Ranking a website or web page today is not as easy as it was a couple of years ago.
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.
As a business owner, keeping up with all these changes and regularly updating your website is something you might not have time for.
That’s why you may need to enlist the help of an SEO freelancer.
How an SEO Freelancer Can Help Your Business
Before we go any further, let’s quickly define what a freelance SEO is.
Simply put, an SEO freelancer is a professional who helps you gain more visibility on search engines. If you hire the right one, they can get you to rank for your main keywords, thereby helping you drive tons of traffic to your website and business.
This is the practice of discovering search terms that users enter in search engines when they want to find something. Discovering the keywords used to search for your products or services is crucial to boosting your SEO.
This foundational practice is one of the ways an SEO freelancer can help your business rank well.
Content strategy involves planning the entire process necessary to create content. It includes, among other disciplines:
Understanding user intent
Crafting optimized headlines
Creating content outlines
Determining content types
Choosing the best platforms on which to publish the content
Developing a content strategy is key to helping your content rank well, especially in a space saturated with content on similar topics.
Another integral part of SEO is content creation.
Creating SEO content is a science that not many people understand.
It requires knowledge of proper keyword placement, structuring and formatting content properly, and writing in your audience’s preferred tone, among other things.
While anyone can be a good writer, not everyone can be a great SEO writer.
Again, this is one of the few ways an SEO freelancer can help drive your business forward.
Besides content, another critical aspect of SEO is link building. This is because search engines use links to gauge the authority of content and websites. The more authoritative a web page is, the higher search engines rank it for queries related to your keywords.
A successful strategy involves building relevant links on three levels:
Internal links: These are links between content on your website and must be chosen strategically.
Outgoing links: Links to other sites are important, but if done incorrectly, you could link to competitors, low-authority sites, or even spammy websites.
Inbound links: Also called backlinks, these point to your website, and search engines deem them votes of confidence in your website. Quality, not quantity, is the key here.
Good SEO freelancers also know the importance of monitoring your backlink profile. This is important because toxic backlinks could negatively impact your SEO.
Link building is a time-consuming endeavor that requires knowledge of the right kind of links to build and strategies that work.
To build links that will help your website rank better, you must get a professional to do, which is an instance where an SEO freelancer will come in handy.
As long as you want to make an impact online (of which you have no choice), you must invest in SEO. That’s why you must consider hiring an SEO freelancer.
How to Hire the Best SEO Freelancer
Hiring a good SEO freelancer can be a tricky business.
For one, most SEOs are self-taught, and typically the only way to verify their knowledge or experience is through their portfolio.
Secondly, the world of SEO is constantly changing and knowing which SEO freelancers keep their knowledge and skills relevant is almost impossible.
So how can you improve your chances of hiring the best SEO freelancer?
Here are a few simple tips:
Determine Your SEO Needs
The first step to finding the right SEO freelancer for you is to determine your exact SEO needs.
If you’re not sure how to do this, you may need to look for an SEO freelancer that has experience in conducting SEO audits. Of course, in most cases, this is an add-on service, so expect to pay for it separately.
However, if you want to do it yourself, check out my SEO checklist for direction.
Determining your SEO needs makes it easier for you to know what to look for in an SEO freelancer.
Features to Look For in an SEO Freelancer
Now that you’ve determined your SEO needs, the next step to hiring the best SEO freelancer is to know what to look for in one. Here are a few pointers:
Check their Track Record
Every SEO freelancer worth their salt has a track record that proves their knowledge and skill.
To be worth your consideration, they must have results to show their effectiveness in delivering the services you want.
So how do you check their track record?
Ask to see a portfolio of their work
Visit their website
Ask for references from past or current clients
Read reviews on their website or other platforms
Checking an SEO freelancer’s track record is critical because you want to hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Failing to do so could lead you to spend money on an SEO freelancer that won’t get you the desired results.
Interview Your Prospective SEO Freelancers
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential candidates, it’s time to find the best SEO freelancer for your business.
Thankfully, with technology like video calling software, you can conduct interviews from anywhere in the world.
Get to know them, their methodology, and how they plan to help your business rank well.
Give Your Prospective SEO Freelancer a Test Project
Another strategy that will help you find the best SEO freelancer for your business is to give your prospective candidates a test project.
This will help you:
Gauge their abilities
Have insight into what your working relationship will be like
Your test must be based on the core duties you’re hiring your SEO freelancer for. This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect from them in terms of performance.
Know Where to Look for SEO Freelancers
Once you’ve determined your specific SEO needs, the next step to hiring an SEO freelancer is to know where to look for one.
Some of the best places to look include (but are not limited to):
Job boards are a great place to source SEO talent. A big advantage you get from the most popular ones is that they vet all freelancers in their database. That helps eliminate unsavory characters from the platform.
Some popular job boards you can get SEO freelancers on include:
Indeed: Has a large pool of SEO freelancers. Searching through candidates using different filters makes it easy.
Upwork: Arguably the most popular freelancer platform on the planet. Has a strict verification process.
ProBlogger: One of the best platforms if you’re looking specifically for SEO writers.
AngelList: Trusted by many startups for the high-quality talent pool. The best choice if you’re looking specifically for technical SEO freelancers.
Fiverr: Great place to find affordable SEO freelancers, but you may have to sift through a lot of profiles to find the right person.
Craigslist: Another great place to find good SEO talent. Unfortunately, however, you’ll have to do your own candidate vetting.
What if you want the freelancers to come to you? To source the best SEO freelance talent, you must know how to attract them, and you can do this by creating optimized job ads.
Hallmarks of an optimized job ad include:
Keyword focused job description
A killer headline
Detailed but to the point
Sells the benefits of working with your business
Once you’ve crafted your job ad and posted it, you’re sure to get a flood of responses from interested SEO freelancers.
Social media is now playing a huge role in the recruitment process, helping businesses source top talent. If you’re looking for some of the best SEO freelancers, you’ll be sure to find them on social media platforms like:
Make sure to include a relevant hashtag (like #SEOfreelancers) when you post your need for an SEO freelancer.
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 SEO freelancer and other LSI keywords).
So if you’re looking for SEO freelancers, a casual Google search can help you discover professionals you can entrust your SEO tasks to.
If you want one who’s based in your locale, you can simply google “SEO freelancer+your area” to pull up results of the best local SEO freelancers near you.
When Not to Hire SEO Freelancers
As much as SEO freelancers have their advantages, there are times it wouldn’t be wise for you to go the freelancer route.
In those cases, you’re better off hiring an SEO agency.
Here are a few examples of such instances:
When Your Needs Exceed a Freelancer’s Capacity
Remember, SEO is a broad field. No one person can handle every SEO task you may need.
For example, if you want to execute a comprehensive on-page SEO campaign, you may require (among others):
A content strategist
An SEO writer
True, you may be able to find an SEO freelancer who can wear all three hats, but if your content strategy is extensive, you may need at least one content strategist, one editor, and a couple of SEO writers.
Carefully evaluate your SEO needs and determine if the scope of work is manageable by one person or if an agency better handles it.
When You Need Different SEO Services
If you need different SEO services, you’re better off going the agency route.
This is because agencies have different skill sets in their human capital, and all your SEO needs can be taken care of under one roof.
It makes for a streamlined and cohesive SEO campaign.
Giving different tasks to different SEO freelancers could result in a disjointed campaign, and in some instances, what one SEO does could conflict with what another has done.
If Stability With a Team is Important
An agency has all the resources (human and technological) needed to execute projects quickly. Because of this, you’re also assured of quality work because they have quality controls in place.
Another advantage of an agency that many people overlook is the fact that if a freelancer gets sick or if life happens, your project could be put on hold indefinitely. With an agency, however, there’s rarely any downtime as they can easily find a replacement.
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 freelancers for your business.
However, there are two sides to this coin.
In your quest to find the best SEO freelancers, you may come across a few bad ones that may cost you your reputation, rankings, or resources.
That’s why you must know how to hire an SEO expert that will help you achieve your business goals.
Have you ever worked with an SEO freelancer before? If so, what was your experience with them?