How to Become an SEO Freelancer in 48 Hours

The first real business I had online was working as an SEO freelancer. This was a few years ago, and obviously, in the last 5 years search engine optimization has changed a lot. There are many career opportunities in the field of search engine marketing, with SEO consultant Sydney being just a subset of that, and then there are many areas of specialization within SEO itself.

This post was originally published in 2011, but it’s been updated as of November 2016, because let’s face it, we all hate finding the perfect resource only to find out that it’s incredibly outdated.
How to Become an SEO Freelancer in 48 Hours

So is it really possible to become an SEO freelancer in 48 hours?

Well, yes and no.

Here’s the thing about SEO…

The only way to actually get good at it is to dig in and practice on your own sites.

You can read all of the books in the world, but until you try it out on your own sites and test yourself, you’ll never truly be able to have the confidence to be an SEO freelancer.

So the goal of this post is to give you all the resources you need to get started.

I suggest you take a weekend, review all of the resources and strategies mentioned, and get started.

If you take this seriously, within a few months you’ll be able to start seeing what works and what doesn’t and truly be able to start making a living doing freelance search engine optimization work.

So are you ready to jump into this, and start the process to becoming an SEO freelancer (or simply become more knowledgeable so you can apply the concepts to your own website)?
What is SEO?

For those of you who don’t know what SEO means, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank as highly as possible in search engines for keywords that are related to the content on your website.

Google is by far the most used and important search engine to focus on for SEO purposes.

One of the mistakes people make when they’re looking to start a business is they think they have to know everything there is to know about a subject.

This is false.

You just have to know more than the person paying you to do the work.

I’ll never know every single intricacy of search engine optimization (in fact, no one will), but I know enough to add a lot of value to businesses or individuals.

There are a lot of skills out there that you can become proficient in very quickly if you:

Spend the time to learn the techniques.
Have the resources necessary to get you there. This is the case with just about every single computer related job out there.

You don’t need special training or fancy degrees. You just have to be willing to learn, able put in the hours to learn the basics, and not be afraid to ask for help from time to time.

Note: I want to make this very clear up front. You can Google the answer to just about every SEO problem out there. Don’t forget this.
SEO Basics

So we’ve got 48 hours to get you to the point where you’ve got the skills necessary to do basic SEO related tasks on a freelance basis.

First things first, what exactly are we trying to accomplish and what are the components involved?

As mentioned earlier, the overarching goal is to rank your client’s (or your own) websites as highly as possible in Google for specific key terms.

Let’s look at everything that goes into a successful SEO campaign:

  • Keyword Research. This is the process of sorting out the good key terms the bad. You may rank first for “the best freaking blog in the whole entire world” but if no one is searching for that – it means nothing. At the same time, you don’t want to try and rank for the term “blog” because you’ll never succeed – there’s too much competition. In the keyword research phase of the process, you figure out which keywords have the best combination of attainability and sufficient traffic, allowing you to see positive results
  • Competitive Analysis. This is one of the most important components when you’re doing work for a company who has pretty strong competition. By looking at your competitor’s websites you’ll get ideas for key terms, understand the strengths and weaknesses of their site, and be able to capitalize on the things they aren’t doing so well.
  • On-Site Analysis. Essentially there are two major types of SEO: on site and off site. On site is everything that you can control on your site. This can include things like page titles, optimized sitemap, meta data, content, optimized photos etc. Off site is everything you can’t control. The primary aspect of this is incoming links from other sites. Links are the currency of the internet, and we’ll expand more on that topic later on. By reviewing and making changes to all of the things you do have control of on your own site, you’ll be making big progress towards favorable rankings, more traffic, and in turn, more revenue.
  • Link Building. Let’s break this down in the most simple blanket statement possible: more links = better rankings. The higher the quality of links (meaning links from large and relevant sites) you can obtain, the more likely you’re rankings will improve.

One thing to take note of, you don’t have to be an expert at all of these things. There are people who specialize in link building or keyword research. You won’t be able to make as much money from each client, simply because there is less work to be done, but becoming an expert in one of these fields could be a less daunting route to take in the beginning.

However, regardless of the route you take, you still need to understand the basics of each SEO discipline and how they all work together.

Here are four of the most important free resources that you should read in depth as it relates to SEO basics. Seriously, go grab a beer or a coffee or whatever will keep you awake, and read these posts. If you don’t have time now, make sure you bookmark this and come back to it later:

  • Moz Beginners Guide to SEO: This free course covers a lot of the theory behind SEO and will help you to understand the hows and whys of the field.
  • WebConfs SEO Tutorial: This one expands into some of the individual SEO disciplines a lot more than the Moz guide, and is one of the best overviews that I’ve gone through.
  • Search Engine Land’s Guide To SEO: This is a multi-part series from Search Engine Land’s Guide. It’s 9 detailed blog posts about different aspects of SEO – don’t miss this one.
  • SEO Book SEO Glossary: SEO Book is one the leading resources on the internet, and this is a really in depth glossary. It’s worth reviewing for key terms, and bookmarking for easy access later on.
  • Source Wave – Be prepared to be sold things around every corner on this site, but frankly, his free SEO content is really solid. So it’s worth spending some time reading it and watching some of his videos.

Always read more about the SEO beginners guide as your basis.