The Freelance SEO Expert’s Journey, How To Start In SEO [Survey Outcomes]

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with opportunities to construct satisfying professions, though there’s no plainly defined course to getting going.

There aren’t necessarily any degrees required to operate in SEO. This leaves many aiming specialists delegated question how they can prove they’re gotten approved for the job.

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

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

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

In this short article, we’ll look much deeper at the data surrounding this curious group of SEO experts.

How do you become an SEO freelancer? What does an SEO freelancer do? Most importantly, how does an SEO freelancer get clients?

This article expands on the data discovered in our annual State Of SEO Report. Download the complete report to see the first-party information.

Many SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

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

When we asked how long SEO pros have been working in the field, over 45% of freelancer respondents stated they have less than 5 years of experience.

That number isn’t unexpected when you understand why many take the freelancing course in the first location.

If you’re not an industry veteran with an established portfolio, finding full-time operate in an internal function or company position can be tough.

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

With that said, freelancing isn’t specifically an early-stage profession type of gig. As our data in the next section shows, freelancers tend to earn a higher-than-average salary, which makes it a viable option to pursue long-term.

Freelancers Are A Smaller Group, But With Greater Average Income

As discussed at the start of this short article, 44.5% of freelance and agreement respondents report making salaries above $75,000 annually.

That number is specifically notable when you look at how many years of experience freelancers have.

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

Although freelancers and founders are a reasonably small group compared to others, they can frequently command higher rates than their peers. Only 6.7% of freelancers and creators took wages of $34,000 or less.

However, it is necessary to keep in mind that “creators” might account for the greater salary brackets discovered in this group, indicating that freelancers might need to develop a book of service before commanding the greatest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Company

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

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

As the information suggests, freelancers mostly count on reputation and word-of-mouth to create work.

This puts newer SEO professionals at a downside as they’re less most likely to have the experience, portfolios, or customer lists essential to find work.

That’s where natural search and social come in. More recent freelancers can prove themselves by marketing their services utilizing a site and social networks profiles.

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

Smaller percentages of freelancers likewise report utilizing paid channels such as Google Advertisements (7.5%) and social networks advertising (6.1%) to discover work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Includes Opportunity

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

For instance, an SEO pro working with an in-house group may be entirely accountable for auditing new clients’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be anticipated to examine the website, figure out how to enhance the website to provide much better results, and after that execute the plan.

Being a freelancer includes a substantial quantity of responsibility. Nevertheless, there are unique chances in freelancing that make up for the disadvantages.

We have actually pointed out the higher-than-average salaries, and we ‘d be remiss not to discuss the liberty afforded by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent specialist enables people to work from house and set their own hours. This level of versatility can develop a healthier work/life balance compared to working in an office, as freelancers can quickly 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 perfectly fine since the experience you acquire makes you better to employers. After a few years of freelancing, you’re better positioned to transition into an internal or firm role.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Employment

Being an SEO freelancer isn’t a lifetime dedication. While some flourish in it, contractor life isn’t for everyone.

The concept of finding your own customers, generating your own income, and doing the work of numerous people is not surprisingly frightening. That does not indicate it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons that:

  • Performing a large range of services provides you experience working in several roles.
  • Developing a base of customers suggests you have many employment referrals available when requesting jobs.
  • Your connections through freelancing can result in permanent work in other business.

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

You can find all of our first-party data about the careers of freelancers, along with SEO professionals in in-house and firm positions, in our yearly State Of SEO Report.

Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel