SEO is one of the cornerstones of a strong marketing strategy. If you’re publishing content or have a website for your business, then it’s crucial to ensure that you’re being found on search engines like Google, Bing and more. While you might see the value of SEO, it’s not always simple to implement a strategy yourself. That’s where freelance SEO experts come in.
Here, we’ll cover all you need to know about finding and hiring an SEO freelancer that’s right for you.
What Is SEO and Why Is It Important?
SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is the practice of using different strategies to improve the quality of your content so that it can rank higher on search engines like Google. There are different activities you can run to achieve this, like adding keywords, link building, and publishing new, engaging content regularly. SEO is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy, so it’s important not to overlook its potential impact on your business.
In general, businesses that rank higher on a search engine result page, or search engine results page (SERP), are being found by more clients, which in turn can lead to more conversions. Unlike paid ads on search engines, content that uses SEO best practices will attract more organic traffic, which means the people clicking on your website from a search results page are likely to generate more value. It will also save you considerable money, having organic traffic than paid traffic.
Why Hire an SEO Freelance Expert to Grow Your Business?
While it seems simple to implement basic SEO practices into your digital marketing strategy, there’s a lot more to it than using targeted keywords. Freelance SEO experts spend years learning how to analyze data in order to improve content and help businesses grow.
You can, of course, learn SEO yourself, but this can be quite time-consuming. You can also hire an in-house SEO expert, but it could cost a lot. Looking for a freelance SEO specialist can provide you with more flexibility in both time and resources all while achieving the results you’re looking for. If you are unsure where and how to begin your search for an SEO freelancer, a marketing network could be a great starting point. They have a rich global network of best in class freelancers they can match you with, so you can feel relaxed knowing you will always have the best SEO experts working with you.
Determining Your SEO Needs
Before even beginning your search for an SEO expert, you should have a solid idea of what your SEO needs and goals are. A good way to do this is to create an SEO checklist to keep as a reference. Moz has a great 15-minute SEO checklist you can use to start.
A checklist will help you identify your current SEO strengths and weaknesses so that you can narrow down where you want an SEO freelancer to focus. You can then refer to this list when vetting candidates to see if they meet the requirements that will help you reach your goals.
How to Find and Hire the Right Freelance SEO Experts?
When searching for freelance SEO services, you should look for someone who’s communicative, wants to understand your brand, and stays on top of the latest trends in SEO marketing.
When you’ve assembled a pool of candidates, here’s how you can begin narrowing them down:
- Step 1: Ask the candidate for samples of past projects, examples of success or references from previous clients. This is a good way to begin understanding how they work and what results you can expect.
- Step 2: Conduct at least one interview with the freelancer. Ask them to quickly assess your website and what their focus is when working with SEO. Essentially, you want to see how they communicate and understand their work process.
- Step 3: Ask them to do a short test assignment. You can give them one page, link, or keyword to focus on and then assess the results after a few weeks before moving forward with a larger project.
- Step 4: Continuously communicate your expectations. Keep an open dialogue about your expectations and ask if there’s anything the freelancer needs from your end to eliminate ambiguity.
How to Shortlist SEO Professionals?
After completing at least the first two of the previous steps, you should be able to start creating a shortlist of freelance SEO experts. When creating your shortlist, it’s important to keep three things in mind: industry fit, their experience, and past feedback. By taking these aspects into account, you can focus on candidates who have proven experience in your particular industry and then work samples and testimonials to back it up.
An alternative solution to searching for SEO professionals is by using a marketing network. This cuts out the recruitment process all together. They will match you with an SEO expert from their global network that is most suitable to your needs and industry. This saves time in recruiting so you can get started straight away with a best in class freelance SEO expert. It also removes the risk of hiring someone who doesn’t have the correct skills which can be a waste of money and could damage your search rankings.
How Much Does a Freelance SEO Expert Cost?
The truth is, the cost can vary widely depending on what kind of services you’re looking for. Some freelance SEO experts charge by the hour and others by the project.
If you’re looking to work with an SEO freelancer by the hour, you’re looking at an average rate between $40-50 per hour. SEO agencies and consultants tend to charge more, often north of $100 per hour, so a freelancer is definitely the most budget-friendly route. Another cost-effective option is to work with a marketing network agency, like etribal, who have access to a pool of expert freelancers. They give you greater flexibility so you can increase or reduce spends easily depending on your needs, and provide the very best talent for your industry so you can feel relaxed that you are getting the very best SEO work to achieve your goals.
When working by project, the rate is more flexible since you’ll be the one determining the scope of the work. With this model, you can opt to pay with a retainer. Therefore, the project price depends on how much work you’ll need each month with the range anywhere from $500-$5000 or more a month.
One way to incentivize a freelance SEO specialist is by paying based on performance. You might be hard-pressed to find someone to agree to this since SEO isn’t a quick-fix marketing solution. However you can set the cost based on how campaign performance, and by relation, the freelancer performs.
How to Write an SEO Job Description?
As with any job description, you want to provide candidates with a clear overview of the position. You should include the title of the position, a short description of it, the deliverables, and requirements.
When defining the deliverables, make sure to mention things like the scope of the work, including which SEO elements you want to focus on. When going over the requirements, it’s a good idea to consider your ideal freelance SEO profile.
Include information on the kind of experience they should have and how many years, as well as the type of projects they’ve worked on in the past. You can also outline what they’ll need to submit to apply for the job, like samples or references.
Finally, mention your budget if you think it will be helpful. Otherwise, you might simply want to indicate if you prefer to work with a freelancer by the hour or by the project.
Types of Freelance SEO Services
There are many different things a freelance SEO expert can do for you. Here are just some of the main services they can help you with:
- Build an SEO strategy: if you don’t even have basic SEO implementation, then you’ll need someone who can help you develop a strategy from scratch.
- Website optimization: an SEO expert can go through all your pages and make sure each one is optimized, giving your website the best possible chance to rank highly.
- SEO-based blog content: finding an SEO expert who also writes content is beneficial since they’ll be able to create blog content based on researched keywords.
- Keyword research: one of the basic elements of SEO is researching keywords and choosing the right ones to use throughout your website.
- Build backlinks: creating content with the right keywords is only half the battle, a good SEO freelancer will also drive links to your content from other sites.
- Guest posts and articles: an SEO specialist can reach out to leaders in your industry to link back to your page and publish guest articles which helps you rank in the SERPs.
Top SEO Concepts to Master
Even though you’re outsourcing your SEO, you’ll still need to learn a little bit about it so that you can communicate effectively with your freelancer. Here are some terms you should be aware of:
- Domain authority: the concept of how strong your website or page is compared to other similar ones that would come up in a search.
- Search engine spiders or crawlers: every search engine has its own bots that “crawl” the internet to index, rank, and analyze websites.
- Latent semantic indexing (LSI): search engines index and search websites depending on the keywords it uses and how well they work in the context of a search.
- Keyword research: SEO experts will conduct research using different tools to seek out the best keywords to use on your website.
- Analysis: there are two types of analysis, on-site, which refers to all the factors you can control on your website, and off-site, which is what you can’t control like links from other websites.
- Link building: one of the trickier parts of SEO is reaching out to other blogs, publications, influencers, or leaders to start driving links that direct to your site.
Risky SEO Tactics to Look Out for
We’ve covered what you should look for, but what about what to avoid? If any of these things come up during your search for a freelance SEO expert, you should take it as a red flag.
- If a candidate is vague and doesn’t give you a set plan or estimated time frame, it might not be the right fit for you.
- Just because a freelancer has the lowest rates doesn’t mean you should work with them. Their low rate is probably a reflection of the work you’ll receive, so it’s not always worth saving a few dollars.
- On the other hand, if the price is really high, you should remain skeptical and ask them to provide more explanation to justify their price.
- If a candidate even mentions things like buying email lists, followers, or backlinks, you should be immediately concerned. These are quick-fix tactics to improve your SEO that will ultimately result in getting penalized by search engines, and could be impossible to recover from.
- Any freelancer who offers you quick or immediate results should be treated as suspicious. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your SEO strategy certainly won’t be either.
A great way to avoid these risks and pitfalls is to use a marketing network. They only work with the very best freelance SEO experts and can match you one most suitable for your needs and industry from their vast global network. This way, you can quickly find and hire a freelancer without having to worry about any of these risks.
Overall, working with freelance SEO experts can be extremely beneficial to your business. At etribal, we have a global network of quality SEO specialists that have been pre-screened, taking out a lot of the guesswork so you can be relaxed knowing your freelancer is the best qualified professional for your needs, and will help you achieve your results.