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

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

There aren’t always any degrees needed to operate in SEO. This leaves many striving practitioners delegated wonder how they can prove they’re gotten approved for the task.

You’ll probably get ten various answers if you ask ten SEO pros how they got their first task. Several of those responses 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 in-house or company position, while others develop their whole career around it.

According to data in our State of SEO in 2022, practitioners can discover significant success doing freelance work. Close to 45% of freelance and agreement respondents reported earning $75,000 to $149,000.

In this short article, 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 importantly, how does an SEO freelancer get customers?

This short article broadens on the information found in our annual State Of SEO Report. Download the full report to see the first-party data.

Many SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

Freelancing is a popular option 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 stated they have less than five years of experience.

That number isn’t surprising when you comprehend why numerous take the freelancing path in the very first place.

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

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

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

Freelancers Are A Smaller Group, However With Higher Average Income

As discussed at the beginning of this post, 44.5% of freelance and agreement respondents report making salaries above $75,000 annually.

That number is especially noteworthy when you look at how many years of experience freelancers have.

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

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

Nevertheless, it is very important to keep in mind that “creators” might represent the greater income brackets found in this group, suggesting that freelancers might require to build a book of service before commanding the greatest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Discover Company

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 primarily depend on track record and word-of-mouth to generate work.

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

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

Freelance task boards like Upwork offer 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 utilizing paid channels such as Google Ads (7.5%) and social media 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 finding their own clients, freelancers are anticipated to offer a broader variety of services than other SEO specialists.

For instance, an SEO pro dealing with an internal team might be solely accountable for auditing brand-new clients’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be anticipated to audit the website, find out how to optimize the website to provide much better results, and after that execute the strategy.

Being a freelancer comes with a significant amount of duty. Nevertheless, there are unique opportunities in freelancing that offset the drawbacks.

We’ve mentioned the higher-than-average salaries, and we ‘d be remiss not to discuss the flexibility afforded by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent contractor enables individuals to work from home and set their own hours. This level of flexibility 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 might decide to pursue freelance work just to discover the benefits aren’t worth the downsides.

That’s perfectly fine due to the fact that the experience you get makes you better to companies. After a few years of freelancing, you’re better positioned to shift into an internal or firm function.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Employment

Being an SEO freelancer isn’t a life time commitment. While some grow in it, specialist life isn’t for everybody.

The idea of discovering your own customers, generating your own salary, and doing the work of numerous individuals is understandably frightening. That doesn’t imply it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Carrying out a vast array of services offers you experience operating in various functions.
  • Developing a base of clients implies you have lots of work references readily available when getting jobs.
  • Your connections through freelancing can cause irreversible employment in other companies.

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

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

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel