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How to hire freelance SEO developers in 2023

Updated on December 01, 2023
Platforms to find talented SEO developers
Toptal

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Kelly Wilson
Written by Kelly Wilson

Strategist and entrepreneur, with experience in hiring developers across various industries. Kelly has established herself as a trusted expert in identifying and recruiting top tech talent. She shares advanced tips on how to identify the right talent, create hiring strategies, develop your tech teams and much more.

Expertise: IT Recruiting, Tech, Marketing

Search engine optimization is a complex concept with many benefits, and finding a professional with a deep understanding is critical for companies seeking growth. Our guide to hire SEO developers breaks down the hiring process step by step, including a list of the top recruitment sites, essential skills to look for, and insights into the value of this specialized talent.

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Here are the top 15 sites to hire freelance SEO developers

Based on facts publicly available as of 01.01.2023

1. Toptal

Toptal, short for Top Talent, is a freelance marketplace of high-caliber professionals, including SEO developers. With Toptal, you can swiftly hire experienced experts from matches tailored to your project’s needs. The platform only accepts the top 3% of applicants worldwide, ensuring you can access the best SEO developers.

Key Points:

  • Toptal has a rigorous freelancer vetting process, including an extensive technical assessment.
  • They offer a no-risk trial where you pay only if satisfied.
  • Toptal’s process can connect you with an SEO developer within 48 hours.

2. Upwork

Upwork is a versatile freelance marketplace offering hourly and fixed-rate contracts with professionals across many industries. The team at Upwork caters to small and large businesses, helping companies communicate with a broad pool of SEO developers with varying levels of expertise. They work with you to manage your projects from start to finish.

Key Points:

  • Upwork has features to facilitate easy project discussion and maintenance.
  • The site’s quality of talent can vary, but they offer some of the most budget-friendly options.
  • They use feedback and rating systems for quality control.

3. Fiverr

Fiverr can connect you with freelance SEO developers from around the world. Clients browse profiles looking for talent and can view ratings and reviews to find the right ones. Hire for single tasks or ongoing projects, allowing you to scale your budget and efforts. The platform works for companies of all sizes and can help augment digital marketing capabilities quickly.

Key Points:

  • Fiverr has a user-friendly interface that makes browsing and selecting candidates easy.
  • They offer different budget levels, though quality may vary.
  • The hiring process is fast and straightforward.

4. Arc.dev

Arc is a talent-matching platform with one of our list's most involved vetting processes. They connect companies with SEO developers and other professionals worldwide, ensuring you have a large talent pool to find matches. You can hire top-quality developers on full-time, part-time, or project-based contracts as long as you can invest.

Key Points:

  • Arc boosts the top 1% of SEO development talent on the market.
  • They have more than 250,000 software developers ready for hire.
  • Arc’s home base is in Silicon Valley, deeply involved in the tech industry.

5. Openxcell

OpenXcell specializes in technological solutions. They offer multiple engagement models to find SEO developers and have a strong reputation for quality and reliability. Their screening process ensures you access only the top talent, and you can take advantage of flexible engagement models for full-time, part-time, and single-project contracts.

Key Points:

  • OpenXcell ensures project privacy by requiring strict NDA-signed documents.
  • The platform’s professionals are up to date with the latest trending SEO updates.
  • Their developers are Google-certified SEO experts.

6. Uplers

Uplers is a digital services company offering experts in various digital careers. They cater to startups, mid-size companies, and international brands. Their vetting process brings in the top 3.5% of applicants, ensuring you can access high-quality SEO developers. With a global talent pool, Uplers can help you find SEO professionals trained in your niche.

Key Points:

  • Uplers offers a two-week, no-risk trial with zero recruitment fees.
  • They have a 30-day replacement policy.
  • The site screens all professionals for their technical skills, behavioral aspects, and language proficiency.

7. Turing

Turing is a freelance marketplace where companies can hire SEO developers through a streamlined hiring process. They use artificial intelligence algorithms to pair you with candidates based on your company and project needs. They select the best remote freelancers with expertise in on-page and off-page optimization. Alex Ortiz-Rosado, software engineering manager, says, “Turing has been a fantastic solution for us,” and one reason is “the intuitive pricing model.”

Key Points:

  • Turing vets over 2 million applicants to narrow down to the top 1% of talent.
  • The staff can fill many roles in four days or less.
  • The service offers a two-week, risk-free trial period to test your new hire.

8. Guru

Guru is a vast platform to find freelance SEO developers for companies of any size that want to increase visibility and search engine rankings. Guru has a WorkRoom feature where you can manage multiple freelancers for different components of your project, allowing you to build an SEO team and manage your projects. Guru’s screening process ensures you get quality talent with SEO expertise.

Key Points:

  • Guru’s platform allows you to hire and manage multiple freelancers in a single workspace.
  • They offer high security for financial transactions.
  • The site caters to all project times, offering hourly and project-based contracts.

9. Wix Marketplace

Wix Marketplace is a comprehensive hub for companies looking to hire freelance SEO developers and other professionals. They have a diverse pool of pre-vetted talent and SEO agencies that cater to different industries. The user-friendly platform enables you to post a project and receive proposals or search for SEO professionals directly.

Key Points:

  • Wix Marketplace’s platform uses simple navigation and quick project posting.
  • Wix may offer fewer niche specialists than other marketplaces, but they provide budget-friendly options.
  • The Wix platform is suitable for businesses of all sizes.

10. Skuad

Skuad is a talent marketplace specializing in connecting clients with tech professionals. Companies hiring SEO developers can access a worldwide pool of experts and find the right fit without going through the often challenging hiring process. Whether you need a full-time SEO developer or assistance with a single project, Skuad offers tailored solutions to meet your needs.

Key Points:

  • Skuad’s platform allows you to build a remote team of experts with unique SEO skills globally.
  • The site is 100% compliant with local employment laws, no matter your company’s location.
  • They allow you to manage benefits, timesheets, and work permits through the website.

11. OrbitEdge Tech

OrbitEdge Tech is an SEO agency specializing in a suite of services to provide everything necessary for your digital marketing strategy. They offer bundled service packages that include SEO practices such as inbound marketing, content creation, and website design. With a team of seasoned SEO experts, you can elevate your online presence through an all-in-one approach to SEO.

Key Points:

  • OrbitEdge Tech provides result-focused digital marketing strategies.
  • They offer competitive pricing for advanced SEO services.
  • The staff provides free consultations to talk about your company's SEO needs.

12. Virtual Employee

Virtual Employee provides a seamless way for businesses to hire freelance SEO developers full-time or part-time. They work with anything from small startups to Fortune 500 companies, allowing owners and managers to expand their teams with vetted, skilled professionals. You brief the staff at VE and wait for them to send you the pick of their best resumes before choosing your team.

Key Points:

  • Virtual Employee has over 250 certified junior and senior SEO developers and experts.
  • They promise growth in leads and traffic up to 149%.
  • Their SEO developers deeply understand machine learning-backed SEO algorithms.

13. Bark

Bark is a convenient platform designed to streamline the process to hire SEO developers by using your location to provide you with fast, free quotes from top local SEO freelancers. You can list your requirements for free and let Bark do the legwork to find and contact qualified professionals in your area. Once you receive quotes, you can compare prices, review proposals, and choose the best fit for your company or project.

Key Points:

  • Bark specializes in connecting you with local SEO developers.
  • They offer a speedy turnaround for rapid hiring.
  • Bark allows you to post your project needs at no cost.

14. PeoplePerHour

PeoplePerHour is a versatile platform where you can hire SEO developers for one-off projects or continued work. Their system matches you with the most suitable talent based on the technical requirements of your listing. PPH also has an "Offers" feature with pre-set bundles to test freelancers and build long-term relationships.

Key Points:

  • PeoplePerHour uses an AI-driver system to identify matches for your SEO needs.
  • They offer flexible hourly and project-based engagements.
  • PPH holds your money in escrow until you express satisfaction with the work and service.

15. Freelancer

Freelancer is the largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace in the world. They connect over 68 million professionals and businesses annually. For companies in search of SEO developers, Freelancers offers a talent pool from 247 countries, territories, and regions. They make it easy to post jobs, review proposals, and manage projects on a single platform.

Key Points:

  • Freelancer’s platform works for small tasks and large-scale projects.
  • Their intuitive user interface makes it easy to post jobs and manage projects.
  • The Freelancer website has heavy traffic, attracting multiple proposals quickly.

Guide to hiring great freelance SEO developers

Fifty-three percent of shoppers say they conduct online research before purchasing something. With the stakes so high, SEO is a critical element of any company’s marketing strategy.

When it comes to specialized roles such as SEO developers, the challenge is finding individuals with the right mix of technical expertise, data-driven analytical skills, and creativity. They should be capable of evolving with rapid search technology and algorithm changes. In this guide, we will walk you through the nuanced steps of how to hire SEO developers, offering insights from the evolving landscape.

Today’s SEO industry involves understanding Google’s algorithms and emerging technologies like voice search, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. SEO developers should be agile, able to pivot between different programming languages and thoroughly comprehend data analytics. These skills can help companies address marketing challenges and improve their competitive edge.

Vimeo, a video production company with more than 260 million users, needed help implementing and managing SEO best practices for their videos. They addressed these challenges by hiring SEO developers to implement Google’s VideoObject and Key Moments features to improve data. Review other SEO case studies where companies benefited from implementing SEO best practices.

Case StudyTechniqueResult
Ahrefs SEO case studyBacklink and keyword research126 to 121,883 unique visitors to their websites in under six months
Dean SEO case studySkyscraper Technique 2.0Increased organic traffic to his website by 652% in seven days
Gotch SEO case studySqueeze pagesBoosted one page by converting 74.5% and another by 69%
Sources: Ahrefs SEO case study, Dean SEO case study, Gotch SEO case study

In a digital-first environment, finding the right talent to manage your SEO needs is a strategic necessity. We created this guide to equip you with the tools and insights needed to make an informed decision to hire SEO developers with the right skills.

Hiring a Freelance SEO Developer

Choosing to hire a freelance SEO developer has many benefits. It allows you to scale your SEO efforts up or down depending on project needs and budgetary ability. You can avoid the long-term commitment of a full-time hire if you are uncertain about future work availability.

Hiring remote talent also gives you access to a much larger pool of experts. You can hire people with specialized skills and unique perspectives that you may not find in the local area. This can lead to innovative solutions to your SEO problems.

What Does an SEO Developer Do?

An SEO developer is a specialized position that combines coding skills with an understanding of search engine algorithms to optimize websites for better visibility, ranking, and organic traffic. They delve into a website’s architecture, content structuring, and page speed optimization to ensure your site ranks higher when your target demographic searches for your products or services. An experienced SEO developer’s responsibilities may include:

  • Technical SEO, such as optimizing a website for search engine crawlability and indexing
  • On-page SEO, such as creating meta tags and optimizing images
  • Off-page SEO, including building high-quality backlinks and improved domain authority
  • Performance tuning, a practice of reducing website load time through optimizing code, leveraging browser caching, and compressing images
  • Analytics, including monitoring organic traffic, analyzing website performance, and tracking user behavior

Why hire SEO developers? The New York Times bestselling author and marketing expert Neil Patel says,

New York Times bestselling author and marketing expert
“Developers play a big part in technical SEO, but this isn’t where SEO for developers should end. They also help ensure a positive user experience, which can help with on- and off-page SEO.”

Developers are proficient in many coding languages and know the latest SEO trends and relevant technologies.

A strong SEO strategy can significantly improve your online visibility, leading to increased sales, recognition, and credibility. SEO developers play a vital role in making that happen. Given SEO's complexity and ever-changing nature, having a dedicated expert can make the difference between ranking on the first page of search results and getting lost deep in the search results.

You will often find SEO developers for hire for projects like e-commerce site optimization, website relaunches, content marketing strategies, SEO audits, and ongoing website maintenance and updating. Consider the benefits of having an SEO expert on your team:

  • A properly optimized website attracts more organic traffic.
  • SEO developers can optimize for user experience, leading to higher conversion rates.
  • SEO is a long-term investment that can keep your site ranking well for years.
  • Your website stands a better chance against competitors.

When you hire dedicated SEO developers, you invest in specialized skills to improve your online presence. Their work continues beyond keywords and meta descriptions. They wear many hats, from strategist to coder, and can help businesses of any size become dominant online players.

How To Hire SEO Developers

Before you hire an SEO developer, you need an in-depth understanding of the role’s responsibilities and skills. Having that blueprint for what represents a good candidate will help you find a developer that aligns with your needs. Important attributes to look for include:

  • Technical proficiency in coding languages like HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and server-side languages
  • Updated knowledge regarding algorithm changes, SEO best practices, and the latest trends in marketing
  • Exceptional analytical skills, including the use of Google Analytics for interpreting data and implementing it into your marketing strategy
  • Strong communication skills for explaining complex technical topics to other members of the team without specialized training

Before you hire SEO developers, you should know what level of experience your project requires:

  • Junior-level SEO developers typically have two years or less experience. They are proficient in basic SEO tasks and can handle projects in a team setting or with supervision.
  • Mid-level SEO developers have over five years of experience and can work on more complex projects. They may have more specialized skills.
  • Highly skilled, or senior-level, SEO developers with over five years of experience can develop end-to-end SEO strategies and mentor junior team members.

Team dynamics, budget, and project complexity will impact why you choose one over another. For example, junior developers cost less but may have limited ability. A senior developer is more appropriate for projects with higher stakes and complexity, making them worth the additional costs. However, when building an SEO team, you may need developers of every level, creating a more diverse pool of capabilities.

What Skills To Look for When Hiring an SEO Developer

The job requirements of an SEO developer include a combination of technical skills, cultural fit, and collaborative abilities. Anyone working in SEO should have the ability to adapt to the changing industry. For example, the leading emergent SEO factors for global search rankings are machine learning and artificial intelligence, with 11.3% of respondents identifying them as top considerations. Both are constantly evolving.

These technical skills are important for the role:

  • HTML and CSS coding to create SEO-friendly pages
  • Mastery of keyword research for identifying and implementing advantageous keywords, tags, and meta-descriptions to enhance search engine visibility
  • Familiarity with tools like Google Analytics to monitor performance and optimize search rankings
  • Understanding industry guidelines, the right and wrong ways to use SEO elements

Soft skills are equally important in SEO work, as they determine how effectively a candidate performs with your team. Critical soft skills to consider include:

  • Problem-solving skills for addressing issues like competitor moves, algorithm changes, and shifts in consumer behavior
  • Ability to collaborate with content creators, web designers, digital marketers, and customer service representatives
  • Effective communication skills
  • Ability to adapt to an ever-changing landscape
  • Attention to detail for optimizing meta-descriptions, avoiding errors, and meticulously analyzing data

Cultural fit is also a critical addition to SEO developer skills. These professionals often work in fast-paced environments that require initiative and commitment. Ensure your candidate is comfortable in your company’s culture and can work well with established teams in various departments.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire SEO Developers?

The cost to hire SEO developers varies based on several factors, including the level of experience and scope of your project. When hiring remotely, the developer’s geographical location also affects their rates. For example, SEO experts on Upwork cost an average of $15-$35 per hour, and Backlinko reports an average monthly cost of $497.

Tips for Writing an SEO Developer Job Description

Clarity and specificity are key elements of an SEO developer job description. Start by outlining the technical skills needed and the role's responsibilities as it applies to your company. Humanize the brand by giving them a glimpse into your team culture. This can eliminate anyone who would not fit in from the start.

Your interview process can include multiple approaches. The freelancer marketplaces that we listed use a blend of technical and personality assessments for a well-rounded evaluation of each candidate. The freelance marketplaces in our guide thoroughly vet talent for technical skills. Conducting interviews with the same questions about soft skills ensures you avoid bias in your decision-making process.

Common Interview Questions To Ask When You Are Looking To Hire an SEO Developer

Before you proceed to hire SEO developers, your interview questions should address technical and soft skills and behavioral characteristics. Check out some sample questions along with the types of answers that would indicate a solid SEO expert:

  • What strategies would you employ for backlinking? Candidates should mention quality over quantity, the relevance of the site linked, and strategies like broken link building, guest posting, and creating shareable content.
  • Can you explain the importance of title tags and meta descriptions in SEO? They should discuss the relevance in search engine rankings and user experience and how keywords relate to click-through rates.
  • How do you handle disagreements with team members or superiors on SEO strategies? Look for answers that show communication skills, an openness to feedback, and the ability to back up their points with research or data.
  • Tell me about an SEO problem you faced and the outcome. Assess their problem-solving skills in the answer. Focus on the problem, their actions, and the result.
  • Can you give an example of a project where you had to collaborate with non-technical team members? A good response will showcase their communication and collaborative skills.

Keep your questions uniform to offer all candidates equal opportunity to provide thoughtful answers you can compare fairly.

How To Find Freelance SEO Developers for Hire

Freelance marketplaces offer a cost-effective solution with a broader reach than job boards or outsourcing agencies. You can use professional networks or attend industry-specific events to find SEO developers. Consider factors like method of talent matching, speed of hiring, and ease of use as you browse the sites to hire SEO developers on our list.

Hiring skilled SEO developers is vital for building effective digital marketing teams. You can attract talent that elevates project and company success through targeted strategies and well-curated interviews.

FAQs About How To Hire SEO Developers

Where Can I Hire SEO Developers?
Our top choices for hiring SEO developers are Toptal, Upwork, Fiverr, Arc, and OpenXcell. However, explore our complete list of the best sites.
Are SEO Developers in Demand?

Online visibility is critical for businesses. Therefore, SEO experts are in increasing demand. Upwork listed SEO as the topmost in-demand skill sought after in marketing. The need for SEO developers results directly from its impact on customer engagement and increasing revenue.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire an SEO Developer?

SEO developers should fit into an overall SEO project budget. Companies can expect to pay between $2,500 and $7,500 monthly or $50-$100 per hour on SEO projects, depending on the scope. Create a budget for your SEO plans and look for appropriate developers to fit that plan.

How To Hire SEO Developers
Define your job requirements, including technical and soft skills, and choose the correct channels for assessing candidates. This may include job boards, outsourcing agencies, or freelance marketplaces. Use your interview process to evaluate behavioral characteristics, technical proficiency, and cultural fit. Finally, consider a short-term trial project to gauge the candidate’s abilities.
Why Should You Hire an SEO Developer?
An SEO developer improves your online presence to boost visibility in search engine rankings by driving more organic traffic to the website. They work on everything from coding for site speed and mobile responsiveness to strategizing for content and backlinks. SEO is essential for competing in today’s digital marketplace, where search engine rankings can dramatically affect your bottom line.

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