SEO Consultant vs Agency: who to choose for your business

Are you thinking of relying on an SEO agency or an SEO consultant to improve your website’s search engine ranking, but not sure whom to choose?

Then this article SEO Consultant vs Agency is for you! First of all, know that the choice should be based on what your business needs and what goals you want to achieve.

A better position in search engines could lead to a substantial increase in product sales or the services you offer.

But let’s take it step by step: what is SEO? It’s an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”.

In simple terms, it represents the process of improving your site to increase visibility when people search for products or services related to your company on Google, Bing, and other search engines.

Increased visibility and higher rankings in search results compared to competitors can have a decisive impact on your business.

Having a better understanding of the roles and relationship dynamics of these parties will bring you greater clarity about the type of help that best suits your company and your marketing goals.

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Therefore, it’s essential to choose an SEO consultant or an SEO agency to manage your online presence and use a winning strategy to increase your visibility.

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In this article, I will talk about:

  • Differences between agency and SEO consultant.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of both parties?
  • Who to choose based on your needs?

Differences between SEO Agency and SEO Consultant

The SEO agency and the SEO consultant operate in the same field, that is, SEO, but in different ways. The first substantial difference is the number of people you would be working with.

When you hire a consultant, you know who you’re dealing with, and it will be the same person handling the work and consultation.

When you turn to an agency, you’ll likely have an initial approach with the sales manager, who will not be the one actually handling the work and consultation.

The SEO consultant deals with performance monitoring and the identification of key weaknesses and opportunities for your company in the digital world.

For example, most consultants perform technical checks, content checks, or both, to better understand current performance and provide a detailed action plan.

This will leave your team in charge of implementing programming and content creation.

Other consultants can specialize in staff training on search engine optimization best practices, such as technical SEO, on-page and off-page SEO, and content marketing strategies.

The consultant provides a service that continues the work done by your team up to that point and can also help you monitor and measure the performance of your SEO investment.

It’s preferable to establish early on what you need from your consultant and ensure that you are on the same page.

Some consultants specialize in algorithm recovery or link building, while others are more skilled in technical SEO and website optimization.

Working with a consultant who can fine-tune your weaknesses by leveraging your strengths will provide the best long-term ROI.

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An SEO agency consists of a team of full-time professionals whose task is to assess, monitor, and execute a comprehensive Search Engine Optimization strategy for your business.

They differ from consultants in that they are almost always involved in implementing the best strategy for you, rather than providing a detailed action plan or brief content for your team to execute.

Relying on a digital agency is a useful option if you lack the resources, staff, or experience to manage the integration of your Web Marketing strategies.

SEO agencies can focus exclusively on search engine optimization, but larger ones often provide a broader range of services, including PPC advertising, social media marketing, web design, and much more.

Alternatively, some have specific departments or specialized staff that can also assist you with link building, content creation, and technical SEO.

If you like the idea of a team of experts handling this area (or the entire digital marketing sector) of your business, an agency may be the right option for you.

Keep in mind that you must have realistic expectations regarding this industry.

Search Engine Optimization is a long-term marketing strategy that plays a vital role only when combined with all other marketing channels and the right strategies.

In both cases, whether you are working with an SEO agency or an SEO consultant, do not expect to reach the top results on Google’s SERP immediately.

Since you may be disappointed with short-term results. Organic search should only be a part of the marketing channels you use.

In addition to having good SEO, if you truly want to succeed, you’ll need to handle all aspects of digital marketing optimally and up-to-date.

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Pros and cons of a specialized SEO Agency

To decide between an SEO agency or an SEO consultant, it’s important to understand the differences.

A specialized SEO agency is an organization or company that provides services to improve the ranking of blogs, websites, and landing pages on search engines.

They have various positive aspects that could be the differential your company needs.

  • Holistic Approach: most agencies hire specialized personnel capable of managing a wider range of digital marketing services compared to individual SEO consultants. Additionally, they can provide broader features in long-term maintenance and also take care of your overall marketing program. You can always contact the project manager, who is responsible for maintaining order and overseeing assigned projects.
  • Multifaceted Expertise: with an entire SEO team on your side, you’ll benefit from the specific skills of each individual as well as their executive ability. This can work to your advantage because the different perspectives and experiences combined can help you more easily achieve your goals. In larger and more experienced agencies, you can receive services in both online and offline marketing, including paid advertising, link building, social media marketing, and brand reputation management. For offline opportunities, some SEO agencies provide brand building, photography and videography, print media, and TV advertising.
  • 360° Services: for companies engaged in various digital channels, managing myriad online campaigns, staff, and strategic decisions all at once can be challenging. In such cases, an agency can take a significant burden off your shoulders. Many agencies have the flexibility to customize their services, covering a spectrum that ranges from comprehensive omnichannel planning to specific execution within individual channels. With a trusted agency executing the program, you can focus on other equally important aspects of your business.

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Turning to an agency could bring significant improvements to your business, but at the same time, it’s important to understand the disadvantages to make an informed decision.

  • High financial investments and locked contracts: SEO agencies usually have much higher fees compared to consultants because within this amount, you pay for the work of employees, the tools and software platforms used, and the general expenses of the agency. The price range for services from this type of agency is wide, but in some cases, you can create low-cost monthly programs or a contract of at least 6 months, which can be a good solution if your traffic and SEO sphere are doing well. However, it could also become a disadvantage if things go wrong or the expected results are not achieved.
  • Likely lack of highly specialized staff: SEO agencies have different job positions. Within the organization, there will be a team (the highly qualified one) responsible for selling the contract, but another team composed of junior specialists will actually participate in the project and provide the requested services. To mitigate the risks of investing in a project entrusted to an agency, it is essential to thoroughly assess the level of experience of the team you will be working with.
  • Less control and slower communication: while the assistance of an SEO agency allows you to free up some of your daily schedules, at the same time, you may also lose contact with all project updates. For some managers and entrepreneurs, it can be a good way not to overload themselves with work, but this detachment can also shake the focus of your business on target SEO goals. If you choose an agency with few employees, there is a risk of extended communication between you, your account manager, and the SEO team, which means that issues cannot be resolved more quickly or in the way you want. Depending on the agency, it may be necessary to be diligent in requesting updates, or at least, know who your contact person is within the agency.

 

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Advantages and disadvantages of SEO Consultant

When you want to grow your online business, the SEO consultant could be the missing piece to achieve your goals.

Here are the advantages of working with an SEO consultant:

  • In-depth one-to-one consultation: this is one of the major pros of this role. From the moment you start working with a consultant, you’ll have the opportunity to ask in-depth questions about any aspect of the industry. You’ll have their full attention with no other conflicting opinions.
  • Personal approach: it’s a significant advantage when working with a consultant. They take their work to heart as it’s all on their shoulders. There’s no “scapegoat” in case of problems or mistakes.
  • Ease in negotiating the price: unlike agencies with employees, consultants work alone, so they have fewer additional expenses, which means they will have lower rates compared to an agency.
  • Integration of new skills into employees: the consultant is also useful for those who already have staff in other areas of digital marketing and want their employees to handle Search Engine Optimization. The consultant can teach the basic practices of SEO, saving the business owner money on personnel and making their team comprehensive.

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In addition to having various positive aspects, hiring an SEO consultant may also have disadvantages such as:

  • Limited time dedicated to your project: typically, a consultant handles multiple clients at once, so they may not focus entirely on your business and SEO strategy. In the worst case, you might get only 10-20% of their time in total.
  • Specialized but not sectoral work: in most cases, the consultant focuses exclusively on SEO efforts and does not manage any other aspect of the digital marketing sphere.
  • Lack of project customization: since they are not part of your company, the consultant may not have a particular focus on your economic and organizational return but will adhere to standard strategies used for any business.
  • Lack of step-by-step guidance: an SEO consultant typically works with a small team or independently; therefore, given the small number of people working on the project, they may only address the planning aspect of your Search Engine Optimization strategy and not the execution process. Thus, at the end of the project, you may still need to hire a content creator and a programmer to handle strategic development.

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SEO Consultant vs Agency: what to consider when choosing

Choosing between an SEO consultant and an SEO agency can be a challenging decision, but it’s important to consider the overall reality of your company and make your choice accordingly.

If you’re a small business looking to keep costs low but recognize the need for greater knowledge of Search Engine Optimization to improve your website.

The best option would be to train your staff in this area with the help of an SEO consultant who can instruct your employees in developing basic SEO strategies for your company.

However, if you need comprehensive support in all other areas of digital marketing, an SEO agency might be the right alternative for you, especially if you have a larger budget.

Think of it this way: you pay a consultant for their expertise, and you pay an agency for the collective skills of the team.

Conclusion and final tips for making the best decision

Now that you’ve seen the services and the pros and cons of hiring an SEO consultant vs an SEO agency, you have all the elements.

I believe you can now choose which one is more suitable for your business and entrepreneurial idea.

The last piece of advice I would like to give you is to first understand your SEO goals, and assess the current situation of your website or content portfolio.

Also, invest as much as you can in this sector because, when done right, it can take your company to the next level.

Rely on an expert to understand where to start to improve your SEO strategy!

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