SEO for Freelancers: 4 Key Tips to Attract Clients on Autopilot

freelancer-header

When you’re looking for freelancing opportunities online, you’re entering a massive competitive marketplace.

Whether you’re a designer, a writer, or a developer, you already have the skills – now you just need the customers.

There are a lot of mistakes freelancers make, but in this post we’ll run you through a series of marketing techniques and processes to help customers find your expertise.

In short, you need to understand what your customers are looking for, optimize your site, and drive people toward your product.

Let’s look at how this can be done through 4 particular sections:

  • How to optimize keywords
  • How to structure pages
  • How to generate backlinks
  • How to exploit long tail keywords

How do keywords help me?

The first step you as a freelancer might take is understanding that your website is not going to be the focal point of a network the size of the New York Times.

According to SimilarWeb, the New York Times had 346m visits in December 2016 and just over half a billion the month prior.

I hate to break it to you, but you’re not going to beat that.

The way you can break into a position of prominence and make more money is to find a relatively untapped part of the network and target that spot. You can think about what services you are offering and what your competitors are offering. Can you make yourself a little different? Can you describe yourself in different ways? Simply ranking high on Google helps your prospective clients trust you more.

We at Process Street use Ahrefs as our keyword research tool, however you can also check out this video to see how you can select and optimize your keywords with Google’s Keyword Planner, or read a comparison of Moz vs. Ahrefs.

The key to great keyword research is in ABC: Always Be Comparing

As part of your workflow, you want to gather as many potential keywords relevant to your business as possible. Hundreds. Then you want to use one of the above tools to provide you with as much data as possible on all these different terms.

If you need some assistance in coming up with all these keywords, you can use Google’s search suggestions, synonyms from Thesaurus.com, or other keyword finders like keywordtool.io or KeywordShitter.

When you have all your keywords and their data, you need to know how to analyze them. Our rule of thumb is to filter by volume and then pull out all the keywords which seem to have low keyword difficulty scores.

This data shows you where the weak points in the existing networks are. Your keywords are the tools you will use to exploit them.

  • Find keywords with high volume and low keyword difficulty to target.
  • Use Ahrefs or Google Keyword Explorer to gather this data.
  • Follow a clear keyword research process to get best results every time.

What’s involved in optimizing my website?

According to the Freelancing in America 2016 study from the Freelancer Union, there are 55 million freelancers operating in the United States alone. And these freelancers are doing well; according to the same study, freelancers contributed $1 trillion to the US economy in 2016.

What does this tell us?

Well, lots of things. But one of them is that there are lots of competitors’ websites out there, so you better have a really good one!

However, it’s not all about having the prettiest website on the internet. You want to build that strong point in your network, but your best tool for that isn’t HTML5 and it’s not just keywords either

A 2016 report from Ahrefs showed that the power of keywords alone has been reduced by Google’s algorithm changes. Using optimized keywords is still a vitally important part of improving your on-page SEO, but other factors in how you structure your content and site play a large part.

According to Ahrefs, you should:

  • Ensure that the load time of your pages is minimal,
  • That you have entered meta tags for your title and description within your tags,
  • That your content is broken up clearly into sections with

    and

    tags,

  • That these subtitles target your keyword or its related keywords,
  • That you’re updating your pages and adding new content,
  • and, that you’re using https on your domain to provide visitors with security.

However, most of all, the #1 factor, the decider of who ranks on Google the mighty backlink.

How can I generate backlinks?

The holistic answer to tackling not just backlinks, but the other factors mentioned above, is to introduce a content marketing strategy.

If you’re regularly putting out blog posts which are relevant to the niche in the market you’re angling for, then you’ll start to build your reputation. You’ll be creating new web pages regularly and structuring those pages so that Google can read them easily and see your value.

Moreover, if you’re producing quality content then you’re able to easily generate backlinks. The first step is to properly promote your content. This way, you’ll already have links back to your domain from social networks and content aggregators. In doing so, you’ll drive traffic and those visitors may even pass the link on.

At this point, you’ve built your reputation in two ways: in the eyes of Google and in the eyes of your audience.

To build on this, you can start guest posting and have others guest post on your blog. If you have a reputable blog, others will want to take advantage of that and publish their work on your site. This gives you more content and also results in the original author promoting content attached to your domain.

Win win!

Before you know it, you’ll be guest posting on other blogs and driving even more backlinks your way.

  • Begin a content marketing campaign.
  • Write content for your blog and promote it across the internet.
  • Write content for other people’s blogs and link back to yours.
  • Have others write content for your blog and promote it.
  • Link to your previous work in future blog posts on your site and on others.

How can I target specific customer searches?

Now that you’ve got a comprehensive list of the different keywords you want to be able to target, you can begin to structure your website to better address those needs.

The first thing to remember is that your favored keywords only enter you into a particular category. If you know exactly what your target customers are googling, you can construct long tail keywords.

These are different long phrases which you will want to use across all of your content.

However, a great way to begin to exploit them is to construct specialized landing pages specifically targeted at reaching those terms. This gives you a specific representation of your product or service which you might want to send someone to from an article or email campaign. Practically, for SEO purposes, this gives a specific facade to your company which is engineered for certain oft-googled phrases.

You can use a service like LeadPages.net to create multiple landing pages and optimize the pages through A/B testing. With the ability to make a large number of landing pages comes the ability to target your company in different ways all at the same time.

These landing pages can focus on specific long tail keywords, specific geographical areas, and different segments of the market budget, mid-range, premium. Each of these sites is more likely to show up in Google for their specific niche than an all purpose home page.

  • Use a tool like LeadPages.net to make multiple landing pages.
  • Focus each landing page on a different niche service by targeting long tail keywords.

Implement these SEO techniques today!

Through these tips and following a content marketing strategy, you’ll drive up your traffic and rocket your SEO in the process. You’ll be a freelance superstar in no time.

A single website on the internet is often described as being a needle in a haystack. But that’s not the case. This needle can choose where in the haystack they want to be located.

Put yourself on the outside of the haystack at head height and your odds of being found are significantly higher.

Particularly, when you realize how many people are staring at that haystack looking for you!

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