Some people might get these two mixed up. An SEO freelancer is a person that does most of their own SEO with a few other freelancers. While an SEO agency has a team of dedicated people that work for that agency and work together for the common good of their client base. While both can give you a great service, deciding which is best for you and your company is up to you. Freelancers typically take on fewer clients and generally work with a team that your company has hired to execute all of their instructions. They know what needs to be done, but they don’t have the team to do it, that is up to you.
A little about freelancers
Freelancers are more personable, but keep in mind you are responsible for the team that will carry out their instructions. This means you will have more overhead than just the freelancer themselves. You will have to deal with the team and their vacation days and all that goes into having an employee. Having an in house team that is paired up with a valuable freelancer can really be great for some companies. However, many smaller companies are going to go with an agency. An agency typically has a business model of how they rank websites based on what type of website it is.
Freelancers could also simply specialize in one aspect of SEO. Sometimes freelancers don’t offer an overall service but a service that they specialize in, such as backlinking or citation build-out. All these are good but those that are hiring these freelancers need to understand what they are doing. Most business owners are not qualified to understand everything that needs done but on-page and off page SEO. Which is why they need to go with an agency. Some tend to like to try but soon give up. Which is okay, trying means that you have some idea but don’t have everything in the right order or have some missing pieces.
A little more about SEO agencies
An agency will have more bandwidth and more people with various skill sets. They typically carry a full skillset for complete marketing. They typically don’t simply offer SEO services but offer a vast array of marketing services. These can be setting up your paid ads to putting together short videos and more. If you are looking to fully market your website and services then an agency might be the best option. Really, it would be up to you on what a good fit would be. Often freelancers will work with other freelancers to bring you the same or similar services that you might get with an agency. So, do your homework to find someone that fits with what you have in mind.
Most freelancers have fewer clients than that of an agency. This means that they will have more time to discuss with you their strategies. They typically will provide simple reports where the agencies might have more in-depth reports and data tracking. If you are big into reporting, you should ask to see a sample report.
Some comparisons in SEO freelancers and agencies
While agencies typically have strict office hours, a freelancer is freer with their hours, typically, and you can call them on the weekend or after hours. However, again, this is up to the freelancer and the agency. Some agencies might work with you to meet you when you have time. After all, in this day and age, customer service is important.
Be sure to ask the right questions when you are interviewing the various options you have. Keep in mind that the agency does this for many clients at a time. Their teams are not going to be as familiar with you but will be monitoring their progress and getting the results you need. They tend to be less personable as they are working with a larger number of people. This means that they will have less time for you but they will get you the results you expect, most likely. Be sure to read up on their online reviews and ask them for proof that they have the skills that they say they have. Many times they will have some case studies that they can share with you.
Many people feel more comfortable going with a reputable and professional agency. This is because they typically have an office and you can call them up during their business hours. You can even go there for a visit. However, freelancers are not all overseas. You would be surprised to learn that freelancers are everywhere. Typically they only need their computers for work, so some don’t even have a residence. They love the “laptop” lifestyle and can travel while working without any issue. However, during their travels, they may not have the best internet, which means it could cut into their ability to work at a pace to be expected.
They will take a look at your website
If you already have a website, then either of them will take a look at your website. Some people build their own websites on various free platforms, which are okay for personal blogging or informational sites. But, many SEOs have a preference to WordPress as it is fast loading and easy to structure for SEO. There are reasons that they prefer it and they can give you those reasons. Some of the free site builders make it almost impossible to rank, while others really aren’t so bad. It all depends on the skill set of the SEO as well.
Some SEO agencies focus heavily on backlinks and gaining backlinks. While others focus more on On-Page SEO. Everyone’s a little different but still can get results. There is more than one way to do this.
Learn a bit about SEO so you understand the language
It is important that you take your time to learn a little about SEO. Now, don’t go overboard and take a long course or anything but study the terminology so you can better understand what each person is talking about. When meeting with the freelancer or the SEO agency you should have basic knowledge of what it is that they do and what it is that you are looking for.
Agencies are typically full-on marketing companies. However, not always. You will need to find out what their design skills are like, especially if you are looking for a new website. Design skills are important when designing a website for SEO. Not all website designers understand SEO. In fact, it is very common for companies to have a website designed by a website designer that is not SEO friendly at all. Your website speed is important, which is something that many designers don’t have SEO skills don’t think about. Your images have to be a certain size and need to be optimized as well. There is a lot, actually, that goes into the website that needs to be done in order for the website to be SEO friendly. This is a good reason not to hire a freelance website designer, as many times these sites need to be scrapped and started over.
Look at their online presence and reviews
Whether you are looking at a freelancer or an agency, you should look at the online presence. Is there an agency website ranking towards the top? If not, you might want to ask them why? This should be a pretty simple thing. Also, be sure to look at their ratings and reviews are in great standing. Keep in mind that from time to time, we all have had a tricky client. However, they should have responded to any negative feedback, giving you an idea of what actually happened. Look at the responses and take that into consideration.
Because agencies work with more clients and have a team, they typically have software that will keep them on task. This software will monitor where they are at in their tasks for the month. It will tell them where you are ranking and keep track of the rankings for them. Freelancers also have some software that they use but they don’t rely as heavily on it as a whole because there is one person in charge of everything that is going on with your SEO services.
Because of this, if you call up a freelancer out of the blue, they can probably tell you what they have been working on, right from their head. However, an agency will have to look it up and won’t know as many details. This typically isn’t a problem, as most companies don’t care how they rank them, as long as they are getting good rankings.
Let the SEO company do its job
Don’t hover over any SEO company. They are there to do their job and they don’t need you messing with things. So, if you have access to your website, leave it alone and don’t go in and mess with things. Remember how the On-page was important and many website designers don’t even understand it? Well, that holds true for business owners as well. For example, if you take your car to the shop, they will tell you what is wrong with it and the cost to fix it. You don’t ask them how they fixed it, you are just grateful that it is fixed, this is the same thing. Keep your distance but ask questions if you are not seeing the results that you would expect. And remember, it takes time to get a website ranking. Be patient.
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