The Freelance SEO Specialist’s Journey, How To Begin 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 clearly defined path to getting going.

There aren’t always any degrees required to work in SEO. This leaves lots of aiming practitioners left to question how they can show they’re received the task.

You’ll probably get 10 different responses if you ask ten SEO pros how they got their very first job. One or more of those answers is most likely to focus on freelancing.

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

According to data in our State of SEO in 2022, practitioners can find significant success doing freelance work. Near 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 clients?

This 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 choice for SEO professionals early in their careers.

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 surprising when you comprehend why many take the freelancing course in the first place.

If you’re not a market veteran with an established portfolio, finding full-time operate in an internal role or company position can be difficult.

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

With that said, freelancing isn’t specifically an early-stage profession kind of gig. As our data in the next section programs, 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 beginning of this post, 44.5% of freelance and agreement respondents report earning incomes above $75,000 per year.

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

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

Although freelancers and founders are a relatively little 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.

However, it’s important to note that “creators” might account for the greater wage brackets discovered in this group, indicating that freelancers may need to develop a book of business before commanding the greatest 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. Personal networks (8.7%).
  4. Organic social (7.7%).
  5. Upwork (7.7%).

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

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

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

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

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

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, But Features 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 professionals.

For instance, an SEO pro dealing with an in-house group may be entirely accountable for auditing new customers’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be expected to examine the site, determine how to optimize the website to provide much better outcomes, and then perform the plan.

Being a freelancer comes with a considerable quantity of responsibility. Nevertheless, there are unique chances in freelancing that offset the disadvantages.

We’ve discussed the higher-than-average wages, and we ‘d be remiss not to mention the flexibility managed by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent contractor enables people to work from home and set their own hours. This level of versatility can develop a much healthier work/life balance compared to operating in an office, as freelancers can easily make time for other priorities in life.

On the other hand, you may decide to pursue freelance work just to find the advantages aren’t worth the downsides.

That’s completely great because the experience you get makes you better to employers. After a few years of freelancing, you’re much better placed to shift into an in-house or firm function.

SEO Freelancers Can Shift Into Full-Time Work

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

The concept of finding your own customers, producing your own salary, and doing the work of several individuals is not surprisingly intimidating. That doesn’t imply 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 employment.

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Carrying out a vast array of services provides you experience operating in various roles.
  • Developing a base of customers means you have many employment recommendations readily available when making an application for tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can result in permanent work in other business.

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

You can find all of our first-party data about the careers 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