SEO in 2015: 15 Things Freelance Online Writers Need to Know

Written by Yuwanda Black

 1. The Quality of Content Matters Even More

Why?

The aim of content existing is to provide the user with something of value, or something that enriches their life or their experiences. To that end … Content matters more … in 2015 because search engines have become more about user experience than it has become about marketing. [Source: Why Content Matters More Than Links in 2015]

2. Social Media Is Integral

The reason for this is quite simple, Google algorithms use social signals as an indicator in search rankings. For example, if a post you write gets a lot of retweets, the “virality” of it helps Google to find it and index it sooner – perhaps pushing it to the top of search results for that topic.

 3. Mobil Is Where It’s At

SEO in 2015: 15 Things Freelance Online Writers Need to KnowDesktop and laptops are dead – mobile devices are where it’s at. It’s how users retrieve data these days, eg, tablets, smartphones, apps – you name it. Proof?

In early 2014, the landscape in which businesses operate changed forever when Internet usage on mobile devices exceeded PC usage. [Source: Mobile Exceeds PC Internet Usage for First Time in History]

As users change their habits, so must the businesses that operate on the web. FYI, here’s a nifty little mobile SEO tool. It tests how mobile friendly your site is, giving you reasons why it is or isn’t.

4. Speed of Site Can Affect Rank

Learn more in Google Mobile Displaying “Slow” Label In Search Results.

 5. Tracking Results More Important

While rank is very important, what’s becoming even more important for clients as SEO matures is results. They no longer care so much about being on the first page of Google. They want to see how being on the first page has impact that goes directly to their bottom line, eg, gained them more newsletter subscribers, got more traffic in their brick-and-mortar stores, increase sales by “x” from their website, etc.

It used to be enough to tell clients, “Look, the blog post I did for you got on the first page of Google for your primary keyword phrase.” Now they sit back and wait and see, “But what did it do for my bottom line?”

Just something to keep in mind and here’s some insight into how to track your SEO efforts.

 6. Google Will Always Make Changes

“The only constant is change,” and this has never been more true when talking about the Big G’s algorithm changes. They make hundreds of them per year, according to THEM. Accept it; count on it; be ready willing and able to adjust – and just move on. Railing against it ain’t gonna change it.

You can keep track of Google’s major algorithm changes here.

7. Video – Use It and Know How to SEO It

Google likes to return mixed media results when a user types in a keyword phrase, eg, video, slideshare, articles, infographs, etc. And did you know that YouTube is not only the second largest search engine, but in early 2014, it overtook Facebook as the most visited social media site in the US.?

It also has more visitors worldwide on a monthly basis than Facebook. So not only is being on YouTube important, knowing how to SEO a video to show up in search results is critical.

 8. Google Authorship is Gone

Remember when we discussed the importance of creating a Google Author Profile. Well now, little to no importance is being given to this ranking factor anymore, and the reason is, a low number of people implementing it, and even fewer implementing it correctly.

But, don’t rush to remove it. Learn more about why you just might want to keep your Author profile (or not rush to remove it completely).

 9. Google Penalties Do Happen

Although Google doesn’t like to come right out and say it penalizes sites, when it drops your site from search results or buries it on page 200, that’s the net effect. So, staying current on what’s acceptable (white hat SEO tactics) and what’s not (black hat SEO tactics) is important.

10. It Takes a Consistent Effort

Following is why …

Most SEO campaigns last from 6 to 9 months, and when one campaign ends, it’s time to start another. … Many … strategies are used to keep your website in good graces of the search engines. Unfortunately, search engines constantly evaluate websites, and … having an ongoing SEO campaign … increases probability that search engines will send qualified traffic to your website.

So you can’t just do one or two things and think, “Ok, I’m done,” or put something on auto pilot and never re-evaluate it. Because Google constantly changes it algorithms, search engine optimization is an ongoing, mercurial process. And that’s why, by the way, the need for SEO writers, specialists, analysts and other SEO jobs is on the rise – and pay pretty well.

11. It Won’t Work Right Away

For the reason listed just above – and a host of other reasons, SEO takes time to work.

FYI though, here are some free SEO tools you can use to get some great insight into your site and its metrics, and possibly get some “instant” results by making some quick tweaks.

12. You have to Be In it to Win It

This piggybacks on the last two points. And this means having a plan – just like you have a business plan; you need a SEO plan.

13. Site Security is Now a Ranking Mechanism

This past August Google announced that they are going to use https-encryption as a ranking signal, stating:

… over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.

14. It’s Never Too Late to Start

Even though SEO has been around for almost 20 years now (since approximately 1997 when it was called such now-antiquated terms as “search engine placement” and “search engine positioning”), it’s still relatively new.

Many companies still don’t have simple necessities of SEO like a blog or dedicated social media accounts. So don’t get overwhelmed and think, “It’s too late. I’ll never be able to compete.” It’s not true, you can. And in my opinion, one of the easiest, simplest things you can do is to start blogging – start churning out great content and building your subscriber base. As I wrote in this post, successful SEO is moving ahead is about building your own community of followers.

“What you’re doing when you do this is building your own community around your content. This way, you create loyal followers who’ll come to you – NOT Google – when they want what you have to offer. This is the way to “Google proof” your online business …

So start blogging … it’s one of the easiest ways to connect with potential customers.

15. SEO Is an In-Demand Skill

The article, The 25 Hottest Skills That Got People Hired in 2014, SEO/SEO Marketing is on the list, which was compiled by analyzing the skills and experience data in over 330 million LinkedIn member profiles.

And there are so many positions within this discipline, eg, SEO writer, SEO analyst, SEO marketer. In fact, a few more of the 25 skills listed can be directly linked to being an SEO professional, eg, Marketing Campaign Management; Digital and Online Marketing; Channel Marketing; and Storage Systems and Management.

How good are your SEO skills? Take the test (I got 70% — not perfect, but I know a little ‘sumthin sumthin’ over and beyond writing SEO content).

How Much Can You Earn as an SEO Specialist

The salaries are higher than average (way higher) because it is a “tech” job. Proof?

Salaries over $80K per annum are not an exception for SEO jobs. As a solo SEO practitioner you can make even more money. Almost all freelance sites have sections for SEO services and offers for $50 an hour or more are quite common. If you are still not confident that you can work on your own, you can start a SEO job, learn a bit and then start your own company. [Source: Some Good Reasons to Choose SEO as Your Career]

SEO Writing Still a Viable Work-from-Home Business in 2015?

Yes, most definitely, as this recent success story attests. Also just this morning, I received an email from a fellow SEO writer who had jobs “coming out of the woodworks” – and she hasn’t been actively doing any marketing. It’s from old clients she’s had who are referring her. I’ll be sharing her story next week (she sent me an unsolicited email just to, in her words, “encourage freelance writers to stop being SCARED and  take action”).

The thing I love most about writing SEO content for a living is that it can be done from anywhere. I know, I’ve been doing it for years, and have worked everywhere from a Starbucks in New York, to a condo in St. Croix, to a beachside restaurant in Jamaica (where I currently reside).

It’s an ideal business to start if you are low on funds, but high on ambition and drive.

Learn more about SEO Content Writers: What They Do, How Much They Earn, Skills Needed, Where Jobs Are & More.

SEO Copywriter Training: Course Discount

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P.S.: Did you know that the average salary of SEO writers is $66,000 as of this update? That’s thousands of dollars above the median household income in the U.S. right now. See?

How Much Do SEO Writers Make?

P.P.S.: Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.