When it comes to business, there’s a general feeling that bigger is better. This makes the appeal of a full service SEO partner an obvious one. Owners of businesses large and small often prefer to work with companies trusted to manage household names. This speaks to the expertise of the company and the strength of their connections. Both of these may come in handy at the right time for the right company.

For some small business owners, boutique SEO services sometimes seem more appealing. Working with another small business may feel like the perfect alignment. They share similar pain points, business models and values. This is sometimes true, but it does come at a premium price. This price sometimes shows itself in missed opportunities, and other times, in actual dollar value.

In this post, we’ll talk about boutique SEO and how it differs from a full-service SEO partner.


What Is a Boutique SEO Agency?

There are several different types of marketing agencies that provide search engine optimization services. Full-service agencies cover all tasks related to SEO and, often, other marketing areas. Advertising agencies tend to provide boutique SEO services, though there are some small firms that offer SEO alone.

These smaller setups work well for some business types. In fact, there are several perks to hiring a smaller agency as a partner:

  • They typically do an excellent job in their niche.
  • Some clients prefer the more personalized feeling of doing business.
  • Smaller agencies often think way outside the box to attract and keep clients.
  • They tend to provide estimates based on projects as opposed to fixed retainers.
  • Boutique agencies are often agile because they have fewer moving parts and divisions.


What Are the Drawbacks?

The problem for many of their clients is that these same perks can become restrictive. Imagine, for instance, an online store that sells mostly dresses and expensive shoes. They hire a boutique agency to handle fashion SEO on their behalf. As is typical of boutique firms, the company assigns one specific person to the account. This worker dedicates 40 hours per week to serving a specific client.

Within a year, the worker does such a great job that the company’s sales soar through the roof. The company then decides to open a few brick-and-mortar locations where it also sells stylish pieces for the home. The fashion boutique agency may struggle to deliver results for their partner who has now branched into home improvement and owns a physical store.

Many companies are also fascinated by the idea of one dedicated worker focusing on their account. They can speak to one person directly who should have all the answers. This is often not the case. That person may lack experience with other accounts, giving him or her a limited view of SEO and how it may work for other brands the agency manages.

Boutique agencies may also charge premium dollars for this level of dedication. This may cause the price of the services to increase over the long run, while also pricing out smaller businesses. Many companies with larger budgets now flock to boutique agencies for the occasional one-off project.

Is a Full Service SEO Partner Better?

What is better for an organization depends on the preferences of the business owner and how that aligns with the goals and objectives of the company.

The Overall Perks

Hiring a full-service agency to handle your SEO does come with distinct advantages:

  • A bigger budget to access more effective tools and larger resources
  • More years of experience in client management and driving results
  • Total management of a multi-faceted brand through one partner
  • More diverse culture and experience to boost creativity
  • A one-stop shop for SEO and other marketing services
  • Economies of scale help bring the price down

The Practicalities

Another factor to consider is that a full-service agency tends to have more and bigger clients than a boutique agency. This makes dedicating one person to an account impractical. It would take several people to manage larger accounts, which would cost companies a lot of money. To serve the needs of clients large and small, full service SEO agencies draw on the power of synergy from teamwork to provide top-notch services at lower costs.

The Cost Factor

That said, working with the wrong SEO agency can actually cause the costs to skyrocket. It does cost more to provide full service SEO services. If a company does not secure a large number of clients to make those investments worthwhile, then the few clients it holds on to end up footing the bill.

The Bigger Picture

These are just some of the reasons Boostability does not engage in boutique SEO. While there are some definite advantages for certain clients and projects, we believe in the strength of “big picture SEO” and the many opportunities it offers for those who partner with us.


Which SEO Service Will You Provide?

Many of the businesses we partner with do not hire us to do their SEO alone. We provide white label SEO services so that they may better serve their own clients through us. When these companies choose to work with a full service SEO company instead of a boutique agency, it provides them and their clients with more options.

There are some people who find success by narrowing their focus and honing in on a specific niche. For companies with smaller budgets, this may be the only way to succeed. Even so, as shown in the example above, it sometimes means losing companies to competitors when they expand beyond that specific niche.

Because of this, when companies seek out a white label agency, it’s important for them to consider their own business models. Are they also a boutique agency serving only a specific niche? What is the plan if any clients break out of that niche or change their business focus? Would it be better to open up more opportunities for growth by serving a wider range of clients?


Why Should You Consider SEO Reselling?

It is only natural that a business owner may prefer to keep all company services in-house. This allows you to maintain better control over the type and quality of services you provide to your clients. While admirable, this is hardly ever effective or efficient. That learning curve costs you both time and money.

The fact also remains that some companies are better at certain functions than others due to specialization. More companies now accept this and partner with experts. In fact, Forbes estimates that 59% of marketing agencies outsource their SEO services to a white label company rather than tackle it themselves.

At Boostability, for instance, we have specialized in providing SEO services to our clients and their clients for 10 years. Our large portfolio allows us to invest in otherwise expensive resources that break down to smaller per-client costs. We can then provide SEO services at a fraction of what it would cost a boutique SEO agency to provide the same level of service but for fewer clients in specific niches.


Why Settle for Less Than the World Leader?

When you buy SEO services for your company, you want to work with the best your money can get you. This is the easiest way to ensure you get results. These results translate to improved discoverability online, which, in turn, increases your company’s revenue.

If your business is in marketing or PR, then you may feel concerned about quality control. After all, when you partner with an SEO company, the services they provide reflect on your own brand. You want to work with a company that makes you look good. It should also make your company and its services better than the competition. Is it any wonder that so many people secure this position by working with the industry’s best?

At Boostability, we take pride in being a leading white label SEO provider. As the world’s largest white label SEO company, we partner with 220 active partners and serve more than 32,000 clients of our own around the world. Not surprisingly, Inc. Magazine recognized our company among the fastest-growing for the past four years in a row.

Are you ready to join our network? Take advantage of the benefits enjoyed by tens of thousands of brands across the globe. Get in touch with a digital marketing expert today and see how we can help your business grow!



Koa is the Director of Business Development at Boostability. With a Bachelor Degree in Business Management, Koa has been directly involved in business development and sales for over 16 years. Koa specializes in identifying partnership opportunities and connecting partners to help elevate their SEO strategies, scale their business and SEO initiatives, and deliver effective initiatives that drive growth to their clients. In his spare time, Koa's favorite thing to do is play tennis (usually 4-5 times a week). He regularly competes in USTA tournaments and is a 4.0 rated USTA tennis player.