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 build satisfying careers, though there’s no plainly defined course to starting.

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

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

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

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

In this short article, we’ll look deeper at the information surrounding this curious group of SEO experts.

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

Lots Of SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

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

When we asked for how long SEO pros have actually been operating in the field, over 45% of freelancer respondents said they have less than 5 years of experience.

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

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

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

With that said, freelancing isn’t specifically an early-stage career type of gig. As our data in the next area shows, freelancers tend to earn a higher-than-average wage, that makes it a practical alternative to pursue long-lasting.

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

As discussed at the start of this short article, 44.5% of freelance and agreement respondents report making incomes above $75,000 each year.

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

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

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

However, it is necessary to keep in mind that “creators” may represent the higher salary brackets discovered in this group, indicating that freelancers might require to develop a book of business before commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Company

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

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

As the data suggests, freelancers mainly count on credibility and word-of-mouth to generate work.

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

That’s where natural search and social been available in. More recent freelancers can show themselves by marketing their services utilizing a website and social networks profiles.

Freelance job boards like Upwork use 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 sized portions 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, But Comes With Chance

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being accountable for finding their own customers, freelancers are anticipated to provide a wider range of services than other SEO specialists.

For example, an SEO pro working with an internal team may be solely accountable for auditing new clients’ websites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be expected to investigate the website, figure out how to enhance the site to deliver better results, and then perform the plan.

Being a freelancer features a substantial quantity of responsibility. Nevertheless, there are special chances in freelancing that offset the disadvantages.

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

Operating in SEO as an independent specialist enables people to work from home and set their own hours. This level of versatility can create a 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 decide to pursue freelance work just to find the advantages aren’t worth the downsides.

That’s perfectly great due to the fact that the experience you acquire makes you better to companies. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re much better placed to transition into an in-house or agency function.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Work

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

The idea of discovering your own customers, producing your own salary, and doing the work of multiple individuals is understandably intimidating. That does not indicate it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

SEO freelancers with even a year or more 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 provides you experience operating in many different functions.
  • Building up a base of customers implies you have lots of employment references offered when applying for tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can lead to irreversible employment in other business.

In summary, taking the road less traveled can result in chances that weren’t previously readily available to you.

You can find all of our first-party data about the professions of freelancers, as well as SEO experts in internal and company positions, in our yearly State Of SEO Report.

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel