Is SEO Freelancing Really Worth It In 2023?
Search engine optimization is a vital skill for anyone who takes up a web-related role. However, learning SEO could seem like a herculean task because it involves a lot of concepts that may take years of learning and practicing to become a specialist.
Irrespective of this, SEO is an in-demand skill. Wherever there are web pages, there’s an equal need to make them rank on search engines. As a result, many freelancers have delved into SEO, making an average of $62,969 annually.
In this article, I will briefly overview search engine optimization and then discuss how SEO freelancers handle projects for creative teams.
Overview of SEO
SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. It involves optimizing page content to appear on the first page of search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Usually, the first page of a search engine result page (SERP) reveals the top 10 websites for a specific query.
Let’s say you wrote an article on “the best cameras for beginners” you’d want it to appear among the top articles for that search query so that people can easily find it.
Achieving this is not a walk in the park. Making your content rank on search engines takes a lot of work. SEO is not about paid ads but about earning organic traffic.
The two components of SEO are on-page and off-page optimization.
- On-page optimization involves strategically using keywords in metatags, title tags, page content, and internal links. It also aims at improving the experience of users.
- On the other hand, off-page optimization basically involves getting backlinks and social media mentions. This could come naturally by building a relationship with other Webmasters.
SEO is quite dynamic, meaning you must follow the trend to understand what should be done, when, and how. This is because search engines keep changing their algorithm. For instance, Google changes its search algorithm 500 to 600 times yearly.
However, the core of SEO in recent times is user experience.
User experience describes a customer’s journey on your website, which makes it necessary to understand how your audience behaves, as well as what they want.
Users want sites they can easily access on desktops and mobile phones. They also want web pages with fast loading time, easy navigation, and a catchy design. And these are the things that SEO consultants want too. So, you can’t isolate user experience from SEO.
What Is A Long-Term SEO Strategy For Businesses?
If you want people to find your website easily, you need SEO. But it can’t happen overnight. SEO is a long-term game. It requires continuous effort.
Why Is SEO Long-Term?
A lot of things have changed in the online space. Back then, you only needed a few keywords and links to rank. Today, all that has changed, especially with Google. You can’t stuff your content with keywords and expect it to sit in the top 10.
Google recognizes rich content that uses keywords naturally and in the proper context. The algorithm keeps changing, so you must stay abreast of trends.
If you are just starting and think SEO investment is not worth it, you may want to play a few cards like PPC campaigns to speed up things. But you might be disappointed in the long run.
The moment you stop paying for ads, it’s game over. Paid traffic is not sustainable and quick success isn’t long-lasting.
You have to create a strategy and invest time in proper execution. It may take months or even years before your site can outrank those at the top now. Even when it does, you must fight to retain that position. A competitor can displace you within a split second.
Your SEO strategy should include keyword research, content creation, quality link building, and optimization of local signals. You must also fish out duplicate content on your website to avoid penalties.
On the technical side, you want your site to load faster. This means compressing the size of images and videos. Unless you hire an SEO agency, that’s understandably a lot of work to do.
How To Plan And Execute An SEO Strategy For A Project In 2022?
SEO strategy is critical as it determines how people will find your content. But what is an SEO strategy?
A search engine optimization strategy is a series of steps taken to boost a website’s rank organically.
Planning And Executing An SEO Strategy In 2022 Requires The Following:
Before creating a plan, you should examine your previous strategy to see what worked and what didn’t. Even if you just created your website, you must have a baseline to measure your website’s performance.
A thorough website audit should include the following:
- Page speed
- Broken links
- Internal linking strategy
- Page Content
- Image optimization
A website audit can be done with free tools on the internet or with the help of an SEO agency. The results include everything in on-page and off-page SEO. Ensure to take note of the areas of improvement, then resolve them gradually.
Before publishing any content on your website, you must analyze your customers. It is not enough to identify your target audience. You must also understand how they search for information on the internet and the type of content they interact with.
A major platform for customer analysis is social media.
Tools like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest can help you to identify what people are searching for. Reddit is also a place where you can find many untapped keywords.
This will guide you to create content that fits their search intent. It also becomes easy to infuse the right keywords.
You can use tools like Google Suggest, Ahrefs, and Keywords Everywhere to find keywords that your customers are searching for.
After discovering your customers’ search intent, you need to find out what other people are doing with those keywords. A simple way to do this is to type a keyword into Google, then examine the first 10 results.
For instance, I typed “airfryer recipes,” and here’s what I found:
Take note of the trend.
The websites have different numbers of recipes presented in a list form. So, if you want to write on this keyword, the article should be a list post.
You can either improve upon what the competitors have done or do something better to disrupt the system. If they wrote 80 recipes, you can write up to 100. Just make it longer to improve your chances of ranking.
Another thing you can do is pick an old article and spice it up with relevant, up-to-date information. Don’t just give bullet points in your list post; add in-depth information.
Also, add a nice design to improve your chances of getting social shares and mentions.
However, a different approach would be to create content that is different from what others have done.
Sometimes, your competitors may be companies or industries.
Let’s say a business that sells bikes wants to publish a blog post. If you search for “best racing bikes,” you will find tons of articles written by bloggers.
But if you type “Schwinn Volare 1200” into Google, you will find content from sites like Amazon and Walmart.
In this case, here are a few things you should do:
- Find out the specific keywords they rank for
- Check out the number of backlinks they have
- Evaluate their social media strategy
Competitor analysis involves an in-depth search into what your competitors are doing. This will help you know what you’re missing in your strategy.
You can use Google search or Ahrefs for competitor analysis.
After auditing your site, researching your customers, creating a list of keywords, and analyzing your customers, it is time to build links. Not just any kind of link but relevant ones.
How do you find relevant links?
First, check your competitors’ sites.
Use a tool like Backlink Checker to see the number of backlinks they have.
Examine the links to see where your content can fit in. Reach out to the site owner to know whether they can link to your site.
Next, look for broken links on other websites.
Contact the site owner to inform them about the broken link and then offer your link as a replacement.
Last, engage with others in your niche. If you find an article where your link can fit in, leave a meaningful comment in the article’s comment section.
Build a relationship with them that way, then contact them via email to say you’ve got an article on XYZ that you’d like them to check out.
As soon as they respond, send them the link. They won’t hesitate to share it with their network if they find it relevant.
There are several link-building strategies, but these are just a few. However, bear in mind that link building for SEO is not the ultimate. You have to put other strategies in place as well.
Measure The Impact Of Your SEO Strategies
After implementing your SEO strategy, you should measure your performance. This will help you know whether your investment is worth it or not.
To Calculate The Return On Investment Of Your SEO Strategy:
Install A Tracking System
You can track conversions in different ways, depending on where you make sales. If you run an e-commerce website, you can track sales from the transaction records. You can also add an e-commerce tracker to your website or app.
If you are a service provider, track the number of forms your leads submitted or quote requests.
Assign a monetary value to the numbers.
- Assuming you received 200 forms but only 100 converted, your conversion rate is 50%
- If each conversion paid $100 for your services, you’ve made a total of $10,000 in sales.
- To know how much each lead is worth, divide the total sales by the number of leads. In this instance, the value of each lead is $50.
Track Conversions By Channels
Leads could come from email, paid search, organic search, referral, social media, or any other advertising media. From your tracking system, you will see how many leads came from each channel.
Leads gotten through organic search are directly linked to your SEO strategy. It shows that those people found your website on a search engine.
Calculate SEO ROI
After 3 – 6 months of consistent SEO strategy implementation, you can calculate your SEO ROI. Investopedia has a simple formula for calculating ROI:
“(Current Value of Investment−Cost of Investment)/Cost of Investment”
Multiply the value by 100 to get the ROI in percent.
What Is SEO Freelancing
SEO freelancing is a one-man squad that helps a website to gain more visibility on search engine result pages. The increase in online businesses and the need to integrate SEO into marketing strategies has led to a boom in the SEO freelancing industry.
Because SEO concepts are broad and a business owner may never have the time to master them, it has become necessary to outsource the task. This idea is not only cost-effective but saves time.
How Does An SEO Freelancer Handle Your Project?
An SEO freelancer works closely with clients. They tend to personalize projects to make an excellent first impression. They ask a lot of questions to gain clarity and deliver to specification.
Also, freelancers have flexible work hours. As a result, they can work any time, even on weekends.
However, one of the limitations clients may face when working with SEO freelancers is that they may not have a broad knowledge of search engine optimization. They may also outsource a part of the job to others.
What Do They Do For The Project?
SEO freelancers perform different tasks to get a website at the top of SERPs.
They employ the following strategies:
- Identifying queries and infusing them into title tags and content
- Analyzing the websites of competitors
- Sourcing quality backlinks
- On-page SEO
What Is The Outcome
If a freelancer optimizes your website correctly, it should result in a high conversion level. You don’t just want people to see your website at the top, they should be interested in clicking and converting to paying customers.
So, whether you sell products or services, the SEO freelancer should understand your objectives and work towards achieving them.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as most freelancers are not experts. They only specialize in a specific niche and then try their hands on other aspects of SEO to earn a living.
Therefore, if you are a novice to search engine optimization, you may end up spending more for insignificant results.
Even in the case of sourcing backlinks, it’s easy to find freelancers offering links at ridiculous prices. If you fall for it, you will have a lot of black hat SEO to deal with. And by the time Google comes knocking, your site might get banned.
SEO Agency Vs. SEO Freelancer
An SEO freelancer may either work alone or with a few other freelancers. An SEO agency, on the other hand, is a team of specialists who handle multiple clients. Such companies can take on a wide range of digital marketing tasks.
If You Plan To Hire An SEO Agency Or A Freelancer, Here Are Some Factors To Consider:
Freelancers can work from any location and may not need to maintain an office space or pay employees. Therefore, they have lesser running costs.
But you have to be wary of freelancers who charge ridiculous prices. Some of them may not do a thorough job.
Reputable SEO agencies, on the other hand, cost more than freelancers. But they are adequately staffed and don’t have to outsource jobs to freelancers. Also, the price they charge is a measure of the value they deliver to clients. This means that if you hire their services, you can go to sleep rest assured that they’ve got your back.
Level Of Expertise
An agency has several experts in different areas of SEO, but a freelancer may not have such a level of expertise. They may be able to handle keyword research but not content writing.
If you already have good SEO knowledge, you can hire a freelancer.
But this is not usually feasible since most businesses that require SEO services already have too many tasks to handle, so the owners may not have the luxury of understanding the basic concepts of search engine optimization.
Therefore, a sure bet for business owners is hiring an SEO agency.
Note that an agency assigns an account manager to your website. Therefore, it is important to find out the manager’s level of experience and skills before forging ahead.
Whether you work with a freelancer or an agency, you want to see results. A freelancer should have a personal website showing their work. If they’ve been handling jobs for clients, they should be able to show before-and-after proof.
For agencies, you may want to read online reviews or request a portfolio before you choose the one to work with. Agencies have more results to present to potential clients because they handle a large volume of jobs.
To play safe, go with an option that can prove its expertise; in this case, an SEO agency.
Is It Possible For A Single Person To Handle SEO Projects?
Search engine optimization is broad. Unless the projects are small-sized, it will be too tasking for one person to handle several SEO projects. In addition, the difficulty level of the projects also determines if one person can handle it or not.
To be an SEO expert, you must know:
- the web – how to manage websites, how domains and hosting work, etc
- HTML tags
- Keyword research
- Content writing
- On-page optimization
- Off-page optimization
- Tracking and analyzing KPIs
An SEO freelancer can’t handle up to five small projects comfortably. They will even struggle with one project. But the job is easy for an SEO agency because it comprises different specialists. Each specialist handles an aspect of your project to produce your desired result.
Search engine optimization is not the same as paid ads. The latter is synonymous with a short “get-rich-quick” strategy while the former is a legit, long-term investment. Hopefully, an SEO agency can help you get the job done.
Having a solid SEO strategy is important, but you should be willing to give it time. With careful planning and execution, you should ascertain your ROI within 6 – 12 months.