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SEO Copywriters: Here’s How to Start Making $200-$400/Day & Advice on What to Do If You’re Making Less Than $100/Day

Updated on February 26, 2010

Freelance writing has been categorized as one of those careers where it’s difficult to make a living. And, when you see $3 per article SEO content writing gigs, it’s easy to think, “Well, that’s just the way it is.” News flash! It not true, especially if you’re an SEO copywriter.

I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993, and I can tell you that it’s definitely not easy to make a living doing this. But not because of the profession itself. It’s because most freelance writers don’t have a clue about how to operate a small business. If you don’t develop certain skills, it doesn’t matter what type of business you open, you will not succeed.

Here, I’m going to speak to freelance writers in general and SEO writers in particular. If you’re an SEO writer and you’re not earning AT LEAST $100 per day, then you’re doing something wrong. Following are three areas to look at that can help you increase your income.

3 Keys to Increasing Your SEO Copywriting Earnings

1. Assess Your SEO Copywriting Rates: What are you charging? If you’re not charging a minimum of $25-$35 per 350-400 word article, then you’re undercharging in my opinion. The research I've done reveals that this is somewhat of a starting rate that businesses expect to pay for SEO content.

Many freelance writers scream, rant and rave when I throw out these numbers because they say it’s way too low. A lot of them won’t accept anything less than $50/per 350-400 word SEO article. In the end, it’s all up to you how you charge as an SEO writer, but consider the following. . . .

You could be losing clients when you charge too little. How/why?

SEO writing has a horrible reputation. This profession is the online version of an ambulance-chasing attorney. That’s because much of the SEO content produced is crappy, barely readable copy that doesn’t provide any value to the end user – the web surfer looking for specific information.

However, those who are only willing to pay $1 for 500 words don’t think like this. They focus on traffic, traffic, traffic instead of value, value, value.

This is why when you charge bottom-of-the-barrel rates for SEO content, legitimate businesses who care about their brand and image will not even consider you for a job. They figure that you put out cheap, poor quality content and they don’t want to waste their time or money like this.

They want to invest it in a professional SEO copywriter – one who understands the value of not just driving traffic to a site, but getting the customer to act AND return to the site. For, this is where the money is in business – the loyal, long-term customer, not the one-off clients.

I’ve actually had potential clients say to me that my SEO copywriting services firm charges too little. One prospect sent me the following email after I sent him a marketing email about our services. Following is the exchange

Hi, Yuwanda,

Your educational experience is impressive. But the web site refers to a “stable of writers”, and at $45 for 300-350 words of original content, I have to ask from what third world country are you drawing these writers? Surely someone such as yourself (if you’re no fictional) who’s a Masters candidate in expensive New York City would need higher rates than that to survive.

So how does this work, really?

Cordially,
B.

I responded:

B:

Thanks for your interest in my services. I assure you, I’m a real person — and so are my writers. Many of the writers I use freelance either full-time or part-time. I used to own an editorial staffing agency in New York, and have been recruiting and outsourcing work to writers (and other creative freelancers) for years.

I don’t use third-world writers and if you know anything about SEO, then you know there are writers who will write for as little as $3 per article for 500 words (and many of them are not third world writers, just clueless newbies who are desperate for work).

My rates are not third-world rates — and neither is the copy.

I don’t know which service you’re interested in, but everything is listed on my SEO site (http://SEO-Article-Writer.com) [Note: This site has since been folded into NewMediaWords.biz.] I just charge what I think is a fair rate for excellent copy — nothing more, nothing less.

If I can be of assistance in any way, just let me know.

I look forward to the possibility of working with you.

And FYI, I live in Atlanta but maintain an apartment in New York City, where I lived for 18 years and which I visit often. One of the reasons I love being a freelance writer is that as long as there’s an internet connection, location doesn’t matter.

Sincerely,
Yuwanda Black

He responded:

Thanks, Yuwanda. Your prompt and personal reply is very heartening. Your rates just seemed too low to be true. (emphasis added)I tried someone who wrote for about the same rate and had to rewrite all of her material.

Nevertheless, I end up with a few clients a year who are willing to consider a copywriter. I’d love to give you a shot at one of them (and hopefully more thereafter if we’re happy with your work.

Please feel free to stay in touch periodically if only to make sure I remember you when a client needs your services.

Cordially,
B.

As you can see, charging more as an SEO writer can actually land you more freelance writing jobs because it legitimizes you. Clients who are seeking valuable content know that it takes time and skill to produce this kind of copy. And, they’re willing to pay for it. So charge for it!

2. SEO Copywriting Services: If your SEO writing rates aren’t the problem, then maybe your service offerings leave something to be desired.

Most clients like “one stop, SEO writing shops.” Do you offer SEO blog posts, SEO press releases, ebook writing and the like – in addition to run of the mill SEO articles?

If not, expand your SEO copywriting services to include every kind of web copy a potential client might need. This way, they won’t have to come to you for SEO articles, then go to someone else to get an SEO press release done.

3. Do You Upsell Your SEO Copywriting Services? I’ve become a master upseller – and I do it without even thinking about it. The kicker is, I’m a horrible “salesperson.” I hate to “sell” so much that I’d rather make less than HAVE to do it. But, it comes easily to me as an SEO writer. Following is why.

I upsell clients on things that will truly provide value to them and their clients. This is the key to being a successful salesperson – no matter what the product or service is.

For example, take ebook writing. When clients initially contact my firm, they usually want SEO articles for their website or to do some other type of online marketing. During the course of the discussion, I ask them questions like what will the articles be used for, who the target market is and where they will be distributed (eg, via article directories, in a newsletter, on a blog, etc.).

The reason I ask this is so that I can advise them on the best use of the content we produce for them. For example, if they say they are going to use it for article marketing, then I say, “Do you have a specific product/service you want me to direct them to in your resource box?”

If they say no, then I may suggest that they have a free tips booklet (e-pamphlet) done. Why? Because it’s a freebie that will get prospects to click through to the client’s site – which is the first step in selling online.

People love freebies and by driving prospects to a site and having them download a free, helpful ebooklet (not a sales pitch, but a booklet that actually dispenses helpful, useful information), then you start to develop trust. Trust is a foundational building block to selling online.

Most say something along the lines of, “I would never have thought of that,” or “We’ve been meaning to get something like that done, now would be a good time, how much is it.”

See how easy this type of “upselling” is?

Most of the ebooks I write for clients are 10-15 pages long. I average $400-$600 for each one – and they usually only take a day or two of writing and research to get done.

Why Upselling Is One of the Easiest Ways to Make More Money as an SEO Copywriter

Upselling is one of the easiest ways to start making really good money as an SEO copywriter because search engine optimization is still a very new concept to many. Most clients will look to you to be the expert, as I talk about in the post, SEO Copywriters: How to Make an Extra $61,880 This Year, on Copyblogger.com.

There will naturally be things that your clients don’t know about that can really help them be more effective in their internet marketing efforts. If you know your stuff as an SEO copywriter, you’ll be able to share this with them – and sell more services while doing it.

If you assess and adjust these three areas, you should easily start bringing in $200-$400/day as an SEO copywriter.

Comments

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    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      This is another valuable article about SEO copywriting. Thank you for the lesson on upselling. That is something I need to become more proficient in doing on a regular basis.

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 

      8 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi Yuwanda,

      I am very impressed by this hub. It is very useful for freelance copywriters who want to be trained in SEO copy.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Regards,

      Rema.

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