1 in 3 Americans run a side hustle next to their full-time job, according to Zapier research, and the number of side hustlers is steadily growing!
Someone works overtime because the main job cannot support a comfortable living just yet. Others, however, might do it to fulfill their inner potential.
I’ve been consistently writing and making money with SEO for the past two years.
When someone says, “SEO is dead.” I say — they just don’t know how to do it the right way.
There is no quick formula to becoming rich through SEO. However, if you want to know how to make money from SEO, I have outlined the legit and proven ways that help me earn extra income.
You don’t have to be an expert to start an SEO business. In this article, you can learn how a complete beginner can make money from SEO online. I structured it in a way to share the easiest SEO earning strategies first.
If you are determined to make money from SEO, this article will help you discover lots of handy tips, strategies, and case studies to learn from.
6 beginner & advanced ways how you can make money from SEO
There are billions of web pages online regardless of what you search for.
Someone puts a lot of time, energy, and resources to create all that content. Why? Once you attract a particular audience to your website, you can apply various strategies to monetize it.
Nowadays, attention is a new currency!
The more attention your content gets, the higher will be your monetary returns.
How to make money with SEO for beginners
Create optimized content on Vocal.media
Vocal.media is a US-based platform for online creators, with over 9 million monthly visitors and 34 genre-specific communities, according to their Linkedin page.
Anyone who wants to share their thoughts, opinions, and experience can do it on Vocal in a matter of minutes! All you have to do is set up your account, create and submit your post for review.
Vocal has an audience of more than 700,00 users, and if your content is featured on their main page, chances are your article will be discovered by many people worldwide.
Now, get ready for fantastic news – Vocal.media pays creators for content views!
In other words, if your content gets internal views and brings new users to the platform, Vocal will reward your effort with earnings from reads and bonuses.
If you are interested in learning more about Vocal, I have published a detailed Vocal.media review.
Now, what I want to share with you is how to make money through SEO on Vocal. In a nutshell, you:
- Decide what you want to write about. The sky’s the limit when it comes to Vocal. People publish content on random topics. So, you can literally post anything.
- Use keyword research techniques to check if people search for your topic and how competitive the niche is.
- Create optimized content and publish it on Vocal.media
The goal is to rank high with your content and passively attract visitors to your web pages. Both parties benefit from such a deal: people read the content they were looking for, while Vocal.media rewards your efforts with monthly paychecks.
Aamir Kamal is a blogger from Pakistan who mastered the strategy of making money from SEO on Vocal.
Aamir has accumulated over a million views on Vocal.media and earned over $6,000 from the platform in one year and a half.
If you are new to SEO, don’t have your own blog, but would like to master SEO writing skills – start with Vocal! It’s a great platform to practice writing, SEO writing, storytelling and get paid for your efforts.
Become a full-time SEO specialist
You can make money from SEO by becoming a junior SEO specialist. This is how I started.
In 2017, I had no clue what SEO was. I took several paid and free courses, learning SEO during my night shifts as a customer support manager.
Next, I sent my nearly empty CV to several companies, explaining that I was new to SEO, but I had a strong desire to work hard and learn. This is how I landed my first marketing job.
If you start as an SEO writer, a link builder, or a technical SEO specialist, you won’t earn a lot. Junior SEOs make between $35,000 and $49,000 a year, according to the Search Engine Journal survey, where 60% of the respondents come from the USA.
However, don’t be obsessed with money at the beginning of your journey.
You master a new skill to become a more valuable expert on the job market and open up lots of opportunities for yourself in the future.
Take SEO writing gigs on freelance platforms
I decided to make money with SEO on Upwork after I got bored at my day job.
If you haven’t heard of Upwork yet, it’s a freelance platform where businesses hire contractors to do various jobs, from digital marketing to development and virtual assistance. You can literally find all kinds of jobs on Upwork!
As a freelancer, you only need two things to succeed on Upwork — your time and desire.
A convincing Upwork profile is already a halfway success. This is why I recommend you spend some time setting up your account properly.
If you are at the beginning of your SEO career and have no project portfolio yet, Upwork can be a great platform to find clients and establish long-term, fruitful collaborations with them.
I charged $25 to $35 per hour on Upwork with no rating and testimonials!
I pitched several clients and tried to deliver a bit more in my proposal than “this is the list of things I can do for you.”
If you are seriously thinking about trying Upwork, take a quick look at this article of mine. In this brief post, I share everything I did to set up a credible profile, how I landed my first clients on Upwork and how much money I made from two collaborations.
How to make money from SEO for advanced professionals
Help local businesses establish their online presence
There are so many ways to monetize your skills once you gain enough confidence in search engine optimization.
However, you might still feel uncomfortable handling complex projects for saturated markets. In this case, I recommend you start with local businesses.
The process of optimizing a website for location-specific keywords is called local SEO.
If you want to make money SEO, help growing local businesses establish their online presence.
Local markets are usually less competitive, and it takes significantly less time to rank in the top ten search results with new content.
For instance, I created a brand new website for a private medical center using Wix. It took this website roughly a year to rank in the top five Google search results.
You don’t need fancy functionality and expensive design to drive results. My client generated 100% extra revenue on top of his expenses in just five months!
I used Wix drag-and-drop functionality and template to create a website. Here is how the Wix dashboard looks like with the website analytics overview.
I have an extensive case study about this project. But, I want to briefly explain what I did to help my client move his local business online:
1. Competitor and keyword research. I used Ahrefs to examine the local competition and conduct keyword research.
2. We set up measurable goals to track the onsite conversion rate and understand user behavior.
3. I created a website in Wix and filled it with optimized content. A yearly Wix fee was €150, but I stumbled upon a 50% one-time discount and purchased the yearly plan for €75. Here is what the price covered:
- A website drag and drop builder.
- The basic SEO optimization toolkit (for meta titles, descriptions, and URLs).
- The customer relationship management system (CRM).
- The basic data tracking tools.
- Ten gigabytes of data storage.
- A custom domain name and free hosting for a year.
4. I set up Google My Business account to improve the website’s visibility in search and help customers find the relevant information easily.
5. I set up Google Ads for the client. Guess what? We were among the first ones running ads for our target keywords.
These steps might seem complicated at first glance. In reality, they are not. Setting up someone’s website can be a valuable experience for you and a stepping stone on the way to starting your own SEO business.
Start SEO business — Own website
Feel confident creating impactful content that ranks high and drives results? Well done!
Now, it’s time to create your own digital business that will support you financially and grant you freedom. How to start an SEO business, you ask me? I tell you — launch your own website.
Don’t rush to say “no” just yet. Think about it this way.
You already know how to write content that ranks high in search engines. You helped your clients create impactful content to grow their businesses. Now, it’s time to think about yourself, no?
Launching a website is a short-term hustle, while running a successful online business is a long-term gain and a full-time occupation that brings joy and money.
I spent roughly $200 to set up selfmademillennials.com. I bought a design template and set up services from a third party. I could easily use a free template and set up WordPress (content management system) on my own. However, I decided to delegate this task and focus on what I can do best — SEO writing.
There are so many ways to make money with SEO if you run a website:
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored backlinks
- Paid mentions
- Google AdSense monetization program for publishers
- Selling your products/services
Focus on low-competitive keywords and consistently create valuable content — this is a quick recipe to growing a website from zero to hero.
Start SEO business — Own agency
Wondering how much do SEOs make? Get ready! The following numbers might surprise you.
On average, agency SEOs bill their clients around $119 per hour and make roughly $1179 per client, according to the BrightLocal study.
There is a huge potential of monetizing your skills and making big money from SEO by scaling your business.
Think about it this way.
How much money can you make working as an SEO specialist at a full-time job? Perhaps, a couple of thousands of dollars per month.
If you are good at SEO and run your own agency, you can double or even triple your earnings!
Nail Patel, a famous SEO guru, started a SEO agency that made him $10,000 to $20,000 a month in the first year! Later, he managed to scale it to astonishing seven-figure revenue a year!
The sky’s the limit when it comes to making money from SEO.
When starting your SEO business, you should always remember this: your agency will be as good as its people!
Making money online with SEO — how to know if it is for you?
Those who want to succeed in SEO are ready to accept the rules and play the game long-term.
Many people are obsessed with the perks they can get if they work long enough on their websites, but only a few are willing to follow the rules and wait.
SEO can be your passion and profession if you are willing to do the following:
- Research, collect, analyze data every day!
- Write at least 1000 words daily, publish optimized content and track its performance.
- Work 60 hours a week, instead of 40 hours.
- Being not afraid to dig in the unknown fields, discover issues, and develop new solutions.
- Never stop learning!
- Be ready to talk (a lot!) with other webmasters.
- Struggle, but never give up because of interim failures.
2 questions you should ask yourself before starting an SEO business
Is SEO dead in 2022?
As a marketer, I often hear, “ Is SEO dead?” “Is SEO still relevant in 2022?” “Are websites dead?” “Google is dying. What’s the next big trend?”
I doubt all those people follow the latest news, though. Let me quote the Search Engine Optimization Services Global Market Report 2021:
“The global search engine optimization services market is expected to grow from $46.66 billion in 2020 to $50.45 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8. 1%.
The growth is mainly due to the companies rearranging their operations and recovering from the COVID-19 impact, which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges.
The market is expected to reach $103.24 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 20%.”
Manifest, a B2B rating platform surveyed around 500 small business owners to learn that roughly 50% of small businesses do invest in SEO. Still, 24% shared they are planning to start doing so the following year.
Now, let me ask you one question after you read this: Is SEO worth it?
Once you see the research-based data, it does not seem SEO is dead anymore. I highly encourage you to critically assess the information you read. Otherwise, you risk missing out on some great opportunities!
How long will it take to make money from SEO?
There are two ways to monetize your SEO skills:
- Quick way: by selling your skills
- Long way: by starting an SEO business. For instance, a website.
From my experience, you need to wait at least a year to start ranking with your content on the first search engine results page.
I launched this website in August 2021, and I achieved the following results in five months. Note that I have a full-time job and can only work on my website a few hours a week. Nevertheless, I publish a few optimized blog posts every month.
In November 2021, my brand new website does not make any penny yet. However, I’ll be able to monetize it once it gets at least 1000 visitors a day and its DA (domain authority) is at least 20. It’s possible to achieve it in 1-2 years.
Grab my 50-page guide to learn how I create blog posts that hit Google front page. You can easily replicate my 3-step process even if you are just starting.