Something that most freelancers get introduced to at some point or another is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Maybe you’re a freelancer with an online business and are thinking about investing in SEO practices. Or, perhaps you’re a freelance writer with a website or blog, and might want to implement SEO strategies for the sake of additional traffic. Wherever you happen to be in your freelancing journey, there are several things you should be aware of before you walk down that SEO path.
The Birth of SEO
Back in the days when the Internet was just getting started, writing articles or blog posts in just such a way that search engines would find and rank them highly really had an impact. Entire businesses were built on SEO tactics, flooding the Internet with, in many cases, poor, filler articles meant to drive traffic/profits to their websites. Nowadays, search engines are savvier – few know how their algorithms choose to rank websites. All that’s really known is that search engines are always looking to provide the most pertinent information to their users.
SEO in the Present
Which brings us to the question of whether SEO is important anymore in today’s Internet landscape. Well, the answer is yes and no. In some ways, writing with a certain keyword in mind can help in terms of focus, and maybe even still in search results, to some degree. In other ways, to write with SEO in mind often generates text that feels contrived. Take, for example, the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. I’ve used it only in terms of selecting the text I want to feature in the Google search result snippet preview. If I followed their keyword suggestions to the letter, my posts wouldn’t have my true tone/style.
Changing Your SEO Mindset
Instead of thinking about the formulaic tendencies most commonly associated with SEO, it could be beneficial to think of it more as an outcome of what you’re hoping to achieve. So, let’s say that your online freelancing business is retail-based – perhaps you even have a physical store location, too. If you provide excellent customer service, the chances are better that people will link to your retail website and write online reviews of your business (your business’s name being the primary keyword). The more quality reviews, the better, and search engines never tire of giving them high rankings.
Nothing Stays the Same for SEO
Gone are the days when keyword density percentages mattered. Search term research can still give some insight, though even that isn’t what it used to be. Learn what you can, and apply it judiciously to your meaningfully-written content. Above all, don’t let the ever-changing world of SEO frustrate you, because then you can lose your perspective on what might really make your freelancing business thrive. SEO is like chasing a shadow – you can never quite catch it, and perhaps, for the sake of originality and relevance, that’s a good thing.
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