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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.

*Source: https://twitter.com/ahrefs/status/1412822498492702731

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.