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Frantisek

Freelance sites to find SEO experts ?

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Hello,

 

What would you advise me to be aware of when looking for "SEO assistant in all aspects of link building" on platforms like odesk ? I get some applications from bangladeshi or indian professionals, but they ask somewhat varying hourly wages from 0.8 to 2-3-4-5$ per hour and I wonder what I should expect the person to do per this hour - run automated script or do something manually and run those tasks on background ?

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Don't outsource your link building unless you have a very specific plan in place.  These guys are usually not "SEO Consultants" who will put together a SEO strategy for you.  

 

I look for the following:

 

- filter for 4.5 - 5 star 

- At least 100 hours billed

- some amount of time on oDesk

- recently active within at least 2 weeks

- independent contractors (I always avoid agencies) 

 

I'll ask a few questions in my job posting or give them direction "Respond to this job application and in your response tell me the secret keyword is 'elephant'". The I'll see who listens, responds to my questions etc. and those are the ones I'll engage.  The ones who are just blindly applying for everything are much easier to sort out.

 

I've had good experiences on oDesk hiring VA's to build out Web 2.0's, Blogs and other VA's to write original content.  I also had emailed with some really great Java and PHP developers from about a year ago.  So there are definitely some talented people there.

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Hello,

 

What would you advise me to be aware of when looking for "SEO assistant in all aspects of link building" on platforms like odesk ? I get some applications from bangladeshi or indian professionals, but they ask somewhat varying hourly wages from 0.8 to 2-3-4-5$ per hour and I wonder what I should expect the person to do per this hour - run automated script or do something manually and run those tasks on background ?

 

You have to keep in mind that the hourly wage that you have to pay is low which is the main reason that they get so much work so just because they are working for those kinds of wages does not mean that they are just running bots in the background.

 

Hiring foreign VA's can be pretty hit or miss, I have had great ones and ones that were a waste of money. All of the above advice is good. I would emphasis two of the points and a couple more. 

 

1. Know exactly what you want them to do, the more specific the better. Pick one or two tasks to start and focus on those.

 

2. Making sure that they have to respond to specific questions during the hiring process is good but I would also include very specific extra steps in the initial job as well to make sure that they can understand and follow directions.

 

3. When you do hire them even if it is for a long time position make it clear exactly what you expect and that they are on probation until you are comfortable with their work.

 

4. Make sure your instructions are clear and make sure you emphasize that they "have" to ask questions if they are not 100% sure what you want but... Do not be too hesitant to cut them loose if they are not working out.

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I used to get great results from freelancers, when scriplance was running, but now they have been bought out, I dont get the same amount of bids. Now I just use here and the other forums for services, maybe a bit more expensive, but you have review to help make the buying decision easier, and if they do not provide the results they said, you can always leave your review, however I have never left a negative review, I just never use them again.

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I've been outsourcing for several years now and what I've discovered is no matter where you look ie. scriptlance, elance, odesk, etc. you still need to sift through slackers to get to the all star freelancers. It's possible to get lucky and find that perfect seo freelancer but chances are you're going to have a hard time finding a reliable seo.

 

To reduce the time in finding a good seo you need to have a set of questions/requirements ready. That way you can quickly and easily remove someone from your "Potential hire" list. I have this list handy at all times when hiring any freelancer.

 

Some questions could be:

- Please give me some example sites you've helped ranked and how you got them ranked

- What tools have you used in the past and what do you use currently on a consistent basis

- What WP seo plugins do you currently use and why?

 

Those are just a few of my dozen or so questions I give my candidates. Also if they don't respond quickly ie 12 hours before submitting their answer I automatically remove them from my list. I want someone online during most of the day and this is a very good way to measure if they are online most of the time.

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Since Scriptlance,, I dont use any of them, I use service on here and other forum services, I found that I was always having to chase them, in the end I just stopped, however I was going to use a VA that was posted on this forum, I think they were very well vetted contact _Richard to see if the service is still available, their costs were resonable, my only reason I didnt use it, was because my hard drive failed, and my list that I had saved, was irrecoverable. Hope this helps
 

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You need to be very careful with Odesk and such, I use a simple tactic on all of my job postings, I add a sentence to the bottom of each job description along the lines of;

 

"Please start you application with the word "INSERT YOUR WORD HERE" , to confirm you have read and understood this job description"

 

This way any application that doesn't start with your specified keyword you can simply reject and move on. It has saved me so much time.

 

Also when taking applicants through to the interview stage, I will give them a URL to an inner page of one of my test sites, and ask them to go away and build the most RELEVANT and HIGH QUALITY link they possibly can.

 

This does 2 things;

 

1 - Allows me to see their understanding of the English language by how relevant the link it to the page it links too

2 - Allows me to see if they use any automated systems or if they have manually sought out a relevant, quality link

 

As mentioned above, have a link building plan and ensure they stick to it. Use Google Drive and an Excel sheet for them to log each and every link they build. It will come in handy to ensure a good mix of links, anchor text and also if you get hit by Google you know where to go to remove the links :)  

 

Hope that helps

 

- Lewis :)

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The internet is filled with advice on this and yet most people fall prey to the low rate option. There are a lot of sites where you can go to select them but I will recommend you odesk and seoclerks.com

 

Do keep in this that most of these "SEO experts" aren't experts at all. Most of them have read a couple of articles from the first links of Google search and claim that they know all there is to know. Here are a few tips that will help weed out the posers:

 

1-- ALWAYS select someone who has some prior feedback. Reject complete newbies without a second thought. Trust me, his will save you a ton of time.

2-- Aim for 4.00-5.00 feedback. You can be as selective in your feedback range as you want but this is a good range to start.

3-- Odesk gives you an option to screen applicants based on a couple of questions. Make them count. Ask something that will indicate the knowledge level of the applicant.

4-- Take time out and read the previous feedbacks. When clients are just okay with the results, they may leave 5-star feed back but the review is usually a one-liner. Applicants with "Awesome" and "wow" are the ones you want to go with.

5-- Ask the applicants to write a specific word in the bid. Reject people who haven't even taken out the time to read the job description.

 

I hope this helps. 

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All of the above are good advice.. 

 

When I'm seeking to hire someone from Odesk or Freelancer, i like to conduct an interview over skype.  Give them a short task to complete (which is relevant to the role).

 

Also look at:

 

evidence of communication and customer service - how responsive are they?  Do they provide regular updates on progress? 

 

past recomendations or references - have past clients been happy with their work?

 

That along with the outcome of the interview should determine if that individual is suitable for the job.

 

Az

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I may be biased here, however I personally DO freelance and have done for the last 2 years for 80% of my income.

 

oDesk and Elance used to be great, you could find good clients - when a good job was done you could nurture a great relationship and get repeat work.

 

I personally have 4.85 / 5 positive feedback and also am ranked very highly on all the tests I've done over on oDesk where I get most of my clients... Being in the top 10% of basically everything isn't seemingly enough to warrant paying more than a fixed fee of $100 or less than $4.00 an hour. Lol!

 

In the last 6 months it's become really untenable on all of the regular freelancing sites. In some cases people are looking for weeks of work and paying only $100.00 for it at fixed price.

 

My suggestion is if any of you are these kinds of outsourcers then don't complain, because you get what you pay for.

 

If people want to pay that little, buy software or services, don't go looking for an 'expert' when you're not willing to pay for one.

Edited by seolion

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Yea I agree SEOlion, some of these requests i see on freelancer sites are laughable, they want first page rankings for a few hundred or expect loads of high quality links for a cheap price. Heck if that was possible I would be requesting that service myself.

 

To be honest I havent even tried to dive into those freelance sites like Odesk, freelancer, elance for work and Ive been doing this over 7 years... The issue I see is there is so much competition and foreign countries are much lowered price not to mention when first starting out you literally have no reputation or feedback.

 

As for feedback on the OPs concern, as a provider I usually keep in contact with my clients on a normal basis to give them updates whats going on and notify them of any ranking changes etc.... most of the time this works out well because when people pay money for a service they want to see results and know whats going on with the money they paid to you.

 

Also those low rates are possible because the cost of living in those areas, its much different than something you would see in the states or uk or more developed countries. But a lot of times you can expect their techniques or education to be lower than what you would find with regular agencies or companies... but once in awhile you can find someone good in those places.

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Freelance sites to find SEO experts ?

Not a good idea, I would say non of the good SEO experts will be on freelance sites because they have enough jobs without it. What you can find there is some cheap Asian crocs that will rip you off. 

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Hi, I would agree with vkhare. Although the comment was made in 2013, it is still true today. I outsource a part of linkbuilding to freelancers on odesk. They do very well in creating web2.0s, article directories, social bookmarking, RSS submissions and Directories submissions. Can't say for the rest of offpage SEO, as I've had difficulty finding a good one, for example - broken link building management. Good SEO consultants usually don't work from odesk, and their hourly rates will be way higher (from tens or hundreds per hour)

 

Here are the summary pointers I've learnt from hiring SEO freelancers in the last 1 year.

 

1. Quality of freelancers available on Odesk.com

a) They usually claim they are SEO experts, but the methods that they used are usually pre-Panda and pre-Penguin, even when they claim they are Panda and Penguin safe

 

How to go about this?

Do not outsource you entire SEO plan to a freelancer on Odesk. Rather, you need to create your own SEO plan and strategy (you can learn this) or hire a reputable firm like Moz.com (it's gonna cost but it'll work). If you already know SEO, and using web 2.0s is part of your SEO linkbuilding plan, then you can definitely outsource this portion of it on Odesk. That said, you'll need to guide them at every step from the sites they are going to build backlinks from, to the anchor texts that are being used. Never allow free play.

 

B) The majority of freelancers on Odesk.com that will bid on an SEO job are largely from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. I've actually spoke about this in a Skype call with Odesk, since my team is the top 10% client on their site, and they wanted to know what problems we are facing when hiring on odesk.com. It seems they also couldn't figure out why the demographics is skewed towards this part of the world for SEO. IMO, I think it has to do with the level of work, no one else wants to be manually creating backlinks. It's hard work frankly, so I respect them. 

 

c) The self-assessed English level is always marked 5 out of 5. But since English is not the native language for Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis, you need to do your due diligence communicating with them through interviews to assess their English level. They must be able to understand your instructions later on.

 

How to go about this?

What I've found is that most of the cover letters are written in near perfect English. Some of the freelancers' application responses will also read well. However, as you interview them on Skype or via email, asking for more specific questions such as "tell me more about what you think are the ranking factors in 2014" or "tell me more about what you do outside of SEO, if you don't mind", you can see the disparity in the language proficiency. I usually use this as a test to see who's the ones that could speak better English. This may not be as important for one-time simple jobs or simple tasks like Internet/web research. However, it is critical that the freelancers you employ for SEO speak good English so that they actually understand what you needed them to do for link building. If they misunderstood or did not understand your instructions, they'll still carry on with the job anyway. It'll create a mess and more effort to remove the backlinks that you did not ask for. (For example, creating backlinks from a low authority or spammy site etc). Hence, it is always good to create a test job and ask them to build backlinks to a test site. Once you know they are doing it correctly, then ask them to build links to the actual sites. Also, I found that the ones demanding $4 - $5/hour usually speak better English. However, I would still do the due diligence to communicate with them via email and see their responses and gauge their English.

 

Each week, they need to submit to you a report on the links they've created. And you need to check to make sure it's done correctly. For backlinks from directories, there's a lead time for approval by moderators, so I would ask the freelancer to take a screenshot of the "link successfully submitted" page.

 

Finding the right freelancer is very important. Right now, I have about 6 backlinkers working with me on Odesk. Haven't had a problem with them and we've built a good rapport with each other that I trust them to do the job well. I still check their work of course. :D

 

Regards,

Jinghong Chiu

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All of the above suggestions are great. I just want to append a few here

 

1. When the asking hourly rate is low it doesn't mean that it will produce poor results. but when people are asking only $3 or $5 per hour I start to wonder.

2. Do not go with the one who has worked less (at least 20 jobs or 500 hours).

3. If you want to go cheap ask for previous results.

4. Never hire someone who has lower than 4.5 out of 5. 

5. Start small. Give then a small project and judge by the result

6. It is good to trust but not in the initial steps. test, test , test.

7. Do not offer to do SEO  who is your writer/Social Media manager.

8. Always communicate through Odesk/eLance/etc. At least first few month try to avoid contacting or giving instruction via skype or email. If something goes wrong then you can produce these as an evidence to the agency (odesk/elance)

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 no matter where you look ie. scriptlance, elance,..  . you  need to shift through slackers to get to the all star freelancers. It's possible to get lucky and find that perfect seo freelancer but chances are you're going to have a hard time finding a reliable seo.


 you need to have a set of questions/requirements ready. That way you can quickly and easily remove someone from your "Potential hire" list. I have this list handy at all times when hiring any freelancer.

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