SEO Freelance Career. If I had ever read one of these “how to become a SEO freelancer” guides, I would have probably dropped the idea before even trying.
For beginners, the first thought of starting an SEO freelance career may sound very tempting especially with the freelance earning (SEO mogul, Neil Patel charges anywhere between $10,000 to $30,000 per hour just on SEO consultations) but when reality kicks in, most of us get cold feet.
At this point of time, you might have thought of starting your career as a freelance SEO consultant, or might even put aside the ideas for months. I get you and I know exactly how it felt like.
When I was offered my first SEO project, I was NOT even doing SEO. I was a nobody in SEO and starting a career in search marketing was never in my thought.
Boy oh boy, jumping into the SEO industry was probably the best thing ever happened to me. I might even call it the best decision in my life (if I have not met my wife)!
Let’s get serious and get started by facing some real questions when it comes to freelancing and search engine optimization.
- Do I have enough knowledge in SEO?
- What type of SEO services should I offer?
- Can I make a living being a full time SEO consultant?
My goal in this post is to address all of these concerns and ultimately, helping you to kick start your soon-to-be amazing SEO freelance career.
Should you work 9 to 5 or go the freelance path?
There are a whopping 53 million freelancers working in the United States (alone). This means that over 34% of the national workforce are either full time, or part time freelancing. Source: Freelance Statistics 2015.
These 34% of people are lucky because:
- They acquired professional expertise(s) which can be offered remotely
- They found their niche and products which others are willing to pay for
- They probably have workflows and repeated clients to ensure the money keep rolling in
Does any of the above are stopping you from starting a freelance SEO career?
Let me tell you that the ‘massive’ problems above are least of your concerns. Here are the major ones which will hamper your SEO career.
1. Do I have enough knowledge in SEO?
Here’s the cold hard truth you should know before starting a freelance SEO career.
People who will hire you are most likely business owners who paid some guy (or agency) to create a simple website for their business. You know, those 5 to 10 pages websites without blog posts, type-of-thing.
After asking around why they don’t get any orders, they have been told (or advised in any manner) that their website is not optimized for Google and that they need to invest in SEO.
Those people (business owners) don’t want to learn about SEO more than enough to ask the right questions during the hiring process. Well, being a business owner, the goal is to make sure they get sales and not the technical aspect of getting a sale such as sales funnel, backlinks, Google rankings and all those crazy stuffs.
And if you know your ways around On Site, Technical, and Off Site SEO, you will for sure generate enough value to justify your paycheck.
The other type of people who will most likely employ you, are online marketing agencies.
Those are in general providing new hires with information and education, plus, depending on your skills they assign you a fitting work position. Which means, the question “Am I skilled enough?” is sorted for you by the agency.
If you want a better understanding where you stand at with your current skills in the job market, visit UpWork (or any other freelance platform) and check other SEO professionals.
So, the moral of the story is simple. If you want to stand out and start your journey in the freelance SEO career, learn as much as possible about SEO techniques right now.
Need some crazy resources to help you get started?
- Your Complete Guide To Freelance SEO Success (Beginner Friendly). Written by me and recently published, this is the only guide to help you get started in the SEO freelance career.
- Backlinko by Brian Dean. His team spends an average of 80 hours per article, focusing on actionable SEO content.
- Moz Blog + Whiteboard Friday. If you are new to SEO (and want to start an SEO career,the blog posts and discussions here could easily help you in many ways. Bear in mind that these are very advanced SEO discussion especially for beginners.
- Check CircleAhrefs Blog. When it comes to search engine optimization (tips and tricks), Ahrefs is one of the best in town as the editorial team is great in transforming complicated information into really simple ones.
- Check CircleSearch Engine Journal. Last but not least, my favorite (go-to) portal for all SEO related news. More information are shared in a timely manner here compared to anywhere else in the Internet.
Now that we have completed your first concern starting a career as a freelance SEO, let’s head over to the second part.
2. What type of SEO services should I offer?
There’s a huge list on the type of SEO services you can offer. Here are some of them:
- Manual link building
- On site SEO optimization
- Off site SEO optimization
- Check CircleForum profile creation (and management)
- Check CircleSEO training and consulting
- Check CircleSEO content creation
- Check CircleFull website audit
- Check CircleBacklink profile audit
- Check CircleLead generation through SEO
- Check CircleRemoving website from Google Sandbox (penalty)
- Check CircleBlack hat SEO
When it comes to SEO freelance career, you should think out of the box and do not limit yourself with any form of limitation.
What does this mean?
English is not the only language that require SEO. If you can speak different languages such as German and Chinese (Mandarin), you can make way a lot of money compared to a typical freelance SEO consultant.
You can also sell SEO services through creating highly shareable applications or infographics which are extremely in demand now.
Mean time, here’s a quick bonus for you!
Help! I don’t know what I’m good at.
You might know some stuffs about SEO but not too much in detail – and that could be a problem, right?
Here’s how you can solve this part:
- Read. Start reading SEO blogs and watch “how to” videos.
- Try to replicate what you had learn and get some results.
- Send direct emails (yes, emails are not dead) to anyone who shared that post/guide on social media as they might be interested in the service.
Phew, that was easy, right?
3. Can I make a living being a full time SEO consultant?
When it comes to business, there will be good and bad times.
During good times, you may many leads and life seems to be all good and figured out.
But during the bad times, you may run dry several times.
Fret not. This is exactly the path of a freelance SEO consultant (or someone who sells SEO services).
The best way to start a freelance SEO career is through freelancing. Start as a part time gig, probably a couple of hours over the weekend, or several hours after your 9 to 5 job. Plus, this is also a solid choice to determine if SEO is your passion.
When you are just starting out, be frugal and be really (and I mean r-e-a-l-l-y) stingy. For example, choose the tools that you really need and focus on maximizing the effectiveness of each tool you use. After all, the more you save now, the easier your freelancing SEO career will be in the future.
When you are absolutely ready to be a full time SEO consultant, always have a plan B in mind. A well-thought plan B is going to save you (oftentimes) in the financial part.
You see, you can be 100% certain of your capabilities and even your existing clients. However, there will be bad times and there will be some good times.
Having plan B will keep you saint (and relaxed) especially during the hard times.
Getting clients is one thing – keeping your existing clients happy is another. Therefore, focus on what matters most in your business (which is the 70%).
Recap: Starting A Freelance SEO Career
It is tough to admit that freelance SEO career is not for everyone. It can be very challenging and it can seriously make you go nuts (or bankrupt).
If you are interested to become a freelance SEO consultant, start doing it small by working as a part time gig before moving to bigger, more time consuming projects. Ultimately, take the leap once you are really confident of making money from freelance SEO career.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.