Search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can be what sinks or floats the “ship” of a modern web-based business. SEO is at the heart of what allows a brand to thrive in an age that places such great importance on the web. The SEO consulting services you choose can make all the difference in your company’s success. Choosing between an individual contractor and an established agency can be difficult, especially if both appear to have attractive benefits. Here’s a look at some of the greatest differences you’ll find between the two.
The Differences Between an SEO Consultant and SEO Agency
The first step in making your choice is recognizing what makes an agency, an agency. SEO agencies use collaboration amongst team members to come up with the right strategies to improve website performance. A good agency will gather together the brightest minds in the industry with specialists in each sector of SEO – semantics, keyword research, site design, content, etc. Combining the best talent in every focus area will give the client the best of all worlds through one simple enterprise.
An SEO consultant is typically an independent contractor, meaning the individual works for him or herself. Most are SEO freelance agents. SEO freelancers generally work by the hour. Since there is no agency endorsing the skills or trustworthiness of the freelancer, you must be careful who you hire. It will be up to you to manage the consultant – a task that may require micromanaging depending on the individual. Business owners should have a good understanding of what the contractor is doing to prevent costly mishaps.
Pros and Cons of an SEO Consultant
Weighing the pros and cons of an SEO agency vs. consultant can help you make the right decision for your needs. The most obvious selling point of an individual SEO consultant is one-on-one attention with a specialist. You can work with the best in the business without having to fight for his or her focus. At least, that’s what the individual’s business card will tell you. In reality, you have to do significant research to hire a contractor that’s worth the money. Look for testimonials and the person’s past success stores to validate his or her claims.
SEO consultants are cheaper than hiring most agencies. Remember, however, that you get what you pay for. A freelancer may not possess the same range of skills or resources as an agency. You are likely to get a “jack of all trades” type, with no one specialty. This can limit the contractor’s abilities and experience in certain subjects. Since SEO consultants are one-man bands, they tend to need more time to complete projects than agencies. This can be a problem if you have a strict timeline in mind.
Pros and Cons of an SEO Agency
SEO consulting services are only as good as the people involved. At an SEO agency, you will have several highly qualified experts handling your website. This increases the chances of a successful project compared to just one individual. With so much brainpower focused on your website, you’re sure to garner amazing results. You’ll also have more resources available to you, such as SEO auditing services, link building services, local SEO assistance, image and video optimization, and more.
With an agency, you’re working with a business, not a freelancer. You get all the support and guarantees that this comes with. Customer service and commitment to project success will be superior. Agency prices may be more expensive than an individual consultant, but you get more for your money. You gain access to a higher level of support, no matter the scope of the project. Reputable agencies are safer investments and will almost always provide satisfactory returns.
Some people cite high turnover rates as a potential cons of SEO agencies. This entirely depends on the SEO agency and is always something good to just ask upfront. Many agencies work as a collaborative team, so that one agent leaving will not affect your SEO project. The other consultants working on your site will fill the gap as if the transition never occurred. If you don’t like your project manager, ask for another. At an agency, this option is available to you. In essence, trusting an SEO agency helps you avoid all the potential risks of hiring a freelancer. Your investment and your website will be in good hands.
How to Make Your Choice
Look at the scope of your project, and your company goals. Create a list of everything you want your digital marketing strategy to accomplish. Start your search by finding an agency or consultant that can accommodate your most pressing needs. Then, look at your budget. An agency may be out of your desired price range. You could always start with a freelancer and switch to an agency after you make money from leads on Google searches. Start researching options that make you feel confident in your decision. Vizion Interactive delivers the best features of both SEO consulting services – the resources of a large agency plus the personalization of an individual or boutique.