Where does SEO-freelancing go?


The SEO industry is changing rapidly, new directions and services are emerging, which are devoted to numerous articles and research, etc. At the same time, when it comes to the performers, they speak mostly about SEO companies and agencies, forgetting about freelancing. Why is this happening? SEOnews conducted a survey among representatives of SEO-freelancing and blogging to find out what they see the future of the industry.

Survey participants:

Evgeny Nesterov, Sochi, work experience of 8 years;
Sergey iSEO, Minsk, work experience of 8 years;
Ivan Papus, Kiev, work experience 5 years;
Artem Isaev, Kazan, work experience 3,5 years;
Ilya Rusakov, Vladimir, experience of 7 years.

1. What forecast for the development of SEO-freelancing in 2014 you can give?

Yevgeny Nesterov (Sochi): Only positive. Not all owners of ecommerce projects use the services of SEO companies. Some of them quite stably prefer as a performer only freelancer. And everyone as usual is looking for a professional. 🙂
And since the Internet becomes more and more popular, and every year there are more and more business owners, the number of those wishing to use the services of SEO freelancers will grow (and this is very noticeable lately). Therefore, the forecast is exceptionally positive, even despite changes in the algorithms of search engines. How much the site and the search engine will exist, so much and there will be SEO-freelancing.

Sergey iSEO (Minsk): In connection with the tightening of the algorithms of Google and Yandex search engines, I think that the most competent optimizers will remain on the market, who were able to analyze the algorithms and rebuild the promotion under new ranking conditions for obtaining high results. My opinion is that the number of really working freelancers-optimizers will decrease year by year, until the most experienced and professional.

Ivan Papus (Kiev): It is difficult to predict anything. My opinion is people who have sufficient experience, a broad portfolio, a number of recommendations from customers, will have the opportunity to work in the light of increasingly complicated conditions, tightening of search engine filters to search spam, site requirements, etc.

Artem Isaev (Kazan): Shaky talk that began about 2 years ago, that SEO will drift towards SEM, at the end of the year, took shape and was confirmed by all specialists. And this is already dictating a completely different volume and quality of work needed to achieve serious results. It is the competitiveness of the niche that will become the fork in which the approaches to work begin to diverge. All this can seriously change the structure of the SEO-freelancer work.

Ilya Rusakov, SEOinSoul (Vladimir): In my opinion, the market will carve out “pseudo-optimizers,” which promise customers positions and do nothing at all. Now many agencies are engaged in the same, and traveling on the credulity of the client will be increasingly difficult. The client wonders every year, it is necessary and freelancers to become smarter and offer quality work on promotion.

ВЫВОД: Apparently, almost all respondents believe that there is a tendency in the market to displace incompetent SEO-specialists. But for literate, well-established experts forecast positive.

2. What awaits the average freelancers in a merger of companies in a full-service agency?

Yevgeny Nesterov (Sochi): Depends on what the client needs in each case. Does he need this complete cycle, or does he need one thing (SEO, Context or SMO). It often happens that you only need SEO, and the output of hundreds of targeted MF and LF in the TOP 3. Then the other directions fall away, and the client is only looking for an SEO freelancer by its own selection criteria. If the client needs everything, then, naturally, it is much more convenient for him to order everything from a full cycle company, and not to have three freelancers of different specialization. But in this case, obviously, the issue has been resolved so far only from the side of convenience. The total cost of the service and its conversion can vary greatly in different cases.

Sergey iSEO (Minsk): I can not say for all, but I have 70 percent of clients who used to use the services of the most eminent SEO companies on the market and were eventually dissatisfied, since the approach to the client is not satisfactory on the streaming method, and the quality of SEO services often leaves wish for the best. I am sure that a competent optimizer will not work for the company, and, therefore, not the most highly qualified specialists work in companies, for the most part. There are super-pros, but they are busy, and the regular client is always given to the staff optimizer, communication is directly excluded, only through the operator, and this is a “deaf phone.” In general, for myself I do not see any problems due to the merger and consolidation of companies.

Ivan Papus (Kiev): The average freelancer is probably looking for clients on their own. If this becomes more complicated in view of the fact that most will give preference to large companies, a lot of freelancers will be very difficult. Again, it is likely that it will save that there is a customer base, people will continue to refer to recommendations. However, to compete with agencies that offer acceptable prices and a full range of jobs that a freelancer can not offer will be very, very difficult.

Artem Isaev (Kazan): Most likely, good projects will become less accessible, and freelancers who work under the scheme of “a little bit of internal and reference” and nothing more are able to do it will have to be difficult (as well as similar offices).

Ilya Rusakov, SEOinSoul (Vladimir): Freelancers also need to offer a range of services. In modern realities, it is increasingly difficult to lead potential customers only from search – you need traffic from other sources. And to stop at a certain amount of visits is not necessary, you need to achieve high conversions and sales for the client (that is, you need detailed analytics and work on the site itself). In this case, the freelancer will always be in demand.

CONCLUSION: Opinions on this issue were divided. Some respondents believe that for the specialists of the “average hand” will come hard times and to attract customers will have to put more effort than before. Others look at things more optimistically and assert that experience, competence and a good portfolio will allow even “not the top” freelancer to remain afloat.

3. What changes will occur in the work of well-known, well-proven SEO specialists?

Yevgeny Nesterov (Sochi): In the light of the constant increase in the demand for SEO, good specialists and their profits will only grow and prosper.

Sergey iSEO (Minsk): I can not say for other professionals, for myself, I chose one topic – promotion of sites in Russia and abroad, I do not render any more services, but I try to do what I do very well. As a result, many customers bring their friends to promote.

Ivan Papus (Kiev): I think that well-known and experienced specialists will always have their clients. Here everything depends on the freelancer – he will make a choice in favor of getting a large company for a certain position, or he will continue to work independently. For example, I received offers from various SEO companies and marketing agencies on a number of occasions, but they can not offer a salary that at least 70-80% corresponds to the real profit that I get as a freelancer, working for myself and managing my time. Usually this salary is about 30-40% of current income + strict schedule of work, constant monitoring and strict requirements, which, for example, does not suit me, although many will be willing to work on such conditions, and then everyone makes a choice for himself, because work in the company probably gives guarantees of having a permanent employment, which can not be said about the “free” activity of a freelancer.

Artem Isaev (Kazan): Well-known specialists always have a lot of work, and most likely, the changes that take place will not affect them.

Ilya Rusakov, SEOinSoul (Vladimir): If they continue to develop together with the market, then no. Good specialists have been working in the complex over sites for a long time and know how and with what sources it is possible to achieve a positive result.

CONCLUSION: Respondents were solidary in this matter. All respondents believe that well-known freelancers will be able to compete with the growing market of SEO companies.

4. Will the specialization of freelancers in a certain area be preserved, or will they increase their competencies and begin to carry out complex works on promotion? Or maybe the future behind the freelancer “artels”?

Yevgeny Nesterov (Sochi): Depends on the specific specialization of the freelancer and his requirements for earnings. In the case of SEO (especially in the light of Yandex’s recent declarations about the cancellation of the reference), if the link is completely disconnected, then SEO freelancers, like the SEO companies, are liberated a large amount of time / people engaged in subtle referential ranking processes. It would be silly just not to use this time or to fire these people without trying to retrain them into that specialization that is not yet offered by the company or freelancer. And, first of all, we are talking about social factors. After Yandex stops taking into account external links, it is obvious that even more attention will be paid to social factors, and new actual metrics will appear (or have already appeared) in the algorithm of search engines to recognize their artificial wrapping.

Sergey i-SEO (Minsk): I do not think that it makes sense to spray on a comprehensive approach, for this there are firms who need – they will always find the whole complex. For a freelancer, quality is important, and it’s impossible to do everything at the highest level, it remains to do one thing, but so that the level is higher than in any company. Basically, customers who come to freelancers are looking for low prices or higher quality than in companies. And the fact that this narrow specialization, promotion and nothing more, no one has stopped.

Ivan Papus (Kiev): I can say about myself that during the whole period of activity as a freelancer you have to master all new areas and try yourself as an analyst, marketer, copywriter, content manager, manager, translator, in addition to the main direction of an SEO specialist. But already now it is impossible to work alone, it is necessary to work in a team with other specialists.

Artem Isaev (Kazan): In the freelance market there has always been a specialization, it will remain. This is certainly an option, but less serious and long-term projects can not afford to be scattered on constant searches, negotiations, clarification of TK, etc. for a large number of performers, it is simply unprofitable and unrealistic. The idea of making some “artels” for some kind of project, distributing roles and specialization inside among narrow specialists, is still difficult for me to realize, because There may be complexities and contradictions in the design itself. Of course, some fragmentary things have existed for a long time. Partially, I already have to apply them, outsourcing copywriting, SMO, SMM and routine imposition. But here to put such a scheme on a serious basis and flow – actually turn into SEO-offices, competing only at the expense of lower costs.

Ilya Rusakov, SEOinSoul (Vladimir): Certainly, narrow specialists will remain, for example, on contextual advertising or SMM. If you take contextual advertising and, in particular, Ya.Direkt, then many topics in it are already overheated, and even the pros will often find it difficult to achieve self-sufficiency of this channel. Ideally, you need to find less competitive sources and work in a complex. This is easier for freelancers and more effective for customers. As for the “artels” I’m not sure, it’s more from the realm of fantasy. Firstly, it will be difficult to unite with real specialists, someone will provide “not quite” quality services. Secondly, there must be a person in charge of the organization, or chaos and confusion may arise. And in the case of the organizing link, it is more like an agency with remote employees.

CONCLUSION: Very contradictory opinions were expressed on this issue. On the one hand, now a freelancer needs a wide range of services that he can not provide alone, and therefore has to cooperate with someone. At the same time, such cooperation can not be called a group work or an association, because often this does not work on an ongoing basis. On the other hand, narrow specialists always exist in any industry, and their services remain in demand despite everything.

5. What is the average wage level of a freelancer?.

Yevgeny Nesterov (Sochi): Here everything depends on the level of knowledge and experience of the freelancer himself, as well as on his popularity. Numbers can be very different. 50-100-150-200 thousand rubles a month and more.

Sergey iSEO (Minsk): Different specializations, different and payment, someone $ 100, someone $ 20,000, there is no average payment here. This is how to measure the average temperature of a hospital.

Ivan Papus (Kiev): I can not speak for everyone, I think, for this there are statistics and surveys, I can say for myself – on average this is from $ 5 to $ 9 thousand per month when you work 15-16 hours a day. It all depends on the load.

Artem Isaev (Kazan): The average level depends on the load that a person takes, and, unlike the flow in offices for 20-30 projects and more on one specialist, a freelancer serves a smaller quantity at a time, but more often than not, it leads the whole cycle of work (because their typical employer is a non- small business, and he does not have the resources to follow the recommendations of the SEO freelancer, delegating them to someone else). In Kazan, an average check of 10-15 thousand rubles for a small site, and if a person is a competent specialist, he can earn from 25 to 50 thousand rubles.

Ilya Rusakov, SEOinSoul (Vladimir): I do not know what I do not know. Even being a freelancer, I never focused on the prices of others, but worked according to my price list.

CONCLUSION:As can be seen from the respondents’ answers, the average level of income of a freelancer depends on the region in which it operates and the level of congestion, therefore it is difficult to name any particular amount.

6. Who are your main customers – business representatives or SEO agencies? So has it always or recently been changes?

Yevgeny Nesterov (Sochi): In the overwhelming majority (90%) directly representatives of business. The remaining 10% are SEO companies that are forced to search for the performer remotely, because they do not physically pull the new client due to the full workload of the staff, but they do not want to refuse it either. With each company on the basis of each specific site, negotiations are conducted individually.

Sergey iSEO (Minsk): The clients are different, I work as an outsourcer with foreign companies to develop sites that transfer their clients for promotion, and directly with the firms and, sometimes, with individuals, it has been like that throughout my work in freelancing since 2006.

Ivan Papus (Kiev): Clients are completely different, basically – site owners, i.e. business representatives, also turn to SEO companies to work on their projects, with some companies working on an ongoing basis. So it was always, until some changes are observed.

Artem Isaev (Kazan): Typical small business: services (+ hotels, travel agencies, cleaning, salons, etc.), regional small online stores. If the customer has already burned, then with a competent expert showing the result, he works for years. The benefit is mutual – the freelancer has a stable income and involvement in the topic, the customer is calm and confident as a result, there are no losses and failures with frequent leapfrog and change of performers. Less: the freelancer “dries up” in one resource-theme, does not develop and with the updating of the PS algorithms there may be problems with the promoted site.

Ilya Rusakov, SEOinSoul (Vladimir): Our main customers are representatives of business. Recently there have been no changes.

CONCLUSION: The respondents almost unanimously named representatives of business as their main customers. It is also important to note that at the time of the survey, no new trends arose.

The author of the article: rSEO

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