Best Practices for Hiring SEO Freelancers

Introduction

SEO is labour-intensive and can involve tedious tasks. It is a constant effort to keep up with competitors and ever-changing ranking algorithms. It is expensive to hire SEO agencies so many small companies turn to SEO freelancers for help.

SEO freelancers can offer a great solution for time-poor and money-strapped companies. However, hiring freelancers bring their own set of risks and challenges. Poor link-building and quality of work could damage your SEO efforts, rather than improve your rankings. 

In this article, we highlight the challenges and benefits of SEO freelancers. We also provide some useful tips to help you avoid some common pitfalls.

 The challenges

Platforms like People Per Hour and Fiverr have made freelancing a global industry. You can hire freelancers from all corners of the globe. Whilst it is tempting to outsource your work to low-cost countries, the quality of work may be an issue, particularly the quality of writing. 

Blogs are a reflection of your brand and must be held to a high standard. We have been provided with blogs from freelancers which appear to have been translated into English using Google Translate. Using low-cost countries can be a false economy as you might end up with unusable content. Hiring a native English speaker should always be a top priority.

Hiring freelancers for link-building can also be problematic. You need to be wary of the quality of links. Ensure that your freelancer publishes work on sites with both high domain authority and high traffic. 

Many freelancers have lists of publishers with seemingly high domain authority. However, domain authority can be artificially enhanced and could be a PBN. It is worth learning how to use tools such as Semrush to check the health of links. Site traffic is as important to link quality as domain authority. Poor quality links can damage your SEO.

Other link-building risks with using freelancers include the type of link or its longevity. Dofollow links have much more impact than Nofollow links. The high power link promised by the freelancer may not have the impact that you are expecting. In addition, some links are not permanent and may be taken down after a year or even sooner. You need permanent Dofollow links. If links disappear, it will be difficult to get your money back!

Another SEO practice to watch out for is duplicate publication. We have found freelancers publishing blog posts on multiple sites. This can harm your SEO. It is worth tracking your guest blog posts using plagiarism tools to check originality.

Top tips for hiring freelancers

Hiring the right freelancer is critical. You should always treat the hiring process the same as in-house hires. A lack of due diligence can leave you unsatisfied with the work you have paid for. 

Freelancer marketplaces such as Upwork, People Per Hour and Fiverr are great for finding freelancers. You can review profiles, ratings and customer reviews. However, you should be skeptical as ratings and reviews could be inaccurate or fake. Try taking this a step further by interviewing prospective freelancers to get a better sense of their expertise. 

Instead of relying on reviews, you should also view their portfolio of work. This gives you a better sense of whether they are a good fit or not. It’s important that a freelancer can meet your needs. 

A great way to test a freelancer’s skills is by asking them to complete a sample task. By hiring on a test basis, you receive an up to date and accurate idea of their ability. You need to be sure of the quality of work before committing.

If you are nervous about hiring a freelancer, ask around for personal recommendations. Someone with a good reputation is likely to be worth the investment.

When SEO freelancers propose a laundry list of sites for backlinks, this can sometimes be a cause for concern. They may be PBNs or over used sites, riddled with outlinks which will damage your SEO. Use backlink checkers such as Semrush to identify the quality of links. Identify some target niches and see if your freelancer is confident in obtaining them.

The advantages of hiring SEO freelancers

Once you have hired the right freelancer, outsourcing SEO can be highly beneficial. The greatest advantage is arguably cost efficiency. In comparison to traditional agencies, freelancers allow you to improve your ranking at a fraction of the price. The flexibility of pay-as-you-go means it is only a cost as and when needed.

Like all things in life, you get what you pay for with freelancers. Typically, the more you pay, the higher the quality of work. If improving SEO is a main priority, it is best not to cut corners. Consider hiring a well-ranked, more expensive professional so you have a higher guarantee of ranking improvement. U.K. journalists often work freelance on the side and can be a great option for high quality written work.

The ever-changing nature of SEO makes it time-consuming to keep up with. Thanks to freelance marketplaces, experts are accessible at the click of a button. They are up to date on best practices meaning you do not have to worry about keeping up with the latest trends. Plus, they are well-versed in keyword research and will help you hit SEO targets. This will allow you to focus on less technical practices of your business that do not require expert input.

Conclusion

Outsourcing anything brings challenges and SEO freelancers are no exception. You are trusting someone with your brand, so it is always important to lay out your objectives and requirements. A strong level of communication is also crucial throughout the writing and publication process.

Despite the challenges, SEO freelancers are a great short-term solution for rankings. They’re convenient, flexible and cost-efficient. They are experts in the field and can significantly help boost SEO. For long term SEO impact, an in-house team or marketing agency may be the better choice, assuming you have the budget.

Author biography Anna Rubingh is a University of Sheffield graduate with a BA in Hispanic Studies and Business Management. She is currently working as a digital marketing intern for an online platform for cleaners in London, TidyChoice. She has published several articles on a range of topics, from business to lifestyle.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.