Freelance Writing Opportunities in SEO Content

Many freelance writers are reluctant to explore the world of writing SEO content and many others dismiss the idea completely, believing that it’s a nickel-and-dime pursuit best left to low-pay grinders and other hacks.  For whatever reason, the term “SEO content” conjures up a lot of negative imagery with some writers.

They’re missing out on great opportunities.

There is a part of the SEO content world that is gruesome.  You will find the clients looking for keyword-rich articles at  a buck a pop on the bid boards.  They aren’t particularly concerned about quality, accuracy, style or anything else other than having the right keywords laced into something that approximates complete sentences and that will clear the Copyscape hurdle.

One rung up, you’ll find the budget buyers who do have at least some interest in utilizing something of value, but who willingly compromise on multiple fronts in an effort to save money.  There’s space for the right people to generate a solid income on these projects, but it’s not for everyone and it generally isn’t even the best option for the person seeking the content.

If you look a little closer, you’ll find that there are more lucrative opportunities in the SEO content arena.  These jobs generally come from experienced, already-earning marketers or, more often, good SEO firms.  These clients are interested in more than keyword density and have a higher set of expectations.

Claudiu Murariu of PadiCode recently opened a post at Search Engine Land with this overview:

I rate search engine optimization on content accessibility, popularity, and usability. We can say that content is well optimized for search engines when it is accessed as soon as it published, generates links from trusted sources, and drives user engagement.

The safest road to sky rocket the performance of any SEO campaign is to create or generate quality content that generates user engagement. Why? The more engaged the users, the bigger the chance they will speak about you, link to you, follow you on social networks, and recommend you to others.

While Murariu isn’t strictly an “SEO guy,” his perspective is held among many people who advise businesses on their search engine optimization strategies.  These folks “get it”.  The realize that it’s less labor-intensive and infinitely more productive to combine keyword usage with the kind of content that naturally attracts quality inbound links–the kind of thing Google, et al., really want to discover.

The alternative–appeasing the search engines a little bit by dropping the right words in the right place and then following up with from-scratch link creation efforts isn’t necessarily a dead-end in all cases, but it’s hard to beat a great piece of link bait that simultaneously attracts a great deal of social media attention.  Good content can resolve much of the link acquisition problem while simultaneously driving productive content by non-search means.

Does this recommendation spell the end of the ridiculous oDesk job “opportunity” to write $1 articles?  Will it decimate the market for the slightly better-paying, yet still “less than most writers want” gigs?

No.  For the foreseeable future, there will be ways for people to make a return on their investment using strategies that hinge on cheap content.  Writers can hate that as much as they want, but the hating ain’t gonna change the fact that there are people out there making a profit with approaches that utilize low-quality word-spew.

However, that’s just one facet of SEO content.  It’s a mistake to paint all search engine optimized text with the same brush and it’s a mistake to believe a great deal of the mythology surrounding SEO content.  This is a ladder with multiple rungs.

It’s a good idea to reach out to the right people in the SEO community.  You might be surprised with the projects and the rates.

Does that mean you should start emailing every SEO firm in the world with your pitch to handle content production needs?  Well, that depends…

As the rates inch up, so does the quality bar.  In order to crack the better-paying parts of the SEO market, writers need to have more than a basic understanding of how to write an article that meets a client-dictated keyword density benchmark.

Writers need to be ready to learn the language of SEO and the language of the niches involved in any particular project.  They need to understand what kinds of content are likely to produce natural backlinks, Diggs, Sphinns and Tweets.  They need to be capable of writing something engaging and interesting.   Great SEO content isn’t just a word dump–it’s good copy, too.

The morals to the story:  There’s gold out there for those willing and able to mine it.  It’s a mistake to dismiss SEO content as nothing more than half-assed articles that happen to use the right words.  If you bring your A-game to SEO content and hook up with the A-level masters of the craft, you can have a chance to do good work at a good rate.

And, if you understand why exceptionally good content can be a fantastic SEO tool, that should be a part of your pitch to many clients.





6 responses
  1. amar Avatar

    I’m finding this very true in my current line of work. I’m writing for 3 different businesses for their blogs so naturally they want well written content pertaining to their industry but making it SEO friendly. Having this combination of SEO and writing skills is definitely a plus and something I’m still learning to market properly.

    Also, what resources are there that are looking for SEO content writers? Thanks for your help.

  2. Genesis Avatar

    What I like about SEO work is that there’s no shortage of it. Most clients will request batches of 10 or more articles at a time and if you do a good job, they will frequently use your services on an ongoing basis.

  3. Jeanne Avatar

    I write SEO content for a group of regular clients each month. They are my ‘bread and butter’ clients and I love working with them. If you can write engaging content with new ideas (not just regurgitating the same old stuff you find online), it can be lucrative.

  4. Anne Wayman Avatar

    They key always, imo, is good writing… good writing pays and that includes good seo writing.
    .-= Anne Wayman´s last blog ..Make It Easy To Comment On Your Blog! =-.

  5. Kimberly Avatar

    I’ve written for a few different SEO firms. I agree with this post – some are willing to pay well but expect high-quality content in return. There are some very good opportunities available in SEO writing.
    .-= Kimberly´s last blog ..Is Success Possible When Your Business is Completely Virtual? =-.

  6. Richard Cummings Avatar

    Quality content on any topic is so important. These people who pay nothing for junk articles are not getting much bang for the buck. One in-link from a highly rated article trumps 50 links from suspect sources!
    .-= Richard Cummings´s last blog ..SEO: Creative Keyword Strategies =-.

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