SEO Agency vs Consultancy: How To Choose

SEO Agency

So, you have some great products or services you think consumers would be interested in. You’re excited to make a splash in the digital marketplace, connect with your target audience, and stand out among the competition. That’s fantastic, but to do that, you’ll need to optimize your content. Otherwise, searching for your brand can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Whether you’re a startup, a small or mid-size business, or a large enterprise, search engine optimization (SEO) can help elevate your brand’s online visibility, boost traffic, and increase sales. But where do you start? Should you hire an SEO consultant or an SEO agency? 

What is an SEO Agency?

An SEO agency is a professional company that provides a wide range of SEO services to enterprises looking to bolster their brand’s online presence. SEO agencies can leverage SEO tactics to produce results organically or through paid advertising. Some essential SEO services include on-page SEO, off-page SEO, keyword research, link building, content creation, and conversion rate optimization. With a team of highly skilled SEO experts in areas like content creation, analytics, and technical SEO, an SEO agency will ensure your website’s content is properly optimized for search engines such as Google and Bing. Some agencies even provide design services like web design assistance, which enables them to take care of all your digital marketing needs from start to finish.

What is an SEO Consultancy?

An SEO consultancy provides expert SEO advice, strategic guidance, and custom SEO solutions to suit an enterprise’s unique needs and goals. SEO consultants can work individually or as a team to support enterprises’ SEO endeavors. Typically, SEO consultancies provide flexible services, which allow companies to hire them for specific projects such as launching a new website. They can also be hired for ongoing consultations if needed. SEO consultants can conduct an SEO audit and employ analytics tools to determine which SEO solutions should be implemented. With an emphasis on strategic planning, SEO consultants ensure that SEO efforts support the needs and goals of the enterprise. 

What are the Differences Between an SEO Agency vs Consultancy?

While an SEO agency and an SEO consultancy both offer great SEO services and solutions, there are some important differences. Here are five key distinctions:

Level of Service

SEO agencies provide a comprehensive group of digital marketing services such as content creation, cold email outreach, web development, keyword research, and much more. For businesses looking for a holistic approach to boosting their online presence, SEO agencies can handle it all. SEO consultants typically provide SEO-specific services only. Their main focus is developing an SEO strategy, providing expert advice, and conducting SEO audits to improve online visibility. 


SEO agencies typically work with businesses on an ongoing basis across a digital landscape of diverse services. A custom-tailored package of services is usually designed for the specific needs of each individual enterprise. SEO consultancy is a much more limited engagement. Companies can hire them for SEO strategic input on project-based work as needed. 


SEO agencies comprise a diverse team of SEO specialists with expertise in a wide range of digital marketing disciplines. As a team, they can coordinate with one another to ensure the best solutions are in place. SEO consultancies are usually made up of only one person or a small team with expertise in SEO strategy. They leverage their knowledge to provide targeted SEO solutions. 


SEO agencies integrate SEO into an expansive digital marketing strategy, which gives them a broader approach to optimizing an enterprise’s online presence. SEO consultancies are more focused on strategic planning and tailoring it to SEO. Their approach is primarily interested in boosting an organization’s online presence by optimizing your content for higher rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Size and Scale

SEO agencies can come in all sizes. Some are small boutiques, while others can be large firms with extensive resources. The scale of an SEO agency allows them to take on projects of different complexities. SEO consultancies are generally much smaller in scale, providing specialized guidance. As individual consultants or small teams, SEO consultancies support organizations with much more specific SEO needs.  

How To Choose Between an SEO Agency vs Consultancy

SEO agencies and consultancies are extremely valuable for increasing brand visibility. Choosing between the two depends on your unique enterprise’s digital marketing goals. Here are three key considerations to help you make a clear decision: 

Scope of Services

Enterprises that require a broad range of digital marketing services like content creation, social media management, or web development may prefer the services of an SEO agency. If you need strategic SEO guidance or project-targeted advice for optimizing your website, SEO consultancy is an ideal choice. 

Project Needs and Goals

For organizations looking for a broad digital marketing approach with ongoing support and management, an SEO agency is well-equipped to meet your needs. If the needs and goals of your SEO-related project require an in-depth analysis, audit, or strategy, an SEO consultancy may be a better fit for your enterprise.  

Budget and Flexibility

Because each business is unique, many SEO agencies offer flexible service packages to suit your budget, needs, and goals. An SEO agency may be a great, cost-effective solution if you’re looking for a long-term partnership with various digital marketing solutions. An SEO consultancy may be the perfect tailored approach for enterprises with more specific project-based SEO needs. It can be even more cost-effective than an SEO agency, thanks to the limited engagement. 

Whether you need broad digital marketing services or a targeted SEO strategy, CadenceSEO can help. We are a full-service digital marketing agency that also offers SEO consultancy services. Depending on your unique SEO needs, we can tailor custom solutions to help you reach your goals. Contact our team of SEO nerds for a free consultation today! 

Picture of Christy Olsen

Christy Olsen

Christy is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of CadenceSEO. As a self-proclaimed SEO Nerd she is extremely passionate about all thing SEO. With over a decade of service in the SEO space she has helped hundreds of clients get where they want to go. Outside of work she is a proud mother of 6, tri-athlete, ultra-runner, and Cross Country Coach.

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