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

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

There aren’t necessarily any degrees required to operate in SEO. This leaves lots of aspiring practitioners delegated question how they can prove they’re gotten approved for the job.

You’ll most likely get ten various responses if you ask 10 SEO pros how they got their very first job. Several of those answers is likely to focus on freelancing.

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

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

In this post, we’ll look much deeper at the information surrounding this curious group of SEO specialists.

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

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

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 respondents stated they have less than 5 years of experience.

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

If you’re not an industry veteran with an established portfolio, finding full-time operate in an internal role or agency position can be challenging.

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

With that stated, freelancing isn’t solely an early-stage profession kind of gig. As our data in the next area shows, freelancers tend to earn a higher-than-average wage, that makes it a viable alternative to pursue long-term.

Freelancers Are A Smaller Sized Group, But With Higher Typical Income

As pointed out at the start of this post, 44.5% of freelance and agreement participants report making incomes above $75,000 per year.

That number is particularly notable when you look at the number of years of experience freelancers have.

  • Out of the total variety of participants with less than two years of experience, 9.4% were freelancers or creators.
  • Out of the total variety of respondents 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 fewer years of experience.

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

However, it is necessary to keep in mind that “creators” may account for the greater wage brackets found in this group, indicating that freelancers may need to construct a book of organization prior to commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Discover Organization

When we asked SEO freelancers which channels drive the most business, 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 recommends, freelancers mainly count on track record and word-of-mouth to create work.

This puts more recent SEO specialists at a downside 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. More recent freelancers can prove themselves by marketing their services using a site and social media profiles.

Freelance job boards like Upwork use 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 sized portions of freelancers also report utilizing paid channels such as Google Ads (7.5%) and social media marketing (6.1%) to discover work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, But Features Opportunity

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being accountable for finding their own clients, freelancers are expected to offer a broader range of services than other SEO specialists.

For instance, an SEO pro dealing with an in-house team may be solely accountable for auditing new clients’ websites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be anticipated to examine the site, figure out how to enhance the site to provide better outcomes, and then execute the strategy.

Being a freelancer includes a significant amount of duty. However, there are special chances in freelancing that make up for the downsides.

We have actually discussed the higher-than-average wages, and we ‘d be remiss not to discuss the liberty afforded by freelancing.

Operating in SEO as an independent specialist permits people to work from house and set their own hours. This level of versatility can produce a much healthier work/life balance compared to working in an office, as freelancers can easily make time for other concerns in life.

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

That’s perfectly fine because the experience you acquire makes you more valuable to employers. After a few years of freelancing, you’re much better placed to transition into an in-house or company function.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Employment

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

The idea of finding your own customers, producing your own salary, and doing the work of numerous individuals is understandably intimidating. That doesn’t imply it’s not worth 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 that:

  • Carrying out a large range of services provides you experience operating in various functions.
  • Developing a base of clients suggests you have many employment recommendations available when looking for jobs.
  • Your connections through freelancing can lead to long-term employment in other business.

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

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

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel