How much should you pay for a good SEO copywriter?

You get what you pay for

When you hire a freelance writer, you get what you pay for.

I regularly see posts from other freelancers who say that freelancers are getting a rough deal and I think, “Well. I’m doing okay.” And it’s true: I have no complaints. But occasionally I see something that raises one of my eyebrows, if not both.
Look at this ad that appeared yesterday on Upwork:

Wanted: experienced copywriter with first-class SEO skills to write 500 word blog post on (I’ve removed the details of the job to protect the guilty). There must be no plagiarism; Copyscape WILL be used. Don’t apply for this job unless you are a native English speaker with at least three years experience in copywriting and producing SEO-enhanced blog posts that guarantee conversion.

The fee this chap had budgeted for the paragon he or she was looking for? $5.
I meet the selection criteria. I’m a native English speaker. My experience is somewhat more than three years; I began my freelance writing career in 1989. I consider myself an SEO ninja: give me a job and I won’t restrict myself to making sure your chosen keywords are included at the frequency you stipulate; I’ll also look for Latent Semantic Indexing keywords on your behalf, on the off chance that LSI is a new concept to you, and I’ll structure the finished piece in a way that lends itself to good SEO practice: there will be a subheading that you can use as an H2 header as well as other sub heads and bullet points inserted specifically for SEO purposes.
Nor will I forget that SEO merely serves to get the visitor onto the site; if the text isn’t top drawer, most visitors won’t hang around long enough to learn anything useful, and certainly not long enough to convert to paying customers. My text will be of the quality you’d expect from an award-winning novelist. And that goes double for my powers of imagination and invention that will separate your post from the horde. And I’ll combine it with Bucket Brigade expressions of the sort that keep people reading.
To do all of that and combine it with the research necessary to write a coherent, sensible post of 500 words cannot take me less than three hours. And for those three hours, this comedian wants to pay me five bucks!
Sorry, Bud. I charge $70 an hour and there are plenty of people happy to pay that because they know the big secret that is not a secret but that you appear not to have learned:

You get what you pay for

 Oh, I don’t doubt that you’ll find someone to take on your job for five dollars. And what you get will be worth exactly what you paid for it. Nothing whatsoever. And I don’t mind. I’m not short of clients. But you are deluding yourself in imagining that you can get quality for the kind of money you’re prepared to pay.
Have you thought of doing something more suited to your ambitions?
Begging on the street, perhaps?

If you’d like to learn more about the freelance writer’s life, you’ll find it here.