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

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with chances to build satisfying careers, though there’s no clearly defined course to starting.

There aren’t necessarily any degrees required to work in SEO. This leaves numerous aspiring professionals delegated question how they can prove they’re gotten approved for the task.

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

Working as an independent specialist is how a meaningful percentage of individuals get their start in SEO. Some use freelancing as a stepping stone to an in-house or company position, while others construct their entire profession around it.

According to information in our State of SEO in 2022, professionals can find significant success doing freelance work. Near to 45% of freelance and agreement respondents 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 notably, how does an SEO freelancer get clients?

This article expands on the data 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 choice for SEO experts early in their professions.

When we asked for how long SEO pros have been operating in the field, over 45% of freelancer respondents stated they have less than five years of experience.

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

If you’re not an industry veteran with an established portfolio, discovering full-time operate in an in-house role or agency 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 type of gig. As our information in the next area shows, freelancers tend to earn a higher-than-average income, which makes it a practical alternative to pursue long-lasting.

Freelancers Are A Smaller Group, But With Greater Typical Earnings

As mentioned at the start of this post, 44.5% of freelance and agreement respondents report earning incomes above $75,000 per year.

That number is especially significant when you look at how many 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 overall variety of respondents with two to four years of experience, 10.1% were freelancers or founders.
  • Nearly half of all freelancers and founders (45.6%) had 4 or less years of experience.

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

However, it is very important to keep in mind that “founders” might account for the greater salary brackets discovered in this group, implying that freelancers may need to build a book of service prior to commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Discover Company

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

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

As the information suggests, freelancers mostly depend on track record and word-of-mouth to produce work.

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

That’s where organic search and social been available in. Newer freelancers can show themselves by marketing their services using a website and social networks profiles.

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

Smaller percentages of freelancers also report utilizing paid channels such as Google Advertisements (7.5%) and social media advertising (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 finding their own customers, freelancers are expected to provide a more comprehensive range of services than other SEO specialists.

For example, an SEO pro working with an in-house group might be entirely accountable for auditing brand-new customers’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be expected to examine the site, determine how to optimize the website to provide much better results, and then perform the strategy.

Being a freelancer features a significant amount of obligation. However, there are distinct opportunities 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 point out the liberty afforded by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent contractor permits people to work from house 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 easily make time for other priorities in life.

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

That’s perfectly fine since the experience you acquire makes you better to employers. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re better placed to shift into an in-house or agency function.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Employment

Being an SEO freelancer isn’t a lifetime dedication. While some flourish in it, specialist life isn’t for everybody.

The idea of discovering your own customers, producing your own wage, and doing the work of numerous individuals is not surprisingly daunting. That doesn’t mean it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

SEO freelancers with even a year or 2 of experience are distinctively qualified to shift into full-time employment.

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Carrying out a wide range of services offers you experience operating in several roles.
  • Building up a base of clients means you have lots of employment recommendations offered when obtaining tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can result in irreversible work in other business.

In summary, taking the roadway less taken a trip can result in chances that weren’t previously available to you.

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

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel