If you’re a regular reader of my blogs, you know that every Monday, we post freelance writing job leads. I spend hours every week scouring job boards for these leads.
FYI, this is a great way to stay abreast of the changes in the writing industry, eg, what types of jobs are most in demand, what’s the going rate for certain types of gigs, what employers are looking for in freelance talent (which is what we’re going to discuss today), etc.
As you may know, search engine optimization (SEO) is constantly changing. For those who don’t, Google has said that it does hundreds (500-600) of updates per year to its search algorithm. With this being said, following are some key skills I’ve noticed that employers are looking for in web (SEO) writers these days.
Key Skills Employers Seeking in Freelance SEO Writers These Days
1. Content strategy experience: Duties include being able to conceptualize, research and create high quality content that maintains the tone of voice consistent with the company’s mission. Here’s a position that illustrates this skill.
2. Content management experience: Content management (CM) is the administration of digital content throughout its lifecycle, from creation to permanent storage or deletion. The content involved may be images, video, audio and multimedia as well as text. The usual stages in digital content management are: creation; editing; publishing; oversight; and removal.
FYI, this means having knowledge of content management systems, of which there are many, eg, wordpress, drupal, joomla (three of the most common, FYI). Most clients are willing to train you on their in-house system if it’s out of the norm/proprietary to them. So don’t worry about having this skill.
You should, however, at least know how to maneuver around in wordpress.
3. Social media savviness (aka social media writing): Must have the ability to demonstrate knowledge of multiple forms of writing, such as tweeting, blogging, Facebook posting, web, SEO rules, etc.
As you can see, SEO writers are being required to know a bit more than just how to write content. In my opinion, this is a good thing. Why? Well, because it signals that companies are hiring freelancers as part of their team. So, when they outsource content, they’re outsourcing more than just the writing; they’re outsourcing a position.
For example, they may hire you to be the ghostwriter for their blog; ie, they want you to take it over. This means planning the content, uploading it, editing it, sourcing photos for it, etc. As I observed in this weekly list of freelance writing jobs:
. . . more and more companies seem to be looking for writers/bloggers to “take over” their blogs (ie, become long-term ghost bloggers). In case you didn’t know, time is the number one reason many companies say that they don’t do things like blogging (aka content marketing) and social media CONSISTENTLY; hence the need for freelance writers to take over and be their voice on the web.
Evergreen Skills Every SEO Writer Should Have
Knowing how to conduct keyword research, where to put keywords in copy, what to use as anchor text, what long-tail keywords are and how to write themed SEO content are all skills every SEO writer should know. These are basics.
Once you know them, you’ll be incorporating them into your copy without even realizing it. Now, while rules governing how these concepts should be used change from time to time (as discussed in the post below), it’s just a matter of staying abreast of the changes — NOT relearning the concepts all over again.
One of the objections I hear from new and aspiring online writers is that there’s a lot to learn about writing for search engines. And it’s true. BUT … once you get the learn the foundation of SEO writing, it’s easy to stay abreast of the tweaks that Google makes to its algorithm.
Why Google Is the Only Search Engine You Need to Worry About (IMO)
And FYI, I talk about Google because it is — by far — the number one search engine. It delivers more traffic than all the others combined. Proof?
Google gets almost four times as much traffic as its nearest competitor (BING), and almost five times as much as the #3 search engine (Yahoo!), as the graphic below illustrates.
FYI, you have a lot of people who hate Google. But as an SEO writer, you can’t afford to ignore what they bring to the table is all I’m saying.
Share Your Thoughts
Did I miss anything? What skills have you noticed your clients are asking for these days? Please share in the comments section below.
Following is what was published on InkwellEditorial.com, this blog’s parent blog, this week.