I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately and thought that I’d be a good person to weigh in on this topic being that I’ve done both and have been immersed in this industry for the last few years.
Prior to starting Elite Strategies, I was an SEO consultant for several years, but really only about 1 year officially. During that time I served a lot of clients. I was able to take away a lot of experience from this as well as learn a lot about the consulting industry in general. Here are my unbiased thoughts on hiring an SEO consultant vs an SEO agency.
Local SEO consultant
One of the best parts about using a local SEO consultant is the fact that you always know who you are going to talk to. It is a much more personal experience because you talk to the same person every time. SEO consultants are normally very motivated, because a lot of times they strictly work off of referrals so you know they are going to be working extra hard.
I’ve gotten to know a lot of individuals that are full-time SEO consultants and do a great job. Most of them are very selective of who they take on as a client. Some of them even require they fill out an application to their clients before coming working with them.
The main con that I can think of is when an individual SEO consultant starts to get too many clients, clients start getting ignored. One person can only juggle so many clients, so generally it is a good idea for an SEO consultant to have a “cutoff” point once they reach a predetermined amount of clients.
I think its more about the type of person you are, and how you will fit with the SEO consultant you will be working with. If you get along with and communicate well with each other it will most likely work out very well. If the relationship starts with unreasonable expectations and other misunderstandings it might not be a good fit.
National SEO Company
I’m going to try to be as neutral as possible here. One of the biggest benefits to choosing a national SEO company (we are a Florida SEO and national SEO company) is the fact that an entire staff of people are dedicated to your account.
For instance when you sign up for even the smallest SEO package with Elite Strategies you have at your disposal:
- SEO technicians
- content writers
- social media managers
- project managers
- and more
Its kind of like having an entire team dedicated to you alone. These days there are so many different disciplines that make up SEO. A few years ago their were a ton of what I like to call “script kiddie SEO’s” that did nothing more than stuff content, and use “SEO tools” to rank websites.
The cons of using a national SEO company is kind of the opposite of the pros of using an SEO consultant. You don’t get the same personal touch as you do with an SEO consultant as you would with an SEO company.
A lot of SEO consultants will meet their clients at a Starbucks or even at their home. In addition with an SEO company you might talk to a number of different people during the course of your campaign, especially in the beginning. With an individual SEO consultant you will most likely only talk to one person.
It also really depends on what SEO company we are talking about. There are cookie cutter SEO companies that show very little attention to their clients, and then their are more boutique-y SEO companies that really focus on results.
How about neither!?
Try this on for size: your sites on-page is fully “optimized” and you know how to blog, do social media, and manage your website.
Why not hire a PR agency? A PR agency will get your business in front of as many people as possible, get you a ton of press and even get you gigs like public speaking or interviews.
That alone will bring in droves of backlinks, social media interactions, and traffic to your site.
So basically what I am saying is, if you are a self-starter type business person with extra time on your hands and know how to “do SEO” then you might just want to consider hiring a PR agency.
My humble opinion
Anyone that knows me or works with / for me knows that turn down or refer out a number of clients for a number of reasons. That said, I think their are many arguments as to why a company should choose a local SEO consultant.
To me I think it really just comes down to your personal preference. Over the last few years I’ve met and became friends with dozens of SEO consultants that do a fantastic job at getting the job done.
I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting a number of SEO companies here in Florida, throughout the United States, the UK and Australia that are great run great operations. In short, it just depends.