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

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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 necessarily any degrees required to operate in SEO. This leaves lots of aspiring practitioners delegated wonder how they can prove they’re received the task.

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

Working as an independent specialist is how a significant percentage of individuals get their start in SEO. Some use freelancing as a stepping stone to an internal or agency position, while others develop their whole career around it.

According to information in our State of SEO in 2022, professionals can discover considerable success doing freelance work. Close to 45% of freelance and agreement participants reported making $75,000 to $149,000.

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

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

Lots Of SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

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

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

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

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

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

With that said, freelancing isn’t exclusively an early-stage career kind of gig. As our data in the next section programs, freelancers tend to earn a higher-than-average salary, that makes it a viable alternative to pursue long-lasting.

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

As pointed out at the beginning of this short article, 44.5% of freelance and contract respondents report making salaries above $75,000 annually.

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

  • Out of the overall variety of respondents with less than 2 years of experience, 9.4% were freelancers or founders.
  • Out of the total number of participants with 2 to four years of experience, 10.1% were freelancers or founders.
  • Nearly half of all freelancers and founders (45.6%) had 4 or fewer years of experience.

Although freelancers and founders are a relatively little 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 salary brackets found in this group, indicating that freelancers may need to build a book of organization prior to commanding the greatest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Service

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

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

As the information recommends, freelancers mainly rely on track record and word-of-mouth to produce work.

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

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

Freelance job boards like Upwork offer another route 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 using paid channels such as Google Advertisements (7.5%) and social media advertising (6.1%) to find work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Comes With Chance

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

For example, an SEO pro working with an internal team may be exclusively responsible for auditing brand-new customers’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be anticipated to investigate the site, find out how to enhance the website to deliver better outcomes, and then perform the strategy.

Being a freelancer includes a significant quantity of responsibility. Nevertheless, there are special opportunities in freelancing that make up for the downsides.

We’ve mentioned the higher-than-average wages, and we ‘d be remiss not to mention the flexibility managed by freelancing.

Working in SEO as an independent contractor enables people to work from house 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 top priorities in life.

On the other hand, you might choose to pursue freelance work just to find the advantages aren’t worth the drawbacks.

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

SEO Freelancers Can Shift Into Full-Time Employment

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

The concept of finding your own customers, producing your own wage, and doing the work of several individuals is naturally daunting. That doesn’t mean it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Carrying out a wide range of services provides you experience working in several functions.
  • Developing a base of clients means you have many employment recommendations offered when requesting tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can lead to irreversible employment in other business.

In summary, taking the roadway less traveled can lead to chances that weren’t formerly available to you.

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

Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel