The Freelance SEO Specialist’s Journey, How To Get Going In SEO [Survey Outcomes]

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with chances to develop satisfying careers, though there’s no plainly defined path to starting.

There aren’t necessarily any degrees required to work in SEO. This leaves lots of aiming practitioners delegated wonder how they can prove they’re received the job.

You’ll probably get ten different answers if you ask ten SEO pros how they got their first task. Several of those answers is likely to focus on freelancing.

Working as an independent specialist is how a meaningful percentage of people get their start in SEO. Some utilize freelancing as a stepping stone to an in-house or firm position, while others construct their whole career around it.

According to information in our State of SEO in 2022, professionals can discover considerable success doing freelance work. Close to 45% of freelance and agreement participants reported making $75,000 to $149,000.

In this short article, we’ll look 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 notably, how does an SEO freelancer get clients?

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

Many SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

Freelancing is a popular choice for SEO experts early in their professions.

When we asked how long 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 numerous take the freelancing course in the very first location.

If you’re not an industry veteran with a recognized portfolio, finding full-time work in an in-house role or agency position can be difficult.

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

With that stated, freelancing isn’t specifically an early-stage career 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 alternative to pursue long-term.

Freelancers Are A Smaller Sized Group, However With Greater Typical Earnings

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

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

Although freelancers and creators are a fairly little group compared to others, they can typically command higher rates than their peers. Just 6.7% of freelancers and creators took incomes of $34,000 or less.

Nevertheless, it is very important to note that “creators” might represent the higher salary brackets found in this group, implying that freelancers may require to build a book of company before commanding the greatest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Service

When we asked SEO freelancers which channels drive the most company, they responded:

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

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

This puts newer SEO practitioners at a disadvantage as they’re less most likely to have the experience, portfolios, or client lists necessary to find work.

That’s where natural search and social come in. Newer freelancers can show themselves by marketing their services using a site and social networks profiles.

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

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

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Comes With Opportunity

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

For example, an SEO pro dealing with an in-house group may be solely accountable for auditing new customers’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be anticipated to investigate the site, determine how to optimize the site to deliver much better results, and then carry out the plan.

Being a freelancer comes with a significant quantity of responsibility. However, there are unique opportunities in freelancing that offset the downsides.

We have actually discussed the higher-than-average incomes, and we ‘d be remiss not to mention the freedom afforded by freelancing.

Operating in SEO as an independent contractor permits people to work from house and set their own hours. This level of versatility can produce a healthier work/life balance compared to operating in a workplace, as freelancers can quickly make time for other top priorities in life.

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

That’s perfectly fine due to the fact that the experience you get makes you more valuable to employers. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re much better placed to transition into an in-house or firm role.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Employment

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

The idea of discovering your own clients, generating your own salary, and doing the work of numerous people is not surprisingly frightening. That does not suggest it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

SEO freelancers with even a year or 2 of experience are uniquely qualified to shift into full-time work.

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Carrying out a vast array of services offers you experience operating in various roles.
  • Building up a base of clients means you have many employment references available when requesting tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can cause permanent work in other business.

In summary, taking the road less traveled can cause opportunities that weren’t formerly available to you.

You can discover all of our first-party data about the careers of freelancers, as well as SEO experts in internal and company positions, in our yearly State Of SEO Report.

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel