The Freelance SEO Expert’s Journey, How To Begin In SEO [Study Results]

Posted by

SEO is a field that’s ripe with opportunities to build fulfilling professions, though there’s no clearly defined path to getting going.

There aren’t always any degrees required to operate in SEO. This leaves many aspiring professionals delegated question how they can show they’re gotten approved for the task.

You’ll most likely get ten various responses if you ask 10 SEO pros how they got their very first job. One or more of those responses is likely to revolve around freelancing.

Working as an independent specialist is how a significant percentage of people get their start in SEO. Some utilize freelancing as a stepping stone to an internal or firm position, while others build their entire career around it.

According to data in our State of SEO in 2022, specialists can discover substantial success doing freelance work. Close to 45% of freelance and contract respondents reported earning $75,000 to $149,000.

In this article, we’ll look deeper at the information surrounding this curious group of SEO specialists.

How do you end up being an SEO freelancer? What does an SEO freelancer do? Most importantly, how does an SEO freelancer get customers?

This short article expands on the information discovered in our yearly State Of SEO Report. Download the full report to see the first-party information.

Lots Of SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

Freelancing is a popular choice for SEO professionals early in their careers.

When we asked the length of time SEO pros have been working in the field, over 45% of freelancer participants said they have less than 5 years of experience.

That number isn’t surprising when you comprehend why many take the freelancing course in the very first location.

If you’re not a market veteran with an established portfolio, discovering full-time work in an internal function or firm position can be challenging.

In a field without formalized education, freelancing is a path toward developing the experience companies are looking for.

With that stated, freelancing isn’t exclusively an early-stage career kind of gig. As our information in the next section shows, freelancers tend to make a higher-than-average salary, that makes it a practical alternative to pursue long-term.

Freelancers Are A Smaller Group, But With Higher Typical Earnings

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, 44.5% of freelance and contract participants report earning wages above $75,000 annually.

That number is especially notable when you look at the number of years of experience freelancers have.

  • Out of the overall variety of respondents with less than two years of experience, 9.4% were freelancers or founders.
  • Out of the overall number of participants with two to 4 years of experience, 10.1% were freelancers or creators.
  • Nearly half of all freelancers and founders (45.6%) had 4 or less years of experience.

Although freelancers and creators are a relatively little group compared to others, they can often command greater rates than their peers. Just 6.7% of freelancers and founders took salaries of $34,000 or less.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that “founders” may account for the greater wage brackets found in this group, suggesting that freelancers might require to develop a book of organization before commanding the greatest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Discover Company

When we asked SEO freelancers which channels drive the most organization, they reacted:

  1. Network referrals (9.5%).
  2. Search (8.9%).
  3. Individual networks (8.7%).
  4. Organic social (7.7%).
  5. Upwork (7.7%).

As the data suggests, freelancers mainly count on reputation and word-of-mouth to produce work.

This puts more recent SEO practitioners at a drawback as they’re less most likely to have the experience, portfolios, or client lists required to discover work.

That’s where natural search and social can be found in. More recent freelancers can show themselves by marketing their services utilizing a website and social networks profiles.

Freelance task boards like Upwork offer another path for freelancers to take when they don’t have the benefit of word of mouth to bring them to their next gig.

Smaller sized percentages of freelancers also report using paid channels such as Google Advertisements (7.5%) and social media marketing (6.1%) to discover work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Comes With Chance

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being accountable for discovering their own customers, freelancers are expected to offer a more comprehensive variety of services than other SEO professionals.

For instance, an SEO pro dealing with an internal team might be exclusively accountable for auditing brand-new customers’ websites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be expected to examine the site, determine how to enhance the website to provide much better outcomes, and then perform the plan.

Being a freelancer includes a significant quantity of responsibility. However, there are unique chances in freelancing that offset the drawbacks.

We’ve pointed out the higher-than-average wages, and we ‘d be remiss not to discuss the flexibility paid for by freelancing.

Operating in SEO as an independent professional enables individuals to work from house and set their own hours. This level of versatility can create a healthier work/life balance compared to working in a workplace, as freelancers can quickly make time for other priorities in life.

On the other hand, you might decide to pursue freelance work only to discover the advantages aren’t worth the drawbacks.

That’s completely great due to the fact that the experience you get makes you better to companies. After a few years of freelancing, you’re much better positioned to transition into an internal or agency function.

SEO Freelancers Can Shift Into Full-Time Work

Being an SEO freelancer isn’t a life time commitment. While some thrive in it, professional life isn’t for everybody.

The concept of discovering your own customers, creating your own salary, and doing the work of numerous individuals is not surprisingly frightening. That doesn’t imply it’s not worth putting in the effort.

SEO freelancers with even a year or two of experience are uniquely qualified to shift into full-time work.

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Carrying out a wide range of services gives you experience operating in many different roles.
  • Developing a base of clients means you have numerous employment referrals readily available when looking for tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can lead to irreversible work in other business.

In summary, taking the roadway less traveled can cause chances that weren’t previously offered to you.

You can find all of our first-party data about the professions of freelancers, in addition to SEO experts in in-house and firm positions, in our yearly State Of SEO Report.

Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel