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How Do I Get SEO Clients in 2021?

Freelancing is the way to go for most professionals looking for side-income streams.

With the rise of remote work, we can see a wide range of freelancers helping businesses owners grow their companies faster than before.

Different types of freelancers directly work towards business growth and development. One, in particular, is SEO freelancers.

With SEO, businesses can increase their new customers month over month, freely from search.

And that’s the reason why if you’re an SEO freelancer, you should take advantage today of what most business owners are in need of — lead generation from search.

With that, here are 5 ways to help you get SEO clients this year (and beyond).

1. Leverage Thought Leadership

When people see your expertise and experience, they are likely to get attracted to what you have to offer.

It’s true for SEO freelancers who can establish thought leadership.

The more potential clients know what you’re capable of through the content assets you publish on your blog or other distribution channels like third-party publishing sites, the more you build personal credibility online.

Thought leadership helps build your personal brand.

If other people still don’t know about your SEO services, you should let them see it through right in front of their eyes.

One way to build thought leadership is to create your own blog. This blog will become your masterpiece of educating your potential clients about the system, process, and case studies you can share with them about your work.

You can publish comprehensive guides on different SEO subjects such as technical audit, content optimization, and link building.

Though there are a lot of SEO articles out there, the industry is evolving in knowledge. New updates from Google, further improvements in systems and processes, and new approaches to making SEO campaigns better — these are topics that can help build your thought leadership early on in your SEO freelancing career.

Aside from publishing SEO educational articles on your blog, you can reach out to established marketing and SEO powerhouse publications to contribute content for them.

Becoming a contributor for publishing sites is one of the greatest ways to penetrate the market, given that not all SEO practitioners are content influencers.

When you have a solid content marketing strategy, you can provide value in the SEO marketplace. You can use Youtube, Twitter, Linkedin, and other social marketing channels to share your message, experience, and expertise — these will translate into lead generation opportunities.

2. Show Case Studies and Proof Of Work

When a person doesn’t know anything about you, they must have a reason to trust you initially. And so that’s when the social proof comes. It creates an initial connection between their needs as SEO clients and your marketplace offering — your SEO services.

If you’ve been working on a couple of SEO projects, one important note to make is to create case studies out of that. If you see any improvements in organic visits, rankings, and bottom-line numbers (like leads and sales), you can show it through your case studies.

Your case studies will be your selling machine to potential SEO clients.

The higher quality and quantity of case studies you have, the more likely they get to inquire about your SEO services.

But, what kind of case studies should you publish on your website or social profiles?

One, in particular, is a sector or audience-specific case study. These are case studies that directly address the problems of a specific group of audience. It could be for a particular industry (SEO services for dentists or link building services for enterprise-level brands).

For example, suppose your SEO work has positively impacted a local veterinarian business in driving search visits and leads through dominating a particular set of keywords. In that case, you can create a case study about “how [your name/business] helped [local vet brand name] to increase leads by %.”

The more specific your SEO case studies are, the more they are perceived as valuable in the marketplace. It is not a random case study but is geared towards an audience you care about.

Go through your past and current SEO campaigns. See what verticals and types of clients they are. Then, create case studies out of your results for them.

Once you have these case studies available, do not forget to publish them on your website or other web properties such as your Linkedin page.

Promote each of these case studies from time to time. You may also convert some of them into written articles to be published on your blog.

3. Be Consistent With Social Media Content Distribution Strategy

Content creation is only half of the battle. Once you publish your content pieces, it’s time you promote them massively to your audience.

Undoubtedly, one primary content distribution channel is social media.

What you can do about your published guides is to chop them into pieces contextually to the social platform you’re looking to distribute them in.

For example, if you have a list type of SEO article, you can create Twitter threads featuring one of your tips.

Below is one example from Ahrefs.


Then, at the end of your Twitter thread is a link to your blog post. This way, you don’t bombard your audience with all the information you published in your article, but instead, you give them bite-sized tips that serve as a preview to the entire article.

Another platform that you should leverage is Linkedin.

Most business owners and individuals looking for SEO services are engaging in Linkedin — it’s a platform for professionals like you and me.

The last thing you want to do is spam people on LinkedIn and offer them your SEO services. It won’t work positively in your branding and reputation.

Start by giving valuable tips to help business owners understand the importance of SEO in their lead generation system.

You can also share some advice on how to improve SEO processes to help marketing agencies (who are also your potential clients).

Depending on your expertise and experience, share something valuable with your target market. Be consistent with your posting schedules to build momentum for yourself and see results from a series of social media posts.

4. Create Strategic Partnerships With Marketing or SEO Agencies

One of the untapped SEO client bases is marketing and SEO agencies.

SEO freelancers think that just because SEO agencies are directly catering to businesses with different SEO services, there are no opportunities involved in it.

The truth is some SEO agencies still outsource a part of their work to specialized marketing agencies and SEO freelancers.

But when and how? This is where specialization kicks in.

If you’re an SEO freelancer, you should assess yourself and identify your core SEO strengths.

With all activities involved to execute an SEO campaign, which one do you think you can produce more quality results? Are you better at technical audit or link building — where most SEO agencies are struggling with today?

It is best to determine what specific problems you can address with your services as a freelancer.

Given that the more your core SEO strengths and specific proof of work like case studies, you can increase your chances of getting more opportunities working with marketing and SEO agencies.

5. Engage in SEO Forums

Community engagement is underrated today.

Most freelancers start flying in solo without realizing that most SEO clients are not engaging elsewhere — they are part of a community.

One of the best communities you can join is SEO forums.

Look for active SEO forums where in-house SEOs and marketers participate either through learning sessions or simply answer questions thrown by anyone in the group.

One highly engaged SEO forum is Traffic Think Tank. It is a community of SEO freelancers, in-house marketers, and founders/owners of SEO and marketing agencies worldwide.

As an SEO freelancer, this is where you can participate and, days later, get SEO inquiries straight to your inbox.

You don’t send individual messages to users in the community. Instead, you engage by answering questions you know you had experiences with.

You can also go through channels where marketplace opportunities are available (e.g., #jobs in a Slack channel).

Effective Strategy and Execution in Getting SEO Clients

There is no success without hard work. If there is, it is not sustainable.

When getting SEO clients, you allocate your resources effectively — time, money, attention, and energy. Whether in producing educational content assets on your blog to exhibit thought leadership or by partnering with marketing agencies, you ensure every time spent will make positive returns in lead generation.

With the right strategy and execution, you can get buy-ins from small business owners and SEO practitioners to get you part of their team of SEO freelancers. Start small. Get into the habit of enlarging your networks by being part of any SEO community.

Build your personal branding by showing your expertise and experience, and you’ll never know tomorrow you’ll have a good stream of SEO clients waiting for you.


Need more freelance jobs?

Try our freelance lead generation service. Our expert gig-hunters match you with the top 1% of freelance jobs from dozens of premium sources.

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How To Get Ready To Leap Into Freelance Life

It is no secret that millions of young workers around the world find freelance life so enticing. And why not? If you work at an office, you know just how tedious things can get. Sure, you get some perks along the way, but is that worth the price of being stuck in a cubicle or a regular 9 to 5 rat race?

The younger generation does not seem to think so – at least most don’t. We are, of course, not suggesting that no one should work at an office job. If that’s what makes you happy, then that’s what you should go for. We asked guest author Alex Lysak to share key strategies to help aspiring freelancers get ready for a successful freelance career in whatever industry they decide to go into. Learn more about Alex Lysak.

Workplaces may give out free pizza every Tuesday and Tiramisu on Thursday, but wearing a suit and tie and commuting to the office daily is no longer as appealing as it once was, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic made working at home a norm in 2020.

Whatever your personal stance is on the work from home matter, Scanteam research shows that there are a lot more workers today who are transitioning to the freelance lifestyle.

The freelance life is especially great for non-traditional workers. They don’t like to conform to average schedules, require a lot of free time to pursue their own goals, and want to have some semblance of freedom.

And these are all things you can get easily in the freelance world. They will come at the expense of security and stability, but if you do your homework and prepare accordingly, you can honestly have the best of both worlds.

Does this kind of life appeal to you? If so, you are not alone.

If you are interested in freelancing but have no idea how to freelance, we have collated key freelance tips and tricks that will help you make the move.

Finding this article is essentially step one. What’s next? Read on to see our three-step guide on how to begin your journey to freelancing life.

1. Take a Dip Before Diving In

While freelancing is all about freedom, the first steps for your journey should be baby-sized ones. This is especially the case if you have a great office job. You might think you want freedom, but have you considered the things you lose as a corporate denizen?

One thing many corporate employees take for granted is the omnipresence of health insurance. When you are hired, you are enrolled in your company’s policy as a matter of course.

Not so as a freelancer how it works, in that case, is that you have to personally handle your healthcare needs.

This includes picking out healthcare policies and discerning which one works best for you. As an individual, you have far less power than a company has when it comes to the policy’s terms. Simply adjust based on what your current budget is since you can always get a better plan if business starts booming.

For instance, most freelancers will not be able to afford the health insurance that their last company was providing for them. It will likely be too expensive for you on your own as companies have the luxury of hundreds or thousands of other employees to help keep their overall insurance prices down.

Before taking on the freelance lifestyle, try to take stock of the things that are most important for you, and how they fit with the working arrangement you want.

Do you enjoy a busy office environment while working? Try working on weekends at your local coffee shop to test how you do there.

Do you enjoy your freedom? If you want to freelance, you can have as much freedom as you want. In fact, no one will ever tell you to work when you don’t want to. The problem is that you won’t receive a salary when you don’t work.

Can you stay on top of multiple projects while juggling real-life issues? There are no sick leaves, vacation leaves, or maternity leaves. Can you make that work?

If you don’t know where to begin, you can check out local job sites or even social media for one-off projects. Take those on and see how it feels.

As an office worker, your manager will motivate you whether you want to work or not. As a freelancer, you have to do this on your own.

You have to be a self-motivated person as a freelancer. Until you receive regular clients, you will have to hustle and network your way to more work. This can be draining, not just physically, but emotionally as well. You will have to handle more rejection in a week as a starting freelancer than a decade at an office job.

You might think you already know all this. We don’t doubt it for a moment. The problem is that knowing something is true, is different from experiencing something as true.

By taking baby steps, you give yourself more time to make the correct decision. If you like the lack of training wheels offered by freelance life, go ahead, and move on to the next step. If you find that you would rather stick with the comforts of office life, you at least know for sure that freelancing is not the right fit for you.

2. Define Your Marketable Skills

Freelancers, especially when they are just starting out, tend to apply for every project they get. This can be refreshing for people who enjoy the adrenaline shot of putting your best foot forward but can be exhausting for anxious individuals.

One way to ease that tension is to be clear about the things you can do and cannot do.

With freelancing, the key is to have a couple of core interests or competencies. You want to define those skills upfront, so your prospective client knows where they can make use of your skills.

For instance, if you were a social media manager in your last day job, you will have to go into greater detail than normal when it comes to pitching your services.

Freelancers are generally considered attractive for their specialized skill sets, not their all-around competence. Though you might be an all-around rock star as a social media manager, clients aren’t looking for you to fill that position per se – you are simply filling in the gaps in their current organization.

With social media management, for example, you will have to lay out the details of what makes you a great – albeit temporary – member of their team.

Include your experience with analytics, the core topics you focus on, and any other competencies that will serve them well.

Defining your core skills and topics are also a great way of weeding projects that fit your precise abilities. To continue with the social media manager example, if you generally handle social media accounts for Christian organizations, other faith-based companies will no doubt be more willing to take a shot on you.

This also prevents clients from asking things you don’t offer. This might not seem like much, but when you’re fielding dozens upon dozens of such requests as a freelancer (as we have), then you’ll have a whole new appreciation for it.

3. Always Remember to Build

The essential thing to keep in mind as a freelancer is that it is totally on you to build your business. There will be no lead generators or managers showing you the way – it’s all up to you.

This is the biggest price you pay as a freelancer. As an employee, it is easy to take for granted all the little things that working a company affords you. You get access to resources you wouldn’t come across otherwise, including access to your peers.

Freelancing forces you to go it alone, at least in the beginning.

Don’t worry. Things will get easier, as long as you can weather the first few storms.

Everything you do as a freelancer can be viewed as a brick. You use those bricks to build your business. You will need lots and lots of bricks to make a business.

How do you get that first brick?

It depends where you are as a worker. If you have a solid base of contacts that you know will require your services, you can start out there. For those who don’t have a network, you will have to take on the lowest projects on the totem pole.

If you’ve seen how sites like Upwork and Fiverr work, you will notice that it is near-impossible to bid for a project as a newbie. However cheaply you set your rates, there will be tens of others who have the same rates as you, but with vastly more experience.

You can get lucky, of course. But chances are, if you are wiping the slate clean with a freelance career, you will have to take on unpaid projects to build your skillset and networks.

This kind of building takes tons of work and hustle. Unlike regular office jobs that have set hours, being a freelancer can lead to extreme situations. There are freelancers out there who work more than they ever did at the office, while some are more laid-back. Your task is to balance these aspects based on what you want from your career.

Do you want to cater to a more upscale market? Set your rates accordingly, so that clients that don’t meet your needs won’t even attempt to contact you. If you want to get your name out there as fast as possible, you can set friendlier rates, with incentives for repeated projects.

You will also have to be on the lookout for potential clients. You can also send pitches cold – that is, without being solicited to do so – to companies who you feel will be a great fit for your skillset.

Remember that being a freelancer is not a zero-sum game. You can always go back to an office job if things don’t pan out your way, taking occasional projects on the side. Does freelance life make sense for you? You will have to find out on your own.

4. Budgeting

A lot of people hate this word but if you are serious about a long-term freelancing career, you need to learn how to budget. You need to learn how to budget your expenses per week, per month, and then put together a contingency budget that allows you to set aside funds for a minimum of 3 to 6 months.

This takes the pressure off you getting freelance work in the early stages as you know you have a buffer to tide you over. Budgeting your weekly and monthly expenses also lets you know how much you need to spend and prevents you from going overboard with your spending. When you have less financial pressure at the start, it makes it easier for you to make better decisions with regard to picking your freelance clients and assignments.


If you are starting out in your freelance career, we suggest you take full advantage of all four strategies that we listed above. The only other tip that we need to emphasize is that you need to show a lot of patience in the freelancing world, especially when you are just getting started. All the best with your freelance journey!


How do I raise my rates as a freelancer without losing customers?

In a freelancer’s career, there comes a time, when it becomes painfully evident that the rates charged are too cheap for the amount, quality, and level of value delivered. Raising your fees is an important component of being a more successful freelancer. However, raising your freelance rates while dealing with existing clients might be difficult because they may not appreciate the concept of having to increase their budget.

How to raise your freelance rates?

Boosting your rates from time to time is important because it means developing your skills. In this article, we’ll walk you through strategies for increasing your freelance fees without losing clients.

Clients should be informed in advance

When it comes to boosting your freelance fees, one of the worst mistakes you can make is not giving your clients enough time to process it. Take a look at these two messages, and it should be clear which one will be more effective:

  • Hello, John! I’m writing to inform you that, for all new and existing clients, my charges will be increased to $0.1 per word. Best wishes!

Hello, John! I’d like to discuss reassessing my per-word rates as per our contract. For all of our projects, I’m now charging $0.09 per word. As of February 2022, I intend to raise the charge to $0.1 per word. This will be in three months, I hope you have enough time to think about this.

Those are just a few examples. The second email is important because it provides ample warning to your client, allowing him to budget in the change. It’s not only polite, but it also saves people from feeling pressured, which almost never goes well.

In the worst-case situation, raising your rates may cause current clients to drop you. If you believe your talents are worth the wage raise, then you should stick to your guns.

To be safe, always keep your portfolio up-to-date and be on the lookout for new clients.

Raise your rates periodically

One of the smarter things you can do as a freelancer is to inform potential clients that you usually re-evaluate your rates around the same time each year. That’s absolutely logical, as costs can vary greatly from year to year.

Offer long-term client loyalty

Many clients will go through many freelancers before finding someone who can deliver high-quality work on time. That means that if a client finds a trustworthy freelancer, he’ll most likely want to work with him constantly, which is great news for you. Offering ‘loyalty’ discounts to these types of clients is a great way to make them loyal.

Since extra bonuses and prizes make customers feel valued and appreciated, loyalty programs have been shown to increase sales and keep customers coming back. The same strategy works in client services. Rewarding loyal customers creates positive feelings about your relationship, services, and fees.

As a freelancer, you can reward your clients for their loyalty in the following ways:

  • Create special rates- a special discount is a perfect way to thank your clients.
  • Grant a grace period.
  • Clients frequently work with planned budgets that were established long before you chose to raise charges.
  • Simplify the transition of existing customers to the new rates by giving them additional time.
  • Make a fresh package

Some of your most loyal customers may not be willing or able to work with you at your new rates. Consider designing a new package with fewer features or more automation so that they can maintain the same level of investment.

Don’t raise your rates too quickly and sharply

If you want to build a long-term client base, try making small increases in your freelance prices, such as 5-10%. Meanwhile, there is nothing stopping you from taking on additional tasks at significantly greater pricing.

You get trusted clients who can help you build a broad portfolio using this technique, and you still get to make decent money (at least if you are good at pitching!).

Prove your worth

Some clients may want you to demonstrate that you are worth the extra money. You must dig deeper and show the client that the work you’ve done has had a positive influence on their company.

Can you demonstrate that your articles have provided value to a client’s website? Do you have numbers to prove what you did (increased engagement by X percent) and how did it benefit the customer (more website visitors signed up for the newsletter)? How many likes and shares did your client receive? How many of those likes and shares turned into paying customers?

To make your workflow smoother, take advantage of successful employee performance management software, so you can effectively contribute to the organization’s mission and purpose. It will save you time, money and simplify processes in the long run, proving your value and professionalism.

When you can show that you had a good impact on your client’s bottom line with numbers and data, you’re more likely to get past the objections and receive rate rise since you can prove you’re worth the extra expense.

Provide alternatives

If clients decide not to work with you after you raise your rates, respect their decision. They trusted you enough to employ you and give you their business; now it’s your turn to repay their faith by assisting them in finding another employee. Don’t abandon clients that aren’t willing to continue with you; instead:

  • Offer other service providers who would be a good fit, as well as personal introductions.
  • Assist with the transfer to the new service provider and be available to answer queries for a limited time.

Suggest upsells

Upsells are most commonly used by providing a list of other services that can be purchased in addition to the main product or service. Consider a copywriter who offers proofreading as an add-on service. Videos, audiobooks, e-books, extra services are the most common upsells.

An upsell’s purpose is to make you more money with no further work. But how can you figure out what you might be able to use as an upsell? Asking your clients what you could do to improve your service is the answer. For example, when sending an invoice, include a questionnaire asking how you may improve your service or if there is anything else relating to the service or product you provide that is missing.

Charge per month instead of per hour

Why not charge per month, or even three months, instead of per hour? Let’s say your hourly charge is $30 per hour, but you can only bill 30 hours per week since you spend so much time looking for new clients. You’ll earn $10.800 every three months this way, but if you sell your service in three-month blocks, you’ll earn $12.000 every three months by reducing the time it takes to find new clients. So, if you operate in 3-month blocks, your revenues will increase without you having to work more. Also, this method of working is suitable for any (new) client.

Additional points to consider when setting a freelancer rate

The scope of the project – A complex project will have more stringent standards and will require more sophisticated abilities, allowing you to charge a greater cost.

Education – You may be able to charge more for your services if you have an advanced degree or industry certification.

Always take advantage of helpful freelance employee apps like time tracker, to-do and planning, proposal and budget planner, email manager, project management apps, etc. Choose a useful and suitable employee app for your project and take advantage of its benefits.

Geographic location – The Upwork job marketplace connects freelancers with clients all over the world. When it comes to pricing, however, it’s a good idea to think about the current rates in your client’s area. In general, a client in France would not pay the same price as a client in China, thus tailoring your prices to the region you service is very important.

Communication is king – Communication with clients is essential. You must comprehend the client’s objectives and how your project fits into their overall plan. Effective communication will assist you in identifying ways to add value to your services or increase your service offering.

It’s critical to note that your freelancing rates should provide you with financial independence. If your rates aren’t providing you with the lifestyle, flexibility, and income you desire, it’s time to rethink your pricing approach or how you provide value to your clients.

The advantages of increasing your rates

Lower charges may generate more initial inquiries since you are undercutting your competitors, but they also attract the worst types of customers. These are the clients who will treat you as if you were a cheap commodity rather than a skilled professional.

Clients will believe you are more experienced and capable of producing high-quality work if you raise your prices. Clients are more respectful and allow you to focus on what you do best, saving you time and lowering your stress levels.

Higher rates also allow you to reduce your working hours and spend more time with your family while earning more money.

Self-assessment questions for your freelance business

There are a few questions you should ask yourself before increasing your charges. It’s important to prioritize your pricing because clients may ask why you’re increasing your fees.

Here are some examples of questions to consider while assessing your company:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Has the value of the dollar changed since you established your company? Has it been affected by inflation?
  • How many clients do you keep in touch with over a long period of time?
  • What is your industry’s market average rate?
  • Do you believe the price you’re asking currently is reasonable?
  • How long have you been in business and how much experience do you have?
  • Since your last rate increase, what new skills have you acquired?
  • What costs have risen since you started your business? Examine your business’s equipment and operations.
  • Do you value your time now more than when you first started your company?

These are just a few of the important questions to consider before increasing your freelance costs. The most important thing is to study your company, how you value your time, and how you see it in three to five years.

How to cope with rejection?

You’ve informed your clients, and sadly, some of them have declined. So, what’s next? If you follow all of the above tips and still get a negative response, you may have to accept the fact that you will lose your client, which is okay. If you have to let a client go, realize that it’s for a good reason and that you should concentrate on the ones that recognize your worth.


Give clients notice if you believe a rate increase is necessary. A three-month notice period is sufficient. This allows them to change their budget or find a new partner.

If you want to raise your rates, you’ll have to let some clients go. With certain long-term clients, this can be difficult and even sad. However, they are not doing you any favors if they are unable to pay you the rates you deserve and require. They’re not your friends; they’re your clients. If you don’t boost your charges, your business will never grow.

It’s critical to make sure you have higher-paying clients on board and more similar prospects in your pipeline before letting clients leave. This will eliminate the possibility of you ending up with nothing.

It’s important not to entirely cut off long-term low-paying clients when letting them go. Make it easier for them to transfer. You can achieve this by introducing them to an experienced and talented colleague who works at their usual rates. This implies that you really care about their company.

If you serve these clients well, they may either find a way to expand their budget, or they may come to you as someone they can trust when they have a more important project.

It’s easier than you think to raise your prices. Don’t let self-doubt and anxiety keep you from earning more money. Decide whether you’re willing to charge more for your valuable services right now.

When it’s time to ask clients for a higher rate, don’t feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. If the new fee is well-earned and appears reasonable, it will be well-received and well-deserved by clients. It is a good idea to work with clients who will pay you well for what you’re worth.