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September 19, 2008
Hiring an SEO Consultant vs. Hiring an SEO Company
 

When choosing between an SEO consultant and an SEO company to assist with Internet marketing for your business, there are many different points to consider. Many factors are dependent on the specific needs of the business, the maturity of the business’s website, and the owner’s preferences. To help business owners decide which choice is better for them, here are the top 10 tips to consider when deciding to hire an SEO consultant or an SEO company:

 
Budget—For businesses with modest Internet marketing budgets, an SEO consultant may be a more logical choice, as he or she is more likely to take on smaller projects, and can spend more time explaining the fine points of the work.
 
Real-Time Progress Reports—Owners who like to be able to pick up the phone and find out how the project is progressing may prefer an SEO company. The company’s project manager should know the progress of each project at all times.
 
Work Done In-House or Outsourced—SEO companies have the resources to perform the work in-house; whereas most SEO consultants must outsource the work to smaller firms and trusted freelancers.
 
Synergies—The synergies between different Internet marketing strategies are a big part of the short-term and long-term success of a campaign. This factor tends to favor SEO companies, since every specialist on the project can speak and work directly with other team members.
 
Expedience—This largely depends on the size of the project. For smaller projects, an SEO consultant may be a better choice, as he or she can provide faster turnaround times. For larger projects, an SEO company might be a better choice—but speed of completion is far less important than the quality of the work performed.
 
Individual Attention—Under most circumstances, SEO consultants are able to provide more individual attention on each project, and it is definitely in their best interests to do so. However, there are plenty of smaller SEO companies that can also devote extra time to each project.
 
References—Both SEO consultants and SEO companies should be able to provide several references to whom a business owner can speak about their previous work.
 
Limited Expertise—Search engine optimization is a huge, diverse field and it’s simply not possible for one SEO consultant to do everything well. Ethical consultants will tell you this up front. Most SEO companies aren’t able to “do it all,” either, but they generally have the resources to give business owners more options.
 
Continuity—If addressing questions or concerns, an SEO consultant will usually be a better choice, as SEO companies more likely to experience turnover.
 
The Owner’s Instincts—This is purely subjective, but will ultimately be one of the biggest factors. It is definitely in the business owner’s best interests to speak with several consultants and companies, and to pay attention to how those people answer questions. Are they evasive? Do they tend to lead the conversation in another direction instead of answering questions?
 
These tips demonstrate that there are no clearly defined answers as to which approach is better. The best choice for your company is highly dependent upon the specifics of your situation and your familiarity with Internet marketing.
 
Keep mind that many of these tips are generalizations and may or may not apply. As with any other business decision, conduct your own research, gather the facts, and make informed decisions.

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Nick Stamoulis is the president of the full-service Internet Marketing Firm, Brick Marketing.  Nick’s philosophy and strategies can be found in his SEO blog the, Search Engine Optimization JournalNick Stamoulis is also the editor and publisher for seven Internet marketing-related blogs: Pay Per Click Journal, Social Marketing Journal, Blog Marketing Journal, Email Marketing JournalLocal Advertising Journal, and Online Publicity Journal.

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