Have you ever thought about going freelance on the SEO field but you do not know which are the most sought-after profiles and which are the best paid SEO fields? On this post I will show you some take-aways that I have gotten from a research that I did with some data from Upwork, one of the main platforms to find freelance jobs.

Where the data comes from?

To start with, let me introduce you to Upwork if you do not know how it works so that you can understand where the data comes from. Upwork is a sort of job portal where freelancers can sign up to find new opportunities and companies publish job offers. On the job offer, the job publishers can include a project description, the hourly rate that they are willing to pay for those services and the skills they are looking for, among other fields. Below we can see an example:

Basically for this research I have scrapped from Upwork 5.000 results which were given for the query “seo” and got the hourly rate and the skills and expertise. It is worth to mention that when it comes to the hourly rate field, as shown in the screenshot, a range is given so basically to get an exact number and make the data comparison easier I have used the average of the minimum and maximum. Afterwards, I have categorized these skills in different groups depending on their SEO areas and mainly I have ended up with nine big groups: Tracking & Analytics, Research, PPC, Content Management, Copywriting, On-Page, Technical, Social Media and Linkbuilding.

As you can observe, there are some groups which are not a specific SEO areas such as Social Media or PPC, however I still considered interesting to include them as once you take over some SEO freelance projects many times you are meant to take over PPC campaigns or Social Media activities as companies are seeking a person which can be in charge of most of the digital marketing activities. It must be the case for these job offerings because as mentioned previously these data is gotten by using the query “seo”.

On this post we will first go over a high-level overview of each of the nine classification groups and later on we will dig into each group and their specific required skills.

The raw data which was scraped from Upwork can be found over here, if you would like to do your own researches.

First insights: groups classification

Considering the group classifications, we can see at first sight that the hourly rates range from around 20 dollars to 28 dollars, being linkbuilding the worst paid group and tracking and analytics the best one in financial terms. When it comes to job offerings, the most demanded skills are related to social media, although it is the second worst paid group, and copywriting. 

On this table below we can see the results shown in a different way and sorted out by the best paid jobs:

Area Weighted average dollars per hour Number of skills occurrences Variety of Skills
Tracking & Analytics 27,70 954 13
Research 26,92 1026 20
PPC 26,37 1936 26
Content Management 24,61 1867 16
Copywriting 24,31 2343 19
On-Page 24,23 486 5
Technical 22,85 1939 38
Social Media 20,71 3631 37
Linkbuilding 20,18 449 5

1.- Tracking and Analytics

The best paid jobs are related to Google Merchant Center, Campaign Reporting, Google Tag Manager, Budgeting and Forecasting and Marketing Automation, being paid over 30 dollars per hour. On the other hand, the worst paid jobs are related to MySQL, Marketing API integrations and SEO reporting, being paid under 21 dollars per hour.

The most demanded skill is Google Analytics, which is paid with around 27 dollars per hour.

Area Weighted average dollars per hour Number of skills occurrences
Google   Merchant Center Jobs 40,25 16
Campaign Reporting Jobs 35,50 28
Google Tag Manager Jobs 32,84 38
Budgeting & Forecasting   Jobs 32,59 52
Marketing Automation Jobs 31,89 35
Campaign Analysis Jobs 29,87 15
Tracking & Analytics Jobs 29,00 127
Performance Monitoring Jobs 28,47 16
Google Search Console Jobs 27,95 101
Google Analytics Jobs 27,02 418
SEO Report Jobs 21,43 46
Marketing API Integration Jobs 17,89 37
MySQL Jobs 15,06 25

2.- Research

When it comes to research projects, we see that the hourly rate range is higher than Tracking and Analytics. On the one hand, some projects related to Brand Positioning and Messaging, Market Analysis and Growth Analysis are paid with over 40 dollars per hour. On the other hand, Audience Research projects are paid with only 16 dollars per hour.

Most of the projects are related to Keyword Researches, which are paid with around 26 dollars per hour.

Area Weighted average dollars per hour Number of skills occurrences
Brand Positioning   & Messaging Strategy Jobs 49,15 22
Market Analysis Jobs 44,20 19
Growth Strategy Jobs 40,68 15
Brand Marketing Jobs 37,21 14
Marketing Research Jobs 36,45 15
SEM Keyword Research Jobs 31,77 31
Business Development Jobs 30,99 24
User Research Jobs 29,92 19
Audience Targeting Jobs 29,23 22
Market Research Jobs 28,72 62
Experience Strategy Jobs 28,21 21
SEO Strategy Jobs 27,14 35
SEO Keyword Research Jobs 26,02 266
Competitive Analysis Jobs 25,87 86
Ahrefs Jobs 25,17 59
SEMrush Jobs 23,38 34
Research Jobs 23,17 209
Google Trends Jobs 22,97 19
Moz Jobs 22,63 28
Audience Research Jobs 16,17 26

3.- PPC

The best paid jobs are related to strategy conceptualization, Google Shopping and Campaigns setups, being paid over 35 dollars per hour. On the other hand, those jobs related to Pinterest Ads, Snapchat Ads and pixel setups are the worst paid with under 20 dollars per hour.

The jobs which were the most demanded were the ones related to Google Ads, with around 350 occurrences.

Area Weighted average dollars per hour Number of skills occurrences
Advertising Strategy   Jobs 41,51 21
Pay Per Click Advertising Jobs 38,07 37
Google Shopping Jobs 37,65 20
PPC Campaign Setup & Management Jobs 34,21 36
Adobe Advertising Cloud Jobs 30,68 19
Paid Media Jobs 30,68 58
Google Display Network Jobs 30,47 17
Google Ad Manager Jobs 30,30 15
Pay Per Click Jobs 30,07 60
Advertising Jobs 29,46 34
Campaign Optimization Jobs 28,30 101
Google Ads Jobs 28,11 352
Display Ads Jobs 27,29 112
Search Engine Marketing Jobs 26,44 244
Product Listing Ads Jobs 26,27 79
Video Ads Jobs 26,06 96
Google AdSense Jobs 25,10 35
Retargeting Jobs 24,60 121
Campaign Setup Jobs 23,71 66
Campaign Management Jobs 23,57 119
Build Lookalike Audiences Jobs 20,48 53
Dynamic Ads Setup Jobs 20,18 49
Pinterest Ads Manager Jobs 19,78 58
Pixel Setup & Optimization Jobs 19,62 46
Snapchat Ads Manager Jobs 18,65 44
Pinterest Marketing Jobs 14,64 44

4.- Content Management

The jobs which are related to strategy conceptualization, Active Campaigns, Press releases and Hubspot are the best jobs in financial terms, getting paid for them rates which range from 25 to 30 dollars per hour.

Most of the job offerings have an average hourly rate which ranges from 22 to 25 dollars, although there is an exception with the Email Communication jobs, with a very low rate being in the region of 7 dollars.

The most prevalent jobs are related to Content Writing.

Area Weighted average dollars per hour Number of skills occurrences
Content Marketing   Jobs 30,93 171
Content Management Jobs 28,83 23
ActiveCampaign Jobs 28,04 27
Press Release Jobs 27,29 17
Content Strategy Jobs 26,65 24
HubSpot Jobs 25,92 63
Content Marketing Strategy Jobs 25,03 356
Website Content Jobs 24,46 269
Content Distribution & Promotion Jobs 24,39 14
Mailchimp Jobs 24,08 30
Newsletter Jobs 23,77 59
Content Writing Jobs 23,15 486
Content Creation Jobs 23,12 46
Website Jobs 23,11 162
Content SEO Jobs 22,52 106
Email Communication Jobs 7,13 14

5.- Copywriting

It seems that the best job offerings are related to Headlines creation and ads copies. On the other hand, the worst paid jobs are related to social media content creation and blog posts creation.

The most demanded skills are those related to Copywriting Jobs and SEO writing jobs.

Area Weighted average dollars per hour Number of skills occurrences
Headlines Jobs 31,47 35
Ad Copy Jobs 28,74 39
Copyediting Jobs 28,73 30
Text Ads Jobs 27,65 95
Copywriting Jobs 26,46 367
eBook Jobs 26,39 22
Email Jobs 25,83 32
SEO Writing Jobs 25,17 305
White Paper Jobs 25,09 22
Editing & Proofreading Jobs 24,91 140
Creative Writing Jobs 24,79 108
Article Writing Jobs 24,23 193
Blog Content Jobs 23,70 259
Article Jobs 23,57 186
Blog Writing Jobs 22,22 278
Writing Jobs 21,89 99
Blog Site Jobs 21,30 15
Blog Jobs 18,50 34
Social Media Content Creation Jobs 14,94 84

6.- On-Page SEO

It is not a very varied group, having only 5 skills therein. The job rates fluctuate from 20 dollars to 26, being the Landing Page Jobs the best paid job and On-page Optimization Jobs the worst paid ones.

The most demanded skill is related to Landing Page jobs.

Area Weighted average dollars per hour Number of skills occurrences
Landing   Page Jobs 26,34 217
Yoast SEO Jobs 24,19 56
On-Page SEO Jobs 22,49 120
Website Optimization Jobs 22,49 38
On-Page Optimization Jobs 20,94 55

7.- Technical

Speaking for myself, it was a surprise to see this category in such a low position when it comes to the average rates, being paid around 30 dollars per hour.

The best paid jobs are related to Setup and configuration, SEO auditing and GoDaddy. On the other hands, the worst paid jobs are related bug fixing, jQuery, Elementor and Plugins for WordPress, although there are a bunch of other skills being paid under 20 dollars per hour too.

The most demanded skills are those ones related to WordPress and SEO Auditing.

Area Weighted average dollars per hour Number of skills occurrences
Setup &   Configuration Jobs 32,71 19
SEO Auditing Jobs 31,44 53
GoDaddy Jobs 30,29 17
Software Design Jobs 29,03 15
SEO Audit Jobs 27,72 117
Shopify Jobs 27,13 96
Wireframes Jobs 27,13 19
Web Design Jobs 25,45 86
Technical SEO Jobs 25,39 89
Mobile App Design Jobs 25,39 31
Technology Jobs 24,70 79
WordPress Plugin Jobs 23,92 19
Visual Design Jobs 23,88 64
Software Jobs 23,30 22
Responsive Design Jobs 23,11 59
Website Development Jobs 22,98 86
Website Redesign Jobs 22,85 75
Bootstrap Jobs 22,64 14
Bing Webmaster Tools Jobs 21,79 21
Wix Jobs 21,73 22
HTML Jobs 21,48 102
Components Design Jobs 20,91 16
WordPress Jobs 20,68 273
Website Customization Jobs 20,66 29
DeepCrawl Jobs 20,52 23
PHP Jobs 20,19 61
HTML5 Jobs 20,14 42
CSS Jobs 20,09 75
WooCommerce Jobs 19,86 54
JavaScript Jobs 19,17 73
Squarespace Jobs 18,98 28
Web Application Jobs 18,91 16
WordPress SEO Plugins Jobs 18,83 26
CSS3 Jobs 18,61 31
Plugins for WordPress Jobs 18,39 23
Elementor Jobs 17,86 26
jQuery Jobs 16,52 21
Bug Fixes Jobs 16,24 17

8.- Social Media

The best paid jobs are related to influencers management. On the other hand, the worst paid jobs are related to Messenger Marketing, Instagram and Community Management.

The most demanded skills are related to Facebook.

Area Weighted average dollars per hour Number of skills occurrences
Social Media Post   Jobs 29,75 24
Influencer Marketing Jobs 25,01 154
Graphic Design Jobs 23,44 92
Social Media Advertising Jobs 23,32 205
Social Media Marketing Jobs 23,09 265
Facebook Advertising Jobs 23,06 166
Facebook Ads Manager Jobs 22,76 176
LinkedIn Campaign Manager Jobs 22,64 78
Facebook Marketing Jobs 22,62 205
Instagram Marketing Jobs 21,72 178
YouTube Jobs 21,59 85
Adobe Photoshop Jobs 21,46 89
Social Media Management Jobs 21,19 249
Facebook Jobs 20,92 226
Instagram Jobs 20,89 198
Adobe Illustrator Jobs 20,37 58
LinkedIn Jobs 20,12 79
Twitter Ads Manager Jobs 19,69 60
Instagram Ad Campaign Jobs 18,79 61
Twitter Jobs 18,77 78
Pinterest Jobs 18,72 65
TikTok Jobs 18,35 27
Facebook Ad Campaign Jobs 18,29 70
Social Media Optimization (SMO) Jobs 18,29 91
Social Media Content Jobs 18,29 150
YouTube Marketing Jobs 17,62 63
HootSuite Jobs 17,59 17
WhatsApp Jobs 17,44 18
Snapchat Jobs 15,86 38
Social Media Account Setup Jobs 15,07 37
Google+ Jobs 14,67 30
Social Media Posts Jobs 14,63 94
Social Media Marketing Strategy Jobs 14,57 46
Twitter Marketing Jobs 14,43 49
Community Management Jobs 14,41 17
Instagram Stories Jobs 14,11 76
Messenger Marketing Jobs 13,44 17

9.- Linkbuilding

The linkbuilding group is not very varied, having only 5 different skills and being paid around 20 dollars per hour.

Area Weighted average dollars per hour Number of skills occurrences
Off-page   Optimization Jobs 21,98 47
Off-Page SEO Jobs 20,71 105
Backlinking & Outreach   Jobs 20,35 124
SEO Backlinking Jobs 20,34 92
Link Building Jobs 18,02 81