Having a personal website is giving you an opportunity to be a part of the internet society and get your work recognized even outside of the freelance platforms. Your website is your online home and a staple of your freelance career. Now that you have one, you are already a step closer to expanding your business! But, a beautiful website on its own will not make your freelance website get visits and subsequently customers. You need to help people find it. Search engine optimization (SEO) of your website and its content can help you there!
SEO relates to a set of practices that can help you get better ranking and greater visibility on search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Baidu Search, etc. When something gets posted on the Internet, search engines start gathering data in order to estimate which web page features the most relevant information. The ones with the most info and optimal readability are ranked best and are shown to Internet users with higher frequency.
So if you want your website to get more traffic and conversions, I recommend you to start working on your SEO right away.
Make Keyword Research as a Priority
Keywords are an essential part of SEO. They are the words you type in, for example, Google search box when you are looking for answers. Most users, yourself included, click only on the first few articles that come up. You know what they say – the second page of Google search results is the best place to hide stuff, as it is where no one ventures. 🙂
The same goes for all your potential clients. They all want valuable and fast information, and if they don’t get to see your website among the first few results, they are never going to find it. That is where keyword research kicks in!
When crawling the internet, search engines start connecting certain keywords with certain webpages. You want to make sure that your website is associated with keywords that are related to what you do – for example, if you are a UX designer you want to feature for keywords related to your expertise – and that it corresponds to what your clients are searching for. Here are 5 tips that can help you achieve this!
#1 Scout the Competition
If you are not sure what to do exactly or how to do it, try checking out your competition, or a site you usually visit. Pay close attention to words they use in headlines and descriptions and see if you understand right aways what they are all about. If it is super clear for you what they do, then they are using the right keywords. Take notes and get inspired. The best way to learn a craft is by learning by example.
#2 Use Keyword Explorer Tools
When it comes to choosing the right keywords, there is no need for overthinking, since there are many keyword explorer tools that can come in handy, such as WordTracker, Ahrefs, Moz. These tools are practical and quite easy to use. You just type in a keyword you are thinking of using and a country that you want to target people from. Then you can easily see how many people are searching for that exact keyword and estimate if that is the best option to go with or some other suggestion may work better.
#3 Define Keywords to Optimize For
After you decide on using certain keywords, it is important to see how they fit into your business. Make sure your website content, whether it’s a short bio, the description of your previous work or your blog articles contain chosen keywords as well. Build your homepage, as well as the cornerstone page around keywords that will help you gain visibility, and help your client know straight away what your work is about.
Remember – we are not optimizing just for search engines, we are optimizing for people as well.
#4 Optimize your title tags and meta descriptions
When you are going through search results for a certain search query, for instance, “How to get clients as a freelancer”, you’ll only get to see the article/page title and a brief description under the title. They will also contain words that are matching the ones you already typed in, telling you what that article is about without opening it. That is how keywords in title tags and meta descriptions work. So, if you want to show people that your web page is worth opening, you should use the right keywords on your cornerstone pages, not to mention articles.
#5 Use Keywords for URL Building
URL building is often overlooked, but it is also one of the key segments of a good SEO. In a world of scams and hacking, it’s important to have an URL that doesn’t seem threatening. When you post or send someone a link that leads to your homepage or any other page on your website, you should make it easy for people to read what your link is about. Make sure not to make it too long either.
To create a great set of links, you should always start with a short and simple domain name, after which you can add a keyword related to your page. If you are using WordPress as a CMS, you can set up your own permalink structure and edit the URL to each page or article you create. Just make sure not to change the URL once your page goes live!
A lot of people avoid blogging, thinking they are not really good at writing, and then just keep it safe – sticking to an about me page or an online portfolio for showcasing their work. Usually, the main reason behind this behaviour is simple – they don’t know what to write about.
However, blogging is a way to get your ranking better. Blogging exists for connecting with your audience and potential clients – shows a story behind your work and showcases your way of thinking and expertise. There are many ways you can use different types of content as a website material.
It doesn’t matter if you are a photographer or just selling products, these are the types of blogging content you can always use:
This is probably the safest article to go with, and it is pretty universal as you can make a list out of any topic. If you are a photographer, you can write about “Wedding Photography: Top 10 Creative Ideas For Picture-Perfect Memories”, giving people an idea how to pose, and showcasing your own work at the same time. If you are selling beach equipment, “Top 5 Accessories for Summer 2020” is a way to go! See? Pretty simple! Just think about who is your audience and what are their needs.
Making your “top 5” is a great way to create content on your website since it is the thing most people enjoy reading. With this type of article, you can showcase your skills, attract your potential buyers or clients and give your website visitors fun and useful reading material.
#2 Your Work in Other Media
The great way to show your credibility is by sharing articles or videos in which you appear as an expert. Post or repost an interview that features you, a customer review, or behind the scene moments of your latest project, and show what kind of expert you really are. These types of articles paint a picture of you as an accomplished and skilled professional in your respective field.
You don’t have to wait for a journalist to approach you. Find a journalist who writes topics related to your work field, and give them a good pitch on why you should be interviewed and what is interesting about your work. Let’s say you are a graphic designer that pays close attention to colors. Try contacting a journalist from a graphic design magazine you follow, and tell them you would like to share with them the secret of color psychology you use in your work. And voila, not only you have a story for your website, but you are expanding your contacts and audience.
#3 Guest posts
Guest posting refers to publishing someone else’s article on your website and the other way around. This is a great way to connect with other professionals from your industry and gain valuable contacts as well.
Of course, many influencers are doing guest posting as a way of attracting different audiences and building a name for themselves. Having a guest post on your website will bring you new visitors and social shares from the author. The same is true if you are posting on someone else’s website as you reach their audience alongside your existing one. Bear in mind that, whether you are writing a guest post or publishing someone else’s work, always give people value through those articles. The more credibility guest posts on your site hold, the better your SEO will be.
Final Tips on Blogging
To grow your brand faster and get more readings, make sure to interlink your articles. When writing articles, always try linking to your other posts on the topic so people stay longer on your website. Aside from creating a deeper connection with your audience, this also signalizes to Google that people love to engage with your site and that positively impacts your ranking.
Finally, don’t forget to use keywords in your blog posts, and to share your content on social media as well.
Achieve More Visibility Through Links
Backlinking is a process of getting other websites to link to your web pages. Having your website linked as a reference is giving search engine information that it has needed value. This in turn contributes to a higher ranking. The most important thing you can do is – always connect with reliable sites and make your content relevant, thus giving your audience a reason to follow and share your work.
There are several ways you can attract backlinks:
#1 Build a Reputation as an Expert
Everything you share on the Internet defines your online identity. Therefore: your personal branding begins with you and your work. The more your recognizable your brand is, the more credibility you have, so people will link you as a trustworthy reference. If you are not sure where to start, we recommend you reading this article – how to make your personal brand stand out.
#2 Utilize the Power of Social media
Use your social media platforms to share your content. Don’t forget to make it unique and high-quality so people will naturally want to reference and link it. Spread a word about your website and work, and feel free to promote your content as well – the more people it reaches, the higher the chances someone will share it.
#3 Reach out to your Community
Your friends and partners are your allies. Ask them to share your work with other people or post it on their social media. Of course, make sure you share and support their work as well!
Choose who you approach. Your content will give value mostly to your target group, so the best way to get more readability is by having your content featured in the same general industry or niche as your working field.
#4 Feature Others in Your Work
Try building backlinks by mentioning or writing about people from your field of work, as this will give them a reason to share your content. For example, mention top 5 freelancers you worked with and explain projects on which you collaborated. Describe the process behind your work and your colleagues’ strengths. Don’t shy away from talking about partnering with an expert from your field. Together you can create something really useful and valuable for your audience and that is what matters most.
#5 Credibility Matters
When posting links that lead back to your site yourself, try doing a little bit of research about the site you are posting or commenting on. Joining dozens of unfamiliar forums so you can share your link on and hope for the best is not a good strategy and can do you more harm than good. Instead, try focusing on thrusted forums that are somehow connected to your work. Having useful discussions with fact and experience based comments is crucial, and spamming can only bring your ranking down. Not to mention, it will get you banned from the community.
We can all agree that mobile devices are integral to our lives. People are constantly using their phones and iPads, and whenever they are in need of instant information, they’ll use those devices, rather than a computer.
Time spent on mobile devices is constantly growing, so you should make sure your website is mobile friendly, and responsive, that is, optimized for different screen sizes and load times. Here are things you should pay attention to:
#1 Loading time
People are usually searching for information on-the-go, and they all want quick access to the content they are looking for at the moment. If you keep them waiting, they will bounce from your page pretty fast.
To avoid this, pay attention to your site’s load time. Google PageSpeed Insights can give you all the information you need since it shows where your site performs well and where you need improvements, as well as how to make them. If you don’t have time nor experience to make these changes, you can always invest in paid page speed services such as WebFx, Evalvenow, LightSpeedWP and many others.
#2 User experience
To ensure that every mobile visitor can find his way around your site, make your mobile design “thumb-friendly”, making it easy for your audience to scroll and click on the right elements on your page. Moreover, to help them take the next step towards conversion, make sure your call to action buttons are visible and big enough for your users to easily click on.
Don’t forget to pay close attention to font choice and size. Your audience will have a great user experience only if you adjust fonts to smaller screens, so your content is readable on all devices.
#3 Mobile content
Make your content more readable by keeping your paragraphs at 2-3 sentences. This will allow your audience to easily read or skim through your article.
Feel free to add photos and videos to your content to make it more interesting. Don’t forget to reduce file size for faster loading. Also, keep in mind that image SEO starts with the file name – by using a descriptive title (keywords included!) you let Google know what the image is all about.
Before you go
Knowing how to do a proper SEO is not only great for your website; it’s also a great additional freelance skill. Since it is all about organic reach, and the internet is overcrowded with ads, many companies look for people who can keep up with this ever changing world.
Same as with many other things in the digital sphere, SEO trends are constantly changing and mastering SEO can do wonders for both your website and your business. Ensure your brand wins the race, and your SEO strategy is up-to-date by checking out all things you should know about SEO trends in 2020.