The Freelance SEO Expert’s Journey, How To Get Started In SEO [Survey Results]

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with opportunities to build fulfilling professions, though there’s no plainly specified course to getting going.

There aren’t necessarily any degrees required to work in SEO. This leaves lots of striving professionals left to question how they can prove they’re gotten approved for the task.

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

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

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

In this post, we’ll look deeper at the information surrounding this curious group of SEO specialists.

How do you become an SEO freelancer? What does an SEO freelancer do? Most significantly, how does an SEO freelancer get customers?

This post expands on the information found in our yearly 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 experts early in their careers.

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 comprehend why numerous take the freelancing path in the first place.

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

In a field without formalized education, freelancing is a path towards building the experience companies are looking for.

With that stated, freelancing isn’t exclusively an early-stage profession type of gig. As our information in the next section shows, freelancers tend to make a higher-than-average income, which makes it a viable alternative to pursue long-term.

Freelancers Are A Smaller Sized Group, However With Higher Average Earnings

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, 44.5% of freelance and contract participants report making salaries above $75,000 per year.

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

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

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

However, it’s important to note that “founders” might account for the greater income brackets discovered in this group, implying that freelancers may require to construct a book of business prior to commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Business

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

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

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

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

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

Freelance job boards like Upwork offer 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 portions of freelancers likewise report using paid channels such as Google Advertisements (7.5%) and social networks advertising (6.1%) to discover work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, But Includes Chance

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being responsible for discovering their own clients, freelancers are anticipated to provide a wider range of services than other SEO specialists.

For example, an SEO pro dealing with an in-house team may be entirely responsible for auditing brand-new clients’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be expected to examine the site, find out how to enhance the website to provide much better results, and then perform the strategy.

Being a freelancer features a substantial amount of duty. Nevertheless, there are distinct opportunities in freelancing that offset the drawbacks.

We have actually discussed the higher-than-average salaries, and we ‘d be remiss not to point out the freedom managed by freelancing.

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

On the other hand, you may choose to pursue freelance work just to find the benefits aren’t worth the drawbacks.

That’s completely great due to the fact that the experience you get makes you more valuable to employers. After a few years of freelancing, you’re much better positioned to shift into an in-house or company function.

SEO Freelancers Can Shift Into Full-Time Employment

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 clients, producing your own wage, and doing the work of multiple individuals is naturally frightening. That does not suggest it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Performing a vast array of services offers you experience operating in various functions.
  • Building up a base of clients suggests you have numerous employment referrals offered when looking for jobs.
  • Your connections through freelancing can result in long-term employment in other business.

In summary, taking the roadway less taken a trip can result in chances that weren’t previously offered to you.

You can find all of our first-party information about the professions of freelancers, along with SEO specialists in in-house and company positions, in our yearly State Of SEO Report.

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel