One of the more in-demand and better-paying freelance jobs out there right now is the SEO expert. Thousands of freelancers are constantly submitting proposal templates and quotation templates to try to land that next big client and sign a contract template with them.
SEO, which stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” is a major focus for business owners right now, as they look to grow their online influence and e-commerce sales through better placements in the major search engines – especially Google, Bing, and Yahoo. But SEO isn’t just something you can pick up in a day, and most companies don’t always have enough staff to stay on top of all the new updates and what’s required to master SEO.
With trends changing weekly, it’s important for most companies to have a dedicated professional available to keep up with all the updates and be willing to implement changes on a site level (as well as a marketing level). The job of an SEO expert is to keep companies competitive through search – no matter what the landscape or tech requirements.
What does this mean for you? If you have SEO skills, understand basic marketing principles, and are willing to work hard and continuously learn, you may have what it takes to earn $45,000 a year or more as a freelance SEO expert. (See the complete breakdown of what an SEO expert can make here.)
Read on to see how to expand your expertise to get started in this fast-growing field.
There are so many sites out there claiming to teach people how to do SEO properly, but not all of them are reputable, updated, or even correct. In fact, there are as many experts out there teaching people how to skirt Google’s rules for SEO (resulting in low rankings and penalties for their clients) as there are people with the right advice. If in doubt, look to a trustworthy course network for online teachings you can access from sound experts. Some of these courses may be free, but expect to pay a modest amount for the better ones. (You can probably also find much of the info out there for free, but digging through everything takes up precious time.)
Here are some ideas for learning:
Regardless of where you begin, most experts agree that becoming an SEO expert requires you to be proficient in one or all of these SEO components:
Even if you can’t master all four expertise niches in a weekend, you can certainly get a good feel for at least one and start there. Many begin with keyword analysis since there are many tools out there that can automate some of the work for you and get a better feel for the practice.
Here are some more tools you can access for learning and implementing SEO tactics for each skillset:
There are many other tools on the market. Be sure to read reviews (not just those who get affiliate revenue for each purchase) and see about a free trial before committing to anything. Since you are a single freelancer – and not an agency – avoid products or services geared toward large businesses with many experts on a team. These are usually priced out of a single freelancer’s budget.
Since you’re starting from scratch with your SEO business, it can be hard to develop a record of good SEO examples to share with potential clients. That’s where practice comes in handy. By creating your own niche site, based on a keyword (or set of keywords), and optimizing it using proven SEO tactics, you are both refining your skills AND creating a strong piece for your portfolio.
Since SEO strategies come and go, it’s also a wonderful way to test and try new tactics in real-time. If Google says they will reward sites with a certain meta or site markup, for example, you can implement these recommendations on your test site, see how (or even if) they help, and use your results as a real-life learning incubator. If proven successful, you know have an example to show prospects!
By creating more than one site, you have the benefit of doing some A/B testing on new SEO strategies. Consider creating a few for the best result.
While you may not feel completely ready to take on clients at this point, you don’t have to do all kinds of SEO work initially. Remember that you only have to be one step ahead of the person hiring you for SEO. You should start with clients who have very basic SEO needs at first. Someone who needs straight-forward keyword research, for example, or who might need help optimizing blog posts or a landing page, is a good prospect for someone just starting out. (In other words, leave the $30,000 whole-site SEO projects for when you’re more advanced in your skills.)
You should already have a website and social media accounts for your SEO business, as well as listing the new enterprise on your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to tell those in your circles that you are taking on new SEO clients, and even offer a discount for the first few months you are in business – at least until you build clientele. If you already work in another freelance field (writing or web design, for example), you might offer a few select services on to existing SEO contracts for a small fee.
If nothing else, there are plenty of SEO type projects to cut your teeth on through marketplace sites like UpWork and Freelancer.com. It’s also possible to find paid internships and entry-level SEO positions through traditional job boards and remote work listing sites. While they may not offer exactly what you’ve been hoping to make, it’s important to start somewhere, and many companies are willing to take a risk on a less-established SEO expert in exchange for slightly lower fees. Finally, many of the job listings for a freelance marketing consultant will include various SEO tasks, so use some of the same job search tips for this niche for your new SEO business.
Finally, there’s one really fantastic advantage that SEO experts have over other business owners. Since you live and breathe SEO, you can make sure that your own site for your business shows up high in search! You should be able to advertise with an eye on the same skills that you will be offering your new clients. As you learn skills, you can adapt your site – and your marketing skills – to become more visible to prospects and clients.
While there was a rumor that SEO is dead, that worry seems to have passed. Most everyone agrees that it will probably never go away completely, but instead will evolve and change very much in the next ten years. In fact, SEO experts may be in more demand than ever, as changes in Facebook algorithms have made it more difficult for businesses to get their messages out on free social media platforms. Making sure that a brand’s message resonates across all platforms – including search – will be a top priority for brand managers. The right freelance SEO experts can make a major difference in acquiring customers and keeping them longer. Manage your SEO business with a free Bonsai trial.
Have you always wanted a career in SEO? What’s holding you back from this exciting and engaging job category?
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?