Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an essential part of every business owner’s marketing campaigns. SEO can generate targeted organic traffic for websites and allow businesses to obtain numerous customers.
If you want to expand your online business, investing in SEO is unsurprisingly crucial.
Technically, you can optimize your sites for SEO on your own. However, this may not be optimal since such a task is tedious and time-consuming. It can take months or even years to materialize. Your business simply cannot wait for it.
Hence, hiring a freelance SEO consultant is the best way to go for SMBs. You and your team will work with specialists who know what they’re doing and achieve better search engine rankings in a much shorter time.
Things You Should Know About Hiring an SEO Expert
You may now feel inclined to hire SEO experts. However, finding the right freelance SEO specialist is not a straightforward task.
Hiring an SEO Team vs. a Single SEO Specialist
First of all, to achieve the best results, you may need to hire an entire SEO team rather than a single SEO specialist.
This is because SEO involves various tasks. Each task can be highly time-consuming. I don’t think an SEO specialist will provide much value to your business if he has to work on all SEO tasks on his own.
Hence, hiring a team of specialists is a superior alternative. Optimally, each specialist will focus on one of the following tasks.
- Keyword Research + Content Writing + On-page optimization
- Outreach + Backlink Building
- Technical SEO + Website Analytics
However, some entrepreneurs may lack the budget to hire an SEO team, as it can cost thousands of dollars or more per month.
If that’s the case, I suggest replacing an on-page SEO specialist with an SEO content writing tool. You can then use it to create content and perform on-page optimization on your own.
Next, suppose your website is small and straightforward. I don’t think you need a technical SEO specialist on a regular basis. You can hire a technical SEO specialist to perform a one-time check-up every three to six months.
Finally, you will hire only one SEO expert with an outreach specialty. This strategy potentially saves more than half of your budget in the process.
Stay Away from Fake SEO Experts and Cheap SEO Services
As businesses demand more SEO specialists, scammers and fake SEO experts pop up in extreme numbers.
These are people who know that SEO services have become an extremely lucrative business. Thus, they want to reap some of the profits, though they are indeed devoid of the skills to offer high-quality solutions.
Fake SEO experts can seriously harm your business, including but not limited to
- Poorly edit your articles, causing your rankings on search engines to tumble
- Plagiarize other site content, leading other website owners to submit a DMCA takedown notice or even file a legal action against your business
- Create backlinks for your site using spam sites and PBNs instead of legit outreach, resulting in manual action from Google and other search engines
- Infect your site with malware both intentionally and unintentionally, effectively destroying your reputation
- Mess up with your website code, causing your visitors to encounter multiple errors
Hence, it is highly crucial to avoid fake SEO specialists at all costs.
Based on my experience, fake SEO experts tend to reach out to you through emails or social networks as legit independent SEO specialists. They will send you their stellar profile to convince you to hire them.
Since it is tough to separate these fake experts from legit SEO specialists on those channels, I recommend avoiding them altogether.
You don’t need to take unnecessary risks for your business, as there are so many credible SEO specialists available on trustworthy platforms out there to hire.
Also, during the last few years, I have seen many SEO agencies have popped up on social networks, offering ridiculously cheap SEO services to customers.
Please stay away from such services. They are cheap because of a reason.
Keep in mind that SEO involves several complicated tasks that require professional skills and significant commitment. Hiring a specialist of such caliber by paying only $30 per month is out of the question.
Stick to White Hat SEOs
Like the Light Side and the Dark Side in Star Wars, SEO also has two sides, commonly known in the industry as White Hats and Black Hats.
White Hats are specialists who perform SEO tasks according to Google’s webmaster guidelines. All the processes will be legit and ethical.
Black Hats are another story. They use unethical SEO strategies or essentially everything for their client sites to rank high. I don’t want to drill deep into those techniques here, but to give you an idea, those include spamming bad links to your competitor’s site.
I suggest you stick to white hat SEO specialists. If you hire Black Hats, you may receive a manual action that causes your rankings to tumble sitewide. To make matters worse, Google may even deindex your site.
In addition, Google is now actively fighting against such unethical techniques. Thus, it is inevitable that they will be less effective over time.
If you want to outsource SEO risk-free, hiring White Hat specialists is the only practical way to go.
I decided to help you out in this regard. This post will feature the best and most reliable sites to hire an SEO freelancer for your business. You can then handily select the services that can fit into your budget and suit your preferences.
Below are my criteria for the best sites to hire a freelance SEO specialist
- Trustworthy sites
- Swift hiring process
- Pre-vetted talent + Rigorous vetting process
- Provide only white-hat SEO specialists
- Offer good value for money
- Mostly positive reviews from real users
- My personal experience with the site, platform, and service (if any) must be positive.
You Still Need to Monitor Them
Although you have hired freelance SEO specialists from credible sites, you still need to monitor their performance carefully. Why?
There is always a chance these professionals will not perform, commit errors, or fail to fit into your business culture.
In that case, you will need to intervene to stop the bleed until it is too late. If you hire SEO freelancers from MarketerHire or Toptal, I recommend requesting a replacement immediately (free of charge).
Affiliate Disclosure: This post from Victory Tale contains affiliate links. We will receive a small commission if you proceed to hire an SEO consultant through them.
Nevertheless, we always value integrity and prioritize our audience’s interests. You can rest assured that we present each site truthfully.
MarketerHire is one of the most reliable platforms for recruiting top marketing professionals. Unlike other competitors, MarketerHire’s only focus is on the marketing industry. Hence, the team has the expertise to leverage in matching the right talents to their clients.
The platform has had numerous enterprise clients including Uber, Netflix, Yelp, PayPal, Sephora, etc. Hence, you can be confident that their SEO freelancers are trustworthy.
How it Works
Hiring SEO professionals is straightforward with MarketerHire. You just need to follow the three steps below.
Step 1: You will first need to fill out a questionnaire about your business, SEO projects, and other specific needs.
If you are still unsure, you can pick “decide later” to proceed to the next question.
After you submit the questionnaire, MarketerHire may contact you by phone or email within 24 hours to learn more about your project so that they can come up with the most suitable SEO specialists.
For example, you can request to work with SEO consultants specializing in off-page SEO and link building and you want to hire them part-time for six months.
Step 2: Next, MarketerHire will search through their network of top-notch freelancers. Within 48 hours, the team will send the first prospects for you to consider.
Suppose you are satisfied with the recommendations. MarketerHire will schedule video calls so that you can discuss your projects with them and find out whether these talents have the right attitude that fits your corporate culture.
In contrast, if you choose not to approve their recommendations, you can request the team to come back with new talents.
Step 3: Once you have found the right SEO specialist, you can kickstart your SEO campaign right away. MarketerHire will check in with you every two weeks to ensure that everything is on track.
If you are unhappy with your SEO freelancers for any reason, you can inform MarketerHire and ask for a replacement. The team will match you with new talent without charging extra fees.
From an overall perspective, MarketerHire can help find reliable SEO specialists to work for you within a week or so. Although their hiring process is not the fastest, it is still much quicker than most hiring platforms.
However, the most important of all is that you will never get scammed since every marketing talent has passed a rigorous vetting process from MarketerHire (see below).
At a 5% acceptance rate, MarketerHire has one of the most rigorous vetting processes in the industry.
The process consists of five steps. The team will evaluate each candidate by reviewing their professional experience, work samples, and client feedback. All candidates will also complete several assessments and projects that test their skills.
Subsequently, the team will interview each candidate to assess their communication skills and professionalism.
All talent must pass the entire vetting process before being able to be selected. Hence, you can rest assured that you will only work with elite SEO specialists.
MarketerHire does not have exact pricing rates. SEO specialists will set their own, depending on several factors, including specialty, responsibilities, location, etc. Typically, they will charge higher for projects that require advanced skills or more in-depth research.
Another factor that significantly impacts the rates is the types of employment (Hourly, Part-time, Full-time). If you choose to hire SEO experts part-time or full-time, you will receive a 20% discount.
To give you an idea, most of the rates fall in the following range.
- Hourly – $80-$160 per hour
- Part-time (At least 20 hours per month) – $1200-$2400 per week
- Full-time (At least 40 hours per month) – $2400-$4800 per week
MarketerHire’s pricing structure is highly flexible since it does not require clients to get into a long-term contract. Hence, you are free to cancel the services when you don’t need them anymore.
The only drawback is that MarketerHire requires clients to spend at least $1500 per month on the services. In other words, you need to hire SEO freelancers for no fewer than 10-20 hours every month.
With this requirement, MarketerHire is only optimal for eCommerce websites, companies, startups, and enterprises looking for medium to long-term SEO solutions.
It is not suitable if you want to hire a freelance SEO specialist to work on small SEO tasks that can be completed in several hours.
Apart from freelance fees, MarketerHire charges nothing, including the upfront deposit that other platforms require. You will only pay hourly fees after your SEO freelancer starts working on your projects.
Pros & Cons
- Specialized US-based site for hiring top marketers
- Fast and straightforward hiring process
- Hiring an entire SEO team is possible.
- Rigorous vetting process with only 5% acceptance rate
- Free replacement if you are unhappy with your freelance talent
- Charge no placement or termination fees.
- No need to pay deposits upfront
- Besides SEO professionals, clients can hire digital marketing specialists, social media marketing consultants, and many others.
- Require commitment of $1500 per month, thus not suitable for small SEO projects
- MarketerHire does not provide access to a list of all available freelancers and their profiles, which is not optimal if you want to select freelancers on your own.
Toptal is unarguably one of the best freelance sites for recruiting professionals. As a platform, Toptal is known for its highly rigorous vetting process. Hence, it is perfectly suitable for businesses that want to work only with the best.
How it Works
Unlike MarketerHire, all Toptal SEO experts are web developers or web designers. Thus, they may not be able to create content or start outreach campaigns for your business.
Instead, they are most suitable for performing technical SEO tasks, including but not limited to
- Enhance UI/UX of your site to make it more user-friendly
- Optimize and speed up your website
- Audit your website to find errors or broken links etc.
- Manage site architecture and solve issues related to crawling, indexing, XML sitemaps, URL structure, structured data, etc.
- Add new features to your site and ensure that they function smoothly
These tasks are highly crucial not only for SEO but also for your website health. Undoubtedly, you will need a service performed by a reliable SEO specialist who will not break your site and open the doors to hackers.
Toptal is currently the best choice to hire such a specialist. The hiring process on the platform is straightforward without hassles. I have summarized the hiring process below.
Step 1: Like MarketerHire, you will provide all details about your projects and other requirements through a questionnaire. Try to input as much information as possible since it would help Toptal find the right match faster.
Alternatively, you can select SEO specialists on your own by visiting this page. You can read their CVs and review their profiles. However, you still need to complete the questionnaire to send a hiring request to Toptal.
Subsequently, the hiring manager might contact you via phone or email to understand your SEO goals, hiring needs, and team dynamics.
Step 2: The hiring manager will find the right talent for you. The average time to match is approximately 24 hours, which is extremely fast. In some cases, it may take longer if you have particular requirements, but it rarely exceeds 48 hours.
Step 3: You can start a trial to try the freelancer’s services for free for two weeks. During the trial period, you can evaluate their skills, attitudes, and personalities to ensure they fit in with the team. Hence, you don’t have to worry that you will hire an unsuitable person.
Note: You will need to pay a $500 deposit at this point.
Step 4: If you approve your new team member, the deposit will be applied as a credit on your first invoice. However, if you are not impressed with the trial and decide not to move forward, Toptal will find new talents for you or completely refund the deposit.
Toptal is known to have one of the most rigorous vetting processes in the industry. The pass rate is a meager 3%.
All freelancers who will work with you have to pass all steps that will test their technical skills, language skills, personality, communication skills, and professionalism.
Hence, you can make sure that a Toptal SEO specialist is the one that you can rely on in any circumstances.
Toptal does not have exact pricing. The amount you pay will depend on specialty, types of employment, location, and many other factors.
However, in most cases, all rates fall into the following range.
- Hourly – $60-$250 per hour
- Part-time – $1000-$4000 per week
- Full-time – $2000-$8000 per week
There is no long-term contract or minimum monthly commitment. Thus, you can then cancel the services once you don’t need them.
Compared to regular freelance sites, Toptal is considerably costlier. However, managing technical SEO is very crucial for any business. Only top experts are qualified for the task. Thus, I think it is definitely worth the additional investment.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent platform to find trustworthy technical SEO specialists
- Extremely rigorous vetting process
- Fast hiring process: You can start working with the right SEO specialist in less than a week.
- No-risk free trial to test prospects on your own
- No long-term contracts + Cancel anytime
- Only technical SEO specialists are available.
- Require an initial deposit of $500 (deducted as credit once you make a hire)
- Does not offer the fastest customer service (no live chat)
Important Note: Most Toptal reviews available online do not accurately reflect the quality of services. I have investigated hundreds of negative reviews and found that most are from candidates who fail to pass their vetting process. To me, this proves that the screening process works very well.
3. Fiverr Pro
Fiverr is a leading freelance site that everyone is familiar with. However, I don’t suggest using services from random freelancers on Fiverr Marketplace. Indeed, they offer cheap services, but the quality is highly dubious.
If you want to hire a freelance SEO specialist, don’t hesitate to go for Fiverr Pro, Fiverr’s premium hand-vetted service.
How it Works
Most freelancers on Fiverr are not verified or pre-vetted. Thus, in most cases, they are not reliable enough to handle SEO tasks for your site. However, that’s not the case with Fiverr Pro.
All freelancers in Fiverr Pro have passed the vetting process that verifies their background and tests their technical & communication skills, professionalism, attitudes, and many other qualities. Hence, they are as reliable as those on MarketerHire and Toptal.
Hiring on Fiverr Pro is similar to the regular Fiverr Marketplace. Just select a gig that aligns with your SEO needs and submit an order. Your freelancers will then start working right away.
Because of this hiring structure, Fiverr Pro is the best option if you want a freelance SEO specialist to work on small, temporary tasks such as SEO audit, SEO strategy formulation, or landing page optimization.
However, suppose you want to hire an independent SEO consultant for a more extended period or an SEO team. Fiverr Pro is far from optimal. You may switch to Fiverr Studios, which allows clients to hire an entire team of freelancers.
As Fiverr Studios is a new service, there are very few gigs to choose from. Thus, I don’t think I can recommend it at this point. If you want to hire an SEO team, MarketerHire is a superior alternative.
The pricing for Fiverr Pro varies gig by gig based on what services are provided. For most gigs, all fees are one-time, but some gigs allow monthly subscriptions as well.
Compared to MarketerHire and Toptal, the rates are considerably lower. This makes Fiverr the best option for SMBs whose SEO project does not require significant commitment.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent site to hire a freelance SEO specialist to work on small SEO tasks
- Verified and vetted freelancers
- Straightforward hiring process: You can select SEO experts on your own.
- More affordable than alternatives
- Flexible + No long term contracts
- Not the best option if your SEO project is complex and requires recurring commitment or if you want to hire an entire SEO team
4. Upwork Talent Scout
Upwork is one of the largest freelance recruiting sites on the planet and Fiverr’s archrival. The Talent Marketplace is where businesses connect with freelancers and handily hire them to work on projects.
However, regarding SEO solutions, it would still be optimal to utilize Upwork’s premium service, Talent Scout, to ensure high quality of services from freelancers.
How it Works
Unlike its regular freelance marketplace, Talent Scout only features pre-vetted freelancers. Thus, they are among the best in the industry and extremely reliable.
The hiring process is similar to Toptal and MarketerHire. First, you provide information regarding your SEO projects. Subsequently, Upwork will use machine learning to find the right talent and create a shortlist of top matches for you to interview.
Finally, you will interview those top matches and decide who you want to hire. If you are unsatisfied with all the candidates, you can request Upwork to create another shortlist for your consideration.
From an overall perspective, the hiring process is speedy. However, unlike other platforms, talents are not hand-picked (Upwork uses machine learning.) I am not so sure whether this method is as effective as manual selection.
Note: As of October 2021, Talent Scout is only available for businesses in the United States.
The price per hour varies according to several factors such as specialty, experience, types of employment, and others. Upwork does not provide general pricing ranges. Thus, you may need to ask the team directly.
Pros & Cons
- Swift and straightforward hiring process
- You can hire a team of pre-vetted SEO experts.
- No extra fees and long-term contracts
- Talent Scout is a new service. Thus, it is currently available for businesses in the United States.
- Freelance talents are not hand-picked.
Content Writing Services – If you want to outsource both on-page SEO and content marketing, using one of these professional services is an excellent idea.
Unlimited Graphic Design Services – Excellent graphic design resources are vital for convincing visitors to buy your products. These companies offer access to professional graphic designers at a fixed monthly price.
Freelance Web Developers – Besides SEO, building a user-friendly website is essential for business success. You can hire top freelance developers to create, manage, and maintain your website or web application from these platforms.