Many business owners find themselves asking, “Should I go with a solo SEO guy/consultant or an SEO agency?” Picking the right SEO option for your website is a really important decision. Even Google agrees—choosing an SEO provider is a big deal because it could either save you time and improve your site, or it could potentially damage your site and hurt your reputation.

Below I outline the biggest pros and cons of each option to help you determine if an individual SEO guy or an SEO agency is best for you.

SEO Guy

Pros

  • 1 point of contact. When you hire a solo SEO guy, there’s never a question of who is doing what on your site, or who your account manager is. Any questions you may have about the SEO work being done can be answered by one person.
  • Lower price. You’re only paying for one guy’s time not a whole team’s time and attention. Along with that, SEO guys typically work from home so they can pass the money saved on office space on to you.
  • More freedom. Some SEO agencies have defined processes or “cookie-cutter” approaches that work for many of their clients, but may not be the best approach for you and your site. Individual SEO guys have more freedom to do whatever you both agree is best for your site.

Cons

  • Too many hats. As mentioned by TopRankBlog.com, solo SEO guys or SEO consultants often have to fill many roles. They become your web designer, graphic designer, content manager, and your SEO specialist all wrapped into one. It is extremely difficult for an individual to truly be a specialist in all of these different areas.
  • Constant updates. Google pushes updates on a near daily basis and the SEO industry is frequently changing, so at times it can prove difficult for a one man team to stay abreast of all these changes.
  • Physical limitations. Also mentioned by Top Rank Blog, individual SEO guys ultimately have their limits. They may not be able to respond to your email or request as quickly as you’d like because quite frankly they do not have time.

 

SEO Agency

Pros

  • More specialists. As mentioned by Moz.com, an SEO agency can afford to have a dedicated PPC specialist or a dedicated web designer who are leaders in their fields, so you know any work being done is by an expert in their area.
  • Track record. Many agencies work with notable clients which can give validity to their company and their work, and in turn can give you more confidence when making your decision.
  • Scalability. As your business and your site needs grow, agencies can grow with you. If you decide to try a PPC campaign or delve into eCommerce, it’s easy for an agency to accommodate.

Cons

  • Many clients. SEO agencies often work with upwards of 50 clients or sites at a time, so it can be harder for them to give you the personal attention you may be looking for.
  • Price. With all those specialists working away on your site, it often means you’re also paying a higher price for the work agencies do for you.
  • Too big? Some SEO agencies only work with clients with existing brands and websites, so you may find your site and needs aren’t quite ready for agency work yet.

 

In summary, it’s super important to see experience and previous successful campaigns from your potential SEO guy or SEO agency. Doing SEO for your website can significantly increase your visits and business, but it could also get your site hit with many different penalties if done poorly. For further reading, consider these guides by Forbes or MarketingZone to see which SEO option is best for you. As with anything, it’s always best to do your research!

Matt Casady
Online Marketing Specialist at Big Leap
Matt is an Online Marketing Specialist at Big Leap. He has a background in advertising and specializes in local search and media placements. In his free time he loves playing Ultimate Frisbee and building websites.