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

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

There aren’t always any degrees required to work in SEO. This leaves numerous aspiring practitioners delegated wonder how they can prove they’re received the task.

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

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

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

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

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 expands on the data discovered in our annual 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 specialists early in their careers.

When we asked the length of time 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 unexpected when you comprehend why many take the freelancing path in the first location.

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

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

With that stated, freelancing isn’t specifically an early-stage profession type of gig. As our information in the next section programs, freelancers tend to make a higher-than-average salary, which makes it a feasible choice to pursue long-term.

Freelancers Are A Smaller Sized Group, But With Greater Average Income

As pointed out at the beginning of this post, 44.5% of freelance and agreement participants report making wages above $75,000 annually.

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

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

However, it’s important to note that “founders” may account for the higher salary brackets found in this group, suggesting that freelancers may need to develop a book of company before commanding the greatest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Discover Organization

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

  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 information recommends, freelancers mostly count on track record and word-of-mouth to create work.

This puts more recent SEO specialists at a drawback as they’re less likely to have the experience, portfolios, or customer lists needed to discover work.

That’s where organic search and social been available in. More recent freelancers can show themselves by marketing their services using a website 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 carry them to their next gig.

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

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Includes Opportunity

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being accountable for discovering their own clients, freelancers are expected to supply a more comprehensive variety of services than other SEO professionals.

For example, an SEO pro working with an internal team may be exclusively responsible for auditing new customers’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be expected to audit the site, figure out how to enhance the website to deliver much better results, and after that execute the plan.

Being a freelancer features a considerable quantity of responsibility. However, there are distinct opportunities in freelancing that make up for the downsides.

We’ve mentioned the higher-than-average incomes, and we ‘d be remiss not to mention the liberty paid for by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent professional permits individuals to work from home and set their own hours. This level of flexibility can produce a healthier work/life balance compared to working in a workplace, as freelancers can easily make time for other concerns in life.

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

That’s completely great since the experience you get makes you better to employers. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re better placed to transition into an internal or firm role.

SEO Freelancers Can Shift Into Full-Time Employment

Being an SEO freelancer isn’t a life time dedication. While some grow in it, contractor life isn’t for everyone.

The concept of finding your own customers, generating your own wage, and doing the work of multiple people is naturally daunting. 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 transition into full-time employment.

Here’s a list of reasons:

  • Carrying out a wide range of services provides you experience working in several roles.
  • Building up a base of clients implies you have numerous employment referrals offered when looking for tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can lead to irreversible employment in other companies.

In summary, taking the roadway less taken a trip can lead to chances that weren’t formerly readily available to you.

You can discover all of our first-party data about the careers of freelancers, in addition to SEO specialists in in-house and firm positions, in our yearly State Of SEO Report.

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel