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

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with opportunities to develop satisfying careers, though there’s no plainly specified course to starting.

There aren’t always any degrees needed to operate in SEO. This leaves many aiming specialists left to wonder how they can show they’re gotten approved for the task.

You’ll probably get 10 various answers if you ask ten SEO pros how they got their very first task. Several of those answers is likely to revolve around freelancing.

Working as an independent contractor is how a meaningful portion of individuals get their start in SEO. Some utilize freelancing as a stepping stone to an in-house or agency position, while others construct their entire career around it.

According to data in our State of SEO in 2022, practitioners can find considerable success doing freelance work. Near to 45% of freelance and agreement 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 experts.

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 annual State Of SEO Report. Download the complete report to see the first-party information.

Numerous SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

Freelancing is a popular option for SEO experts early in their careers.

When we asked the length of time SEO pros have actually been working in the field, over 45% of freelancer participants stated they have less than 5 years of experience.

That number isn’t unexpected when you comprehend why many take the freelancing path in the first location.

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

In a field without formalized education, freelancing is a course towards constructing the experience employers are searching for.

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

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

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, 44.5% of freelance and agreement participants report making incomes above $75,000 annually.

That number is specifically significant when you look at the number of years of experience freelancers have.

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

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

Nevertheless, it is very important to keep in mind that “creators” may account for the higher wage brackets discovered in this group, indicating that freelancers may need to develop a book of company prior to commanding the greatest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Business

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

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

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

This puts newer SEO professionals 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 show themselves by marketing their services using a site and social media profiles.

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

Smaller portions of freelancers also 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, However Features Opportunity

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being responsible for discovering their own clients, freelancers are expected to provide a broader series of services than other SEO experts.

For example, an SEO pro working with an internal team may be entirely accountable for auditing brand-new customers’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be expected to investigate the website, find out how to enhance the website to deliver better outcomes, and after that perform the strategy.

Being a freelancer includes a significant quantity of responsibility. However, there are distinct opportunities in freelancing that make up for the disadvantages.

We’ve discussed the higher-than-average salaries, and we ‘d be remiss not to mention the freedom paid for by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent professional allows people to work from home 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 top priorities in life.

On the other hand, you might choose to pursue freelance work just to discover the benefits aren’t worth the disadvantages.

That’s completely fine due to the fact that the experience you acquire makes you more valuable to companies. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re better positioned to transition into an internal or firm role.

SEO Freelancers Can Shift Into Full-Time Employment

Being an SEO freelancer isn’t a life time dedication. While some flourish in it, contractor life isn’t for everyone.

The idea of discovering your own clients, producing your own salary, and doing the work of several people is understandably daunting. That doesn’t suggest it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons that:

  • Performing a wide range of services offers you experience working in many different functions.
  • Building up a base of customers suggests you have lots of employment referrals readily available when requesting jobs.
  • Your connections through freelancing can cause long-term work in other business.

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

You can discover all of our first-party information about the careers of freelancers, as well as SEO experts in in-house and company positions, in our yearly State Of SEO Report.

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel