How to Become a Freelance SEO Expert?
Honestly, becoming a Freelance SEO Expert isn't for everyone. Helping websites rank higher in search engine results or improve their existing rankings requires an expert and sometimes a team, depending on the site's size. That is why larger businesses may opt to hire an agency as opposed to just one person.
Before you become an SEO expert, you need to have experience. Ideally, you would have taken a course like the one we offer at Superstar SEO, practiced search engine optimization on a few of your own properties before getting into freelancing.
Anyone who has substantial SEO knowledge has been through a couple of courses, successfully optimized websites, etc., can become an SEO consultant. You have already proven that you can do the job and so are ready to work for some paying clients. If you have given becoming a freelance SEO a thought, I've put together this guide to help you.
If you're looking to get started with freelance SEO, I also recommend reading Freelance SEO: The Ultimate Guide
Why Become a Freelance SEO?
You probably have a day job like I once did. However, you've managed to learn SEO and build up the skill to a point where now you can confidently rank websites. But the question is, why would you want to quit your day job to become, let's say, a freelance SEO consultant?
Well, there are a couple of reasons why you might want to start a freelance career; here are a few I can think of right at the top of my head:
• The experience can be fulfilling, as you watch websites grow before your very eyes
• It also helps you make a pretty penny
• No boss to push you around, which means working on your own terms
• As a freelancer, you're in charge of your success
Now that you're interested in starting a freelancing career as an SEO expert, what's the next step?
Gauge Your Expertise as a Freelance SEO
Now before you sell SEO services, always make sure that you are equipped with everything needed to deliver the service. Once you have gauged your current skill level, make sure that you possess the right resources, i.e., tools and software. All SEOs need tools to make it possible to deliver their service. As an SEO freelancer, you can consider these tools an investment in your career.
You will also want to have some knowledge of a CMS like WordPress because a lot of technical SEO will require logging into the website to add links, plug-ins, optimize content, etc.
List Your Services as a Freelance SEO Specialist
You are probably aware that there are many freelancing websites or marketplaces as they are called, but we'll focus on attention on Legiit for obvious reasons. Legiit, as most people probably reading this already know, is an excellent place for a freelance SEO expert to list and sell their services.
Legiit, allows SEOs to sell various services like link building, keyword research, site audits, etc.
Take these guys below (including me 😀 ) as an example, who have sold $100,000's worth using just one listing. And, on Legiit, you can offer as many services as you want.
However, when listing your service, it is essential to be very clear about what you offer. Being upfront about what you will and will not do, makes it very easy for prospects to figure out if your service is the best match for them. Plus, it also reduces instances of dissatisfied buyers who might leave you a bad review. Nobody wants to get started with a bad review!
Look at What Other Leading SEO Freelancers are Doing on Legiit
As mentioned earlier, Legiit is home to some of the leading SEO freelancers, including yours truly. However, since you're just getting started, it would be worth looking at what others are doing.
There are always a few things you can learn from our top sellers, like having a great cover image, description, being clear about what you need, and pricing.
While I don't advocate copying what others are doing, I tell newbie freelancers to do something similar to what the top sellers are doing and maybe find a way to offer additional value to carve out success.
Replicating the success of the top SEO experts on the Legiit does not require that you copy them. Find out what's working for them and offer something better.
Being able to offer more value over time will help you build a steady, regular client base, which is imperative for anyone who wants to freelance full-time.
You May Also Like: How To Learn SEO
Share Your Success as an SEO Freelancer On Facebook
Legiit has a pretty vibrant community on Facebook, the Legiit Official Facebook Group. All freelancers, business owners, and anyone else interested in the community can join. Not only do you get an opportunity to market your freelance SEO service once every week, but you also engage with people who are asking questions, comment on other freelancers' posts, etc., so as long as you remain within the group's guidelines.
Becoming an SEO requires building credibility and I think the Facebook group offers an excellent way for newbie SEOs to do just that.
The beauty of the Legiit Official Facebook Group is it allows you to showcase your expertise. For instance, if you've helped a client go from no. 20 for a keyword to no. 2, that win can be shared on the group.
No other marketplace gives you the opportunity to market your services the way Legiit does. It offers a way of proving that you are an expert in your field, which helps you get over that initial hump of being relatively unknown in the community.
Commit to a Regular Work Schedule and Make Sure You Stick with It
If you want to be a successful freelance SEO, you need to be consistent. That means you need to work consistently, just like you would on anything else in your life.
I can tell you that freelancing isn't fun all the time. It requires that you remain committed, unlike any other profession. You will have some downtime initially for sure, but you need to be at your home office every day once things begin to pick up.
Clients will expect you to churn out rankings for them, and you will have to field questions. That means working 8 to 10 hours every day to ensure that you deliver the work on time and as per a client's expectations.
Some clients are flexible and may give you an extension if you ask for it, but in most cases, unless there is a family emergency or your birthday, you need to work every day!
Start Small to Garner Reviews and Build a Reputation
My advice to people who are starting their freelance SEO careers is to start small. Most newbie freelancers can't catch the so-called “big fish” during their first few years. However, it would help if you built up to it, which often means garnering good reviews and recommendations by doing smaller jobs.
Legiit allows buyers to leave freelancers reviews. So, if you do a good job, there is no reason why a buyer will not leave you a positive review.
To gather these reviews, you'll want to start by taking on smaller projects, complete and deliver them on time. Make sure to request your clients to leave a review if they have had a good experience.
Even the most experienced sellers you see in the “top-rated” section, started off small by selling services in the $5-$50 range.
Once you have enough reviews, a good reputation, and experience, you can offer add-ons or an upsell to your service. For instance, if you are selling keyword research services, you can offer a complete website audit as an upsell or vice versa.
Upsells allow you to sell an additional complementing service. Add an upsell to your Legiit service is easy and takes only a few minutes. However, it can help you get those “bigger clients” in the long-term while keeping those hard heard SEO skills sharp.
Be Committed to the Service
When we say complete dedication, it means that you have a strong strategy in place that's dedicated to delivering the results you promise. When you have a strong strategy in place, your service will help buyers achieve their goals, which translates to turning one-off buyers into repeat business. It also often means that you're able to attract more prominent clients.
However, also part of your commitment is to educate the buyer. Sometimes a buyer may not know what they are getting or what results they can expect. So, it is your job to reach out and speak to them. Tell them for instance, how you will drive organic traffic to their website and how long it can potentially take.
Setting realistic expectations and educating the buyer or client is what will help build your credibility on the platform.
Continue to Add a New Skill Set
Once the orders start rolling in, your freelancing career has officially kicked off, and that will mean soon you're going to have a lot of experience. However, you run the risk of spending all your time fulfilling orders and almost no time learning a new skill.
SEO is an ever-changing landscape and SEO strategies need to evolve with each update to search engines. If you want to stay ahead, it is important that you remain informed of the latest updates and continue updating your skills. Expanding your knowledge of SEO is going to be what determines how long you can continue to sell the service while guaranteeing results and profits.
Learning new skills also means that you can expand the service or add new services. Legiit allows SEO specialists to sell many different services, so you can choose to sell either a complete SEO package or break it down into individual services as we mentioned earlier.
Know What You Are Worth
Many of us got into freelancing because of the freedom that it offers. The freedom to work from home or anywhere and the freedom to make as much as we wanted is why many people enjoy freelancing.
Established freelancers will always make more money than someone who is starting out. However, even when starting out, you need to know what your skills are worth and then price the service accordingly.
It is very easy to price your service lower than anyone else, and many people do it. But that's not the best way to build a freelancing career.
Sure SEO freelancing is competitive. You are competing against possibly dozens of other freelancers. But that does not mean that you need to be cheap to win. The goal is to price your service based on what you think is worth and make sure that the value you add is highlighted.
An SEO professional sells results. Potential buyers and buyers should be able to see what value you add, and that should help the service stand on its own.
I admit that starting your career as a freelance SEO specialist is going to be challenging. It is going to be especially challenging for someone who has never freelanced before. However, it offers a unique opportunity to be the master of your own destiny, cliché not intended!
You shouldn't necessarily become an SEO professional to sell the skill as a service. SEO is a skill that can help you make money in many other ways.
That's why before you move into a full-time freelance SEO career, something that will require a lot of time and effort, make sure to first assess if it is right for you. I may have mentioned this earlier, but it isn't for everyone; you need to be dedicated and pour in a lot of time initially and even later on.
In my opinion, the time and effort it takes to build a full-time income freelancing as an SEO expert is worth it. Initially, you will want to focus on delivering on your promises and continue to learn to grow.
Later your mission will be to adapt your SEO strategy to changing search algorithms and do so quickly. If you can do all of that, then freelancing as an SEO expert is for you.