The Freelance SEO Specialist’s Journey, How To Get Started In SEO [Study Outcomes]

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

There aren’t always any degrees required to work in SEO. This leaves numerous aiming practitioners delegated question how they can show they’re gotten approved for the job.

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

Working as an independent specialist is how a meaningful portion of individuals get their start in SEO. Some utilize freelancing as a stepping stone to an in-house or firm position, while others develop their entire career around it.

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

In this short article, we’ll look much 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 broadens on the information discovered in our yearly State Of SEO Report. Download the full report to see the first-party information.

Many SEO Professionals Get Their Start As Freelancers

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

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

That number isn’t unexpected when you understand why many take the freelancing path in the first location.

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

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

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

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

As mentioned at the start of this post, 44.5% of freelance and agreement respondents report earning salaries above $75,000 per year.

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

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

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

However, it’s important to note that “creators” might account for the greater salary brackets discovered in this group, implying that freelancers may need to develop a book of organization before commanding the greatest rates.

How SEO Freelancers Work And Find Company

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

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

As the data recommends, freelancers mainly depend on track record and word-of-mouth to create work.

This puts more recent SEO practitioners at a downside as they’re less most likely to have the experience, portfolios, or client lists necessary to discover 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 media profiles.

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

Smaller sized percentages of freelancers also report utilizing paid channels such as Google Ads (7.5%) and social media 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 provide a broader series of services than other SEO specialists.

For example, an SEO pro dealing with an in-house team may be solely responsible for auditing brand-new customers’ sites. On the other hand, a freelancer might be anticipated to examine the website, figure out how to enhance the website to provide much better results, and after that perform the strategy.

Being a freelancer features a substantial quantity of obligation. Nevertheless, there are special opportunities in freelancing that offset the drawbacks.

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

Operating in SEO as an independent professional permits people to work from home and set their own hours. This level of flexibility can develop a healthier work/life balance compared to operating in a workplace, as freelancers can quickly make time for other concerns in life.

On the other hand, you may choose to pursue freelance work only to discover the benefits aren’t worth the downsides.

That’s perfectly fine since the experience you acquire makes you better to employers. After a few years of freelancing, you’re better positioned to transition into an in-house or company function.

SEO Freelancers Can Transition Into Full-Time Work

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

The idea of discovering your own clients, generating your own wage, and doing the work of numerous people is understandably daunting. That doesn’t suggest it’s not worth putting in the effort.

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

Here’s a list of reasons that:

  • Performing a large range of services gives you experience operating in various roles.
  • Building up a base of customers implies you have lots of employment references readily available when requesting jobs.
  • Your connections through freelancing can result in long-term work in other business.

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

You can discover all of our first-party information about the careers of freelancers, as well as SEO experts in internal and firm positions, in our annual State Of SEO Report.

Included image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel