With the exponential growth of online businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemics, SEO has become one of the most sought-after careers from 2020 on.
And not just by freelancers!
SEO services are currently in high demand for both small and large companies. And it's no wonder why - as more than 90% of all online experiences start with a search engine.
The reason why SEO experts can find jobs so easily and earn a lot of money in doing them is because of the results search engine optimization can produce. There’s a wide range of services an SEO expert can provide. However, it's not quite easy to master all of them at once (but not impossible). If you're in doubt about which tasks to delegate, we'd recommend doing a bit of research on affordable SEO for small businesses.
Increased brand visibility, higher traffic to the website, higher conversion rates and better ROI scores are just some of the valuable things SEO specialists can deliver to their target audience.
If you want to learn how to produce these results and advance in your SEO career, keep on reading for 8 of our most effective tips for freelancers!
1. Stay on Top of the Latest SEO Updates
As Google's algorithm is constantly seeking a better way to deliver quality results for users' search queries, you can expect some major updates to it every couple of months.
What does that mean for you?
It means that your journey to mastering SEO doesn't end once you learn the fundamentals of search engine optimization.
You've chosen a fast-paced career that requires curiosity, a constant thirst for knowledge, and a high awareness of the updates and SEO trends that are shaping the industry.
The best way to track these trends, apart from Googling? Finding other experts in the field, talking to them, using their tips, and analyzing their best practices.
Just don't forget to question the things you learn along the way!
Ultimately, you want to gain a market advantage through innovation, and questioning everything is a great way of honing critical thinking skills.
2. Build an SEO Portfolio
If you're pursuing an SEO career, you probably know by now that it is extremely sought after by employers. However, an SEO career is also extremely competitive.
So, how can you stand out from the competition?
Build a portfolio.
Depending on the niche you're trying to get into, you'll want to gather all of your best-performing samples of work related to said niche and use them to showcase your SEO knowledge.
Your portfolio should include things like:
- Best performing blog posts
- Proof of successful link-building
- Case studies
- High-performing keywords, headings, meta descriptions
- Social sharing
If you're a beginner in the SEO career, you will likely find portfolios most helpful - especially if you don't have a resume or client testimonials that speak of your expertise.
3. Create Your Own Website
There's arguably no better way to prove that your SEO skills can yield results than having a website as proof of your expertise.
Besides this website functioning as a sort of portfolio, you can also use it to fine-tune your SEO skills. After all, the best way to learn something is by doing it.
While this tip doesn't necessarily mean that you need to build the website yourself, that might not be such a bad idea if you have affinity with web design..
If you have the time to learn some coding, we would suggest trying to create a website by yourself.
Why? Primarily because this process can teach you some of the most important aspects of SEO, such as what exactly impacts Google's indexation and crawlability.
4. Use Social Media to Find Opportunities
Social media profiles are a great way of building a personal brand. They can help you reach a large pool of potential customers and make you more visible to SEO recruiters.
When deciding which social media platform to build a presence on, remember that different platforms yield different results.
Figure out who your target audience is, which type of services you want to offer, and in what stage of the buyer's journey they are, as well as which kind of social media content strategy you need to create to move them ahead of that journey.
For example, LinkedIn is a great place to find SEO career opportunities and it is a great way to network with other experts in the industry.
5. Use SEO Tools to Improve Your Strategy
SEO work is time-consuming, and using SEO tools is a great way to stay efficient.
The number one thing SEO tools can help you with is keyword research. Ahrefs, KWFinder, Semrush, and Ubersuggest are just a few keyword research tools that can help you identify keywords with high volume and low competition.
If you want to understand what you're doing right and which areas of your SEO strategy need improvement, you'll need some analytic tools to help you out. Google Search Console, SEMRush Marketing SEO tools, and SpyFu SEO tools are among our top picks.
Whether you're doing PPC, social media, content, or another form of marketing, tools like SEMRush (again), Majestic, and Serpstat can help you achieve your marketing goals.
Finally, SEO tools can also be used to help you avoid publishing duplicate content. Search engines are very strict about plagiarism, so plagiarism checking tools can help you create unique, SEO-friendly content.
6. Test Everything
To measure success in your SEO career, you can't stop learning. You have to figure out a way to measure the impact of your changes on things like rankings and organic search traffic.
The way to do it? Testing. You can test anything from the effectiveness of your site’s web design to your social media conversion rates. It all depends on your goals.
Test everything that you do, one thing at a time, to check the impact on your metrics. Just make sure that you know ahead of time what you're trying to optimize for.
A great test that you can conduct is the AB split test. This test allows you to compare two different versions of a website, marketing campaign, or another measurable variable, to identify which performs better.
Oh, and allow yourself to fail. Failure allows you to learn from your own mistakes, which minimizes the chances of repeating them in the future.
7. Learn Skills Adjacent to SEO
To be considered an SEO expert, you have to possess several skills. Naturally, the more you master, the more sought after you become by large companies.
Here are just some of the many skills you should seek to learn:
- Artificial Intelligence – There are many uses for AI in SEO. For example, CopyAI can help you think of new topics to write about and even write them for you. You can also use AI for content optimization and task automation.
- Keyword research - To rank your content high on a search engine results page, you need to figure out which keywords have a high search volume and low competition. Then, you need to include these keywords in your content.
- Link building - Another variable that factors into ranking higher is backlinks. If you can get a large number of high-authority websites to post links to your website, you're increasing your odds of being recognized as reputable by Google's algorithm.
- Analytics – To figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your SEO strategy, you'll need to hone your analytic skills. That includes analysis of your traffic, keywords, content ideas, search volume, competitors, etc.
- Digital Marketing – As SEO is a tool used in digital marketing, you should learn about the objectives of digital marketing, such as lead generation, capturing and nurturing (among other things).
- Coding – You don't need to know programming to do SEO, but your digital marketing could benefit from some basic HTML and CSS knowledge.
- Writing - Depending on where in the buyer's journey your target audience is, you can benefit from either content writing or copywriting. Knowing how to inform, entertain and persuade your readers is an important skill to have if you want them to take a certain action.
- Proofreading and editing - Details such as grammatical errors and spelling mistakes can impact the readability of your content. After writing content, take some time to proofread and edit it for clarity and easier understanding.
- Networking and communication – To understand the intent of your target audience and generate ideas, you should master the skills of networking with other SEO experts and communicating with your SEO audience.
- SEO auditing - All SEO strategies need to be updated now and then. SEO audits can help you improve your website's performance. Besides that, SEO audits can help you understand what in your SEO strategy works and what doesn't.
As you can tell, there's an array of SEO services that you, as an SEO expert, can offer.
8. Report on Your Progress
The sooner you start creating reports on your work for each of your clients, the faster your trajectory to success will be.
Why? Because you'll have valuable data as a reference point from day 1.
Report on things like:
- Traffic rate
- Conversion rates
- User engagement
- Website speed
Stakeholders will appreciate hard evidence of your work and your results, as these reports will help them make better future decisions regarding their business.
Now that you know what can help you accelerate your career in SEO, you're ready to start networking, working on developing your SEO related skills and applying them to real-life situations.
And remember: continuous growth requires continuous learning.