The Freelance SEO Specialist’s Journey, How To Get Going In SEO [Survey Results]

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with chances to develop satisfying professions, though there’s no plainly defined path to getting going.

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

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

Working as an independent professional is how a meaningful percentage of people 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 information in our State of SEO in 2022, practitioners can discover significant success doing freelance work. Near to 45% of freelance and agreement participants reported earning $75,000 to $149,000.

In this short article, we’ll look much deeper at the data 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 short article broadens on the information discovered 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 choice for SEO specialists early in their careers.

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

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

If you’re not a market veteran with a recognized portfolio, discovering full-time work in an in-house role or agency position can be tough.

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

With that stated, freelancing isn’t solely an early-stage profession type of gig. As our information in the next section programs, freelancers tend to make a higher-than-average wage, which makes it a practical choice to pursue long-term.

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

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, 44.5% of freelance and contract respondents report earning incomes above $75,000 per year.

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

  • Out of the total number of participants with less than two years of experience, 9.4% were freelancers or creators.
  • Out of the overall variety of respondents 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 reasonably small group compared to others, they can often command higher rates than their peers. Only 6.7% of freelancers and founders took incomes of $34,000 or less.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that “creators” might represent the higher wage brackets discovered in this group, meaning that freelancers may require to build a book of service prior to commanding the highest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Organization

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

  1. Network referrals (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 mostly rely on credibility and word-of-mouth to create work.

This puts more recent SEO practitioners at a downside as they’re less 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 site and social networks profiles.

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

Smaller portions of freelancers likewise report using paid channels such as Google Ads (7.5%) and social networks advertising (6.1%) to find work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Includes Chance

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

For example, an SEO pro working with an in-house group may be exclusively responsible for auditing new clients’ websites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be expected to investigate the site, determine how to enhance the site to provide better outcomes, and then perform the plan.

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

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

Working in SEO as an independent contractor allows individuals to work from home and set their own hours. This level of flexibility can create a much healthier work/life balance compared to working in a workplace, as freelancers can easily make time for other top priorities in life.

On the other hand, you may decide to pursue freelance work only to find the benefits aren’t worth the drawbacks.

That’s completely great since the experience you gain makes you better to employers. After a couple of years of freelancing, you’re better positioned to shift into an in-house or firm role.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Employment

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

The concept of finding your own clients, creating your own wage, and doing the work of multiple people is not surprisingly intimidating. That does not indicate it’s not worth putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Performing a large range of services provides you experience operating in many different functions.
  • Building up a base of clients indicates you have lots of employment references available when making an application for jobs.
  • Your connections through freelancing can lead to permanent work in other companies.

In summary, taking the roadway less taken a trip can lead to opportunities that weren’t formerly available to you.

You can find all of our first-party information about the careers of freelancers, in addition to SEO experts in in-house and agency positions, in our annual State Of SEO Report.

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel