Revised March 7, 2017
First, what is a “Freelance SEO Copywriter”?
This is fancy term for someone (or a group of people) that independently writes original content for websites. Usually website owners pay an SEO Copywriter per words written. Generally I’ve seen prices range anywhere from $5 per 1,000 words written to $200 per 1,000 words written. The cost has several variables which include the freelancer’s reputation, the subject matter, formatting and the website owners need for original vs. non-original content. As both a freelancer and website owner, I’ve found the most success in the $30-$60 per article range. These freelancers are generally the people who make enough money to be profitable ($12-$90+/hr) and are working to develop or keep their reputation. The freelancers on the high end and the low end have incentive to rip you off. I’m not saying they all do, but they do have an incentive which leads me to my point… If you are hiring a Freelance SEO Copywriter, you should know his/her precise motivation.
The “High-End Scam”
This one is pretty simple. Sounds crazy, but some people are out there to rip you off! It’s sad but true, and isn’t too farfetched. When using a site like upwork, you will notice that people and companies are rated on scale of 0 to 5 stars. Some show total projects and total earning though freelancers have the option to keep total earnings private. Keeping in mind that some projects are much larger than others in scale, you should look at the ratio of earnings to projects as a potential warning sign. If someone has a 4.8 or 4.9 rating but their ratio of earnings to projects is $10:1 then you may want to be a little suspicious because this would imply their average project for $10 and if they are charging you $70 or $80 then something is off. Also be careful for someone who keeps their earning private and doesn’t have references. Many newcomers think they can just throw their hats in the ring with little to no experience. You may find text written that’s less than professional and can’t demonstrate a working knowledge of your subject.
The “Low-End Scam”
These scams are a little more likely and harder to detect. Often times you will see SEO writers offering services for $5 per 1,000 words or even less! If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. These people often get good reviews because initially things look great and they don’t even know they’ve been scammed. They also use methods to cheat the system and get reviews using shady tactics.
Here’s the scam… an SEO Company (sometimes they say they are from India so as to fool you into thinking they will work for low wages) offers their services for very cheap. You send in your requirements for articles written then they send back exactly what you asked for. The articles aren’t perfect but they look original and you are just looking for related original content. You throw them up on your website and you might even rank well for keyword phrases… at first. Then all the sudden your page and perhaps even your whole site gets’ hit hard by Google and you are ranking #76 where you used to rank #1 or #2.
The problem is that they do something called “Content Spinning.” This is a practice that’s been used for a while but has exploded onto the freelance scene within the last year. Content Spinning is when a writer uses scrapers and original content to come up with a mix of both to create semi-original content. The problem is that they usually steal entire sentences and Google can now spot when this is happening. You can check to make sure you aren’t getting scammed by this method by checking your content at plagiarisma.net or copyscape.com.
Hopefully this article will help you to avoid the sometime treacherous world of SEO.