Summary: SEO can seem tedious, but the value it brings to business makes search engine
optimization a lucrative tool. Freelancers can generate greater revenues for themselves and
others by following these helpful tips.
Freelance marketing professionals often have their hands full with the variety of demands that come with getting a business seen. However, it is essential that freelancers don’t forget the importance of search engine optimization.
SEO can drive traffic and conversions to your site long-term, making this a worthwhile area of investment. This approach can have a lot more marketing longevity than paid ads alone, and in the modern world, it is essential for a competitive edge.
But why does SEO matter so much when building a business? And how can freelancers get started right with crafting SEO content?
With these tips, freelancers can better direct their efforts towards client success. Here’s what you should know.
1. Value the Process
The first step in optimizing content marketing for SEO is to value the process. SEO is not a simple, cut-and-dried action, but an evolving experience dependent on audience trends, keyword competition, and search engine updates. Everything from a website’s landing page to individual blog pieces must be optimised if you want to receive maximum results from your content efforts.
But these results could be well worth it. In fact, SEO-generated leads have a 14.6% close rate, dwarfing the numbers of outbound marketing processes like cold calling or billboard ads, which have a close rate of around 1.7%.
Keep this information in mind as you explore focused SEO. Optimizing your content might mean more carefully crafted work, but the payoff for your clients can very well boost your reputation and increase your lucrative opportunities as a freelancer.
2. Know Where to Focus Your SEO Efforts
Once you’ve come to value the use of SEO in content marketing, it’s time to understand everything that the right approach can do for traffic, sales, and marketing efficiency. The many benefits of SEO in the right places will influence where you focus your SEO efforts, so keep these methods for driving organic traffic in mind:
- Carefully targeted content created to fill a niche can boost audience growth. This is known as the “paradox of specificity.”
- Evergreen content, or content with indefinite relevance, will generate more traffic over time than any other content or ad type.
- A 1-1.5% keyword density in content helps boost your placement in search results pages (SERPs)
- Structuring your data for rich snippets enhances visibility in SERPs.
These simple SEO strategies can all have profound impacts on overall results, and integrating them into your content won’t take much time. By understanding effective places to improve marketing outcomes, you’ll maximise your own SEO efforts.
3. Do Your Keyword Research
Keywords are, of course, key to the success of any SEO strategy. In fact, keyword research should take place before your content is even planned and outlined. You want to craft content with direct relevance to your audience, website, and niche—all of which can be better targeted through keyword research.
The keywords you use will depend on the industry, trending topics within that industry, and the availability of keywords in terms of competition. You won’t want to go up against corporations with vast resources to compete for the top spot for a given keyword. Instead, look for relevant niche topics with medium levels of competition.
By specifying a keyword string, you can potentially maximize your traffic. Start by searching for relevant terms through keyword research engines and explore the surrounding data, like in the example below.
Image Source: KeywordTool.io
Your best bet is a keyword string with relatively high search volume, yet specific enough to avoid competing with every other content creator. In this example, “vacation home” might be the perfect choice to base content around.
4. Create Quality Content
This one’s the kicker, and probably the reason many are able to find work as a freelancer — nothing boosts SEO results quite like quality, relevant content that gives an audience information they want or need. Being helpful, filling a niche, and doing it all with an air of professionalism is the impetus of content creators and marketers.
The content of your page will be the most important on-page SEO factor, one determined by its ability to fill a need and its overall linkability. If content fails to be accessible and shareable, your SEO metrics will drop.
Here are the quality factors you should consider:
- Use of plain language
- Use of active voice
- Clear organization
All of these important components can make or break your SEO success. Modern users access content from a variety of devices, and search engines need the assistance of structured content and clear layouts to rank SERPs effectively. Meanwhile, using accessible language and features like captioned videos is essential not just for SEO but for cultivating a larger audience.
Review your content for quality in these areas to best ensure boosted traffic and visibility.
5. Use Headings and Clear Content Structures
In terms of both design and SEO, a clear and effective layout is your best bet. SEO relies on structured content, meaning content that is tagged by metadata cues to let search engines know what it is. Using headings logically does a lot of this work for you, automatically formulating a basic content map that search engine crawlers can easily understand.
It may be most effective to build SEO considerations into your design principles. Approach every project with a checklist for both content and design that embraces user experience best practices. These items should include the organization of content through headings and their corresponding style tags (i.e. H1). As a result, you’ll craft content that can be better processed and ranked in SERPs for the best effect.
Backlinking is an essential aspect of SEO and content marketing. Often neglected, this practice garners authority for your work and should be a consideration from every angle of the project. From the preparation stage on, you should at the very least have a strategy for creating content that will attract backlinks, if you aren’t creating those backlinks yourself.
Backlinks are the method with which search engines determine the authority of the site. If other users on the internet are linking back to your content, this action in itself acts as a vote of confidence. The higher authority the site that backlinks to you, the better the boost to your search engine rankings.
There are many methods you can use to promote the linkability of your content. Here are a few ideas:
- Create thorough guides that users will keep coming back to.
- Build useful infographics.
- Roundup professional insights.
- Gather information not found elsewhere through surveys and questionnaires.
- Promote your content through guest blogs.
Any and all of these strategies can help grow your backlinking potential. Perhaps one of the best methods, however, is to generate a resource that users can quickly and easily reference or will want to link back to. A simple exercise infographic, like this 50 Push-Up Challenge reference, can be exactly what you and a large audience needs.
Image Source: Health.com
An easily applicable tool can be your most helpful backlinking resource. Users will want to share it, content creators will find it useful, and backlinks will inevitably propagate around your site. At that point, your SEO results will steadily climb and you can examine your analytics for continued improvements.
7. Re-evaluate Your Results
With everything in your power done to guarantee the SEO success of your content, all that is left for you to do is re-evaluate your results and look for areas of improvement. Depending on your direct role as a freelancer, you may have access to the analytics around your content. If not, it is always possible to request results and feedback from the companies you work with.
With the popularity and accessibility of analytical tools like Google Analytics, it can be easy to observe the way content performs in terms of SEO. Examine metrics like bounce rate, conversion ratio, page views, and more to get a good sense of how your SEO efforts have succeeded or failed.
Then, take note of what worked and what didn’t to further your own capabilities. This is perhaps the most valuable aspect of data analytics for a marketing freelancer, allowing you to become more effective in your role and in turn grow value for the businesses you work with.
8. Cultivate Value for Your Business
SEO matters not just in building up the businesses you craft content for, but in building up your own business and career potential. Effective SEO is a valuable tool. Someone with the skill to create quality content optimized for search engines can create real financial benefits in all kinds of industries. The resulting client satisfaction will grow your reputation as a freelancer, leading to more work and better pay.
While optimizing for search engines might just seem like an inconvenient and tedious task, SEO is an essential component of content marketing. The value greater visibility brings to businesses will come back on you, demonstrating your ability to meet goals and satisfy clients.
By following these tips for SEO freelancers, you can build your business and others, maximizing their potential for success.