Going freelance is tough no matter the gig.
And freelancing in SEO comes with its own set of challenges.
SEO is often invisible. Most people will never notice changes to robots.txt, page titles, canonical tags and even internal linking.
But these are all part of robust SEO strategies that deliver results.
In my time working in SEO, I’ve been freelance, inhouse and agency side.
I’ve had death threats.
I’ve had people somehow twist the law and deprive me of my earnings.
And despite many many examples of SEO success, I still have people asking me to prove that my SEO work was the cause of those amazing results.
It’s got me thinking about what I would advise my younger self as I ventured into the freelance SEO world. And it applies to everyone else too, no matter the industry.
Here it is:
I don’t say this enough.
But let me be specific here.
Look beyond tracking rankings and making annotations in Google Analytics.
I’m talking about tracking everything you do as part of your SEO work, that isn’t actual SEO.
No matter how good you are or how well behaved your clients might be, you will always get that one client that will do anything to delay or avoid paying you. Purely because they want you to justify your work.
I mean you could literally show changes that you did and they’d still ask for more.
So what you do is this:
Track every email, call, instant message, zoom call and voice note. Track every little bit of comms you have with your client, no matter the medium, no matter how short.
Then you track the exact days and times that you do your work. Again, doesn’t matter the day, time, length or what you actually do.
You may never need to show this to your client. But in the event that they nitpick and try to walk all over you, you can refer back to your notes and indicate in incredible detail, everything you did, how long for and when.
And I always encourage getting payments up front, for the first month at least.
Someone from a PR agency in Dubai hired me to do some work for them and I made the mistake of not taking money upfront. Halfway through the project they ghosted me only to emerge weeks later to tell me my SEO suggestions were rubbish and that they weren’t going to pay me.
I lost out. And about 6 months later I saw their website using everything I had recommended. But jokes on them, they did what I told them to do, but really badly.
So moral of the story is this:
Get paid upfront
and remember: no money, no honey.