How much you will charge or quote your freelance business services works as a positioning strategy. It helps shape the perception you want your target audience to have towards your business.
In fact, the next step in establishing your SEO freelance business is identifying your price point.
And at the same time, your price should also indicate the quality of work you will provide clients. What does this mean?
Let dive in for a clearer picture
How to Quote your Freelance Business
There are two spectrums in SEO pricing or quoting your freelance business:
- the cheap ones and
- the premium ones.
Typically, lower-priced services are looked down upon by the industry.
As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.”
Those who bought from sites like Fiverr, whose providers are selling services cheaply, are most likely seeing decreased rankings across search engines.
While there are a few exceptions, the consensus towards lower-priced SEO providers is to simply avoid them.
On the other hand, there are premium SEO service providers that are still total garbage – Look at services like TheHoth that are overcharging clients by 5-15x on link building services.
The more years of providing consistent SEO success for their past and current clients, the higher the price for your services should be.
As another saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.”
Now, you must find where you currently stand as an SEO freelancer.
At this point, you are an unproven commodity at best as a freelancer due to your limited experience.
You may have had success working at an agency, but the game is different when working solo in the industry.
You don’t have the resources and financial backing of a company as everything — from managing client expectations to executing the plan — falls solely on your shoulders with no one to help you carry it, at least while you’re starting.
Therefore, you’re most likely to find yourself charging on the lower end of the spectrum.
You have to start somewhere as a freelancer.
And unless you have the clout and experience to boot right off the bat, charging a premium for your services is like putting too much food in your mouth and choking.
You might bag clients at the end of the day because they are unwilling to pay your asking price with nothing to show for.
Scouring The Competition
At this point, you’re probably wondering what constitutes “cheap” and “expensive” SEO services.
Pricing varies depending on the variables at play, some of which we’ve discussed above. However, experience isn’t always the main factor for the price.
For instance, SEO freelancers in the west charge higher than their southeastern counterparts because living conditions are much more expensive in the west.
For the same reason, just because freelancers in these parts charge lower doesn’t necessarily mean the quality of work is lower.
To know how much you should charge, you need to research who your competitors are and how much they charge.
You don’t want to overshoot and set higher than more authoritative and experienced freelancers. At the same time, you don’t want a lower asking price than freelancers whose quality of service is not as good as yours.
If you’re offering specific niche or local services, the easiest way is to simply phone up competitors and ask for a price range.
For starters, head on to Google and type:
niche seo freelancer
Replace “niche” with your chosen niche or industry.
On SERPs, you should see freelancers and agencies offering their SEO services for businesses in this industry. In some cases, expect to see more agencies than freelancers.
But what you want to see are freelancers with websites ranking for the search term you entered. Our goal is to check their service rates and the different services they offer.
From here, look for the type of services they offer and the price for each.
Unfortunately, the majority of freelancer websites don’t publish their prices. To know them, you must reach out to them or book an online consultation with the freelancer.
If you can’t find freelancer sites, you may see pages from freelance marketplace sites on SERPs. These serve as the freelancer’s online profile regarding their services.
Most freelance marketplace sites show not only the services rendered by the freelancer but also their rate.
It is a great way to see their qualifications in the niche and the projects they’ve worked on previously.
But, bear in mind these marketplaces are often filled with part-time professionals looking for extra work and will often have reduced rates due to that.
If you can’t find any of these pages, consider including the agencies in your search.
While agencies aren’t the same as freelancers, they are your competitors since they target the same audience with their services.
Find these types of sites to give you an idea of who you’re going up against.
From here, aside from shaping your price points, you can decide the types of service/s you should offer.
The idea is to provide something that your competitors don’t offer yet.
At best, you should provide services leaps and bounds better than what the market currently has.
My Rates Over The Years
I’ve consistently increased my hourly rate ever since I started doing SEO as a freelancer when I was 13.
Here are my rates over the years:
Bear in mind that if you take inflation into consideration when I started out I was just a teenager earning close to $20 per hour online.
I’m also planning on upping my rate to $1,500/hr before the end of 2023.
Nowadays, $25/hr for year one is a fairly good rate, though I’ve known plenty of people to have managed to achieve 4-8x that within the first 12 months.
Should You Publish Your Rates Or Not?
There’s a greater chance that most freelancers won’t share the prices of their services on their sites unless they signed up on freelance marketplaces that publish hourly rates.
Only a handful of SEO freelancers share prices in public.
Andy Drinkwater is a great example of someone who shares their pricing, he mostly does SEO audits for businesses with prices starting from £2,200 (+VAT) –
SEO is not merely a static practice where one size fits all but is highly dependent on the website looking for one.
By publishing your rates, you’re probably not addressing the critical issues of each of your potential clients.
However, there’s also a disadvantage in keeping your prices under wraps.
For example, some prospects sign up for a discovery call with you and find your rates expensive. Both you and the prospects waste your time talking to each other as a result since they can’t afford your services to begin with.
In this case, consider showing your prices to scare away people who can’t afford your services and manage their expectations before reaching out to you.
The worst-case scenario to approach losing prospects due to your prices is to lower them altogether.
Maybe you’re charging higher than the average SEO provider for your chosen niche. Or they feel your skills aren’t on par with the amount you’re setting them.
Either way, consider lowering your prices a bit to try and get back in the good graces of your prospects.
Regardless of your chosen approach, you should test and measure which will deliver more clients from your website.
Freelance Expert Tip: If you’re working with UK clients (Or many other countries, Lithuania and Italy are other examples) you can access the public company house registry and see the financials for companies.
Let’s say we wanted to look at Brainlab Digital (Formerly known as Distilled) company house financials.
I’d find the company number, or just use the name of the company and search in Google using the operator
site:companycheck.co.uk “brainlab digital”
Which gives me back their financials for the last several years – As seen in the image below.
Charging Higher When You’re Starting Out
It’s possible to charge premium prices right out of the gate, even if you’re still new on your SEO freelancing journey.
To do this, you need to show your target audience that they can trust their SEO needs with the services you offer.
As mentioned, nobody would want to spend a fortune on a freelancer who has nothing to show for.
With that said, below are ways to help you to show your abilities as an SEO professional
How to position yourself as an SEO professional
1. Leverage Social Proof
The effectiveness of social proof lies in how trustworthy the person who wrote the testimonial is. Think of it as similar to link building
Google only values links from authoritative websites.
Even if you get a handful of this type of backlinks, expect to increase your search rankings over a short period.
A handful of links from high-quality sites are much more potent than hundreds and thousands of backlinks from brand new or mediocre websites.
Therefore, try to secure testimonials from previous employers whom you’ve directly worked with.
Freelance Expert Tips: If the employers have clout and influence in the industry you want to break into. Their recommendation will serve as a shining beacon that attests to how good you are in SEO.
As a result, more people will inquire about your services because they were encouraged by the testimonials of your previous clients.
If you can’t get them to write it, at least ask your managers, supervisors, and colleagues to write a good word about you.
While their testimony probably won’t make as strong an impact compared to testimonials from employers, they should at least help provide your prospects with an idea of how you are as a professional.
If you have secured the testimonials, feature them on your website by creating a Testimonials page or placing them on your site’s homepage.
Jessica Foster, for example, created a dedicated page for all the testimonials she received from satisfied clients:
If you only have one or two testimonials, you can just feature them on your homepage.
Only when you’ve gathered enough testimonials through the years should you move all of them to a separate page on your website.
When inserting the testimonials on WordPress, Gutenberg editor has a default Quote block pattern you can use to make them look good even if you don’t have any design experience.
Just search for it when adding an element onto the page and click on it.
Then edit the testimonials into the dummy text and include the image of the person who gave you the positive review.
2. Write Case Studies
Case studies are powerful social proof that allows prospective clients to see how you approach a client project and what you did to reach and hit its goals.
A typical case study shows to readers the problems that the site is currently facing, the solutions for each, and the steps you took to get the job done.
You don’t have to spill the beans and share with them the entire process.
You simply want to focus on the positive effects that your campaign had on the site’s SEO performance.
In this case, take screenshots of the site’s process before you take over the project and after the campaign has concluded.
There should be an upward movement in traffic or any relevant metric you measure concerning your services.
Going back to Jessica, she has a dedicated page for her case studies with various clients.
As a content writer, she measures the website’s conversion rates after publishing her written content.
If you’re a link building freelancer, you want to show the website’s organic traffic you worked on.
As you know, the effectiveness of your link building strategy has a strong correlation with organic traffic growth.
Take David Freudenberg, for example. He took screenshots of his client’s Google Analytics traffic as undeniable proof that the links he built for the site works.
At this point, maybe you don’t have a case study to share with your target clients. Again, you won’t be able to use the work you provided for your agency as proof for legal reasons.
However, once you get the ball rolling with your SEO freelance career, document the campaign results so you can feature them on your site with permission from your client.
Even better, ask them questions to help you flesh out the case study for the benefit of your soon-to-be clients.
If you have finally decide how to quote your freelance business, the next best thing is where to find clients. And you can simply click on that link to get to the content.
That said, see you in the next article.
Got any questions, kindly leave a comment below.