SEO Freelancer vs. SEO Agency vs. In-House
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SEO Freelancer vs. SEO Agency vs. In-House SEO – Which Should You Hire?

Are you looking to hire an SEO but not clear on how to go about it?

In this week's article, I discuss when to hire an SEO freelancer Vs SEO Agency Vs In-House SEO team.

Should you hire a Freelance SEO expert, an SEO agency, or build an in-house SEO team for your business or website?

Hello, my name is Simon Taki Zaku, (freelance SEO professional for B2B), and prior to writing this blog article specifically for you, I saw this Reddit post on my feed:

hire a freelance SEO expert

Apparently, this Reddit user (ScruffMob), hired an SEO agency for his website which was already doing 8k organic clicks monthly. Overall, he didn't get any backlinks, traffic, or good content.

Not to say all SEO agencies are not effective, in fact, this post is going to be the most honest piece of guide around hiring an SEO freelancer Vs SEO Agency Vs In-House SEO team.

Bad SEO agency result

Even as a professional freelance SEO expert myself, I will shed light on the major downsides of working with a freelance SEO expert as opposed to hiring an SEO agency or building an in-house SEO team for your business or website.

I looked up the top articles on this topic - freelance SEO Vs SEO Agency Vs in-house SEO team. Here's what I noticed:

  • most articles were written by SEO agencies.

  • they were written by expert writers to attract readers and convert leads so most are biased. Shedding less light on SEO freelancers and in-house teams while focusing on the positives of an SEO agency.

  • they end the article by inviting you to work with them.

A lot of agencies would write an article on freelance SEO experts versus SEO agencies versus in-house SEO teams and then tailor the entire article to favour SEO agencies in order to generate sales and clients for their SEO businesses.

Regardless of whether or not an SEO agency is quite perfect for your type of website (B2B, B2C, etc).

Now, while some of the SEO agencies are undoubtedly great in providing SEO results, NOT every website will work well with an SEO agency.

Some websites will do brilliantly well in search with a freelance SEO expert or building an in-house SEO team. So this guide will break down these 3 categories of SEOs and help you select the perfect SEO hire for your website.

Side Note: At the end of this short guide, I will be giving you a free downloadable resource that includes the top ten intricate questions to ask any SEO before you proceed to hire. These are more targeted SEO questions that are NOT "do you have past results?" or "how many years experience?". This will save you from hiring from 100s of quack SEOs and other SEO scams on the internet.

SEO freelancers Vs SEO agency Vs in house SEO
Top ten intricate questions to ask any SEO before you proceed to hire

Choosing Between an SEO Freelancer, SEO Agency, or an In-House SEO Team

Which is perfect for your business or website?

1 - Hiring an SEO Freelancer (AKA a Freelance SEO Expert)

To begin with;

Who is an SEO freelancer?

An SEO freelancer is someone who offers freelance SEO services, mostly in hourly rates or project basis, to websites owners or businesses.

SEO freelancers (AKA freelance SEO experts) majorly offer SEO services like backlink reach-outs, content creation, blog writing, on page SEO, off page SEO, etc, to website owners on the internet at affordable rates.

What other SEO services does an SEO freelancer offer websites?

A freelance SEO professional takes care of your entire website SEO.

A freelance SEO can handle your SEO planning and content creation.

An SEO freelancer can also manage your WordPress websites.

A few freelance SEO experts can also take care of your email marketing and lead generation.

Now, this is something a lot of these pages do not shed light on.

What are the duties of an SEO freelancer in 2024?

What do SEO freelancers do?

There are so many hats an SEO freelancer could wear as a freelancer, but here are the major duties of an SEO freelance professional:

  1. Executing content recommendations for SEO from SEO Managers, SEO Directors, and VPs,

  2. Blog writing,

  3. Writing and sending outreach emails and DMs,

  4. Backlink sourcing,

  5. Writing and publishing guest posts,

  6. Optimizing website copy,

  7. Performing intensive and regular keyword research,

  8. Understanding and translating SEO analytics to useful data,

  9. Work closely with marketing and sales team to write better content that ranks, and,

  10. On-page and off-page SEO tasks.

How much does an SEO freelancer charge?

Typically, an SEO freelancer charges an hourly rate or per project. This is usually anywhere from $10 - $100 per hour depending on experience and level of expertise. Freelance SEO experts also charge a month-to-month basis that ranges from $500 to $3,000.

Hiring an SEO freelancer is undoubtedly cheaper than building an in-house SEO team or an SEO agency.

Advantages of Hiring a Freelance SEO Expert Over Agency and In-house SEO:

  • Relatively cheap rates for SEO - High ROI due to low investment in the long run.

  • Flexible work hours - you can literally call or text an SEO freelancer anytime to handle a task or project. With tips, most SEO freelancers will be happy to work.

  • Less SEO projects thus a closer work relationship - for me, I run weekly and sometimes daily calls with my SEO clients. We also chat often on WhatsApp. This create a closer bond between SEO professional and employer.

  • Smooth communication - unlike with an SEO agency, you can have a great communication experience with SEO freelancers as they can work extra time for tips or extra fees.

  • Result-oriented and better focus - As an SEO freelance writer, I can only take on 3 SEO clients or websites at once. This allows me work closely to understand my clients websites, goals, customers, and campaigns.

  • Bespoke services.

  • Miscellaneous services without additional fees - SEO freelancers are mostly skilled in other aspects you might need (without having to pay extra). Examples are WordPress management, Social media designs, social media management, or landing page copywriting. Most agencies will charge $1000s to handle these tasks.

  • No account manager.

Disadvantages of Hiring an SEO freelancer Over SEO Agency and In-house:

  • No proper work structure - unlike with SEO agencies or an in house SEO team, there is no proper structure a freelancer works with. This can affect overall business results.

  • Can not handle large projects - As a one-person-game, freelancers can not handle large SEO projects that requires more hands. (emailing 5000 websites for backlinks or collaboration).

  • Website SEO usually requires more than one person (or skillset) - from technical SEO, guest posting, content planning & creation, to on page and off page SEO.

  • It is easier to find a suitable SEO agency than an SEO freelancer.

  • Most SEO freelancers are only great in one SEO niche (B2B, B2C, Tech, etc).

  • Most freelancers do not have exquisite resources and expensive SEO tools for projects - most SEO freelancers lack expensive SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz Pro.

Experienced SEO Freelancers to Consider Hiring today? (portfolios attached)

Here are three (3) professional SEO freelancers with excellent knowledge in SEO with excellent track records to consider checking:

  1. Simon T. Zaku (Myself) - a cool addition to open with, I thought. You can learn about my SEO services here and get a free SEO Audit from me by filling this Google form here.

  2. Karl is an SEO freelancer with more than a decade's experience in organic traffic generation. He's a result-driven SEO freelance expert and is available to work.

  3. Chidinma Ofoegbu is one of the finest SEO freelance specialist and SEO writers to hire from Nigeria. She's worked with some of the best brands like BusinessYield, FinancialFitnessClinic, and Madda. You can find Chidinma on LinkedIn or her portfolio website here.

2 - Hiring An SEO Agency

What is an SEO agency?

What does an SEO agency do?

An SEO agency, on the other hand, is an agency team of SEO professionals that offer SEO services like content planning, SEO hiring, content outsourcing, SEO planning, SEM, and PPC. Most times, an SEO agency is a registered company with a proper business structure and management staffs that oversee the business.

With an SEO agency, it majorly consists of large SEO projects, decent businesses, large websites with budgets for SEO and PPC.

What are the main duties of an SEO agency?

What is the role of an SEO agency?

An SEO agency is in charge of;

  1. Hiring SEO managers, hiring content writers, hiring technical SEO professionals, and overseeing your entire SEO plan,

  2. Content development,

  3. Keyword planning & keyword research,

  4. SEO link building,

  5. Plan your SEO strategy,

  6. Write search engine optimised content (or hire a freelance SEO writer),

  7. SEO reporting,

  8. Running backlink audits,

  9. Performing website evaluation for excellent SEO projections, and,

  10. Web design (UX/UI for SEO).

How much do SEO agencies charge today?

SEO agencies in the U.S. charge around $100 to $350 per hour. But majority of SEO agencies today use the traditional retainer system for clients. This is a month-to-month payment fee that usually costs anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 for SEO agencies in the United States. Globally, (outside the U.S.), most SEO agencies can charge $20 to $50 hourly or $1,000 to $7,500 on a month-to-month retainer basis.

Advantages of Hiring an SEO Agency Over SEO Freelancer and In-house SEO:

  • An SEO agency is more likely to produce better SEO results than an SEO freelancer.

  • An SEO agency is cheaper than building an in house SEO team.

  • Diverse SEO experts in various fields.

  • "Two heads are better than one freelancer".

  • In-depth SEO projects and intense implementation.

  • Access to premium SEO tools for your SEO campaigns (SEMRush, Ahrefs, Crazyegg).

  • A proper management that oversees every project.

  • Won't have to budget for SEO trainings for employees unlike with in house SEOs.

Disadvantages of Hiring an SEO Agency Over a Freelance SEO Expert and In-house SEO:

  • No close or deep connection with SEO which might affect the effectiveness of pages and content published by the agency.

  • There's is no 'Author Profile'. With an SEO freelancer, every published post can be tagged along with the SEO's 'About Me' section which can build a close relationship with your writers and website readers.

  • 'Offloading' fee. This is one aspect that might be present in most structured businesses. A freelance SEO will not require and offloading fee and can cancel anytime.

  • Your SEO manager can change at anytime; prompting you to go through processes to explain your brand.

  • No flexible work hours as opposed to SEO freelancers who are likely to accept tasks at any moment. SEO agencies have work hours they strictly follow.

Great SEO agencies to Consider Working With today? (websites attached)

Three (3) Great SEO Agencies in 2024:

  • Grow and Convert - Benji and Devesh are two awesome people I have learned a lot from. Back when they met at an event and decided to start Grow and Convert, I literally followed their journey to building Grow and Convert in years. Super great expertise for your SEO needs.

  • JtreeSEO - Josh Laughtland is the owner of JtreeSEO; a boutique SEO agency that links websites to organic audiences on search engine users. Jtree offers continuous SEO campaigns and SEO management.

  • SimonWrites SEO Agency - this is my very own SEO agency. Learn more about how I am building SimonWrites SEO from scratch here.

Now, what is an in house SEO team?

3 - Building an In-house SEO Team

Can SEO be done in-house?

Now, unlike a freelance SEO experts or an SEO agency which are third party service providers, an in house SEO team is simply a team that is part of your business.

So rather than going out to hire a third party freelancer or an agency to handle your website SEO, you actually build your SEO team within your company team.

You're an SEO team within your already-built company or business. This usually consists of positions like;

  • SEO Manager.

  • SEO Writer.

  • SEO Director.

  • SEO Specialist.

  • SEO Web-design Specialist (or technical SEO expert).

How's an in house SEO team mostly built?

Most companies or businesses would select from their existing team, the best employees with great digital marketing skills relating to SEO. Some of these are;

  • Blogging,

  • WordPress,

  • Web-design,

  • Writing,

  • Inbound marketing,

  • Reach-outs and collaboration,

  • Content creation,

  • Critical and analytical thinking, etc.

An in house SEO team is a great option because employees will understand and know more about your business because of time spent in your business space (offices).

On the other hand, an in house SEO team can be a bit more stressful to build but worth it in the long run.

You are simply building an SEO team you manage and oversee everyday.

This team will spend time around the marketing, sales, and customer teams to better plan and implement your SEO projects.

What are the duties of an in house SEO team?

The duties and advantages of building an in house SEO team are quite similar. But with an in house you get to oversee your SEO efforts even better and closely.

What does an in house SEO do?

Here are some of the duties of an in house SEO team to the business:

  • Consists of SEOs with functions like SEO Specialist, SEO Manager, SEO Writer, etc, who work as a team under one website to ensure the website attracts search traffic that in turn helps achieve the business goals.

  • Create and design effective SEO plans and execute,

  • Report SEO results to designated senior officers,

  • Work closely with team writers, keyword researchers, backlink experts, content creators, and editors to ensure a powerful SEO implementation.

  • Partake in business meetings relating to marketing, sales, and customer departments in order to better understand customers and create converting copies for your web pages.

  • Majorly any duties SEO freelancers and SEO agencies offer.

What is the Cost of Building an In-House SEO Team?

Building an in-house SEO team requires budgeting and proper management.

The cost of hiring an SEO professional for an in-house employee job function is anywhere around $50,000 to $70,000 at around $4,100 to $5,800 monthly. But to ensure an effective in-house SEO team, you need more than one role.

You can hire an averagely experienced SEO professional and an SEO manager or VP. Hiring an SEO manager for your website costs anywhere from $75,000 to $150,000 depending on your location.

Overall, this is the most expensive option but allows more control and better SEO results.

Advantages of Building an In-House SEO Team Over an SEO Agency or an SEO Freelancer:

  • All resources are specifically dedicated to ensure your business goals are met.

  • Larger SEO project implementations.

  • Smooth and immediate communication unlike with SEO freelancers or SEO agencies.

  • Laser-focused SEO projects as opposed to SEO agencies that juggle SEO clients and dozens of SEO projects.

  • A clearer understanding of your products, customers and marketing campaigns.

  • 1 on 1 meetings with the sales, customer, and marketing departments.

Disadvantages of Building an In-House SEO Team Over an SEO Agency or a Freelance SEO Professional:

  • The process of training employees takes time and resources.

  • Pretty much requires a six-figure budget.

  • Not suitable for small business websites with low income.

  • Takes longer time for synergy as a team.

  • The process of hiring on-site SEO experts can be challenging.

2 Examples of Great Companies with an In-House SEO Team:

  • Argos in house SEO team. Learn about Claudia Higgins' experience working as an SEO specialist in the in house SEO team at Argos. Read here!

  • Online Mortgage Advisor in house SEO team. Learn all that Sunny Matharu learned working 15 + years in an in house SEO team. Click here. Sunny is now the Head of SEO at Online Mortgage Advisor (at the time of writing).

As a Business, When Should You Hire an SEO Freelancer Vs. SEO Agency Vs. Build An In-House SEO Team?

What type of SEO is best to hire?

Selecting an SEO for your website or business actually depends on the type of business that you run.

Now that we have come to the end of this guide, I hope that I have explained to you some of the benefits and downsides of hiring an SEO freelancer, an SEO agency and building an in-house SEO team.

With SEO, there is no one size fits all. And that is why I am currently offering free SEO Audits to my awesome readers just like you.

The type of business that you run, target customers, and market you are in should help you figure out the type of SEO that is perfect for your website, type of business or brand.

For example, as a startup, you might want to consider hiring a freelance SEO because that is cheaper and you can reach out to him more and even get a higher return (ROI) from your website.

On the other hand, if you are a more developed brand that can carve out thousands of dollars in SEO budget, then you can either go for an SEO agency or build an in house SEO team for your business or website.

Finally, here is the free document that I promised.

To be able to hire the perfect SEO for your website, there are certain questions you must ask.

From my experience as an SEO freelancer, lots of people are suffering from SEO hires.

Businesses suffer simply because they cannot differentiate a fake SEO from real, experienced SEOs.

This will include all the necessary questions you need to ask before proceeding to work with an SEO freelancer or an SEO agency for the best SEO results.

So, this is a free PDF that you can download which includes the top ten intricate questions to ask any SEO before you proceed to hire (beyond "do you have past results?" or "how many years experience?".

SEO questions to ask
Free ebook: Top ten intricate questions to ask any SEO before you proceed to hire

SEO Expert for Hire - Simon Taki Zaku

Are you looking for an affordable, professional and experienced SEO freelancer for your business or website?

My name is Simon T. Zaku and I am a professional SEO with more than ten years experience generating organic traffic for web websites like,, and many more.

I have been able to generate millions of organic traffic to my clients websites.

You can email me here or use the contact me page and let me know how I can help your business and if you're a perfect fit, I'll reach back to you with the next steps on how to grow your website online.

Have a great day,

Simon T. Zaku,

Owner - Simon Zaku dot com,

Email - simonzakucom at gmail dot com.

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