The SEO for Freelancers Guide: Part Four
There are over 5 billion searches on Google every single day, which means you need a keyword strategy in order to make sure your website is showing up for searches when people are looking for someone just like you.
While most of those 5 billion daily searches will be completely irrelevant to your business, there will be at least a handful every month that are relevant and if your website is on page one of the search engines results pages, could be bringing you more business.
What are Keywords and Why Do They Matter?
Keywords are phrases people type into Google and other search engines in order to find what they need. These phrases also describe what a piece of content or an entire website is about. Keywords are a critical part of On-Site Optimization and play an important part of ranking well in the search engine results page.
Having a good keyword strategy can have a big impact on reaching your SEO goals. While it’s possible to rank well without a keyword strategy but with every Google update, it becomes less and less likely.
How to Find Your Keywords
There are lots of free and paid tools to help you find your keywords but before you start your search, you need to decide whether what you are focusing on with this keywords search is traffic or conversions
Traffic is the focus for websites that simply need page views and/or earn revenue from ads on the website.
Conversions are the focus for any website that sells a product or service, like your freelance website.
Now that you know that you need conversion-based keywords, you’re ready to get started with your keyword research.
There are dozens of ways to tackle your Keyword Research out there, but the Keyword Research Tools we suggest using are:
You can choose to use one of the above tools to find your keywords or you can use my favorite keyword research trick, which is to think like a human being and search for your keywords manually. It sounds like a lot of work but it’s really not.
Manual Keyword Research
In order to do manual keyword research, you’ll need to load up Google. If you’re a digital nomad or working remotely in a different country or part of the country where you’d like to rank for certain keywords, it’s time to turn on your VPN (if you don’t have a VPN but need one, we recommend NordVPN.)
Now that you have Google open, type your initial keyword. It can be as simple as “freelance writer Miami, Florida” or as nuanced as “how to write an about page.” As you’re typing in the Google search bar, Google will autosuggest other keywords. Jot down the relevant ones.
Next, check the “People also ask” section that nearly every Google SERP provides. Jot down relevant keywords from this list.
And finally, scroll all the way to the bottom of the SERP and look at what Google suggests are related search queries. Jot down the relevant ones and then click on the most relevant one and repeat the process.
You’ll eventually end up with a robust keyword list and an idea of what the websites which are ranking for several of these keywords are offering. Pay attention to whether you’re seeing a lot of blog posts on page one or listicles or infographics or anything else.
Google will tend to rank the pages that users engage most with so if you’re seeing a ton of infographics, expect that you may need to create an infographic in order to rank for that keyword.
Remember to Add Keyword Modifiers
Whether your keyword list is super robust or incredibly thin, now is the time to determine which, if any, keyword modifiers to add to expand your keyword list.
There are four types of keyword modifiers:
- Location: “Miami, FL”, “Canada”
- Time and Date: “2019”, “Christmas 2019”
- Intent: “buy”, “find”, “for sale”
- Price and/or Quality: “best”, “free”, “cheap”,
You may not need to use any of the keyword modifiers. In our above example “how to write an about page”, only Time and Date makes sense as a modifier using “2019.” The rest of the modifiers are pretty irrelevant.
How to Use Your Keywords
Now that you have your keywords, you need to know what to do with them.
The short answer is: integrate them into your website!
The longer answer is that there are several ways to integrate keywords into your website. You can start by weaving keywords and their synonyms into your website copy and content. If you have a blog, you can write entire posts covering a topic suggested by a keyword.
You can use your keywords to optimize your images, by writing your Image Title, Alt Text, and Description to include them.
Put relevant keywords in your URLs and meta-descriptions. Put them in page and post titles.
The most important thing is to remember not to keyword stuff and to use keyword variations which cover the same topic. In the example above, that means using “how to write an about page” and “about me page” and “blogs about page” and several other keywords in the same content.
Keyword research and use is important but even more important is to make sure your content is appealing to the human user, not just the Google crawler. Feel free to ditch keywords if your content is reading unnaturally or awkwardly. It’s better to rank well for a few keywords than badly for many.
And that’s it. Everything you need to know about keyword research as a freelancer in under 1000 words. Now all you have to do is implement. It’s even easier than you think.