SEO Agency vs In-House vs Freelance: Which is Better?

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SEO Agency vs. In-House vs. Freelance

When it comes to choosing the right marketing solution for your business, there are three usual options, hire an SEO agency, a freelancer or have an in-house team of marketers. If you are wondering which option is perfect for you, the answer is that it depends on the below options (SEO Agency vs In-House vs Freelance) which have pros and cons.

Let’s first discuss each of these options in detail and the basic differences between them. Before getting in to take a look at Freelancers vs Web Development Company.

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Then, We’ll share some tips to help you figure out the best SEO solution for your business.

SEO Agency

The term refers to an established SEO firm, preferably with a team of SEO experts, with knowledge and experience in live digital marketing projects. The reasons for hiring an established SEO agency are simple. They are trustworthy, affordable, easy to manage and have a good reputation in the industry.

In-house SEO Team

Having an in-house marketing team sounds like a good idea, but it is not always. Unless you are a big (enterprise-level) company and have a substantial budget and time to dedicate to your marketing efforts, it is not recommended to have an in-house marketing team, especially when you can easily outsource the job to a professional SEO Agency.

SEO Freelancer

The term freelancer has become quite popular these days, especially with the evolution of the internet. These are individual people who are (or claim to be) experts in their respective fields and provide services to clients.

This is certainly a cost-effective option and may even do good sometimes, but not always. It is difficult to trust a freelancer in terms of quality, communication, and on-time delivery.

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Differences Between SEO Firm, In-House team, and Freelancer


In terms of cost, the above three options are ranked as below (High to low).


  1. In-house team
  2. SEO Agency
  3. Freelancer

Assembling and running an in-house marketing team is definitely the costliest option. You’ll have to hire and pay salaries to multiple persons, including the marketing manager, SEO expert, PPC expert, social media person, content writer and more, no matter how little or more you use them.

The operation and management costs are also higher. Also, there are risks like delays in project completion or an increase the cost of turnover if an employee suddenly decides to leave.

Outsourcing your SEO needs to a professional agency is both affordable and reliable. With an SEO agency, you need to pay for exactly what you use. They already have teams of experts in place, which you can simply pick and use as and when needed by paying a minimal cost. Moreover, there is no added cost of management and other risks.

Hiring a freelancer is a good option when you are on a very strict budget as you can find freelancers for almost every budget. They are mostly preferred for short-term marketing tasks, but not for handling big projects. The main problem is trust and reliability which the freelance industry usually lacks.


In terms of skills, the ranking goes like this:

1. SEO Agency
2. Freelancer/ In-house team

These days, digital marketers prefer to specialize and work in one particular skill rather than focusing on multiple markets. This is why it has become important to find and hire people with different online marketing skills, such as PPC, social media, SEO, lead generation, etc.

This is where an SEO agency is beneficial as they have all the solutions ready for you to grab. By paying a fixed fee, you can hire exactly what you need for as long as you need it. You do not have to build the team yourself.

Freelancers may or may not have skills, depending on who you are hiring. There are many proficient freelance SEO experts, but they are not easy to find. You will have to spend some time researching, evaluating, and even bargaining to find a good SEO freelancer in your budget.

There is a tie between the freelance and in-house options. Since you are hiring and selecting team members by yourself, an in-house team can be as good as you want it, depending on you much you are willing to pay.


The ranking goes like this:

1. SEO Agency
2. In-house team
3. Freelancer

Freelancers are not exactly managers. They can surely work on your website, and may even improve its ranking, but they can never manage your project like a professional agency will do.

This is because agencies have lots of experience along with dedicated managers to handle their projects. They will not leave your project in inexperienced hands and provide end-to-end management so that you can focus on improving your business.

Having an in-house team is also a good management decision but too costly and time-consuming at the same time. If you want the perfect management of your project, you will have to do it yourself or appoint a person whom you completely trust, there is no other way.

Other Benefits

Each of the three options discussed above has its own perks. Let’s discuss further.

Hiring an SEO agency has many benefits. You get access to a professional team on a pay-as-you-go basis. They have managers, writers, SEO guys, designers, editors and whatnot, so you won’t have to do anything besides sharing the project details with them.

This saves you a lot of money and time. Also, as a regular or consistent client, you can always expect to get discounts and offers like addon services, free promotions and more from your marketing firm.

The main benefit of having an in-house team is that everything remains in the company and you can continue to maintain the company culture along with seamless collaboration with other teams/parts of the business.

Freelancers, on the other hand, can offer you the benefits of flexibility (but not always and not all of them). They are ideal for small projects or quick jobs and are really cost-effective.

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Choosing the Best SEO Solution for your Business

Every business is unique and which SEO solution will work for you depends on many things, including your goals, existing marketing system, requirements, budget, resources, company culture, etc.

The market is evolving very fast and so are the marketing practices followed by agencies. SEO is no longer just about getting ranks in search engines or generating leads at the top of the sales funnel.

Now, marketers are more focused on generating leads and converting them to customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey. All you have to do is find the right company or marketer for the task.

Here are a few things you can do to be able to find the right SEO solution/option.

  • Explore all the options: If you are confused about the right choice, why not give them all a try. Hire a freelancer for a short period to try out their performance. If that doesn’t work, move on to the next option.
  • Use the right platform: Make sure that you are using the right practices and platforms to find the perfect marketing solution. Google, Upwork, SEO forums and social media are some of your options.
  • The modern approach: Make sure that the company/freelancer you are considering follows the best and latest SEO techniques we mentioned before and focuses more on content marketing rather than using the same old link-building process.


If your budget permits and if you really need the ultimate marketing solution, hiring a professional marketing agency is probably the best option.

They can offer you everything under the same roof and will manage your project like their own and give you results no matter how long it takes. Moreover, you can expect professional experience, healthy communication, and timely delivery.

SAG IPL is an expert digital marketing agency based in India. We have been providing quality SEO services for over 10 years and manage hundreds of SEO projects for some of the leading businesses across the globe. Reach us to get a free SEO audit for your website or get a quote now.

By Mohsin Qureshi

SEO Strategy and Growth Leader

Mohsin Qureshi is a seasoned digital marketer with over 12 years of experience, including 7 years working as a Team Leader in SAG IPL. His expertise lies in SEO, SMO, PPC, influencer marketing, and strategy building with a focus on driving impactful results and growth for businesses. With a keen eye for innovation and a commitment to excellence, Mohsin has been delivering tailored digital marketing strategies and solutions to help businesses excel online. LinkedIn


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