Go to any online job portal, type in ‘freelance SEO’ and check the results that appear. I am pretty sure you will be surprised by the demand in the industry. If you have a little idea of the online marketing industry, you can find there are so many agencies that make a killing through their expert SEO consulting services. If you have followed the SEO industry for a while, you will surely have seen the increasing importance of SEO in the digital world for businesses.
So you are thinking of becoming an SEO freelancer?
However, the way to get ahead in the SEO world is practice and a lot of patience. No matter how much you learn from the best books on SEO courses or read the best articles on SEO, you cannot get ahead without hands-on training on a website.
How are you going to do that?
Before delving into that answer let’s start at the beginning.
What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is just a fancy word for the process of optimising a website to rank it as high as possible on the result pages of search engines. We all know what Google’s (which is a search engine) search results look like.
And no, you do not need to know exactly how the search engine works; just enough to know how it ranks the pages. That’s enough for your SEO needs.
Now that we have an idea of how SEO works, let’s move ahead on and plan your freelancing career as an SEO expert.
- It always starts with the basics
You are going to work on websites and try to rank them above other competitor’s websites. Using common sense, you should have a fair idea about websites and its development. The owner of MOZ, Danny Dover cannot put it better in his article for beginner’s checklist, “Learn how to build a basic website.”
You can also start your own blog platform in WordPress. The good thing about this is you can easily tweak it for SEO purposes, which will provide you with the basic understanding of SEO working.
- Let’s SEO
Next step is all about learning the different areas of SEO and applying it. SEO is a composite of various practices performed on-site (within the website) or off-site (activities outside the website). Here are the prominent SEO activities that you need to gain expertise on:
- Competitor’s website analysis – One can learn a lot about by looking at the website in terms of optimisation. To get an idea of how a well-optimised website looks check out a similar website that ranks at the top of the search engine results.
Google understands how good or bad the website is by looking at certain factors like page titles, optimised sitemap, meta tags, page interlinking, etc.; everything that you can take control within the website i.e. on site. This is where your website knowledge comes handy. By analysing the competitor’s website you will know what the best practices are when it comes to the design and structure of the website.
- Keyword research – Keywords are those words and phrases which are present in your web content and related to the theme of your site. When someone searches something in a search engine, they type the words and phrases according to the results they want to see. If your website is properly optimised with the right keywords, then the right audience will see your web pages.
This is the reason keyword research is an important part of SEO activity. You must regularly check if the keywords are popular or if there are new keywords which are being used more. This will help in changing your keyword priority accordingly. Keyword Planner is one such tool to help in keyword research.
- Link building
Getting a link back (or back link as the term goes) from very popular, large and relevant (connected to the theme of your website) websites is basically the idea of link building. Earlier, it was easy to get a link by just commenting with links or distributing links. Then Google became strict and these practices were deemed to be harmful to websites when it comes to ranking. As a result, guest posting is the only activity providing the last stand. If you are a good writer and have a hold on the subjects related to your website, you can do guest posting on your own. Otherwise, you can always find someone who is willing do it for you.
- Content generation
Websites need content and to keep Google happy, fresh and quality content is a necessity. In other words, SEO needs content.
We mentioned earlier keywords are an important part of search engine ranking, but what is going to fulfil these keyword requirements? 10 points for guessing! It is content.
- Start from the bottom
We all have to start somewhere and so does your SEO career. Clients do not appear magically and one has to work hard to get the interests to start pouring in. Start working with your local business or help a friend for free. At least you will get the required experience and can mention in your profile. You also get to learn other soft skills while dealing with your local businesses like client management and business communication.
- Or, you can just do a certification course
I am always an advocate of the idea of investing in something that will provide with profitable gains. Putting your money on a certification course is a good choice. Get certified through an online SEO course and put it up on display. I guarantee you will get your SEO freelancing career started sooner than you will have expected.
Congrats! You can ply your trade now.
If you have successfully followed the above steps and done the expected amount of practice to get the confidence, then Voila! You are a freelance SEO expert now. However, you have still some work left.
Secondly, make an attractive online profile which will help you in getting clients. It should highlight your skills and any experiences that you have gained till now. If you have worked on any project, mention it.
Now you are all ready to get that freelance SEO career going. Best of Luck!