How Much Can You Earn as a Freelancer with SEO?

Okay this question was sent in by Julie and Julie asks, “How much can I earn as a Freelancer with SEO?”

This is a really interesting question because I know that as a Freelancer, (even though I’m not a fan of using that title) I much prefer to call myself an “SEO contractor” or a “SEO consultant” for the simple fact that I think a lot of people think that freelancers are just teenage kids sitting at home bashing away on the keyboard for $2 an hour.

I’m not really comfortable with that title, but it is what it is I guess. As for earnings, I know that I do quite well. I do anywhere between $50,000 and $60,000 a month. If I’m having a bad month I might only do $30,000, but what I do find really interesting is that a lot of freelancers that undertake my either my private coaching or my training – a lot of them are making the same mistake when it comes to setting their rates, and this become evident because they’re all basically doing providing the same service but they’re all earning such different amounts.

What I’ve found is that most freelancers will often say to me,  “John I’m running this SEO business and I’m absolutely struggling. I’m only making $1,200 a month.”, and it’s simply because they’re only charging $200 a month.

I think the reasons why freelancers are struggling at least from what I’ve seen is, firstly they’re undercharging. So they’re not charging enough and in most cases, it’s due to a lack of confidence because they don’t have set processes in place and they’re just kind of “winging it” between clients. Another reason is that most freelancers aren’t tracking and measuring correctly and they’re not demonstrating a positive return on investment for their clients. This in itself leads to clients feeling a sense of uncertainty which never helps and and inturn, you end up dropping your rates just to retain customers.

In a hurry?

Here’s a quick summary of my response to this question –

  • I make half a million a year, working from home as a freelance SEO
  • Always charge hourly for SEO, working at a minimum number of hours per month
  • You don’t need a lot of clients to make a lot of money
  • Always tie in web design with SEO as it can be a profitable upsell
  • You can make a very comfortable living out of SEO freelancing


To be completely honest with you, most freelancers that I’ve spoken with, have no idea what they’re doing – therefore they aren’t real keen on asking for $2,500 a month or $5,000 a month for SEO services. Most kind of just dribble around aimlessly, charging a few hundred a month, and “hoping for the best”.

As I said I think the biggest reason for that is a lack of confidence due to having no processes in place.

Another reason many freelancers aren’t making any money (and this revisits my point about not having set processes) is that they’re often over servicing – they’re spending far too much time on each campaign, which of course becomes problematic, especially when you’re not charging enough. I’ve spoken with some freelancers that have spent 30 hours working on one project in a single week, and they’re only charging $500 for the month. Crazy.

Now having said all of that, one thing I’ve learned in this business is this – you to get paid what you asked for. So if you’re charging $300 a month then you’re gonna get paid $300 month. If you’re charging $2,000 a month then you’re going to get paid $2,000 a month. So in answer to the question, there’s definitely earning potential there, but you’ve got to be smart with your pricing.

I think some of the confusion that surrounds pricing also is the differences that exist within the industry. You’ll see some SEO’s offering a package for $99 a month on one website and then you’ll go to another website and they’ll be charging $250 an hour. The pricing model in the SEO industry can be very confusing, and I think this is partly the problem.

I myself personally, charge an hourly rate for SEO. I charge $165 an hour for a minimum of 15 hours or $2,500 a month. Of course as I said I’m doing quite well. You can do very well with only a small client base, so 10 clients and you can earning $25,000 a month (or more, especially when you factor in web builds)

So there’s earning potential there, but unfortunately a lot of freelancers get it wrong with their pricing structure. They often set their rates incorrectly, or they’re undercharging and over-servicing. All of these things combined can really limit your earning potential.

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