If you run a digital marketing agency, you already know how important SEO services are for your clients. Not only is SEO one of the most cost-effective marketing options out there, but it’s one that customers now expect to be part of their strategies.
That said, you may not be in a position to offer SEO services in-house. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re pursuing digital marketing as a side hustle, you may have only a very small team able to execute campaign strategies. If you offer a variety of services and have big growth goals for your business, you may struggle to find balance or even deliver on what’s outlined in your contracts.
At that point, it makes sense to outsource your SEO to someone who’s in a better position to fulfill deliverables and even advise as part of the strategizing process. But you may be wondering whether it’s better to hire a freelancer to handle that work or whether you should partner with an SEO agency.
There are pros and cons to any decision — and the right choice for you will likely depend on a number of factors. By and large, however, you may feel more confident in your decision to work with a white label SEO agency due to their expertise, resources, and increased capabilities.
Let’s take a look at both options and see which one might most closely align with your goals.
Hiring a Freelancer For SEO
There are many freelance SEO professionals out there who will be more than happy to provide product deliverables on your behalf to your clients. There are also a number of platforms well-suited for finding these individuals — and often for a highly affordable price. The potential cost savings can be huge for your business. You might feel like you’re getting a new member of your team without having to pay for benefits or payroll taxes, which can be a big plus.
However, you need to remember that you get what you pay for. Paying a below-market rate for SEO products can yield below-average quality. Ultimately, that may mean you’ll deal with client dissatisfaction or even customer loss. At the very least, it’ll cost frustration for you and force you to spend more time and money fixing the issue. Even if your SEO freelancer hasn’t deliberately delivered something of shoddy quality, they may simply not have the experience to determine what’s expected or how to produce anything better.
Hiring a freelancer may work out well if you have only a couple of clients in your roster. But what if your business continues to grow and you have 10, 20, or 100 accounts that all need SEO services? Hiring a handful of different freelancers will require a lot of time and effort — and it won’t necessarily translate to consistent results.
You’ll essentially be managing a remote team of workers who don’t have a ton of incentive to go above and beyond. Since their rates won’t be very high, they might not provide an indefinite number of edits or be willing to communicate as frequently as you’d like. They won’t be as invested in saving a client relationship, nor will you have much leverage (other than non-payment) to convince them to care. That can lead to a lot of frustration and resentment for all parties involved. Worse yet, it might mean you won’t be able to scale your business or even retain the clients you already have.
There’s no doubt that there are freelancers who can deliver impeccable content or even strategize an entire SEO campaign for you. But when you’re relying on only one person to do this job, you may find that communication suffers or that they aren’t as committed to on-time results as you are. Even if you do happen to find a freelancer who’s able to exceed your expectations, there’s nothing that says the arrangement will last as long as you need them. Freelancers typically need to work with multiple clients at once in order to earn a living, so you may not be their top priority. You could even end up not making the cut if they’re overwhelmed with work or decide to make a career pivot. While a contract can protect both people involved, it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll always be available when work needs to be done.
Working With a White Label SEO Agency
There’s a misconception that working with a freelancer is less expensive than hiring a white label SEO firm. Although you might be able to negotiate a price more readily with an independent contractor or find a freelancer whose rates are shockingly low, you’ll likely end up paying for the difference in the end. You might have to spend your own time correcting their mistakes, lose clients due to unmet expectations, or have difficulty scaling your business due to your reliance on that one individual’s work.
White label SEO agencies offer wholesale prices to their resellers, meaning that the resellers have the power to mark up their SEO services to clients and increase their profits. What’s more, these agencies tend to set very clear expectations in regards to work quality; if they don’t deliver acceptable content or the actual products don’t align with what was represented to their resellers, they understand that revisions or even a refund may be warranted. In that sense, SEO agencies often possess a greater amount of accountability. They know they have a brand reputation to uphold and their business depends on the satisfaction of their direct clients, so they’re more connected to delivering the best possible results.
If your goal is to scale your business, working with an agency partner is really the best way to go. With this option, you’ll have a dedicated team equipped with cutting-edge technology at your disposal. You won’t have to worry about bringing on too many accounts, as your agency partner will be invested in helping your business grow. Best of all, you won’t have to take on the work of managing this team. Instead, they’ll handle all of that themselves, allowing you to focus on what really matters for your business. They’re beholden to delivering high-quality work on time, meaning there’s no micromanaging involved for you.
It’s also important to note that white label agencies can provide professionally developed software and reporting tools for you to use for your clients. Freelancers will either have to use their own tools (which may not align with what your business needs or uses) or may do the work without these resources. You’ll essentially get more for your money when you work with an agency and can bolster your own brand’s reputation as a result.
Choosing between hiring a freelancer and working with an SEO agency isn’t always a straightforward assignment. While freelance SEO professionals can come in handy when you’re in a bind or you don’t plan to outsource a large number of accounts, a white label agency is typically the better choice when you’re looking to grow your business, provide consistent results for clients, and gain access to improved tools for monitoring and maintenance.