One may think that writing is just writing. That there are slight differences from one type to another but the job is always to put words together in various formats. In reality, if you’re a freelance writer, it’s crucial that you understand the different forms of writing there are and how different they are from each other.
The 12 SEO Terms All Beginners/Learners Must Know
The path to success in an internet based industry requires an intimate knowledge of SEO. As a freelance writer, being familiar with SEO is an asset you can’t afford to be without.
As with any industry, SEO has its own terminology and while exploring SEO strategies, these terms will be constantly encountered. Learning all of these might be difficult but is ultimately crucial. Below are listed twelve SEO related terms that you should learn. [Read more…]
7 SEO Copywriting Tips to Reach Your Target Audience
SEO copywriting involves optimizing web pages for the purpose of generating traffic. Besides challenges in other niches like technical writing, SEO copywriters face the unique challenge of achieving optimization and getting the attention of an audience.
Optimization is important, but SEO copywriting has moved on to a more customer-focused approach. It is not enough to write content and simply put in relevant keywords in the right amount. Now you have to catch the attention of the target audience; both existing clients and prospective clients. Once your clients visit your website, you have to convince them to stay with you. [Read more…]
Why Freelance Writers Need to Learn SEO and How to Get Started
It is quite understandable if you know little to nothing about SEO, but times have changed and it is now important for you to understand at least the basics of SEO as most clients who need website work require SEO knowledge.
SEO is embraced by countless businesses because they understand that if they want to be visible on search engines and drive traffic to their website, they need to implement effective SEO tactics.
A major part of SEO is content creation. So this is where the freelancer fits in all of this. Content creation for blogs is important for every website. The more up to date you keep the blog, the better it is for SEO. Have a look at this blog example to see how awesome posts should be written.
You may still be thinking “Why should I even learn SEO?”. There are 3 main reasons freelance writers need to learn SEO.Why Freelance Writers Need to Learn SEO and How to Get Started Click To Tweet
40 Actionable SEO Tips and Tricks From the Best in the Business
We rarely talk about search engine optimization on FWJ. We have, however, raised the question of whether or not a freelance writer has to know SEO. Here’s a quote from an article we published on the topic a while back:
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.
This is especially true if you want to put yourself out there and get clients to discover you online.
We’ve also tackled the topic of the benefits of having an online portfolio, and by knowing some SEO concepts, you increase the chances of your online portfolio getting eyeballs.
While I do believe that the best SEO is still excellent content that people will want to read, there are certain technical concepts and practices that give your site a boost. How do you learn about these practices?
Follow experts in the niche.
I have to admit that I know some “SEO stuff”, although I am far from being an expert, but it’s part of the job. I read and read some more, then test the principles out. Guess what? I do see some results.
So, if you want to improve your online portfolio or blog’s visibility, you might want to learn a thing or two about SEO.
Knowing how hectic a freelance writer’s life can be, I don’t expect you to be able to carve out a lot of hours to study SEO. That’s why I’m sharing this infographic titled “40 Actionable SEO Tips and Tricks From the Experts”.
It’s short and sweet, with experts in the niche giving bite-sized yet practical tips.
I hope you find it useful!
You might also find this useful:
From the Writer’s Perspective: How to Get In on the SEO Scene
Advanced Search Engine OptimisationTactics
Search engine optimisation is necessary for driving traffic to a website. A large volume of traffic increases sales and profits. Although there are a few simple search engine optimisation techniques that most business owners can implement, for the best results such as quickly ranking on the first page of search engines, you need to hire a SEO expert. Professional tactics greatly improve your SEO. Search engine optimisation experts have a variety of tools in their area of expertise to help any business increase its online visibility and exposure.
1. Meta Descriptions
For search engine optimisation, there has to be a summary of the content of each web page. This is called the meta description. It’s important to use the main keywords of your website in the description. The description appears on the search engines results pages and gives visitors an overview of what your site is about. SEO experts create a unique meta description for every page of the website. These descriptions are usually 150 to 160 characters long. A compelling description entices people to click-through to the webpage.
A sitemap is one advanced search engine optimisation technique that many business owners don’t think about. A sitemap is a directory of the website pages. Sitemaps provide a great deal of information about these pages. For example, the metadata of a sitemap lists the different format types on the website such as articles, videos, and images. The files of the sitemap have to be submitted using Google’s Webmaster Tools.
3. Image SEO
For websites with many images, search engine optimisation also extends to pictures, photographs, illustrations, and other graphics. The ALT tag is underused by beginners, but SEO experts realise its importance. Each image uses a caption and a brief description. Using keywords helps the web page to rank higher. This is why image tags are growing in importance for SEO.
Search engines also use robots to crawl a website. If there are pages on your website that you don’t want the search engines to index, there is an advanced search engine optimisation technique that experts use to prevent this. Professionals create the robots.txt file for these websites. This file tells search engines how to access your website and prevents spiders from crawling these pages.
Search engine optimisation tactics can greatly improve your website’s online presence. With advanced methods utilised by SEO professionals, your website has a much better chance of getting more traffic to it. However, if you have time to research and do your own search engine optimisation go for it! I always recommend link building along with your SEO company. The links that you can get as a business owner are typically more natural and valuable to your website (and rankings) than the links that your SEO company can get you. In the end, you, as the business owner, are responsible for your own PR. Hire an SEO company like ROI (roi.com.au) that has experience in all areas of digital marketing and can help get your business and website the publicity and traffic needed to be successful.
Blog Writers vs. Print Writers: Are The Jobs Interchangeable?
Switching professions is never easy, but people do it all the time. People often decide to take a different path because they don’t love what they are doing or because there is more opportunity in a different field. So it should be easy to change from writing for print newspapers and magazines to writing on the Internet, right? After all, these fields are at least related and very similar.
In most cases, the answer is yes—a writer is a writer and although some modifications need to be made, it’s possible to make the switch. Many writers contemplate this question because internet content is becoming so important to many companies; thus creating tons of opportunity for writers. However, the question should not be whether a writer can do it, but whether they really want to.
The Top 5 Differences Between Blog Writing and Print Writing
The first thing to understand is that sometimes print publications do have an Internet version. In the majority of cases, this writing will be extremely similar. However, writing for a blog is very different than writing for a publication.
The real issue is whether or not someone has the heart to make the change. Although the actual jobs might be interchangeable (in other words a writer will surely be able to do the job), writers will need to make changes and then decide whether or not they want to make these changes. The following points are some of the differences between the two:
- Keywords. When writing online a writer will usually have to worry about utilizing specific keywords. For print writers, this was never something that needed to be incorporated, and some feel that this takes away from the fun of writing. This falls under the search engine optimization (SEO) umbrella, which is something bloggers have to understand.
- Linking. Writers will also need to pay attention to links that he/she puts in an article (and there should be links). Again, a print writer might not be used to worrying about finding reputable links. This is also part of having SEO knowledge.
- Blog Style. The style of writing online is typically very different than writing for a publication. This is probably the biggest aspect that a writer should consider before leaving print for the Internet. You will have to incorporate subheadings and bullet points, and in many cases you can insert your opinion. For those used to writing for a publication, this creativity is a bit different.
- Fewer Interviews. Publications often require a writer to interview industry leaders. Although this does occur in blog writing, most blog writing doesn’t involve interviews. This gives a print writer much less information to work with than they are familiar with, which some find to be a deal breaker.
- Hours. This is where print writers are often swayed to write for a company as a blogger. Bloggers usually have fairly flexible hours because there are no interviews to run to or publications to be sent out. In fact, many bloggers actually work from home. Although bloggers of course have deadlines, the hours are usually far less than reporters or magazine writers.
The reason that this discussion is one many writers are currently contemplating is because Internet content is becoming so important. Print content is becoming less popular and blogs are on the rise, so the opportunities are following suit.
Have you made the switch from print writer to blogger? Did you think this was the right decision, or was the job too different? Do you think a writer can love being a print writer and a blogger, or one or the other? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo Credit: careerbear.com
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility.com, a nationally recognized Search Engine Optimization Company that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country. Connect with Higher Visibility on Twitter to learn more!
Choosing SEO Consulting Services Comes Down To Common Sense [Tips]
SEO consulting services can help a webmaster boost their websites presence by bringing in professionals who understand what it takes to create on-site and off-site optimization, however it’s important when choosing a service provider that you first investigate their past successes and understand their approach to site optimization.
Start your search by first examining how the SEO service ranks for keywords found on their own website. If an SEO “expert” isn’t ranking for basic terms such as “SEO” or “SEO Services” and “SEO consultants” it should raise a red flag.
Speak with several representatives from the company. While a one man organization may be able to assist you with the initial setup of your SEO practices, larger SEO consulting services can handle better monitoring of your targeted keywords once your site has been initially optimized. If you plan to build a long term strategy it’s good to know the company is large enough that it will likely be around to continue the implementation of the SEO strategy they initially implemented.
Request information about other customers the SEO consulting service has assisted with SEO development. Visit those websites and find common terms used throughout those websites, examine how those sites rank in Google, Yahoo and other search engines. Also examine the sites structure, saturation of keywords in articles and other basic SEO practices. If the site appears to be naturally written with keywords well placed and not overused it’s a good sign that the SEO firm knows how to optimize for search engines.
Ask the SEO Service if they belong to any professional SEO organizations. For example, are they a member of the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) or perhaps the Search Marketing Organization of America (SMA-NA). Reputable search optimization organizations vet their customers and provide them with ongoing standards and practices in the search engine optimization market. If the SEO organization doesn’t appear to work with professional organizations it should raise another red flag.
Check to see if your potential SEO provider has published any case studies in regards to the SEO market. Case studies show that the company is serious about their business, it also likely means they are constantly attempting to find new trends in SEO which they can utilize for their customers. SEO firms that rely on case studies are often the first organizations to find new SEO practices that will benefit their customers, giving them an edge over competitors.
Finally, take a real world approach when making your final decision for who to hire, check the company’s name in Google and look for reviews of the organization on the first pages of Google search results. Established SEO consulting services should have enough of a reach that some reviews will exist, while their own URL should pop up in search results on a regular basis.
SEO consulting services are a mixed barrel, however with the right research you can find a firm that will best represent your needs and continue to represent your website in the future.
Taglines, Slogans, Headers, Descriptions Oh My!
I’m not sure about the rest of the web surfing population but when I happen on a website the first thing I look for is a brief description that tells me what the site is all about to determine whether I want to visit for a bit, click around and read the offerings or if I want to click BACK and continue on to the next stop.
These very key descriptions happen in one of two places
1. Browser Search Results
When searching for a simple term, let’s use “parenting” as an example, the first thing you notice are the “descriptive lines” that appear in hyperlink blue.
You will notice the terms Babies, Toddlers, Big Kids, Parenting Tips from WebMD, etc.
If you are a parent looking for advice on teenagers, you’re not likely to visit any of these sites because their descriptions clearly let you know, they don’t have what you are looking for.
2. Actual Website Visit
Now, just for kicks I clicked through to page 12 of the same search because that’s usually where good websites with bad descriptions end up – not necessarily on page 12 exactly, but well beyond page 2 or 3.
What I found was hyperlink blue text that simply says “Parenting” “Parenting Counts” and, well, you get the picture. At a glance, those descriptions tell me nothing about what I will find on those pages, so I’m not likely to click through to visit them and I’m guessing, you wouldn’t either.
Let’s just say – In the off chance I were to click through to one of those, I would hope to find something on their front page that would tell me more of what their website is about.
To continue with this test-drive I did just that. I clicked through to the link that simply said “Parenting.” What I found was a really great website that provides very helpful resources for families dealing with mental illness and addictions. Their slogan is “Healing Hearts and Minds of Children and Their Families.”
If someone would simply take the time to place THAT slogan in the “title” portion of their site, surfers would have some idea of what this particular “Parenting” site was about. Healing Hearts and Minds tells me it’s got to do with dysfunction of some sort.
Since this our primary focus here is “blogging” I am going to tell you, as a blogger, how to fix this issue on your WordPress blog.
You will notice on my personal blog, the extreme top of the page says “Work at Home Resources, Tips, Jobs, Scams Discussion & Services” I want to leave absolutely NO doubt what my blog is about. Notice at the top of this very page, Freelance Writing Jobs | A Freelance Writing Community and Freelance Writing Jobs Resource – still, no doubt what this blog is about. Right?
How did we get that to read that way?
Go to your WordPress Dashboard >>> Settings >>> Site Title – type in your title, slogan, tagline or description then Save Changes.
It’s really that simple to create that one tiny fix that could mean the difference between a reader clicking through to you or not.
These descriptions are not to be confused with individual page or post titles. When it comes to those, I follow one simple rule – always imagine your RSS subscribers. If they are combing through all the new posts over their morning coffee – does your title offer them enough to make them want to click on through to read or will they simply pass you by? But, that’s another topic for another day.
Are you stumped on a description? Not sure if your title is descriptive enough? Leave a comment and I’ll check it out and let you know what I think – be sure to state what platform you use if it’s different from WordPress.
As always, I am committed to my readers. If you leave a comment on any of my posts, I will visit your blog and “share it” in some way whether on StumbleUpon, Twitter or Facebook depending on if I can find a nice fit. This is my way of saying thank you!
Freelance Writing for the Web: A Change is Gonna Come. Are You Ready?
While many FWJ readers may write primarily for print, I know that many others (like me) have businesses built primarily on writing for online markets. This post targets those of us who make a living online, so to speak.
The Big Question
Why do people pay you to write?
Is it because…
- You’re so damn talented?
- They can’t do it themselves?
- You can make the content creation process more efficient?
- Clients love your website and/or pitches?
- You have a special skill or area of expertise?
Those may be reasons why clients choose you over other writers, but people come to the marketplace in the first place for another reason. They think they can use what you produce to turn a profit. They want to make money.
Sometimes I wonder if too many online writers spend way too much effort thinking about how to get work now and how to compete for gigs while spending far too little effort thinking about that bigger, core question. I wonder if many web-based freelancers may be setting themselves up for future struggles because of it, too.
A Change is Gonna Come
That’s not because I foresee a sudden drop in the demand for online content. On the contrary, I think that a variety of new and even lucrative opportunities is on the horizon. However, I do question the longer-term viability of many markets upon which writers are building businesses. I wonder how many writers will survive and/or react as the Internet and the way we use it changes.
In order to protect yourself and your business, it’s important to delve into the reason why demand for writing exists–the profit potential of the output. That means having both a solid understanding of the strategies clients are employing in pursuit of revenue and the greater trends that will undoubtedly force changes to those strategies and to the marketplace as a whole.
For instance, any writer who isn’t thinking about inevitable changes in the nature of search engines is making a mistake. The search engines don’t stand still. Google and its smaller competitors are constantly refining their approaches and there are a number of reasons to believe that they’ll be forced to make some major adjustments in the relatively near future.
Those changes could have a major impact on what are “bread and butter” for many writers. Traditional article marketing and the mass production “content mill” approach will have a difficult time thriving in an improved search environment.
Last week I posted an interview with SEO Kieran Flanagan here at FWJ. He made a point of discussing both the changing face of link acquisition for SEO and the growing role of social media in his business. The days of using 500-word articles at a pre-ordained keyword density level and fueling them with a series of easy-to-acquire, low-grade links is on its way out. At the very least, the writing is on the wall.
At my blog, I recently posted about the less-than-rosy long-term future of low-quality content mill work due to market forces within the search sector and the increasingly untenable hypocrisy of Google in terms of how they’ve “banned” paid links yet are allowing other intentional methods of subverting their search algorithm to have an impact on SERPs.
You don’t need to agree with my perspective to recognize that there’s a lot boiling under the surface in the way people find and use information online. No matter how you think it all might unfold, you can be certain that, in the words of Sam Cooke, “a change is gonna come.”
Preparing for Change
We often talk about the need to spread risk when developing an overall approach to building a freelance writing business. That need is usually expressed in terms of “not putting all of your eggs in one basket.” That’s rock-solid advice–in the short run. In the longer run, it’s just as important to have a sense of what future eggs may look like and if there may be new ways to store them. Hell, the eggs we gather today may be poisonous before too long and we might all be laughing at the antiquated notion of using baskets.
People pay writers because they want to make money. Writers who aren’t sufficiently prepared to transition their talents and to apply them to new contexts aren’t going to be in the best position to help clients make money. Writers who have over-invested in strategies that seem to have a limited lifespan could be setting themselves up for a more difficult future.
That doesn’t mean anyone should abandon any part of his or her business that’s currently producing a nice stream of revenue. Make hay while the sun is shining. However, one should probably do that with an awareness of the need to move on to new markets and new approaches once the limitations of those activities start to become increasingly visible. Otherwise, you might find yourself well behind the curve while other writers profit from being ahead of it.
The Moral to the Story
Continue to focus on being a badass writer who offers the world’s greatest customer service. Continue to work on distinguishing yourself in the marketplace and do everything you can to become the best choice among those who are looking for a writer.
At the same time, look ahead. Make a point of learning more about why potential clients are looking for a writer in the first place and study the hell out of the marketplace and the kind of changes in advertising, search, social media, and all of the other things that are going to force changes in the way people conduct business and information acquisition on the ‘Net.
If you’re going to focus on online markets, be smart, nimble, well-informed and an expert in larger trends.