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

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with opportunities to build fulfilling professions, though there’s no clearly specified path to beginning.

There aren’t necessarily any degrees needed to operate in SEO. This leaves numerous striving professionals left to wonder how they can show they’re received the task.

You’ll probably get 10 various answers if you ask ten SEO pros how they got their first task. Several of those answers is likely to revolve around 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 in-house or agency position, while others develop their entire profession around it.

According to information in our State of SEO in 2022, professionals can find significant success doing freelance work. Near 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 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 post expands on the information found in our annual State Of SEO Report. Download the full report to see the first-party data.

Numerous SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freelancers Are A Smaller Group, But With Greater Typical Income

As pointed out at the start of this article, 44.5% of freelance and agreement participants report earning salaries above $75,000 each year.

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

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

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

Nevertheless, it is very important to keep in mind that “founders” may account for the higher income brackets discovered in this group, implying that freelancers may require to construct a book of company before commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Discover Company

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

  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 data suggests, freelancers mostly rely on track record and word-of-mouth to produce work.

This puts newer SEO practitioners at a drawback as they’re less likely to have the experience, portfolios, or customer lists required to find work.

That’s where organic search and social been available in. Newer freelancers can show themselves by marketing their services utilizing a website 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 bring them to their next gig.

Smaller sized portions of freelancers also report utilizing paid channels such as Google Advertisements (7.5%) and social networks advertising (6.1%) to find work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Features Chance

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being responsible for discovering their own customers, freelancers are expected to supply a more comprehensive variety of services than other SEO specialists.

For example, an SEO pro dealing with an internal group may be solely responsible for auditing brand-new customers’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be expected to examine the website, find out how to optimize the site to deliver much better results, and after that perform the plan.

Being a freelancer includes a substantial quantity of duty. However, there are special opportunities in freelancing that make up for the downsides.

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

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

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

That’s perfectly fine due to the fact that the experience you gain makes you more valuable to employers. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re better placed to shift into an in-house or company role.

SEO Freelancers Can Shift Into Full-Time Employment

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

The concept of finding your own customers, creating your own salary, and doing the work of multiple individuals is not surprisingly frightening. That does not imply it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons:

  • Performing a wide range of services provides you experience working in several functions.
  • Building up a base of clients suggests you have numerous employment references readily available when applying for tasks.
  • Your connections through freelancing can result in long-term work in other companies.

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

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

Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel