The SEO for Freelancers Guide: Part One
We all know SEO is important for businesses but it feels so clinical and overwhelming that most of us just ignore it. And we do so at the expense of our reputation and leads.
While paid ads are great, they are a never-ending expense. As soon as you stop the ads, your traffic goes away.
And content is only really valuable if your audience sees it. SEO ensures that someone sees it and that the traffic you’re getting isn’t dependent on how much you’re spending every single month, week, or even day.
SEO is super powerful and can give your business a huge boost if it’s done right. And it isn’t that hard to do it right.
In this series we’ll walk you through the most important things you need to know about SEO as a freelancer, starting with what SEO is and why it matters to your freelance business.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process by which you can increase both the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through “organic” (ie. not paid) search engine results.
Lots of people make the mistake of thinking of SEO as being all about the search engine, but it’s just as much about the people. To improve your SEO, you need to understand things like what people are searching for, the keywords they use, the answers they’re seeking, and the types of content that will best answer their question.
For effective SEO, you need to not just understand the intent behind the search query the person conducted, but also deliver the answer the person is seeking in a way the search engine crawlers can find and understand.
As search engines become more complicated with features like People Also Ask boxes, featured snippets, and image carousels, getting traffic is harder. This doesn’t mean you should chuck it all and go the paid ads route though. There is still plenty of opportunity for great traffic through well-done SEO.
Why Does SEO Matter as a Freelancer?
SEO matters for every business hoping to increase their client flow. While social media has become a sexy way to grow your brand, most online traffic still comes through traditional search engines and in the USA, only about 2.8 percent of people click on paid ads.
While paid ads can be a decent way to attract clients to a typical business, they usually don’t have a decent return on investment (ROI) for freelancers. One of the best ways to attract new clients is to show up when a client is looking for help with a problem that you solve.
Think about it, if a client is googling for a “grant writer in Pittsburgh” or a Shopify developer who works with liquid and you show up at the top of the results, they’ll at least give your website a look. If your website is professional and showcases your expertise, they’ll probably contact you for more information or even book you immediately.
Showing up in the search engines is important as a freelancer for several reasons:
- It’s a vote of confidence from the search engine, which makes you more credible
- Google/Bing/etc are basically the new YellowPages. If you’re not findable, you’re missing out on business.
- Your website is a great place to engage with and educate your audience. You don’t have to run a blog if you don’t want to, but informational content that ranks is really powerful and often leads to work.
If you’re trying to grow your reputation and your business, SEO is a great way to do that.
So now that you’ve accepted that you need to optimize your website, you’re probably wondering “how do I do that?”
The answer is that you keep reading this series and implement the steps along the way. In Part 2, we’re going to cover The Basics of SEO You Need to Implement as a Freelancer.