Neil Patel

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How to Hire SEO Freelancers

A graphic saying: "How To Hire SEO Freelancers."

Are you struggling to get website traffic? Or perhaps your keywords aren’t getting the traction you’d like. These days, not only is the competition stiffer, but the constant changes in the algorithms that determine rankings also make it more challenging to stay on top of your SEO game.

No worries. There’s an easy fix. Working with an SEO freelancer can get you back on track.

An SEO freelancer is a professional who helps you gain more visibility on search engines.

By using the right SEO freelance services, you can rank for your target keywords and start driving tons of traffic to your website and business.

Sound good? Then let’s dive deeper.

Key Takeaways About SEO Freelancers

  • Working with a freelance SEO expert can be valuable for achieving business goals, such as increased traffic, rankings, and click-throughs.
  • Hiring SEO freelancers is cost-effective compared to having a full-time in-house specialist on board.
  • You can find SEO freelancers through job boards like Upwork, ProBlogger, and Fivver. Consider posting on LinkedIn and reaching out to your personal network for recommendations.

Why Are SEO Freelancers Useful?

There are several reasons why working with a freelance SEO expert is valuable.

First, an SEO freelancer’s job is to deliver you tangible results. They work alongside you to achieve your business goals, like more traffic, increased rankings, increased click-throughs, and build internal links to increase ranking power.

Some of the benefits of working with an SEO freelancer include:

Specialized Expertise

A freelance SEO professional has niche expertise that your staff may lack and (hopefully) a track record of getting results for clients. They understand the complexities of SEO, and best practices, and how to implement them for increased visibility. They also keep up with trends and Google algorithm changes so they can adapt your plan accordingly. An SEO specialist can build outgoing links and other strategies crucial to your online success, too. 

Cost-effectiveness

SEO freelancer services are also cost-effective. Having a full-time in-house specialist on board could cost you around $150,000 to provide salary, software, training, and more. When you hire SEO freelancers, you save money by working with them on a project-by-project base. 

Time-saving for Your Internal Teams

Why focus your time on keyword research, creating content outlines, determining content types, and trying to tackle technical SEO issues? Hire a freelancer to take over while your team concentrates on growing your business.

Where to Find SEO Freelancers

Before you hire SEO freelancers, you’ll need to consider your specific SEO needs. But first, let’s cover where to find one. Some of the best places to look include:

Job Boards

The most popular job boards vet all freelance marketers in their database, which saves you a ton of time and can help eliminate less reliable freelancers.

Upwork's website homepage

Some popular job boards for SEO freelancers include:

  1. Indeed: Has a large pool of SEO freelancers. Searching through candidates using different filters makes it easy.
  2. Upwork: Arguably the most popular freelancer platform on the planet. It has a strict verification process, and it’s an excellent resource for looking for freelance SEO jobs and finding SEO freelancers.
  3. ProBlogger: One of the best platforms if you’re looking specifically for SEO writers. Just post an ad on the job board.
  4. Wellfound (AngelList Talent): Trusted by many startups for the high-quality talent pool. Access millions of freelancers and use unique features to find niche staff.
  5. Fiverr: Great place to find affordable SEO freelancers, but you may have to sift through a lot of profiles to find the right person.
  6. Craigslist: Another great place to find good SEO talent. Unfortunately, however, you’ll have to do your own candidate vetting.

Keep in mind that your job posting should entice quality candidates. Be sure to include:

  • A keyword-focused job description
  • A killer headline
  • Detailed information, but keep it brief and to the point

You might also want to explain the benefits of working with your business.

Here’s an example on the Upwork site:

example job post on Upwork

Social Media

Social media is now playing a huge role in the recruitment process, helping businesses source top talent. If you’re looking to hire SEO experts, you’ll be sure to find them on social media platforms like:

  1. LinkedIn: Use the search bar at the top and filter by title or company.
  2. X (formally Twitter): Search under “SEO services,” “SEO consultants,” and “SEO agencies” and follow SEO and related hashtags. Or post using a relevant hashtag like #SEOfreelancers.
  3. Reddit: The site has many subreddits on SEO, like r/SEO and r/SEOgrowth.
  4. Facebook: Search under “people” or “groups” or look at individual Facebook business pages. 

Ask Google

Most SEO freelancers have websites to showcase their work, and if they practice what they preach, their websites should rank high on Google for their keywords (like freelance SEO specialists and other LSI keywords). Here’s an example.

search engine results for SEO freelancer

A quick Google search will give you links to SEO professionals, or you can keep your search local by Googling “SEO freelancer+your area.” 

Reach Out to Your Network

If you have an extensive professional network, there’s a good chance someone in your circle has used a freelance SEO expert they love. Consider asking other business leaders you trust for recommendations. This is another area where LinkedIn is a valuable tool. Reach out to your network, or use the “groups” feature to look for SEO discussions to contribute to.

Hiring Quality SEO Freelancers

How can you improve your chances of hiring the best SEO freelancer?

Being specific about the job criteria and thorough in your evaluation of candidates will set up your freelancer projects for success. Here are my suggestions to ensure a smooth hiring process :

  1. Determine responsibilities, objectives, and needs: Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current strategy.
  2. Identify the expert you need: Step 1 should give you an idea of the type of freelance SEO services you’re looking for. For example, if you aren’t ranking for keywords, an SEO researcher and perhaps a content writer would be a good start.
  3. Create a budget: Freelance SEO experts charge $75-$150 an hour, sometimes more. Determine how long your project is likely to take and how much it’ll cost.
  4. Find professionals: Use job boards, social media, and Google searches to cast a net for candidates. When you’ve narrowed down your list, ask to see a portfolio of their work, ask for references, and read reviews.
  5. Evaluate candidates: Consider their qualifications (Bachelor’s degrees, advanced degrees in digital marketing, certifications, and practical experience.) Next, assess their analytical skills, technical ability, problem-solving skills, and adaptability.

These days, it’s quite typical for companies to interview shortlisted candidates on Zoom or similar. This is your chance to get to know the candidate better, learn more about their methodology, and allow them to explain how they can help you achieve your goals.

Another strategy is to give your prospective candidates a (paid) test project to gauge their skills and assess what your working relationship will be like. Base your test around the core duties you’re hiring an SEO for.

Working With SEO Freelancers

Undoubtedly, working with a freelance SEO is a great way to boost your website’s online visibility and improve your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). Before you go ahead and hire SEO experts, keep the following tips in mind to ensure a successful partnership:

  • Communicate expectations: Provide a clear brief detailing the project, draw up a contract specifying timelines and conditions, and explain your goals.
  • Provide feedback: Schedule regular calls or meetings so your SEO specialist can keep you updated and answer any questions you may have.
  • Decide which projects to outsource: Some basic SEO tasks, like keyword research and optimization, are usually easy enough to manage in-house. If you’re looking for specialist skill sets like analyzing search engine algorithms, technical SEO, or a one-off project with a set deadline, then hiring SEO freelancers is probably your best bet.

SEO Freelancer Alternatives

Despite the benefits of using SEO freelance services, there are times when that approach might not work for you. For instance, you might have a volume of SEO work, or you need a team of experts for a wide variety of SEO tasks. You may just want the stability of a long-term SEO partner.

In these cases, you’re better off hiring an SEO agency.

Other freelance alternatives include:

  • Credo: This site matches you with digital marketing agencies to find and hire companies with specialist SEO skills. It boasts Adobe and Google among its clients.
  • Hubstaff Talent: Like Upwork, you can post projects on Hubstaff Talent to find remote staff.
  • SEOClerks: This online marketplace allows you to buy one-off SEO tasks like link building, onsite and local SEO, and content. It’s good if you’re looking for a specific skill set at a fixed, affordable price, but be sure to check feedback and ask about the techniques they use.

 FAQs

Why hire freelancers?

Hiring SEO freelancers saves you time and gives you the flexibility to keep your business agile. A freelance SEO specialist also has niche expertise that your internal team may not have.

What SEO skills should I look for in a freelancer?

As well as basic skills like on-page and off-page SEO, other skills to look out for include technical SEO expertise and the ability to monitor and analyze data.

Your ideal freelancer should also have excellent communication and project management skills and keep up to date with algorithm changes and new SEO trends.

What qualifications should an SEO freelancer have?

There are several SEO certifications available and your SEO specialist might or might not have a Bachelor’s degree. Ultimately, what matters is the results. Ask the SEO specialist for case studies, testimonials, and other examples of success stories so you can be confident they can deliver what you want.

How can I evaluate a freelance SEO's experience level?

Reading reviews, case studies, and looking at LinkedIn profiles all help you to gauge experience levels and expertise. If everything looks good, I’d recommend assigning them a test project to further evaluate their skills.

Conclusion

With many people opting to ditch the 9 to 5 and work as freelancers, you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to picking SEO freelance services for your business.

However, there are two sides to this coin.

In your quest to find the best SEO freelancers, you may encounter a few bad ones that may cost you your reputation, rankings, or resources.

That’s why you must know how to hire a freelance SEO specialist to help you achieve your business goals.

Have you ever worked with an SEO freelancer before? If so, what was your experience with them?

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