How to Become an SEO Freelancer (What It Takes + Key Tips)

How to Become an SEO Freelancer (What It Takes + Key Tips)


In case you have a knack for search engine marketing (Search engine marketing), changing into an Search engine marketing freelancer is likely to be the appropriate path for you. 

On this article, you’ll study what an Search engine marketing freelancer does, turn out to be an Search engine marketing freelancer, get purchasers, and extra. 

You’ll additionally discover insights and ideas from established freelancers to make your journey simpler.

Let’s dive in.

What Does an Search engine marketing Freelancer Do?

An Search engine marketing freelancer is answerable for serving to purchasers enhance their Search engine marketing efficiency. 

This includes creating and implementing numerous methods to extend their purchasers’ rankings in search engine outcomes pages (SERPs) and driving natural (which means unpaid) site visitors. 

You’ll be able to supply providers in numerous areas of Search engine marketing. Or concentrate on only one or two. 

And also you’ll must deal with your personal enterprise, alongside engaged on consumer tasks.

Listed below are some key duties that an Search engine marketing freelancer may sometimes carry out:

  • Key phrase analysis: Keyword research includes serving to purchasers discover key phrases their goal prospects are coming into into engines like google. A freelancer will dig into the month-to-month key phrase search quantity and key phrase problem, assist set priorities, and counsel new key phrase concepts.
  • On-page optimization: This implies optimizing on-page components like title tags, inner hyperlinks, and extra. On-page SEO helps guarantee purchasers’ web sites are search engine-friendly and extra more likely to rank nicely.
  • Off-page optimization: This refers to Search engine marketing ways utilized exterior of a consumer’s web site to enhance its rankings. Like hyperlink constructing, visitor posting, social media advertising, and extra. Doing off-page SEO for purchasers will assist engines like google (and customers) see their websites as extra reliable and authoritative. 
  • Technical Search engine marketing: Technical SEO includes figuring out and fixing technical points that will damage customers’ experiences or hinder search engine crawling and indexing. This consists of rising web site pace, enhancing cellular responsiveness, implementing structured knowledge markup, and resolving crawl errors.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: This includes protecting observe of necessary metrics and discovering alternatives to enhance. An Search engine marketing freelancer will typically want to watch web site efficiency, observe key phrase rankings, analyze consumer habits, and measure the effectiveness of Search engine marketing campaigns. 
  • Shopper communication and reporting: This may be offering updates on venture progress, discussing methods, and addressing purchasers’ considerations. 
  • Enterprise admin: That is something freelancers do to run their very own companies, like advertising, venture administration, consumer acquisition, and invoicing. As this LinkedIn post from Peter Rota explains, being an Search engine marketing freelancer goes far past Search engine marketing work for purchasers:
an LinkedIn post from Peter Rota about what being SEO freelancer is

Abilities You Must Turn out to be an Search engine marketing Freelancer

Being a profitable Search engine marketing freelancer requires a mixture of technical experience, communication expertise, and venture administration talents. 

It’s not sufficient to be nice at Search engine marketing. You additionally want to have the ability to talk that worth to purchasers. And hold a number of tasks on observe.

Particular expertise and obligations range relying on the consumer/venture and the freelancer’s area of interest. However listed below are some widespread expertise an Search engine marketing freelancer may want:

  • Analytical expertise: Robust analytical expertise are very important for decoding knowledge, figuring out traits, and making data-driven choices. Proficiency in instruments like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Semrush is essential for gathering and analyzing web site metrics.
  • Communication expertise: Efficient communication is essential when collaborating with purchasers. It is advisable perceive their targets and have the ability to break down advanced Search engine marketing ideas.
  • Mission administration: Wonderful venture administration expertise are important for juggling a number of tasks concurrently. This consists of setting and assembly timelines, prioritizing duties, and managing sources.
  • Adaptability and steady studying: As a result of Search engine marketing is a dynamic area that includes frequent algorithm updates and evolving finest practices, you’ll must proceed your Search engine marketing training and sustain with trade adjustments.
  • Technical proficiency: Familiarity with internet growth fundamentals, like HTML, CSS, and content material administration techniques (CMS) like WordPress may be helpful. Actually, SEOs who know how to code get paid more than those that don’t. 
  • Gross sales and advertising: Constructing a profitable freelance enterprise requires buying purchasers. Your web site and different promotional supplies (like a LinkedIn profile) ought to make it straightforward for purchasers to search out you and perceive why they need to work with you. Like on this instance of a freelance SEO specialist’s website:
an example of a freelance SEO specialist’s website

The Advantages of Being a Freelance Search engine marketing Skilled

Listed below are a number of the primary upsides to being an Search engine marketing freelancer:

Aggressive Pay

Search engine marketing freelancing may be very profitable. 

As an Search engine marketing freelancer, your incomes potential is commonly influenced by your degree of experience, the forms of tasks you deal with, your repute, and the demand in your providers. 

And Search engine marketing freelancers have the potential to earn considerably greater than their salaried counterparts. 

Nearly half of freelancers earn $75,000 to $149,000 per year

As compared, the common salaried Search engine marketing job pays $60,548 per year

"Freelance SEO vs. In-House SEO: Who Earns More?"


Freelancers have the liberty to work wherever they need, every time they need.

Flexibility is without doubt one of the finest issues about being a freelancer. Freelancers can set their schedules, select their purchasers and tasks, and work from anyplace. This flexibility makes it simpler to accommodate different obligations and pursuits, equivalent to household, additional training, and hobbies. 

Right here’s a LinkedIn post from Search engine marketing professional Nick LeRoy that discusses how changing into a freelancer led to higher work-life stability, improved creativity, and extra:

a LinkedIn post from SEO expert Nick LeRoy that talks about becoming SEO freelancer

Skilled Progress

As an Search engine marketing freelancer, you get to decide on the tasks and purchasers that align together with your pursuits, experience, and profession targets.  

For instance, if you wish to work completely with trend manufacturers or give attention to technical Search engine marketing, you possibly can. This selection allows freelancers to develop a specialised ability set that may result in extra work and better earnings.

On the similar time, freelancers have the chance to work on completely different tasks with a number of purchasers in numerous industries. This range allows freelancers to develop a variety of expertise and expertise which may broaden their horizons and result in development and growth. 

In-Demand Subject

Most companies perceive the significance of natural search site visitors. So, Search engine marketing providers are in very excessive demand.

A examine by well-liked freelancer platform Upwork revealed that Search engine marketing is without doubt one of the high 10 most sought-after advertising expertise. 

The regular demand makes it doable to earn revenue. And likewise supplies freelancers with a various vary of tasks to work on.

The Potential Downsides of Freelancing

There are challenges that include freelancing. Listed below are a couple of to bear in mind:

  • Advantages are your duty: Workers sometimes obtain advantages equivalent to trip, sick pay, and medical insurance. Freelancers have to achieve insurance coverage protection indepently—and finances for trip time.
  • It might probably get lonely: Search engine marketing freelancers principally work on their very own. When you take pleasure in every day interactions and chit-chat, freelancing may not be for you.
  • The workload varies: Freelancers’ workloads and incomes can fluctuate. There could also be instances after they’re swimming in tasks. And different instances when issues are a lot slower.
  • It may be hectic: Many full-time freelancers and consultants work lots of hours. Which might result in stress and burnout.

The way to Turn out to be an Search engine marketing Freelancer in 7 Steps

Now, it’s time to get into how one can construct your Search engine marketing freelance profession.

Comply with these steps to set your self up for fulfillment:

1. Turn out to be an Search engine marketing Professional

Creating a deep understanding of Search engine marketing is crucial for getting began as a freelancer. To be sure you have the inspiration it’s worthwhile to assist purchasers attain their targets.

However it adjustments quick. 

So, keep updated with the most recent trade traits, algorithm adjustments, and finest practices by studying from respected sources (like Google Search Essentials), attending webinars, and enrolling in Search engine marketing programs (like these in Semrush Academy). 

You can too experiment with completely different methods and Search engine marketing instruments to achieve hands-on expertise and refine your expertise. 

Get began by gaining insights right into a potential consumer’s strengths and weaknesses utilizing Domain Overview.

Open the instrument, enter the potential consumer’s area, select a location, and click on “Search.”

search for "" in the US in Domain Overview tool

You’ll then see an outline dashboard. With info on that firm’s high natural key phrases, estimated natural site visitors, whole variety of backlinks, and extra.

"Organic Traffic" overview dashboard in Domain Overview tool

On the high, you’ll see some attention-grabbing metrics that provide you with an concept of how the location is performing. 

One factor to concentrate to is the Authority Score. Semrush’s Authority Rating measures a website’s general high quality and Search engine marketing efficiency.

Subsequent to the Authority Rating, you’ll see “Natural Search Visitors,” “Paid Search Visitors,” and “Backlinks.” 

"Authority Score," “Organic Search Traffic,” “Paid Search Traffic,” and “Backlinks.” sections in Domain Overview tool

When you scroll down, you possibly can see the highest key phrases for the location, and an outline of the rating distribution on Google. This reveals you which of them positions the consumer holds in search outcomes for various key phrases.

"Top Organic Keywords" and "Organic Position Distribution" sections in Domain Overview

Within the part under, you’ll discover their primary rivals for natural search and the way they examine by way of search efficiency.

"Main Organic Competitors" and "Competitive Positioning Map" sections in Domain Overview

These insights can function a supply of inspiration and show you how to establish potential areas for enchancment.

2. Discover Your Area of interest

It’s typically value specializing in a specific space of Search engine marketing. That manner, you place your self because the go-to professional in that exact space. 

It might be tempting to supply a variety of providers to anybody who desires to purchase them. However selecting a distinct segment attracts purchasers who worth your specialised data. And you may command increased charges in your providers. 

It’s additionally simpler to excel at one factor fairly than 10. 

For instance, it’s possible you’ll select to work with information publications, nonprofits, small companies, startups, or software-as-a-service (SaaS) corporations. 

You can too concentrate on particular Search engine marketing areas, equivalent to:

  • Technical Search engine marketing: Technical SEO includes optimizing an internet site from a technical standpoint, like enhancing web page pace
  • Native Search engine marketing: Local SEO includes serving to purchasers to optimize their on-line listings, equivalent to Google Maps entries for bodily shops and Google Enterprise Profile pages
  • App Retailer Optimization: App store optimization permits you to assist purchasers drive extra site visitors to their apps. This includes understanding the algorithms and techniques behind platforms just like the Apple App Retailer and Google Play Retailer.
  • Video Search engine marketing: Video SEO permits you to assist purchasers optimize their video content material for optimum visibility on YouTube and in Google search outcomes 
"how to bake cookies" videos on YouTube

3. Develop Your Community

Networking helps you discover purchasers and develop your freelance enterprise. 

And there are lots of issues you are able to do to construct your community:

  • Attend Search engine marketing occasions in your space 
  • Be a part of Search engine marketing-related Fb and LinkedIn teams 
  • Join with Search engine marketing professionals on LinkedIn
  • Reconnect with former work colleagues—and even associates and neighbors—to allow them to learn about your new freelance enterprise

Bear in mind, networking isn’t nearly discovering purchasers. It is about constructing relationships and fostering a way of neighborhood inside the Search engine marketing trade. 

Nurturing your community will increase your possibilities of securing purchasers by word-of-mouth suggestions. 

4. Create a Skilled Web site

To be taken severely as an Search engine marketing freelancer, it’s useful to have knowledgeable web site that showcases your experience and providers. 

an infographic showing a freelance SEO website

Your web site doesn’t should be fancy. However it ought to embrace your contact info, expertise, portfolio, and providers. 

You’ll be able to create a easy web site in a couple of hours utilizing a CMS like WordPress or Wix. 

And also you’ll want:

  • An about web page: Introduce your self and your background in Search engine marketing. Make sure that your contact info is prominently displayed, so purchasers can attain out. And make sure to spotlight any related certifications, course certificates, and Search engine marketing-related work expertise to showcase your experience.
  • A providers web page: Dedicate a web page to outlining the Search engine marketing providers you supply. Specify your areas of specialization, equivalent to key phrase analysis, on-page optimization, content material creation, or technical Search engine marketing. And clarify what purchasers can anticipate when working with you and the way may help them obtain their targets.
  • Your portfolio: Create a portfolio web page to showcase tasks that spotlight your Search engine marketing capabilities. That would embrace an efficient on-page optimization venture or a profitable link-building marketing campaign. And make sure to embrace metrics that show the affect your work had, equivalent to elevated site visitors or improved key phrase rankings.
  • Opinions & LinkedIn suggestions: Ask purchasers to offer you opinions. Then, show them in your website and LinkedIn profile. Phrases from blissful purchasers function social proof and assist construct belief with potential purchasers. 
  • A weblog: Create a weblog the place you possibly can share insights, ideas, and trade traits associated to Search engine marketing. Publishing invaluable content material reveals you understand your craft. And it attracts potential purchasers to your web site.

5. Construct Your Private Model

Having a powerful private model helps you stand out within the crowded Search engine marketing house. So you possibly can higher join with potential purchasers.

Listed below are some methods you possibly can set up your private model:

  • Write thought management social media or weblog posts sharing your perspective on trade traits and challenges
  • Attain out to well-known Search engine marketing blogs for visitor writing alternatives
  • Attend and communicate at advertising and Search engine marketing conferences and occasions
  • Supply to be a podcast visitor on a well-liked Search engine marketing or advertising podcast

This stuff all assist set up you as an professional with a definite perspective. 

6. Implement the Proper Pricing Technique

Determining bundle and worth your providers is crucial for being profitable as a freelancer. 

Your pricing construction will possible rely upon:

  • Your expertise and expertise
  • Your area of interest (space of specialization)
  • The forms of tasks you tackle
  • The finances of the businesses you’re employed with

Don’t be afraid to cost what you might be value primarily based on the above. 

Search engine marketing freelancer Shumon Ali advises towards reducing your charges to get work. As an alternative, freelancers ought to give attention to companies that pay them what they deserve. 

Listed below are some extra pricing ideas in his LinkedIn post

a LinkedIn post from SEO freelancer Shumon Ali talking about pricing

7. Set up Your Search engine marketing Toolkit

The proper Search engine marketing instruments will empower you to search out key phrases, observe the efficiency of your purchasers’ web sites, and impress purchasers with competitor insights. 

Listed below are a number of the finest instruments to think about (and lots of of them are free):


You need to use Semrush to run technical audits on purchasers’ websites, conduct key phrase analysis, verify backlinks, optimize content material, and much more. 

Let’s say you’re doing key phrase analysis for a consumer. You need to use the Keyword Magic Tool to shortly generate tons of key phrase concepts. 

It additionally reveals key phrase metrics equivalent to month-to-month search quantity, intent (the explanation behind a searcher’s question), key phrase problem (how tough it’s to rank within the high 10), and extra.

To make use of it, open the instrument. Then, enter your seed key phrase (a broad time period associated to your consumer’s enterprise), choose a location, and click on “Search.” 

search for "insurance" in the US in Keyword Magic Tool

You’ll then see a bunch of key phrase concepts:

Keyword Magic Tool gives you many keyword ideas related to "insurance" search

If you wish to slim down your outcomes, you possibly can apply filters like:

  • Questions: To see key phrase concepts within the type of questions
  • Broad Match, Phrase Match, Actual Match, and Associated: To slim in or broaden in your key phrase
  • Languages: To search for key phrases in numerous languages
  • Quantity: To seek for key phrases that fall beneath a particular search quantity vary like 101-1,000, 1,001-10,000, and many others.
  • KD % (shorthand for key phrase problem): To see key phrases which have a particular key phrase problem degree like “Simple,” “Exhausting,” “Very arduous,” and many others.
  • Intent: To see key phrases that mirror a particular search intent like “Informational,” “Navigational,” “Business,” or “Transactional”

You can too use Backlink Analytics to achieve invaluable details about a consumer’s backlink profile. To enhance their website’s visibility.

Open the instrument, enter the area, and click on “Analyze.”

search for "" in Backlink Analytics

You’ll see a number of knowledge factors to know how robust (or weak) your consumer’s backlink profile is.

"Overview" dashboard in Backlink Analytics tool

Then, click on on “Referring Domains” to see an outline of recent and misplaced domains. And an inventory of all domains linking to the consumer’s website.

“Referring Domains” report in Backlink Analytics

You can too do the identical for a competitor’s web site. To seek out good backlink alternatives. 

From there, you possibly can compile an inventory of domains you may wish to attain out to.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free instrument for monitoring an internet site’s Search engine marketing efficiency. 

It offers you perception into a wide range of metrics (like the overall clicks from search proven under) that may show you how to enhance your consumer’s website. And get extra site visitors from Google. 

an overview report in Google Search Console

With Google Search Console, you possibly can: 

  • Establish technical errors that is likely to be affecting search engine indexing
  • Submit sitemaps and new URLs for crawling
  • Get info on search efficiency
  • Acquire perception into the consumer expertise

Understanding how well-optimized your website is and which key phrases are driving site visitors may help you alter your Search engine marketing technique to drive higher outcomes. 

Be aware: You’ll be able to join your consumer’s Google Search Console account to Semrush. This manner, you possibly can entry insights about their web site in a single central location.

Google Analytics 

Google Analytics is without doubt one of the finest instruments for monitoring and analyzing web site and app site visitors, consumer habits, and conversions. 

Right here’s an outline report:

an overview report in Google Analytics

Google Analytics may help you reply a bunch of questions on your consumer’s website. Corresponding to:

  • What number of guests does the location get?
  • The place do guests come from?
  • Which pages on the location get essentially the most site visitors?
  • What actions do guests take in your pages?
  • How a lot time do guests spend in your pages?
  • The place do guests have a tendency to go away your website?

Google Looker Studio

Google Looker Studio (previously often known as Google Information Studio or GDS) is without doubt one of the strongest Search engine marketing reporting instruments accessible. 

You’ll be able to create customized reviews, dashboards, and visualizations to share metrics and learnings together with your purchasers. 

There are even templates accessible that will help you get began:

"Templates" page in Google Looker Studio

This instrument offers you the ability to show large quantities of Search engine marketing knowledge into invaluable insights your purchasers will perceive. 


A content material administration system (CMS) is critical for managing your personal web site and implementing Search engine marketing optimizations on purchasers’ web sites. 

WordPress is without doubt one of the hottest CMS platforms on the market. And with good motive: WordPress is free, open supply, and Search engine marketing-friendly. 

Right here’s what the dashboard appears to be like like:

"Dashboard" page in WordPress

Having understanding of this platform is a superb asset to your freelance Search engine marketing profession.

The way to Discover Shoppers as an Search engine marketing Freelancer

Discovering purchasers is a vital facet of your success as an Search engine marketing freelancer. In any case, they’re those who can pay you to finish tasks.

Listed below are some widespread methods Search engine marketing freelancers discover jobs and purchasers:

Freelance platforms: Use web sites like Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal, and Fiverr to search out tasks and join with purchasers on the lookout for Search engine marketing providers. Create a compelling profile, showcase your experience, and actively bid on related tasks. 

Upwork homepage with title "How work should work"

Professional tip: The Semrush Agency Growth Kit may help Search engine marketing freelancers and companies discover consumer leads, ship Search engine marketing tasks, and report on progress. 

Networking: Leverage your skilled community and attend trade occasions to attach with potential purchasers. And don’t overlook to attach with individuals exterior of the Search engine marketing trade. A plumber or dentist may not have heard of Search engine marketing but, however that doesn’t imply they don’t want it.

Referrals: Acquire word-of-mouth referrals, which is usually a highly effective supply of recent purchasers. Present distinctive service to your present purchasers and encourage them to advocate you to others of their community.

Content material advertising: Create high-quality content material to show your experience. Particularly when you concentrate on content material advertising and on-page Search engine marketing, it’s good to follow what you preach. Publish informative articles, create movies, or supply free sources that entice potential purchasers and set up your credibility.

Kickstart Your Search engine marketing Freelancing Profession

Now that you know the way to turn out to be an Search engine marketing freelancer, it’s time to take motion.

Equipping your self with the appropriate instruments is a superb subsequent step. 

Join a free Semrush account right now to get began.


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