June 23, 2020
Ryan Henry
Freelance SEO Experts: The Ultimate Hiring Guide

The best way to tell your target customers of your existence is with the help of search engine optimization or SEO. This is the process of tailoring your website content such that it ranks well in search engines. While this could previously be done just by adding high volume keyword search terms in the content even if they didn’t make sense, that’s not the case today.

Search engines now employ various algorithms and have become quite sophisticated. So, just randomly adding in keywords doesn’t work any longer. With this increase in sophistication comes the difficulty of being ranked well on search engines. This is where the need for an SEO expert arises.    

Who is a freelance SEO expert, and why should you hire one?

When it comes to mastering SEO, it is not as easy as it seems. It not only needs a wide skill set but also involves knowing about creating high-quality content and networking.

If you’ve already set up your business, then it can be nearly impossible to learn all these skills and become an SEO expert yourself, especially while overlooking all your business operations. Thus, it’s best to turn to an SEO expert, and if you’re short on time, your best bet is to take the help of a freelance SEO expert. 

Essentially, a freelance SEO expert helps you to improve your ranking on the search engine while also not exceeding your budget.

SEO consists of many different methods and tools that even an avid internet user might not know. Without the best content that takes SEO into account, you will not get the desired results. However, an SEO expert is someone who has a thorough knowledge of such SEO techniques that bring your content to the forefront of the search results page.

The SEO industry is as dynamic as it can get, and the ranking criteria and formulas constantly change, which means that the right SEO practices will vary time and time again. However, an SEO expert will be on top of all the changes and can take the burden of ensuring your content ranks well off your hands.

In-house vs. freelance SEO expert

As mentioned earlier, your content needs to be revised as search engine algorithms change to ensure it still ranks on top. In other words, SEO is a lengthy process that demands consistency. For businesses, there are two basic options. They can either hire an in-house SEO expert or hire a freelancer. But which one would be the better option? Let’s find out.

Pros of an in-house SEO expert 

  • You have a greater say in your SEO strategies and programs
  • If you are just getting started, hiring a small team in-house can be more agile and available
  • You can easily get your team to test and adjust strategies quickly if one is more cost-effective than the other  
  • It’s easier and quicker to measure certain objectives and determine where you want to make changes
  • With an in-house expert, you get greater control in targeting your desired audience

Cons of an in-house SEO expert

  • The HR cost of hiring a large team can be quite high. Not to forget, you will have to pay bonuses as well as additional benefits such as insurance and paid leaves.
  • Finding the right candidate who can work well within your office environment can be quite time-consuming. The longer your content is not in front of customers, the more money you lose.

Verdict

If you’re just starting small, then opting for an in-house expert wouldn’t be a problem. For instance, having two to three SEO professionals working in-house is enough to take care of your content needs as a startup. In fact, in the long run, having two experts in-house will prove to be cost-effective. But as you get bigger, this might not be the best option.

Pros of a freelance SEO expert

  • A freelance SEO expert takes only a few clients or projects at one time, which means they will give your content more time and dedication. Since their future work (and their income) depends on the current or past projects, they work hard and are on time to get positive feedback from clients.  
  • Generally, freelancers charge on a project basis, which means you don’t have to pay for extra things like bonuses. Also, even the best freelancers usually charge a reasonable amount because they don’t have to pay for expenses like office space since they usually work from home. Thus, they are more affordable.
  • Hiring freelance SEO experts gives you greater flexibility as they are willing to adjust their schedule such that your content calendar is not disturbed. Given their flexible hours, they can also get the job done in a shorter time frame.

Cons of a freelance SEO expert

  • In some cases, a freelance SEO expert only consults you on the strategies you need to employ, so you still might need to build up your own team to execute those strategies.
  • Not every freelance SEO expert will be the right candidate for you. There will be a lot of trial and error involved.

Verdict

When compared to agencies and in-house SEO experts, freelancers can be more knowledgeable in software and startup, technology, SEO for SaaS, and IT, and they are more affordable too. However, in some cases, you might need an in-house team that implements the strategies advised by the freelance SEO expert. For these reasons, many businesses employ both an in-house team and a freelancer to keep the content gold.

Benefits of hiring a freelance SEO expert, and how they can help

It cannot be denied that rich content with the right keywords is the key to success in search engine optimization. But why should you really hire a freelance SEO expert? Here are some reasons:

1. SEO is a specialized skill one cannot learn quickly

As expected, SEO isn’t something that you learn overnight. It takes years of practice and the determination to follow all the latest trends to be really able to master it. It is also the experience of working as an SEO expert that determines success.

In addition to experience, what you really need to succeed is a set of particular skills. SEO is known as one of the technical business fields today, and it involves balancing business objectives, using technical tools, and keeping in mind the users.

With a tech-savvy SEO expert who has marketing experience and knows the technical side, you can easily meet your marketing goals and get a better return on investment.  

2. He or she can put in more time than you can

SEO doesn’t only involve getting to know the industry’s history and speculating future trends; it changes every day, and you need to be vigilant to be able to stay on top of it.

In fact, on many occasions, Google has admitted to making minor changes in their algorithms not once but multiple times a week. Unless you want to become an SEO expert yourself, there is no point in spending your time trying to keep up with Google’s changes.

By delegating this work to an individual who specializes in exactly the same thing, you can have more time to focus on your business. And it’s best to leave learning about new changes in SEO to someone who’s already been doing it for some time now.

3. There’s no overhead involved

As surprising as it may sound, the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ applies to search engine marketing. Clients wanting cheap SEO and social media services and SEM services can’t expect great results. If they do want the best content, they need to pay a market-competitive amount. But if the clients themselves are on a limited budget, then what can they do? It’s easy; hire a freelancer only for the projects or hours they need.

Now that doing it yourself and putting your business at risk is out of the option, many would argue that employing someone full-time could be the next best option. The problem is doing so not only involves additional cost, as mentioned earlier, but it also involves training the employee, defining their role and managing turnover should they quit after investing in them.

On the other hand, freelancers work on a project basis and will most likely work for competitive rates, so you don’t need to worry about incurring any extra costs.

4. You can focus on your business

There’s a reason you got into the business you are in today instead of being an SEO expert. In the same way, SEO experts got into the industry because they know what they’re doing. With a freelance SEO expert ensuring the success of your online marketing program, you can focus your attention back on running your business.

In fact, by hiring a freelance SEO expert, you get to advance your site in a cost-effective manner since you only pay for the activities that you can really afford.

5. Experts help to increase your visibility

With an SEO expert implementing the right SEO strategies, your business becomes discoverable, thus attracting more people to your website.

Given the widespread use of the internet, consumers want local businesses to appear in their search results too. Surveys show:

  • 72% of customers that did a local search will go to a store located within five miles of their own location
  • 70% of consumers decide to visit a store by looking at the information found online
  • 88% of people that search for a local business using their phone visit or at least call there within a day

The only way your business can reap these benefits is by hiring an expert who knows how to get the people’s attention.

6. You can benefit from more lead generation

The revenue you earn is greatly dependent on SEO. In fact, almost 39% of the total global e-commerce traffic is generated from search. Meanwhile, 78% of location-based searches made from a mobile device result in an offline purchase.

Also, the leads you generate via search convert at a rate that is ten times higher than that of social media. Primarily, this is because consumers trust search. In fact, research shows that brand perception of brands that show up in search results enjoy up to a 30% increase in search traffic.

This is why you need a freelance SEO expert to work on generating more traffic and eventually converting more visitors to customers.

How to hire the best freelance SEO expert

Finding and hiring the best freelance SEO expert is easy if you keep in mind the following tips:

1. Hire individuals with specific SEO skills

Any SEO freelancer will not be able to do the job. Just like other jobs, an SEO freelancer must have specific expertise to be able to make your content rank well. Usually, SEO specialists have a marketing background, but that isn’t necessary. They can have any background; what they should have is data, writing, strategy, technology, people, and data skills to be the best.

Some SEO skills that would greatly benefit your business include:

Communication skills: To be able to clearly explain to content creators and copywriters how to maximize the SEO results from their content, they should have excellent writing and editing skills to be able to communicate ideas and strategies clearly.

Strategy: The individual you hire should be able to evaluate the website’s strategy and come up with the keywords and content that are sure to drive leads and enable conversions.

Analytic skills: They should be able to go through available data and figure out actionable insights that can improve your site’s performance.

2. Look for experience

When we talk about experience, we don’t only mean experience in SEO but also tools that you might use in your business operations. For instance, if you manage your content with a particular CMS, you would want someone familiar with it. Therefore, it will be helpful for your business if you opted for freelance SEO experts with experience in:

  • SEO tools such as SEMRush, Supermetrics, and Ahrefs
  • Using different backend website management tools, such as Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress
  • With a business model or industry that’s quite similar to yours

Freelance sites today demand freelancers to mention a description of their services and mention their experience if they have any. So, make sure to go through those descriptions before settling on someone. Also, remember that finding someone familiar with the tools you use and having sufficient experience can help save you from the inconveniences that hiring someone inexperienced brings.

3. Use the right words while posting your project description

Of course, the right keywords to include varies from one business to another, but they should be relevant to your business needs. So, for instance, if you have a WordPress site, then you must mention WordPress in the description.

With this practice, it becomes easier to find the ideal match. However, you should be careful too. Your keywords should be such that they match the words that freelancers will use when describing their experience and skills.

4. Go through client feedback

Usually, freelance websites let you see the freelancer’s client ratings and feedback. This can be advantageous as you can check out how satisfied other clients are with the person you’re thinking of hiring.  

In addition, freelancers usually have LinkedIn profiles as well; you can see client ratings and feedback here too. Once you find a potential candidate, see what others have to say about them, and look for their endorsements and listed skills.

Conclusion

For most businesses to succeed, freelance SEO consulting is essential, and the most cost-effective option for this is to hire a freelance SEO expert. Among other benefits, with such an individual working on your content, you will enjoy greater lead generation and more traffic, contributing to your business’s success. But before you hire just about anyone, make sure to evaluate if they are the right fit with our guide mentioned above.