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

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with opportunities to develop satisfying careers, though there’s no clearly specified course to getting going.

There aren’t always any degrees required to operate in SEO. This leaves numerous aspiring professionals left to wonder how they can prove they’re received the job.

You’ll most likely get ten various responses if you ask ten SEO pros how they got their very first task. Several of those answers is most likely to revolve around freelancing.

Working as an independent professional is how a significant portion of people 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 find considerable success doing freelance work. Close to 45% of freelance and agreement participants reported earning $75,000 to $149,000.

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

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 short article broadens on the data discovered in our yearly State Of SEO Report. Download the complete report to see the first-party data.

Lots Of SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

Freelancing is a popular choice for SEO professionals early in their careers.

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

That number isn’t unexpected when you understand why numerous take the freelancing path in the very first location.

If you’re not a market veteran with a recognized portfolio, discovering full-time operate in an in-house role or company position can be tough.

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

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

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

As mentioned at the start of this article, 44.5% of freelance and agreement respondents report making salaries above $75,000 each year.

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

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

Although freelancers and creators are a reasonably little group compared to others, they can frequently command greater rates than their peers. Just 6.7% of freelancers and creators took salaries of $34,000 or less.

Nevertheless, it is essential to note that “founders” might represent the greater income brackets found in this group, implying that freelancers might need to build a book of service prior to commanding the greatest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Organization

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

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

As the information recommends, freelancers primarily rely on reputation and word-of-mouth to generate work.

This puts more recent SEO specialists at a disadvantage as they’re less most likely to have the experience, portfolios, or client lists required to find work.

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

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

Smaller sized 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, However Includes Chance

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

For example, an SEO pro working with an internal group might be solely accountable for auditing brand-new clients’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be anticipated to investigate the site, find out how to optimize the site to deliver better results, and then execute the strategy.

Being a freelancer comes with a substantial quantity of obligation. However, there are distinct chances in freelancing that make up for the disadvantages.

We have actually discussed the higher-than-average incomes, and we ‘d be remiss not to point out the liberty paid for by freelancing.

Operating in SEO as an independent specialist enables people to work from house and set their own hours. This level of flexibility can create a healthier work/life balance compared to working in a workplace, as freelancers can easily make time for other top priorities in life.

On the other hand, you might choose to pursue freelance work just to discover the benefits aren’t worth the disadvantages.

That’s completely fine since the experience you get makes you better to companies. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re much better placed to transition into an in-house or agency role.

SEO Freelancers Can Shift Into Full-Time Employment

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

The concept of discovering your own clients, producing your own salary, and doing the work of several individuals is understandably daunting. That doesn’t suggest it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Performing a large range of services provides you experience working in various functions.
  • Developing a base of customers indicates you have lots of employment recommendations readily available when requesting tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can lead to permanent work in other companies.

In summary, taking the road less taken a trip can lead to 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 specialists in in-house and agency positions, in our annual State Of SEO Report.

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel