Roll up, roll up for Rule 8 in “The 12 Rules of Freelance Writing” series. Today is all about SEO, and why it is important that freelance writers should embrace SEO focused writing!

If, like me, you just jumped straight into the world of freelance writing without any research or knowledge of what exactly it entailed, you may not have a good grasp of SEO. However, these days it is important that as a freelance writer you understand at least the basics of SEO.

SEO for freelance writers

WHAT is SEO?

In order to know how to use SEO as a freelance writer, we need to know WHAT it is.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), is writing that uses keywords or phrases in specific ways so that search engines recognize them as an authority on that topic and will rank them higher on search pages. This increases visibility and draws more traffic from those people who are searching for those keywords or phrases. Essentially, by using keywords and phrases in the right way you will get search engines to direct people to the site you are writing for. 

WHY should freelance writers understand the basics of SEO?

Most clients these days who hire you for blogs or other website content will require that you have some SEO knowledge. SEO is now embraced by many businesses as they know effective SEO tactics will drive traffic to their website and help their visibility on search engines.

SEO improves search engine results.

Most Internet users do not move past the first page of search results. The higher a website ranks for a particular keyword or phrase, the better chance it will have of making it to that first page. And what does this mean? More visibility, more traffic and more chances to convert those readers to paying customers!

The added bonus of learning basic SEO writing for your clients, is that you can apply the knowledge and skills to your own website! This means your website will become more visible too. And what do we know about increased visibility? More chances to convert readers to potential clients! Win win!

Basic SEO skills make you look more attractive!

Stop posing. I meant more attractive on paper!

Hands up if you have recently seen an advert looking for a dedicated SEO writer? Or a job posting wanting a blogger with SEO skills?

More and more businesses and companies know the value of using SEO tactics to boost their website traffic and visibility and are taking advantage of it. So if you can boast SEO skills on your website, portfolio or writing resume then you are more attractive then the freelance writer who doesn’t possess those skills. With the extra SEO talent in your tool belt, you can create better service packages for potential clients.

What does that mean? Simple – you are more likely to be hired! Another win!

You can increase your rates.

If you undertake further studies in other employment, you can often earn more money.

Let us take my nursing job for example. I know I use nursing as an example a lot, but I have been a nurse for a decade! Anyway, let’s get back to the example.

When I first started out, I was classed as a RN Grade 1 Year 1 (Graduate Nurse). The following year I received a slight pay rise and the classification of RN Grade 2 Year 2. After a few years of nursing, I completed further studies (which was actually quite intense and stressful) and gained the qualification of Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) which again, came with a pay rise.

When you undertake further study in your business that ADDS to your skill level and expertise you should seriously consider increasing your rates. It is what happens in other forms of employment, so why not freelance writing? You should be compensated for undertaking further study and research to improve the services you offer clients.

Most business owners are now investing a lot of time, energy and money in improving the SEO on their websites. As a freelance writer, you can take advantage of this. Study SEO; learn as much as you can so that you can sell your skill to customers. There are many courses out there, so do your research carefully. Pick one that has the best reviews and is most cost effective!

I read the YOAST blog posts (and use the plug-in) as well as the Moz blog. They are fantastic sources, especially as the HOW of SEO and search engine algorithms seem to change fairly often. They provide up-to-date information so are worth checking in on regularly to ensure you stay ahead of the game!

What is your take on SEO? Do you think it is worth it, or are you of the “just create great content and the traffic will come” school of thought? Drop into the comments below and get the conversation started! I would love to hear your thoughts.

RULE NUMBER 8: WHY FREELANCE WRITERS SHOULD LEARN SEO.

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