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Suggested Guidelines for Freelancers with SEO Jobs

Admittedly it took a bad experience to have me reach out to fellow clients for advice. lol

In short, I had an SEO freelancer do some "work" and spend about 50% of the time on social media.

When I asked for a progress update from the contractor I got an answer a couple days later of "internal linking".

Internal means between pages of my website, linking would be creating <a href> links... which takes minutes.

I was able to successfully recover the 50 percent of the wages paid thanks to the dispute process.


Anyway, moving forward and trying to learn from my mistakes, I'm wondering what everyone else writes in the job descriptions as far as expectations regarding freelancers communicating updates, progress (or milestones) and or performance goals for search engine optimization jobs.


To me, SEO is some kind of art more than a science because google and other search engines hide their search algorithms so all the SEO experts can do is try stuff and see what works... like a game.


I would like to hire another freelancer to work on my site but I don't know how to quantify the effectiveness of their work, and I don't know what tools people use to measure the results. To keep hiring until someone gets the desired results of "more customers" to my site would just be like throwing money in my fireplace.


I can think of a few possible measurements to show progress... such as visitors to my site, or visitors to a certain page or following a funnel I have set up on analytics. But none of these will guarantee new customers. Google makes it quite difficult to find the keywords that particular visitors searched for to get to your site.  I can get a general "here's what people searched for when going to your site" but the real useful information is which one of those searches prompted someone to fill out the web form and or call my phone to retain my services??


Not being an expert in the field I have a hard time understanding what keywords are the best to optimize my site for. So many things to consider... would love to hear suggestions before I open another job.


Thank you in advance!


I would agree with you the SEO (and social media) are more "arts than sciences."  I am not a client yet, I am a freelancer who writes some content that is SEO-friendly and I write social media content. You will see conflicting advice from "experts" because different approaches and strategies work for different brands.


And the truth is that few people actually "know" for sure what works. Search engines like Google and Bing keep their algorithms private. And for that matter, so does every social media channel. Since you are a paying client, I do think you have every right to require regular reports from your freelancer. I also think you should be in on whatever strategies and tactics are used (to whatever extent you want to be involved).


I think these fields have too many people who offer easy, quick results. Sometimes the tactics used are attempts to trick Google (or Bing, etc.) and may sometimes be outdated or even harmful. Search engine algorithms change frequently as they attempt to better match results to the searchers' intentions and questions. I think at the end of the day, anything that contributes to a positive experience for your website visitors (and potential customers) helps.


I personally think there is some benefit to internal linking. It may help Google better categorize the inter-related topics on your website. But more importantly, if done well internal links help your visitors find other information that interests them and keeps them on your site longer. This also means they are likely to connect with some of your content and possibly enter your sales funnel (and become your customer). I can't say how much time your prior freelancer should have spent working on internal links. And he or she should be able to explain the strategy to you and only pursue it if it is something you want to try.


About measuring results. The free analytics from Google, your hosting service, and various social media are a great place to start. Also, many subscription, marketing SaaS, or platforms have their own analytics. If you have good sales funnels that may also help you evaluate how well your content converts (though if you are attracting the wrong people via SEO they may not respond well to even excellent content).


Keep in mind some legit SEO tactics might show results quickly, but others tend to take more time. Some who get really fast results with SEO and social media actually buy followers and page views. That rarely helps you meet your business goals since those views and follows are usually bots not potential customers.


SEO is not art but not a science as well. It is just statistics if you know what you are doing. Google keep changing it is algorithm almost every 2-3 hours. To see the frequency of changes you can see here: mozcast.com.


To answer your question how to track progress, you will need to use tools like RankTracker. For that, you need to know what are the keywords you are trying to rank and what are the current positions of the keyword. This tool will check the keyword position movement every day.


SEO is a very slow process, and it takes more than 5-6 months to see the results. There are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO.


Basically, you need to optimize a site with proper code without errors, make sure that you follow all the guidelines given by Google. You can find them here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/topic/6001981?hl=en&ref_topic=3309300


Selecting the keyword is the biggest decision you'll make for your website. I'd recommend reading the whole article by Brain Dean here to learn about Keyword Research. 


Make sure you stay away from spammy backlink builders, we have lots of them in industry.



@Pinakin B wrote:



SEO is a very slow process, and it takes more than 5-6 months to see the results. There are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO. 


 Pinakin, doesn't that make it difficult for an Upwork client to decide if an SEO 'expert' did a good job or not? On a fixed price contract, for example, a client has only 14 days to review work once it's submitted, and for hourly it's even less.

"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

@Matt C wrote:



Not being an expert in the field I have a hard time understanding what keywords are the best to optimize my site for.

This is why, like many, you have the whole SEO thing wrong.


Keywords based SEO was true in 2000 but doesn't exist anymore. Most if not all of the self-proclaimed SEO specialists on Upwork are just **Edited for Community Guidelines**. They strive because clients have no clue about SEO and because ranking is a slow process so they are safe from bad feedback.


There are some SEO rules that apply to the form (fast website, encryption, blah blah), you can find all this on the Internet. Everything else is about the content.


The more SEO-friendly content is the content that is written without having the SEO in mind. You cannot hack the algorithm, whoever claim they can is lying. Google is all about relevance of the matter.


If you have a product that sells tires, don't try to stuff it with keywords, Google will notice and will kill you. Write about tire technology, about travel, about roads, about transportation, about weather, write about what will catch the eyes of real people. Don't try to get noticed by algorithms but by people.


Content is king, relevant, interesting, content that people want to read, where they can find useful info. This is SEO content. Everything else is **Edited for Community Guidelines**.


I run from clients that include SEO in their job description. Usually it means they want keyword loaded cr*p.

"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

My two cents as a writer, branding and marketing professional.  Rene is right: "The more SEO-friendly content is the content that is written without having the SEO in mind. You cannot hack the algorithm, whoever claim they can is lying. Google is all about relevance of the matter."


If you have good content - not keyword stuffed but content that is actually appealing and useful to readers, your ranking will increase.  If your products/services are viable + your customer service/delivery is top notch and your site visually appealing and user friendly - sales will increase also.


Nothing happens overnight.  Despite what some providers tell you.  Consistency and continuity of content leads to profits.


SEO is really common sense tbh. The goal should be to attract people to your site, not bots. If you approach it in a way that promotes building traffic and not trying to trick algorithms, I think you will cut out 99% of the frauds and let me tell you there are a LOT of frauds that have no idea what they are doing.


SEO is really just making sure bots understand your site. I don't know what you hired someone to do, but I would never hire anyone on Upwork to do "off site link building." This is what will get you into trouble. Nothing these people do follows guidelines. As a matter of fact, you should read the guidelines and it will help you filter out the frauds. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en


If I were you, I'd focus more on people who want to promote your site in a marketing type of way. This means outreaches to people and not spamming the web with useless links.


Well, it's an old topic but I am interested in it. I also provide SEO services on upwork.com it is my new experience to share my services on such platforms. Usually, I used to get work from my references such as colleagues, relatives, or others. Now I'm more curious to work with international clients. I've created my project on upwork here https://www.upwork.com/services/product/marketing-high-da-niche-edits-or-link-insertion-backlinks-wi... and got really amazing response with the Upwork clients and I really prefer it. the SEO is a unique game that never ends. because it is a branch or marketing which comes from years in our world.

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