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

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with opportunities to construct satisfying careers, though there’s no plainly specified path to getting going.

There aren’t always any degrees needed to operate in SEO. This leaves lots of striving practitioners delegated wonder how they can prove they’re received the task.

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

Working as an independent specialist is how a significant percentage 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 entire career around it.

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

In this article, we’ll look much 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 notably, how does an SEO freelancer get customers?

This post expands on the data found in our yearly State Of SEO Report. Download the full 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 the length of time SEO pros have been operating in the field, over 45% of freelancer respondents said they have less than five years of experience.

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

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

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

With that said, freelancing isn’t specifically an early-stage career type of gig. As our information in the next area programs, freelancers tend to earn a higher-than-average income, that makes it a viable option to pursue long-term.

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

As pointed out at the start of this post, 44.5% of freelance and agreement respondents report making wages above $75,000 per year.

That number is especially significant when you 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 4 years of experience, 10.1% were freelancers or founders.
  • Almost half of all freelancers and creators (45.6%) had 4 or fewer years of experience.

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

Nevertheless, it’s important to note that “founders” may represent the greater income brackets found in this group, implying that freelancers might require to develop a book of company before commanding the greatest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Service

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 data suggests, freelancers mainly count on track record and word-of-mouth to create work.

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

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

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

Smaller percentages of freelancers likewise report utilizing paid channels such as Google Advertisements (7.5%) and social networks advertising (6.1%) to find work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, But Comes With Chance

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

For instance, an SEO pro working with an in-house group might be entirely responsible for auditing new customers’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be expected to investigate the site, find out how to optimize the site to provide much better outcomes, and then execute the strategy.

Being a freelancer features a considerable quantity of duty. Nevertheless, there are special opportunities in freelancing that make up for the downsides.

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

Working in SEO as an independent contractor allows individuals to work from home and set their own hours. This level of flexibility can develop a much healthier work/life balance compared to operating in a workplace, as freelancers can quickly make time for other top priorities in life.

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

That’s perfectly great because the experience you acquire makes you better to companies. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re better placed to transition into an internal or company function.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Work

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

The concept of finding your own customers, generating your own salary, and doing the work of multiple people is understandably intimidating. That doesn’t suggest it’s not worth putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons that:

  • Performing a vast array of services provides you experience working in many different roles.
  • Developing a base of clients implies you have many work referrals offered when requesting jobs.
  • Your connections through freelancing can lead to long-term work in other companies.

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

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

Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel