The Freelance SEO Professional’s Journey, How To Get Going In SEO [Survey Results]

Posted by

SEO is a field that’s ripe with opportunities to construct fulfilling careers, though there’s no clearly defined course to getting going.

There aren’t always any degrees needed to work in SEO. This leaves lots of aiming practitioners left to question how they can prove they’re qualified for the job.

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

Working as an independent professional is how a meaningful portion of people get their start in SEO. Some use freelancing as a stepping stone to an internal or agency position, while others construct their entire profession around it.

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

In this short article, we’ll look 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 customers?

This article expands on the data 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 option for SEO specialists early in their professions.

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

That number isn’t unexpected when you understand why lots of take the freelancing course in the first place.

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 path towards constructing the experience employers are searching for.

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

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

As discussed at the beginning of this post, 44.5% of freelance and agreement respondents report earning incomes above $75,000 annually.

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

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

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

Nevertheless, it is necessary to keep in mind that “founders” might account for the greater wage brackets discovered in this group, implying that freelancers might require to build a book of organization prior to commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Discover Business

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

  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 recommends, freelancers primarily depend on track record and word-of-mouth to generate work.

This puts more recent SEO professionals at a disadvantage as they’re less likely to have the experience, portfolios, or customer lists necessary to find work.

That’s where organic search and social been available in. Newer freelancers can show themselves by marketing their services using a site and social media profiles.

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

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

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Features Opportunity

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being responsible for discovering their own clients, freelancers are anticipated to offer a broader variety of services than other SEO experts.

For example, an SEO pro dealing with an internal team might be entirely accountable for auditing new customers’ websites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be expected to audit the site, find out how to optimize the site to deliver much better results, and after that carry out the strategy.

Being a freelancer features a significant quantity of duty. However, there are unique opportunities in freelancing that offset the disadvantages.

We’ve discussed the higher-than-average salaries, and we ‘d be remiss not to mention the freedom afforded by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent professional permits people to work from home and set their own hours. This level of versatility can create 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 decide to pursue freelance work only to discover the advantages aren’t worth the downsides.

That’s completely fine due to the fact that the experience you acquire makes you more valuable to employers. After a few years of freelancing, you’re much better positioned to transition into an in-house 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, contractor life isn’t for everyone.

The concept of finding your own customers, producing your own income, and doing the work of several people is naturally frightening. That doesn’t suggest it’s not worth putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons that:

  • Carrying out a large range of services offers you experience operating in several roles.
  • Developing a base of clients means you have numerous employment references offered when obtaining tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can cause long-term employment in other companies.

In summary, taking the roadway less traveled can result in opportunities that weren’t previously readily available to you.

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

Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel