Written by Laura Farkas

Updated May 13, 2022

Should You Work with an SEO Agency in the UK or Outsource Your Projects Overseas? Expert Advice from Our CMO

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So you own a business in the United Kingdom and would like to outsource your marketing instead of setting up a team in-house? There are loads of agencies and directories that offer low-cost marketing services from overseas and give you access to their pool of talented freelancers worldwide. Your dilemma is whether to go with an SEO agency in the UK or hire a freelancer. There are loads of pros and cons, and the decision is not easy. Read our comprehensive list of features for both SEO services to help you make your decision.

Pros of Working with an SEO Agency in the UK 

If you go with a professional SEO agency in the UK, you are likely to get top quality service and great communication. As the market is pretty crowded, you will get great treatment once you sign up and the company is likely to value your business. However, for the customer service and the personal approach, you will need to pay more. Compared with a freelancer abroad, you can expect to pay 2-3 times more for the same service, but you will get the extras and the treatment your brand deserves. Let’s dig deeper to find out more about the pros and cons of working with a marketing and SEO agency. 

Concept and Strategy

One of the main advantages of working with a digital marketing and SEO agency in the UK is that you can sit down with the specialists and discuss your project. You can get free guidance and recommendations face-to-face. A company that values its reputation will do everything to make sure that you succeed, and they will develop a unique concept and strategy based around your brand and goals. A freelancer would probably not have time to do that, as they are paid per hour or a fixed rate. 

Dedicated Team of an SEO Agency in the UK 

Once you become a client, your project will be assigned to the most suitable and most experienced team members who will apply their specialist skills to get you results. Many freelancers, in contrast, are kind of a “jack-of-all-trades”. You will get the basic setup, but not the latest technology. The project manager of the SEO agency in the UK will make sure that the best people are assigned to every task, and everything goes smoothly. Freelancers often struggle with time management and administrative tasks. 

Industrial Experience 

As mentioned before, freelancers do anything that brings in money. They don’t have the freedom to pick and choose based on what they like doing, unless they are well established and their specialist skills are in demand. This means that they work across multiple industries, and do not focus on one sector. Many marketing and SEO agencies, however, are niche specific. For example, here at LMNts Marketing we work with consultants who have an established following and charge at least £100 per hour for their services. And we know that industry very well. 

Local Knowledge

One of the most important advantages of working with a UK SEO agency is that they will know how your customers think and what makes them buy. While many freelancers might have excellent English skills, they are from a different culture and will not know the local phrases and colloquial expressions that make all the difference in your search engine optimization campaign. A UK-based digital marketing agency will also be more tuned into the trends of the country. 

Market Expertise

An SEO agency in the UK will know the current market conditions in your industry, have access to detailed reports, and can get access to the competition. They will understand the trends, the customers, and likely have a subscription service that offers them valuable insights that your overseas freelancer might not be able to access. They will also know your competitors, their approach, and have the research skills and resources to prepare a full report and strategy. That’s what we do here at LMNts when we start a collaboration project with a marketing SWOT analysis

Established Structure and Processes

The owner of the UK SEO agency will have the tools and processes in place to make sure your project is handled according to the best practices of the industry. They will have access to the latest tools and reporting software your freelancer might not necessarily have access to. From project management to automatically sharing updates and reports, there are many perks of working with an agency. 


A good digital marketing firm in the United Kingdom will provide you with the transparency of services and let you know of the steps they will take and the timescales. This is not likely to happen when you hire a freelancer. First of all, they don’t have access to the software, secondly they simply want to focus more on the tasks at hand and less on administrative tasks. However, you – as a client – want to know where you stand with your SEO ranking and expect regular updates. An SEO agency in the UK can provide you with that. 

Holistic Approach 

While freelancers are task-focussed, a team of SEO professionals can give you a more holistic approach. They get paid to “think outside the box” and come up with innovative ideas to help you achieve your goal; whether it is improving your traffic, conversions, or both. They will also be more interested in helping you improve your reputation and brand than a freelancer who lives thousands of miles away and never really met you. 

As you can see, there are loads of perks of working with a SEO agency in the United Kingdom. Is it for you, though? Read the cons to make up your mind. 


Cons of Working with an SEO Agency in the UK 

Of course, there’s a difference between the level of service you receive from a one-man band freelancer abroad and a team of marketing experts. You will, however, have to pay the difference. Not everyone would buy a Porsche, especially if they only have the budget for a Skoda. At the same time, if you only need one or two things fixed or created, you might not want to pay agency prices. Here’s the lowdown on the potential disadvantages of working with an SEO agency in the UK. 

Cost of Hiring a UK SEO Agency

The main con of working with an SEO agency in the UK is the cost. You want experts and you will have to pay expert prices. Training up new employees up to the highest standards and getting the latest technology doesn’t come easy. That’s why search engine optimisation agencies seem to be charging more. They also have office running costs and subscriptions to budget for. This means that you will not get away with a shoestring budget when it comes to your marketing. 

No Easy Wins

With a search engine optimisation agency, you will have to wait for the experts to develop  a strategy. They will build up your campaign from the ground up to make sure they deliver results. That’s why it is important to get a timeline and expected results. Some SEO agencies in the United Kingdom will provide you with a detailed strategy, while others will give you a simulation of results, so you understand what’s going on behind the scenes. Either way, there’s no easy wins; they will target the most profitable keywords, not just the easiest ones, or the “low hanging fruits”. 

Investing In a Long Term Strategy

There’s usually a setup fee with a search engine optimisation agency, and you will need to wait for the experts to do their magic and set up your site for success. On-site SEO, also called technical SEO should always come before building links and authority. As here, at LMNts Marketing say, quoting a Hungarian phrase: “you can’t build a castle of cow dump”. (English equivalent:  “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”You will have to get your site ready for ranking and conversion first. 

Doing Things “By the Book”

Agencies will do things according to their time tested rulebook, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. While this might be an advantage for you, it definitely takes longer than finding shortcuts – like freelancers often do. As an example, they will ask you to set them up as a new user on your site instead of using your password, as this would incur a hefty GDPR fine. They will also need your written permission to connect their accounts to your Google Analytics and Search Console, as well as other platforms. This can sometimes complicate and slow down things.

Pros of Working with Freelancers Overseas

Of course, if there were no advantages of working with freelancers, nobody would use them. The scalability, low cost, and flexibility are among them. Let’s dig into the perks of hiring a freelancer deeper. 

Price Advantage

Yes, there’s the cost. If you have a low digital marketing budget, and don’t have the staff to take care of search engine optimisation, it might be a good way of saving money. You don’t pay national insurance, tax, and the lot, and don’t have to commit to employing the person for the short term project. That said, SEO should be an ongoing process, and if you get results straight away, they are not likely to stick. Nonetheless, you can potentially save thousands, and if the results are there, using a freelancer gives you a better return on investment. 


As freelancers get paid per hour or per project, they are more likely to complete the job faster and more efficiently. Chances are that they will have a system to reduce project times. After all, if you only get paid a certain amount, you need to ensure that it’s worth your time. Employers or clients can benefit from this as they will get a faster response, especially if they use escrow as a payment method, and the funds are only released upon completion. 

Turnaround Time

As freelancers tend to be more efficient for the above reasons, they might give you a much faster turnaround time than an agency. Let’s say that you need a few SEO blog posts completed; an agency would choose the most qualified person for the job, put the project in the workflow, send the first draft, discuss the amendments, and so on. Most freelancers cut to the chase and deliver directly according to the job specifications. So if you’re in a hurry, you might want to go with a freelancer when it comes to search engine optimisation. 

Availability of Special Skills 

If you are looking for a specific skill set, you might want to look around the freelance marketplace. For example, not all agencies would be able to optimise a custom built website or a Drupal one, especially if they are used to working on WordPress. Even if they took on the job, they would probably charge you more than for a standard project. The same applies to content writing for specific industries. You might find a highly qualified freelancer who has written hundreds of pieces on similar topics and knows the terminology of your industry. 

As you can see, flexibility and cost are the main reasons why businesses choose to work with overseas freelancers. Now, let’s have a look at the disadvantages. 

Cons of Working with Overseas Freelancers 

Communication Issues

Let’s be honest; even freelancers who speak great English might be hard working. They will have different communication styles and patterns. Moreover, if they are in a completely different time zone, you will not be able to chat with them real time, only send a message and wait for the next day for them to reply. This can certainly slow things down. Not to mention that – if you outsource your search engine optimisation project – they might use the wrong spelling (UK vs American English).

Lack of Complaints Procedure and Risk

While an SEO agency in the UK might have their terms and conditions detailed on their site and have a legal and professional indemnity insurance, a freelancer will not. Therefore, if the project goes pear shaped and you end up getting banned from Google (worst case scenario, of course), you don’t really have a legal route to go down. If you hire the freelancer from a directory, they might do some mediation, but the risk is still too high. Always check the terms and conditions before you sign up as a client on a freelancing website. 

Lack of Strategic Approach

A freelancer will not think long and hard about the best approach to your search engine optimisation project. They will not come up with a detailed plan. Their goal is to get things done and get paid. They often just follow instructions and certainly don’t come up with ideas, as their time is precious. However, an employee of a prestigious SEO agency in the UK will want to impress their boss and do their best to deliver the desired results. 

Online Payment Charges 

While you will save a substantial amount on hiring a freelancer, you might incur additional charges. First of all, the freelancing site might add their fees to the amount the individual expert charges. Next, you will have payment processing, escrow, and currency exchange rates as well. While this might be only a few percent, it all adds up. 

Lack of Loyalty to Your Brand 

You can’t expect a freelancer to feel full responsibility for your brand performance. They will be happy to get things done and move onto the next project. Unless you are expecting to work with the same person for years, they will already be thinking about the next project before they finish yours. As frustrating as this is, you need to understand their position; the more projects they complete the more they will earn. 


The Bottom Line: Should You Hire an SEO Agency in the UK?

It’s all about priorities; if you want fast, flexible, and low-cost, you might want to take the risk and hire a freelancer. However, if you are searching for a long term partner who will take their time to understand your goals, business setup, and strategy, you might be better off with an agency. 


Do you have a story to share about using an SEO agency in the UK or a freelancer? Share it in the comments.

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