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

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with chances to construct fulfilling professions, though there’s no plainly specified course to starting.

There aren’t always any degrees required to work in SEO. This leaves lots of aiming professionals left to question how they can show they’re gotten approved for the task.

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

Working as an independent professional is how a significant portion of people get their start in SEO. Some use freelancing as a stepping stone to an in-house or company position, while others construct their whole profession around it.

According to data in our State of SEO in 2022, professionals can discover significant success doing freelance work. Near to 45% of freelance and contract participants reported earning $75,000 to $149,000.

In this article, we’ll look much deeper at the data surrounding this curious group of SEO professionals.

How do you become an SEO freelancer? What does an SEO freelancer do? Most importantly, how does an SEO freelancer get clients?

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

Many SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

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

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

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

If you’re not a market veteran with an established portfolio, discovering full-time operate in an in-house function or company position can be challenging.

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

With that stated, freelancing isn’t solely an early-stage profession kind of gig. As our information in the next section shows, freelancers tend to earn a higher-than-average salary, that makes it a practical choice to pursue long-lasting.

Freelancers Are A Smaller Group, However With Higher Typical Income

As discussed at the beginning of this short article, 44.5% of freelance and contract respondents report earning incomes above $75,000 annually.

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

  • Out of the total variety of respondents with less than 2 years of experience, 9.4% were freelancers or creators.
  • Out of the total number of participants with two to 4 years of experience, 10.1% were freelancers or founders.
  • Practically half of all freelancers and founders (45.6%) had four 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. Only 6.7% of freelancers and founders took incomes of $34,000 or less.

Nevertheless, it’s important to keep in mind that “founders” may account for the greater income brackets discovered in this group, implying that freelancers may need to build a book of company prior to commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Service

When we asked SEO freelancers which channels drive the most organization, 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 information suggests, freelancers mainly rely on credibility and word-of-mouth to create work.

This puts more recent SEO specialists at a drawback as they’re less likely to have the experience, portfolios, or client lists needed 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 website and social networks profiles.

Freelance task boards like Upwork provide 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 sized percentages of freelancers also report utilizing paid channels such as Google Advertisements (7.5%) and social networks marketing (6.1%) to discover work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Includes Chance

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

For example, an SEO pro dealing with an internal group might be exclusively responsible for auditing new customers’ websites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be anticipated to examine the site, figure out how to optimize the site to provide much better results, and after that execute the plan.

Being a freelancer includes a considerable quantity of duty. Nevertheless, there are unique opportunities in freelancing that offset the disadvantages.

We have actually mentioned the higher-than-average salaries, and we ‘d be remiss not to point out the freedom afforded by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent professional allows individuals to work from house and set their own hours. This level of flexibility can create a much healthier work/life balance compared to working in an office, as freelancers can easily make time for other top priorities in life.

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

That’s perfectly great because the experience you gain makes you better to employers. After a few years of freelancing, you’re much better positioned to shift into an in-house or firm function.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Employment

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

The idea of finding your own customers, creating your own wage, and doing the work of numerous people is understandably intimidating. That does not indicate it’s not worth putting in the effort.

SEO freelancers with even a year or 2 of experience are distinctively certified to transition into full-time work.

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Carrying out a vast array of services provides you experience operating in various roles.
  • Developing a base of customers suggests you have many work recommendations available when making an application for tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can lead to irreversible employment in other companies.

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

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

Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel