I began my career as an author. I developed into a freelance writer and I am still both of those things. However, these days I make more money through an SEO company that I setup off the back of those two careers. This is something that didn’t take a lot of money or effort, something that happened by chance, but something that has gone on to earn me quite a lot of money.
It has been a long and fruitful journey and it’s one that I know every other freelance writer can undertake. Here is how I did it:
Learn by Getting Paid
As a writer, one of your main sources of income will always be keyword articles. They compose a vast portion of the internet and they are the main reason that webmasters like me create websites.
In the beginning, I wrote content to be informative and entertaining and I was scared off by SEO. In time, I learned that what I was writing was already SEO and that there was nothing to be scared of.
Simply put, a good article for Google is also a good article for anyone else. As long as you have a catchy and relevant title, as well as well written content, then everything else will come naturally. Obviously, clients will insist on keywords being added, but providing you use a program like Yoast, this is easy to keep track of.
I started dipping into the world of keyword articles even though I knew nothing about them. The more I wrote, the more I learned. And the best thing is that I was being paid to write this content!
Learn from the Best
As a freelance writer you will encounter webmasters who have just started out and know very little, and webmasters who have everything under control and know the formula for a winning website. The first trick is to separate the two, the second is to ask the latter as many questions as possible.
I was very lucky because I ended up befriending one of my preferred clients. We began projects together, we swapped information, we helped each other out and he told me everything I needed to know. I asked when I was not sure, I learned by listening, and from that I was able to build my own websites.
Basically, I followed a formula that had made this client a millionaire knowing that if it would work for him then it could work for me.
Get Varied Clients
To learn how to be a master of SEO you really need to work on many different projects. You should be involved with these from the outset, if you can, and you should look to keep track of all of them in order to learn from the things you do right and wrong. Here are some of my own notes and case studies, which I write after every project to help me for future ones:
CutItFine.com: A high-turnover on leads that was accomplished by focusing on very specific and professional content (see here for an example). This site was never going to break thousands of hits a day, but by reviewing equipment only professional chefs would even know about and using terms only they would understand, we were able to target the niche we needed and get a lot of affiliate sales.
koonz.com: A specialist site run by personal injury attorneys and operating in a saturated niche. Goals were achieved by uploading case studies from general lawsuits, strengthening them with keywords and getting strong backlinks.
SecretMenus.com: A fun project that was very tough due to the many competing websites. How do you create a third-party website that lists restaurant menus and then beat the very brands that own those menus? Can you even compete with KFC and McDonalds for their own content? The answer was yes and the solution was to create something that targeted a string of LSI keywords, answered all the questions readers were asking and got major backlinks on the biggest food and entertainment websites, as was the case with this McDonalds breakfast menu.
The world of SEO has always been staffed by developers and spammers, as well as those that work hard to get the job done. Google has managed to get rid of most of the black hat SEO, but there are still those who think they can get a site to the top of Google through off-page SEO. They will even sell you such services, but it doesn’t work.
It is certainly possible for someone to use off-page SEO to get a low ranking site to the top of Google, providing it already has the content. I have done this myself with the Versus-All website, taking pages like this Miss vs Mrs one to the top. But therein lies the key. The issue with this website initially was not the content, it was a lack of trust on Google’s part and that lack of trust stemmed from very few backlinks.
I basically gave Google a reason to trust the website. But if a website has no content or poor content, then it’s not going to work, even though there are many low-quality firms and “Experts” saying otherwise. As a example, take a look at CompulsionMedia.com, my own SEO site. It was never meant to be a content heavy site, it was merely a page where I advertised my services.
There is nothing there, barely even 500 words of content on the entire site and no focus on keywords. However, because I’ve written about the site and because I’ve had the opportunity to advertise it, there are several big backlinks. In fact, it has a Trust Flow of nearly 30 at last check. This was easily achieved, regardless of what price-gouging SEO firms would have you believe, but at the same time, it was useless. There is no organic traffic whatsoever. Of course, that was the point and I never intended otherwise, but it goes to show you just how important on-page SEO is.
I have seen sites with great on-page SEO and no off-page SEO rank well, very well in fact. Such was the case with RegulatedBroker.co.uk, which I worked on for a time. It targeted what I like to call “wide-open keywords”, because if you can target them successfully then you’ve scored a touchdown, it ignored off-page SEO and yet it managed over 100,000 hits a month.
On the other hand, you won’t get anywhere with no on-page and all off-page, no matter how good it is.