Learning the basics of SEO writing matters, especially to freelance writers. But it also matters to anyone writing with a goal of having their writing or other content seen by readers on the Internet.
The goal of SEO is to gain visitor traffic
The screenshot in the image below shows an article I wrote for a client in April 2017. Nearly three years later, it still ranks 2nd on Google’s 1st SERP for the keyword phrase “choose writing software”.
That means if you or anyone else types “choose writing software” into your Google search bar, you’re going to see that post as the 2nd link choice. It shows up right after the “People Also Ask” box which is a rich snippet because it’s a visually enhanced result.
If you aren’t familiar with the Google SERP or rich snippets, read my alternate ego’s post on SEO Basics.
Below are two posts I’ve written for another client which Google chose to fill the featured snippet box at the top of the page. If you type in “best flashlights for survival”, you get the screen below.
It also ranks for keyword “best survival flashlights” and although it doesn’t hold the featured snippet for that keyword, it does rank 1st link right under the Featured Snippet.
So this flashlight article claims three spots on Google’s 1st SERP for two keywords. The featured snippet box and the 2nd link choice for one phrase and the 1st link choice for the other keyword phrase.
Why SEO matters
This means if someone is searching for the best survival flashlights my client’s site will most likely come up. So for my client, this gets him increased visibility. Part of his business income comes from affiliate marketing so more traffic contributes to increased sales.
If you’re a freelance writer, and you can learn to consistently write optimized posts, that’s a selling point. You can’t guarantee of course, no one can. But you can demonstrate a consistent track record of ranking Google’s 1st SERP. If you can document that consistency, it’s valuable to clients.
Content that is visible in Google’s top ten listings can get an average of 30% more traffic than listings on other pages. And if your content is chosen by Google as valuable enough for the featured snippet or other rich snippets, the boost to traffic is higher. In addition, those spots boost your trust and brand authority in the eyes of visitors as well.
My record of Google SERP ranking is something I use to persuade clients to choose me over other freelance writers. I keep a folder called “social proof” on my PC. In that folder I have screenshots of posts I’ve written have ranked on Google’s 1st SERP or have been chosen as Featured Snippet or included in an answer box, etc.
Because I’ve kept this documentation over time, I can also show clients that my posts don’t just rank and then fall off quickly. I use dated screenshots to show posts ranked within a month of publication, and are still there months or even several years later.
I have a post that I recently ghostwrote for a major brand. It made Google’s 1st SERP page and ranked 5th within a few weeks of being published.
About a month later, that post is the 1st link right under the People Also Ask box. The only other link above it is the Featured Snippet box. Unfortunately, one of the biggest disadvantages of ghostwriting is not being able to share success publicly so you’ll have to take my word on that one.
But whether you are writing for yourself and want more eyes on your work or you are freelance writing for clients, SEO matters.
If you’re new to SEO, it can all seem pretty overwhelming. You don’t have to learn it all at once. Check out some of my posts which provide basic information on keywords, SEO, and other marketing tips.
Another good resource is Moz whiteboard Fridays on YouTube. I like this one which lays out a plan for the minimum amount of SEO to get an impact.
Now write your content and get out there and get seen!
Meg Stewart is a full-time freelance writer, the Founder of Freelance Filter, and author of the prepper fiction novella, Weathering the Storm Together. She’s a multi-passionate skill hoarder and the intersection of freelance writing, technology, and teaching is her sweet spot. She lives in Ohio with her two youngest daughters, dog-Reese, and cats Scattle and Moo. Join her tribe for more posts like this one.