accurately compare the two. If you run a business and are considering working with a consultant or consulting firm, it is your responsibility to ask about the reliability, credibility, and performance of the person you hire to perform SEO.

You should look for references from previous clients about experiences working with the agency or freelancer, and you should use Google Search to check their client’s results.

Many agencies will try to sell themselves by emphasizing the benefits of a multidisciplinary team. The team will include experts from different departments such as link builders and copywriters. This can certainly be seen as an advantage, but often freelancers can deliver higher quality services and results because they have more direct experience with the project at hand.


Having a team can give an agency an edge in this regard, but freelancers are often ex-agency employees who have been in the SEO industry for some time and are at the top of the industry. When working with an agency, make it a point to ask about the experience level of the team members who will be working on your project. Bad SEO work done by consultants who don’t have the necessary qualifications can, in some cases, hurt rather than help your website’s search rankings.

Sector specialists

Different industries present a unique set of challenges when managing an SEO campaign, and having experience working in a specific industry niche is often a significant advantage. Some independent SEO consultants will specialize in a specific industry, such as travel, retail, or finance, or a specific geographic area, such as businesses near London. This means they may be more generalist, but can often draw on knowledge from other activities in the same field. Most SEO agencies don’t specialize in any particular industry because they quickly run out of potential clients (since agencies should only work with one site in a specific field to avoid conflicts between clients).


Some of the larger SEO companies have developed custom tools to manage and generate reports on their clients’ activities. While technology is undoubtedly an important part of SEO, in most cases the most effective SEO tools are available for free to anyone willing to pay for them. The vast majority of agency tools are designed to simplify some aspect of their SEO process and generate reports. They can help, but you should know that there is no magic app or hardware that can improve your search rankings; only good SEO work can do that, and there’s always a human touch involved.


There are many factors that go into choosing between a freelance SEO consultant and an agency. Freelance consultants are affordable, adaptable and professional. Agencies offer more services, multidisciplinary teams and possibly more account management. To make a decision, companies need to assess their needs, budget and goals.

Quality, reliability and performance are paramount. Check references, past client results, and team member skills. Businesses can improve their search rankings and visibility by choosing the right SEO partner.


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