“Why Would Someone Pay Me More to Write (SEO) Articles If There are People Willing to Do It for $5?”

A couple of days ago, I received the following email from a wannabe freelancer considering SEO writing. The title of this post is one of the questions he asked.

As an aside, I’m always kind of taken aback when I get questions like this because it’s like asking why would someone pay $250 for a pair of jeans (one of my best girlfriends), when you can get Levi’s at the Salvation Army for like $6 (me!).

But, I digress. We’re not talking fashion here.

This reader basically needed some more insight to determine if this — SEO writing — was the right career choice for him. I hope my answers to his questions help you if you’ve struggled with some of the same issues he has.

Questions from a Reader about SEO Writing (Really Freelance Writing in General)

He wrote:

Considering buying your [SEO Copywriter Training] course and need help with some questions…

Considering writing articles or a starting a guest posting business for small businesses.

1) Can you tell me what business you think is better to start a) writing articles for others for their website or b) guest posting service for webmasters seeking traffic to their site for others?

2) How much can i charge for article writing and why, furthermore, why should people pay me more if there are people charging $5 to write articles?

3) How many articles must i write to make 100.00 to 200.00 per week

4) Is there a difference with articles that are written with seo in mind and is this worth more and why?

Following is what I told this aspiring freelancer.

My Answers

First, I think writing guest posts for small businesses is an excellent idea. It’s just (SEO) article writing, but packaging/presenting it in this manner is a good way to go about it.

Freelance Writing Advice on SEO Training1) Can you tell me what business you think is better to start a) writing articles for others for their website or b) guest posting service for webmasters seeking traffic to their site for others?

In my opinion, writing articles for businesses is the better business idea because “webmasters” tend to be independent internet marketers. And, they usually don’t have the budget to pay for ongoing, well-priced content. Many of them get their content from $1, $3 and $5 per article writers. (FYI, niche minisites run by independent web professionals is what a lot of this type of content is commissioned for).

BUSINESS owners though tend to care about their brand. Also, they not only expect to pay a certain rate for products and services, they are skeptical of cheap service providers. And to pre-answer part of your question just below, THIS IS why they will pay more than a few bucks to professional writers.

As an SEO writer, you can literally lose potential clients by charging too little, as I talk about in this post, SEO Copywriters: Why If You’re Not Making at Least $100/Day, You’re Doing Something Wrong.

2) How much can i charge for article writing and why, furthermore, why should people pay me more if there are people charging $5 to write articles?

I never tell freelance writers how much to charge. That is too individual and depends on too many factors, eg, niche, experience, writing skill, etc. Below are links to some posts on what to charge for writing SEO content.

What I always advice is this – do your research, then charge what YOU feel comfortable with and what YOU need to earn to make this business worthwhile for YOU.

When I first started out writing SEO content in 2007, I charged $25 per 500-word article (now my SEO writing company’s rates are higher).

I was blasted by other freelancers (which astounded me) who said it was freelancers like me who “brought down the rates for everybody.” But, I had been recently downsized from a well-paying corporate job and writing SEO content allowed me to earn enough to pay my bills, while working from home. I didn’t have to go out and find another job – which I desperately didn’t want to do!

And I was busy – so I quite frankly didn’t care what others thought because when my mortgage payment came due on the first of every month, none of them were responsible for paying it. I was. And this is why I advise freelance writers to set their rates according to their needs – not what everyone THINKS they should be charging.

I discuss all of this in the free ebook, Living the Freelance Life. To get it, all you have to do is subscribe to Inkwell Editorial’s newsletter, which you can do from any page of this site (right-hand column).

Now, for those links on how to set your freelance / SEO writing rates:

SEO Copywriters (and Other Freelancers): How to Justify Your Freelance Writing Rates to Clients & Get the Pay You Deserve

SEO Writing Rates: How to Determine What to Charge as an SEO Copywriter

How to Set SEO Writing Rates to Make $250-$500+/Day

How to Set Your Freelance Writing Rates to Make a Real Living

4 Guidelines for Setting Blog Posting Rates

Freelance Writing Rates: And the Debate Rages On . . .

Q&A with an Aspiring SEO Writer about Freelance Writing Rates, Getting Health Insurance, IRS and Taxes & More

SEO Content Writing: One Writer Got $40/Article from Her First Client (with NO Website) and an SEO Writer Who’s Got $5,000 in Work Lined Up – How They Did It

A Funny Story about “Cheap” Article Writers

I correspond with several freelance SEO writers often. Just yesterday, one who charged $10 per 400-word article “quit” her client because she said, “I just couldn’t do it anymore Yuwanda.”

She went on to tell me that she just couldn’t turn out “crap articles” and it was taking her too long to write quality content at the $10 per article price. I advised her against charging this and she eventually did raise her rates, but she kept them low for this client because they had promised her “bulk work.” Not only did the “bulk work” never materialize, but her client turned out to be quite unorganized and demanding as well (this is the REAL reason I think she quit’em).

FYI, this client had also tried several other SEO writers, and eventually came back to her because her quality was so good.

And this is yet another reason why “real” businesses don’t even bother with cheap writers. They want someone to add to their “team,” someone they can count on to provide valuable content week in and week out. They don’t want – or have the time to – go shopping for a new writer every few weeks because cheap writers get burned out quickly.

Many of these cheap article writers soon realize that writing is hard work and writing for $5 per article is not worth their time. This is when one of four things usually happen; they: (i) raise their rates; (ii) move on to the next “easy” online business; (iii) quit a project in mid-stream; or (iv) turn in shoddy work (if not every time, then often enough to make it a pain for clients).

So these types of writers are not “competition” for you. You don’t want to be like them, and you don’t want the type of clients who want to pay these rates.

3) How many articles must i write to make 100.00 to 200.00 per week?

This depends on how much you charge and how many services you offer. You should be able to earn this in a DAY though. Proof? See this post, SEO Writing Success Secrets: One Successful Freelancer Tells How She Lands Clients and How Much She Earns on Different Projects 

4) Is there a difference with articles that are written with seo in mind and is this worth more and why?

Yes, there’s a definite difference. SEO content is written to drive traffic (and sales and generate leads). It’s written to produce results! And writing online content without knowing the rules of search engine optimization (SEO) is like writing in a vacuum.

These days, writing for SEO is a MUST for businesses to succeed online; it’s no longer an option or something they can put off and “get to later.” And this is why so many businesses are now investing in it, as survey after survey has revealed. Proof?

In the post, SEO Content Writing: A Professional Thinking of Changing Careers Asks, “Can You Still Make Good Money Doing This in 2012?” I linked to a post on SearchEngineland.com, stating:

The link goes out to a really good article on SearchEngineLand.com —  a site I’ve always advised SEO content writers to bookmark and read regularly by the way — that did a breakdown of how companies are spending their time and money on SEO in 2012. And guess what? Content reigned supreme! Proof?

Content is all the rage(emphasis added), but what kinds of content are SEOs spending time on? Blog posts lead, followed closely by social media content and articles/guides. The graph that accompanies the article also shows that SEO clients want/need press releases, content for social media, e-newsletters, infographics and videos, among other things.

ALL of this allows you as an SEO copywriter to build a solid client base.

And this is what the class is all about – teaching you how to write SEO content for businesses that will get them the much-needed traffic (and sales and leads) they want.

The Best Part of Learning How to Write SEO Content

One final thing I want to point out – which for me has been the most exciting part of learning SEO – is that once you know how to do it, you can put this knowledge to use to make money for yourself (over and beyond writing for clients).

Thanks to learning SEO, I’ve been able to dramatically increase sales of my ebooks (and affiliate products I market) – because I know the rules of the game of internet marketing. And this is really what SEO is all about —  learning how to get a site/blog/product/service found online so you can begin to build that all-important relationship with customers/prospects.

I talk about this I more detail in the post, SEO Copy Writing: How I Use It to Make Money Online Beyond Writing for Clients.

The Hardest Part of Being an SEO Writer

I just want to end this post by saying that SEO writing is a lot of work. I don’t want to make it seem like some get-rich-quick scheme. It’s not — not by a long shot.

You have to market; constantly stay abreast of the changes in the industry; deal with demanding clients (although this is rare); handle back-end tasks like billing; deal with other freelancers (if you get busy and have to outsource); etc.

It can make for some long days.

But as someone who enjoys the autonomy of working from home, having control over my own income and being able to be mobile (I love to travel), I wouldn’t trade what I do for anything.

There is no such thing as an easy business; they all require work (I know, I’ve owned several). So if what I’ve said here doesn’t freak you out, then SEO writing just may be the ideal career for you – again, if you’re willing to put in the work.

Have More Questions, Comments, Suggestions, Concerns?

If you have anything to share/ask about this class or freelancing in general, you can email me directly (see “Contact” link on every page of this site at the top). You can also share feedback via the comments section below.

To my American friends, enjoy the upcoming Labor Day holiday. Please be careful though; drinking and driving are all-too-common this fun time of year.


P.S.: Learn SEO and in just a few days, you will have all the skills you need to start earning $50,000 to $75,000 per year.seo-copywriting-training

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    1. Showayne Marley says:

      Hey Ive been looking at your stuff for some time and I just wan to say I admire all the writing you do, its a wealth of info, isee your stuff on ezines as well.