SEO Freelance Career: 3 Reasons Why You Are Afraid Of Starting

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.

Freelance SEO Career

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?

Full Time versus Freelance

​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 Circle
    Ahrefs 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 Circle
    Search 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?

SEO Services Freelance

​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 Circle
    Forum profile creation (and management)
  • Check Circle
    SEO training and consulting
  • Check Circle
    SEO content creation
  • Check Circle
    Full website audit
  • Check Circle
    Backlink profile audit
  • Check Circle
    Lead generation through SEO
  • Check Circle
    Removing website from Google Sandbox (penalty)
  • Check Circle
    Black 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!

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​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?

Don't worry!

​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?

Make A Living In Freelance SEO Career

​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.

​Do you know that only 30% of your work time should be spent on looking for new clients, sending offers, networking and personal branding?

Tweet This!

​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.

Complete Guide In Becoming A Freelance SEO Consultant

Freelance SEO Consultant. My first (ever) consultancy work is related to search engine optimization. Happened around 6 years back and back then, SEO was much simplier. The client that engaged with me wanted me to increase website ranking by doing black hat SEO for his business which back then, was easy to do. I remember fire-ing up ScrapeBox, loaded some custom scripts I did and boom - it was the easiest $200 (work from home gig) I ever got for 12 months. For the record, the client knew exactly what I was doing and he has no issues with it.

​You might be interested to bookmark this

​Want to start a freelance SEO consultancy but afraid of failure? Read this guide: 3 Reasons Why You Are Not Starting A SEO Freelance Career (And How To Solve Them)

From my first freelance consulting gig, I started to fall in love with SEO and soon, I was messing my head around GSA SER, Ultimate Demo, Magic Submitter, Money Robot, FCR Networker, XRumer and recently, RankerX​. I have tried literally every SEO tool in the market and spend thousands of dollars doing so (and happily).

​After some years, let me tell you think. The ecosystem for SEO had changed over the years, but the basic remains the same. Quality comes first - no matter it is for backlinks, keyword research, publishing content on blogs or even guest postings.

​I've learned a lot being a freelance SEO consultant and I hope that you will find these tips useful.

1. ​Keyword research is king

​If you want to become a freelance SEO consultant, you got to be a master in keyword research. You may have the best SEO link building tool but if you are not good in keyword research, you are not going to be able to rank any keywords or terms.

Must read: The best keyword research tool and steps to do keyword research fast.

​What is keyword research?

​Before that, it is important to go into details as in what keyword research really is. In this case, keyword research is a process where you find the best keywords to rank for your (or your client's) website. A good keyword research is not about finding the most popular keyword but instead, to find keywords with high search volume, medium to low competition and has high conversion power. 

​So, how do you conduct proper keyword research? Here are some steps to follow:

  • ​Define a niche or main keyword (just one)
  • ​From the main keyword, list down 5 to 10 related/seed keywords
  • ​Use tools such as KWFinder to find related keywords from the seed keywords (along with competition, search volume etc.)

​I use KWFinder for keyword research and this is one tool I recommend to everyone who wants to become a freelance SEO consultant. Try KWFinder for free here.

As you can see below, I am able to determine different keywords with opportunities to rank on first page of Google.

how to find long tail keywords

​KWFinder is an affordable and efficient SEO tool for freelancers

While KWFinder is good at keyword research, it is worthy to mention Ahrefs as it is one of the most used keyword research tool by SEO consultants. Here's how it looks like on the backend.

Ahrefs Keyword Research Tool Analysis

Ahrefs keyword research feature is more in depth

​Every freelance SEO consultant should focus in learning the basics of keyword research. Always remember that SEO tools are only there to help in your daily SEO work. Therefore, the foundation in SEO (such as keyword research) is extremely vital for your success.

​2. Checking on competitors

​Want to run a successful SEO consultancy project? Take time to understand your competitors and what they are ranking for is critical.

​This is another long step but is extremely important if you can to become a freelance SEO consultant.

There are many tools you can use to spy on your competitors and for this example, I'll use SERPChecker by KWFinder (read the review here).

how to use SERPChecker

SERPChecker gives you detailed information on the top 10 results

​Why this spying on your competitors important for every freelance SEO consultant?

The answer is simple. You want to know exactly what's working for them (and you replicate the actions from there). More on this below.

Now that you have a list of the top 10 websites that are ranking for a specific keyword. Head over to Screaming Frog to get more details of the page.

free seo tool for freelance SEO consultants

​Screaming Frog is a free SEO tool for freelance SEO consultants

​Screaming Frog is not only used by freelancers, small and large digital marketing agencies also use it as it is really effective.

Aside from Screaming Frog, Ahrefs is also one of the top favorites for many professional SEO consultants around the world because it is extremely powerful and accurate (yes, more accurate and feature rich compared to Screaming Frog).

Ahrefs Competitor Research Tool Analysis

Ahrefs SEO tool allow freelance SEO consultants to spy on competitors more effectively

​3. Analyze your own website (or websites of your clients')

​No, you are not jumping into creating link building (at least for now). The third step is to analyze your website or websites of your clients'. 

​Generally speaking, it is really easy to rank a website and if the website is not ranking well on Google result pages, then something is really wrong. It is your job as a freelance SEO consultant to figure that out and you can figure it out by doing a full SEO audit.

​Wait, what? An SEO audit instead?

Yes, I admit that SEO audit is time consuming and takes up a lot of resources. However, if you want to start ranking your client's website to the first page of Google, this is beyond important. This is also why SEO consultants earn big bucks from a single SEO project!

​How to do a full SEO audit?

  • ​Conduct an extensive keyword analysis (if you have done this in step 1, you can skip this now)
  • ​Search business in Google and other search engines (local SEO)
  • ​Scan the Google+ Local Page to access page health
  • Clipboard Check
    Audit the company website or blog for duplicate content (now we are talking)
  • Clipboard Check
    Build a citation check for link building opportunities
  • Clipboard Check
    Conduct a backlink/penalty analysis

​Do you know how long it takes to ​complete all the tasks above? 45 minutes.

Do you know how much you can charge for a full SEO audit? At least $200.

Now, are you still having cold feet of becoming a freelance SEO consultant?

​4. ​Presenting your findings

SEO Consultant Presentation

​By now, you should know exactly what's lacking to rank on the first page of Google. This is where you showcase your expertise as a freelance SEO consultant.

​With the three steps you had taken above, you can now meet up with the client and share the findings with confidence.

​Hard work + data + action = Win

​Doing keyword research, analyzing and reporting are tedious jobs. Therefore, go out there and showcase your reports to the clients. With the amount of work you had done, they will be impressed to say the very least. Of course, the only thing you need now is confidence in yourself (even if this is your first SEO project)!

​5. Take action

Freelance SEO Consultant Guide

​Being a freelance SEO consultant is not just about sharing your findings and analysis. You need to help clients to rank their website on the first page of Google.

​Right after sharing your proposal or action plans, you need to kick start and get to work. In this case, you got to have a plan or SEO framework.

What is an SEO framework?

  • ​An SEO framework tells you exactly what to do, and when to do
  • ​It gives you a good understanding on what to expect
  • ​It gives you timeline for completing an SEO project

I wanted to make this freelance SEO guide as complete as possible. Therefore, for a limited time only, I'm opening up the Pandora's box for you and sharing with you one of my most effective advanced link building strategy (white hat SEO) which you can download for free.

This is how much time you had left before I stop sharing this SEO framework.


​Disclaimer: Do note that I have NEVER and WILL NOT share this advanced link building strategy on any of my blog. Therefore, grab a copy of it before I turn it off!

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​6. ​Keep track of the results (daily)

Reporting For Freelance SEO Consultant

​Last but not least, being a freelance SEO consultant requires daily tracking of the results. Through past experiences, we all know that what works yesterday will not work today. And, what works today ​might not work for tomorrow.

Tweaks are constantly required when it comes to SEO and search optimization. For starters, keep track of the results based on your actions.

​After sometime, you will notice certain patterns which will lead to higher ranking, higher conversion and ultimately, more traffic.

​There are many ways (and tools) you can use to track and record the progress. For me, my favorite is still Evernote as it allows me to jot down everything. While Evernote Premium is a great asset for a freelance SEO consultant like me, Evernote Basic (which is free) is sufficient for many.

Create an Evernote account here.

​When it comes to tracking SEO performance, it is not that easy to be honest. As search engine algorithm changes every day, it can be really challenging to track each project (especially when you have more than 10 SEO projects at the same time).

​For keyword tracking, my favorite tools are SEMrush and SERPstat.

This is what it looks like using SEMrush.

keyword monitoring using semrush

SEMrush offers detailed keyword monitoring

​This is what it looks like using SERPstat.

serpstat seo tool

​SERPstat is also a great SEO tool to monitor keywords ranking

​Summary: The Complete Guide In Becoming A Freelance SEO Consultant

​With today's technology, everyone can become a freelance SEO consultant but only a few can be really good. Being the best as an SEO consultant allows you to earn thousands of dollars for every project (while feeling good and satisfied about it).

​Before I end, I hope that you find this guide in becoming a freelance SEO consultant useful. If you need help getting started, leave a comment below and let's talk!