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

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with opportunities to develop fulfilling professions, though there’s no clearly defined course to beginning.

There aren’t always any degrees needed to operate in SEO. This leaves numerous aiming practitioners left to question how they can prove they’re received the job.

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

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

According to data in our State of SEO in 2022, professionals can find significant success doing freelance work. Near to 45% of freelance and contract 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 specialists.

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

Lots Of SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

Freelancing is a popular choice for SEO specialists early in their professions.

When we asked how long SEO pros have been operating in the field, over 45% of freelancer participants said they have less than 5 years of experience.

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

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

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

With that stated, freelancing isn’t solely an early-stage profession kind of gig. As our data in the next area programs, freelancers tend to earn a higher-than-average wage, that makes it a practical option to pursue long-term.

Freelancers Are A Smaller Sized Group, However With Greater Typical Income

As mentioned at the start of this short article, 44.5% of freelance and contract participants report earning incomes above $75,000 each year.

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

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

Although freelancers and founders are a reasonably small 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 is essential to keep in mind that “founders” may account for the greater salary brackets found in this group, implying that freelancers may need to construct a book of organization prior to commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Business

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

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

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

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

That’s where organic search and social can be found in. More recent freelancers can prove themselves by marketing their services using a site and social networks profiles.

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

Smaller portions of freelancers likewise report using paid channels such as Google Advertisements (7.5%) and social media advertising (6.1%) to find work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Comes With Opportunity

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being responsible for finding their own customers, freelancers are expected to supply a more comprehensive variety of services than other SEO experts.

For instance, an SEO pro dealing with an in-house group may be solely responsible for auditing new clients’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be expected to audit the website, figure out how to optimize the website to provide better results, and after that execute the plan.

Being a freelancer includes a considerable quantity of obligation. However, there are distinct chances in freelancing that offset the drawbacks.

We’ve discussed the higher-than-average incomes, and we ‘d be remiss not to discuss the liberty afforded by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent professional allows people to work from house and set their own hours. This level of versatility can develop a much healthier work/life balance compared to working in an office, 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 discover the benefits aren’t worth the drawbacks.

That’s completely great due to the fact that the experience you gain makes you more valuable to employers. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re much better placed to transition into an in-house or agency function.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Employment

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

The concept of finding your own clients, producing your own salary, and doing the work of multiple people is naturally daunting. That does not imply it’s not worth putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Carrying out a vast array of services gives you experience working in various functions.
  • Building up a base of customers implies you have many employment referrals readily available when getting tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can result in permanent employment in other companies.

In summary, taking the roadway less traveled can result in opportunities that weren’t formerly offered to you.

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

Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel