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What is the difference between an SEO agency and a freelancer?

When it comes to outsourcing all or part of your SEO strategy, it is normal to ask yourself what the best choice is between an SEO agency or a freelancer. After all, everyone has strengths and weaknesses and not everyone works in the same way. In this article, we will explore the questions you need to ask yourself and also the points you need to know to make an informed decision.

The cost of a freelancer VS an SEO agency

We often tend to think that a freelancer will cost less than an agency. All things being equal, the answer is YES most of the time because a freelancer will often offer a lower hourly rate than the SEO agency or will be more flexible if the time initially planned to complete the contract is exceeded, which will ultimately cost you less.

On the other hand, not all freelancers necessarily have a lower hourly rate than SEO agencies and it is important to understand how everyone (freelancer and SEO agency) calculates their prices. The hourly rate doesn’t mean anything in itself because a person paid $100/hour who goes 3 times faster than a person paid $50/hour will be cheaper. Do your best to ask for a fixed price so that you don’t run into any unpleasant surprises.

How big is the SEO contract?

The type of task and the size of the project you want done will also naturally guide you towards one choice over another. An SEO agency will tend to accept projects that are a little larger than the freelancer. For example, if you need to write your SEO content and you have one or two texts to write, it is best to have a freelancer do it. On the other hand, if you want to have content written for an entire website, have it translated and then integrated on the site, you are probably better off having an SEO agency handle the project.

A freelancer is, by definition, someone who works alone. They can enlist the help of a few partners to help them if necessary, but in this case, you are no longer dealing with a freelancer but with a group of freelancers or a freelancer who subcontracts part of the work (which isn’t very good for you). The freelancer therefore has fewer resources than an agency that specializes in SEO. You should therefore take this into account if you are in a hurry or if you need multiple skills to do the SEO work.

The resources of a freelancer VS an SEO agency

Consider, for example, the resources needed to improve your Google rankings for specific keywords.

  • First you need to perform a complete audit of your website. The more tools the freelancer or SEO agency has (often paid tools), the deeper the analysis will be.
  • Then you have to implement the recommendations of the SEO audit (otherwise it is useless). The help of a programmer (frontend and/or backend) will often be necessary for technical optimizations.
  • Next, you will need to focus on SEO content writing and (if necessary) content translation that will help you position yourself in the search results.
  • Link building will also be a strategy to implement when the site is optimized and you have content to send visitors to.

A freelancer who knows how to do quality SEO audits, program a site, write quality content, translate it and is willing to search for external links on his own is extremely rare. If you find one and it is not at the same price as an SEO agency, marry them! Otherwise, do business with an SEO agency but make sure that it handles all these tasks (otherwise you won’t make any more progress than with a freelancer).

The flexibility of a freelancer VS an SEO agency

As explained earlier in this article, a freelancer should, in principle, be more flexible than an agency because they have fewer financial constraints to manage. It is easier for a self-employed person to offer a little extra time than for an SEO agency that has about fifteen or more employees to pay every two weeks.

However, take this point with a big grain of salt because a freelancer doesn’t have time to “offer” either and his time is just as precious (or more) than an SEO agency. They sell their time to build up a salary. They will probably want to keep you loyal and may be willing to make some concessions, but don’t overdo it. Think long-term and don’t forget that having a freelancer and/or a reliable SEO agency in your network who will accept your projects, however small and urgent they may be, is very valuable.

An SEO agency that subcontracts to freelancers

Did you know that freelancers’ biggest clients are agencies? Whether for SEO, content writing, programming, design or any other task, many agencies outsource part of their services to freelancers.

We therefore recommend taking the time to fully understand how the SEO agency you want for your project works internally. You shouldn’t have to pay the “agency” rate to ultimately not have the flexibility or skills that you need.

There is nothing wrong with outsourcing some of your services, as long as it is transparent and everyone is comfortable with it.


We hope you enjoyed our article on choosing between a freelancer and an SEO agency. There is no right or wrong choice if you ask yourself the right questions and keep in mind the points listed above.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want our help with SEO. We can also work as a team with your internal resources or freelancers if you wish.


Cofondatrice et Spécialiste SEO-SEM

Eugénie a commencé sa carrière en marketing Web chez Microsoft auprès de partenaires tels que Hewlett-Packard et Dell. En 2013, elle co-fonde My Little Big Web avec Maxence afin d'aider les PME à optimiser leur marketing Web. Ses compétences en SEO, publicité en ligne et expérience utilisateur permettent aux clients de My Little Big Web de se positionner rapidement et durablement en haut des résultats de recherche. Le partage de connaissances fait partie de ses priorités. Elle donne donc de nombreuses formations internes et externes ainsi que des conférences sur de multiples thèmes relatifs au marketing numérique.