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

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SEO is a field that’s ripe with chances to construct fulfilling careers, though there’s no plainly defined path to beginning.

There aren’t necessarily any degrees required to work in SEO. This leaves lots of striving practitioners delegated question how they can prove they’re qualified for the task.

You’ll probably get 10 different answers if you ask ten SEO pros how they got their very first job. One or more of those answers is likely to revolve around freelancing.

Working as an independent contractor is how a meaningful percentage of people get their start in SEO. Some use freelancing as a stepping stone to an internal or firm position, while others build their whole career around it.

According to information in our State of SEO in 2022, professionals can discover significant success doing freelance work. Near 45% of freelance and contract respondents reported making $75,000 to $149,000.

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

How do you end up being an SEO freelancer? What does an SEO freelancer do? Most significantly, how does an SEO freelancer get customers?

This short article expands on the data 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 careers.

When we asked how long 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 understand why many take the freelancing path in the very first location.

If you’re not an industry veteran with a recognized portfolio, discovering full-time work in an internal role or firm position can be difficult.

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

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

Freelancers Are A Smaller Group, However With Higher Average Earnings

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

That number is especially noteworthy when you look at how many years of experience freelancers have.

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

Although freelancers and founders are a fairly little group compared to others, they can typically command greater rates than their peers. Just 6.7% of freelancers and founders took incomes of $34,000 or less.

Nevertheless, it is very important to note that “creators” might represent the higher income brackets discovered in this group, suggesting that freelancers may need to develop 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 organization, 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 data recommends, freelancers mostly rely on track record and word-of-mouth to create work.

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

That’s where natural search and social been available in. Newer freelancers can prove themselves by marketing their services utilizing a site and social networks profiles.

Freelance job boards like Upwork provide another route for freelancers to take when they don’t have the advantage 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 marketing (6.1%) to discover work.

Being An SEO Freelancer Is Difficult, However Features Chance

Freelancing isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition to being accountable for finding their own clients, freelancers are anticipated to supply a more comprehensive series of services than other SEO professionals.

For instance, an SEO pro dealing with an internal group might be exclusively responsible for auditing new customers’ websites. On the other hand, a freelancer may be expected to investigate the site, figure out how to enhance the site to deliver much better outcomes, and then execute the strategy.

Being a freelancer comes with a substantial quantity of duty. Nevertheless, there are distinct chances in freelancing that make up for the downsides.

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

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

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

That’s perfectly great due to the fact that the experience you get makes you more valuable to companies. After a few years of freelancing, you’re better placed to transition into an in-house or firm function.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Employment

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

The concept of finding your own customers, creating your own salary, and doing the work of several individuals is understandably intimidating. That doesn’t mean it’s unworthy putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons:

  • Performing a vast array of services gives you experience operating in many different roles.
  • Building up a base of clients indicates you have many work recommendations readily available when getting jobs.
  • Your connections through freelancing can cause irreversible employment in other companies.

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

You can find all of our first-party information about the professions of freelancers, in addition to SEO specialists in internal and company positions, in our annual State Of SEO Report.

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel