The Freelance SEO Specialist’s Journey, How To Get Going In SEO [Survey Results]

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with chances to build satisfying professions, though there’s no plainly defined course to getting going.

There aren’t necessarily any degrees needed to operate in SEO. This leaves numerous aiming professionals delegated wonder how they can show they’re received the task.

You’ll probably get ten different responses if you ask ten SEO pros how they got their very first job. One or more of those responses is most likely to revolve around freelancing.

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

According to information in our State of SEO in 2022, practitioners can discover significant success doing freelance work. Near to 45% of freelance and agreement participants reported making $75,000 to $149,000.

In this post, we’ll look deeper at the data 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 clients?

This short article broadens on the data 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 actually been working in the field, over 45% of freelancer participants said they have less than five years of experience.

That number isn’t surprising when you understand why many take the freelancing course in the very first location.

If you’re not a market veteran with an established portfolio, finding full-time work in an in-house function or agency position can be difficult.

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

With that said, freelancing isn’t solely an early-stage profession type of gig. As our information in the next section programs, freelancers tend to make a higher-than-average wage, which makes it a practical option to pursue long-term.

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

As discussed at the start of this post, 44.5% of freelance and agreement participants report earning wages above $75,000 each year.

That number is specifically noteworthy when you 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 variety of participants 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 less years of experience.

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

Nevertheless, it is very important to keep in mind that “creators” might account for the higher salary brackets discovered in this group, implying that freelancers might need to develop a book of organization prior to commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Service

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

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

As the information suggests, freelancers mainly count on track record and word-of-mouth to generate work.

This puts newer SEO practitioners at a disadvantage as they’re less most likely to have the experience, portfolios, or customer lists required to find work.

That’s where organic search and social come in. Newer freelancers can prove themselves by marketing their services utilizing a website and social networks profiles.

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

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

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, But Includes Opportunity

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being accountable for discovering their own customers, freelancers are anticipated to offer a more comprehensive variety of services than other SEO specialists.

For example, an SEO pro dealing with an in-house group may be solely responsible for auditing brand-new clients’ websites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be expected to audit the website, find out how to optimize the site to deliver better results, and after that perform the plan.

Being a freelancer includes a considerable quantity of duty. Nevertheless, there are unique chances in freelancing that make up for the drawbacks.

We have actually pointed out the higher-than-average wages, and we ‘d be remiss not to mention the liberty managed by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent professional enables individuals to work from house and set their own hours. This level of versatility can produce a much healthier work/life balance compared to operating in a workplace, as freelancers can easily make time for other priorities in life.

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

That’s perfectly great because the experience you gain makes you better to employers. After a few years of freelancing, you’re much better placed to transition into an internal or company role.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Work

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

The concept of discovering your own clients, producing your own wage, and doing the work of several people is naturally frightening. That doesn’t imply it’s not worth putting in the effort.

SEO freelancers with even a year or more of experience are uniquely certified to shift into full-time employment.

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Carrying out a vast array of services provides you experience working in various functions.
  • Building up a base of customers indicates you have lots of employment referrals offered when making an application for tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can result in irreversible employment in other business.

In summary, taking the roadway less traveled can cause opportunities that weren’t previously available to you.

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

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel