Does a Freelance Writer Have to Understand SEO?

It seems as though the new search engine optimization (SEO) aspect to freelance writing is two-fold: The whole concept of SEO has created many more jobs for writers, yet it has created a lot of new and different work for a writer that doesn’t always seem to fall under the “writing” category. For the latter reason, many freelance writers are not overly interested in learning SEO and would rather continue being an “old fashioned” freelance writer. After all, SEO can get complicated for someone new to the field. Although SEO is a thrill for some writers, many writers cannot help but ask themselves: Do I really need to understand SEO to be a writer?

Why Learning SEO Is Highly Encouraged for Freelance Writers

No freelance writer has to understand SEO. You can be a wonderful writer without the knowledge of SEO, and this is truly the core of any writing career. However, many experts recommend that a freelance writer learn at least the basics of SEO in order to become more marketable. In other words, you will have an easier time becoming a profitable writer if you have SEO skills.

When it comes to working for a company, SEO isn’t something that is generally passed on to another department. SEO is very connected with content, so it is naturally going to be the job of the freelance writer to take the reins. Some of the ways content and SEO are connected include:

  • Unique Content – Google penalizes websites for having duplicate or scraped content. This can seriously affect a company’s position on a search engine results page (SERP), so a company needs a writer to create unique content. This is one point that a writer doesn’t necessarily have to understand to do a great job, but it’s good to be informed.
  • Keywords – A company often targets specific keywords that users might type into a search engine query. If a company wants to rank well on a SERP for a specific keyword, the content on the website will need to reflect these keywords. This is one aspect where the writing may change if a writer didn’t understand this important SEO factor.
  • Linking – Companies always want writers to link back to the company website when guest posting. Google and other search engines put a huge emphasis on the importance of backlinks, and one of the quickest ways to obtain these backlinks is through guest posting. And this is where you come in.

Some writers get nervous diving into the SEO world because they think it will affect their writing. However, both search engines and companies agree that a writer should write for an audience first and write for SEO second. SEO ultimately won’t matter if no one wants to read the article and continue to come back to the site, and an editor certainly won’t post an article with backlinks if the content isn’t great. In other words, SEO does not have to change the style of the writer—but it will give the writer more opportunities.

If you’re interested in learning more about SEO, visit Word Count to get a full description of what writers would want to know about SEO.

Do you agree that SEO is a good skill for a freelance writer to understand? Or have you been doing just fine without the knowledge?

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Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to employee background checks. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including VoIP to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory,

The Eatonweb <a href=””>blog directory</a> is one of the oldest directories on the web and a place where your blog <em><strong>needs</strong></em> to be listed!





9 responses
  1. Arthur Avatar

    I started off my career with a lot of SEO writing and I feel that, depending on the content, it can be very oppressive. In some ways it can help you to grow as a writer, but I feel that it mostly stunts writers.

    1. Amanada DiSilvestro Avatar
      Amanada DiSilvestro

      I can definitely see your point. It helps you grow as a writer in today’s world, but it really doesn’t seem to help you become the type of writer people are used to seeing (and the type of writer most want to me). It’s definitely a tricky subject.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. K-Mo Avatar

    I honestly don’t see how people can have a hard time with SEO. Most of the time the words you need to include are all naturally-occurring words that would pop in the text anyway. If the keyword is “eggs” and I’m writing an article on how to make an omelet, I rarely have to worry about fitting in the right words because they will come naturally.

    I think it’s easier to think of SEO as a part of the editing process. Write the article then go back to make sure it has all the necessary components to make it SEO friendly. Chances are, you won’t be doing much work at the end, just playing with the words a little bit and putting in links when relevant.

  3. Robert Palmer Avatar

    Personally, I hate SEO. I agree that it can really stunt your writing — especially when a client wants an exact density count. I much prefer natural writing that incorporates keywords without really demanding 3% density on this, 3% on that.

    Of course, part of that is the client not really understanding SEO. They’ve heard some “Guru” like Ewen Chia claim they need to hit 12% density on their primary keywords and x% on their secondary so all you can really do is string keywords together. Needless to say, I don’t take on too many of those clients.

  4. Shawn Gamez Avatar

    Save growing as a writer for home. You are freelancing to make money.

  5. Michelle Smith Avatar
    Michelle Smith

    I think that with the technology and changes we face it would be beneficial to learn anything new that comes along.
    We can’t expect to expand in writing if we stay put. I’m not saying that we should forget the old fashioned and tried and true ways but it never hurts to learn new things.

  6. Traxis Avatar

    This is really so true! 🙂 Well, as a freelance writer, one of the best ways to get more business is to give your clients added value! If you understand SEO and the terms and language that come along with it, that means that your clients will not have to spend extra time explaining how they want their articles or blog posts written.

  7. Amanada DiSilvestro Avatar
    Amanada DiSilvestro

    Great comments. As a writer who understands SEO, I do lean a little bit toward the benefits as opposed to the pitfalls. I know that I have been offered jobs simply because I understand SEO because Traxis is right–it’s less work for employers! Why wouldn’t they want that?

    Still, I can see why a writer would prefer to stay away. If someone writes for extra income as opposed to making it his/her livelihood, why not take the luxury of avoiding SEO?

    Thanks for reading!

  8. Alireza Avatar

    Hi Amanada,
    I need your permission to reprint your article in the FreelancR magazine.
    You can reach me at malekiha /at/


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