The Freelance SEO Specialist’s Journey, How To Begin In SEO [Survey Results]

Posted by

SEO is a field that’s ripe with chances to develop fulfilling professions, though there’s no plainly specified course to starting.

There aren’t always any degrees required to operate in SEO. This leaves numerous aspiring practitioners left to wonder how they can show they’re gotten approved for the job.

You’ll probably get 10 different answers if you ask ten SEO pros how they got their very first task. Several of those responses is likely to revolve around freelancing.

Working as an independent professional is how a significant portion of people get their start in SEO. Some utilize freelancing as a stepping stone to an in-house or company position, while others build their whole profession around it.

According to information in our State of SEO in 2022, practitioners can find substantial success doing freelance work. Near 45% of freelance and contract participants reported earning $75,000 to $149,000.

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

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

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

Many SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

Freelancing is a popular option for SEO specialists early in their professions.

When we asked how long SEO pros have actually 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 understand why many take the freelancing course in the very first location.

If you’re not a market veteran with a recognized portfolio, discovering full-time operate in an internal role or agency position can be challenging.

In a field without formalized education, freelancing is a course towards constructing the experience employers are trying to find.

With that stated, freelancing isn’t specifically an early-stage profession type of gig. As our data in the next area programs, freelancers tend to make a higher-than-average income, which makes it a practical option to pursue long-term.

Freelancers Are A Smaller Group, But With Higher Typical Income

As discussed at the start of this article, 44.5% of freelance and agreement participants report making wages above $75,000 each year.

That number is especially noteworthy when you look at how many years of experience freelancers have.

  • Out of the total number of respondents with less than 2 years of experience, 9.4% were freelancers or founders.
  • Out of the total variety of participants with two to four years of experience, 10.1% were freelancers or founders.
  • Almost half of all freelancers and founders (45.6%) had 4 or less years of experience.

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

Nevertheless, it is essential to keep in mind that “founders” may represent the higher income brackets found in this group, implying that freelancers might need to construct a book of company before commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Organization

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

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

As the data suggests, freelancers mostly depend on credibility and word-of-mouth to generate work.

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

That’s where organic search and social been available in. More recent freelancers can show themselves by marketing their services utilizing a site and social networks profiles.

Freelance job boards like Upwork use another route for freelancers to take when they do not have the benefit of word of mouth to carry them to their next gig.

Smaller portions of freelancers likewise report using paid channels such as Google Ads (7.5%) and social media marketing (6.1%) to find work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, But Includes Chance

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

For example, an SEO pro dealing with an in-house group may be entirely responsible for auditing brand-new customers’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be anticipated to investigate the site, determine how to enhance the website to provide much better outcomes, and then carry out the strategy.

Being a freelancer features a significant amount of obligation. Nevertheless, there are distinct chances in freelancing that make up for the downsides.

We have actually pointed out the higher-than-average salaries, and we ‘d be remiss not to mention the flexibility paid for by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent contractor permits individuals to work from house and set their own hours. This level of flexibility can produce a much healthier work/life balance compared to working in a workplace, as freelancers can easily make time for other priorities in life.

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

That’s completely fine since the experience you get makes you better to employers. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re better positioned to shift into an internal or agency function.

SEO Freelancers Can Shift Into Full-Time Employment

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

The concept of discovering your own customers, creating your own wage, and doing the work of several individuals is naturally daunting. That doesn’t suggest it’s not worth putting in the effort.

SEO freelancers with even a year or two of experience are distinctively certified to transition into full-time employment.

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Carrying out a vast array of services provides you experience working in several roles.
  • Building up a base of clients indicates you have many work referrals readily available when applying for tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can cause long-term work in other companies.

In summary, taking the road less taken a trip can result in opportunities that weren’t formerly offered to you.

You can discover all of our first-party information about the professions of freelancers, along with SEO experts in internal and agency positions, in our annual State Of SEO Report.

Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel