Freelance SEO Writers: First-Hand Insight on What Clients Want & Expect from You

The following post is by a guest contributor.

In today’s increasingly digital and internet focused world, thousands of business visionaries are turning to freelancers to build a team comprised of folks working together — everywhere from Calcutta, to Buenos Aires, to New York City.

With dozens of internet resources available to find and hire a great team of freelance writers, renting out an overpriced, luxurious office condo in downtown Chicago is a thing of the past for many successful and innovative businesses. That’s just one of the many reasons many entrepreneurs – like me—are outsourcing.

In this post, I’ll divulge some of the things I look for in the freelance SEO writers in hopes that you’ll gain some insight into what entrepreneurs are looking for when they hire a team to help them keep their business(es) humming along profitably.

Freelance SEO Writers: What Clients Want

Developing and Maintaining a Site’s “Voice/Tone”

I have noticed that in the beginning of a website, it is preferable for me to write at least a few of the initial articles to determine the voice of the site. Believe it or not, it’s hard for some entrepreneurs – many of whom happen to be A-type personalities – to outsource tasks to a freelancer. So if you’re a freelance writer, I’m sure you know it’s easier to write for someone who has at least set the tone of the site.

After I’ve established the tone, I look for writers who have a strong knowledge of SEO who can also maintain the appropriate voice I’ve laid out. I also look for those who stay upon the latest search engine algorithm changes, since they change so frequently. I’ve learned the hard way that this is extremely important.

I had hired someone a few months ago to write an article based on a specific keyword phrase. They had incorporated that keyword within the content of the article, but it was within the article 10 times! They were using the old, 2010 tactic of keyword stuffing. I realize that what I should have done was either vet the writer better, or at the very least explain that the exact phrase should appear only one time, and that related keywords can be sprinkled throughout the article.

Following is one way I’ve learned to source SEO writers.

Where I Look for Talent

I have learned my lesson of trying to save on article outsourcing by using the cheapest level of quality sites to find writers. I’ve had to filter through as many as 10 freelance writers to find one that will do an excellent job. So trust me, when I find a good writer, I realize the piece of gold I’ve mined!

The freelance profession has exploded in recent years as more and more discover the benefits of working from home, at their own pace, without a boss staring down their neck. As the industry has grown, more and more websites have been created with the express purpose of forming connections between freelance writers and potential clients.

Some of the best known freelance websites include Upwork, Toptal, Freelancer, Guru, Peopleperhour and Freelance Writing Gigs. I’ve also used websites like Craigslist and even social media sites to source writers.

Dedication Is Key – by Both Parties

I presently use writers on my blogs who are super dedicated and superb at what they do. Freelance writers can be expensive, but I look at paying for their services as in investment in my business. Hence, I look for those who are motivated to write high-quality SEO content that converts, and when I find them, I strive to provide them with constant work.

I personally do not mind paying a higher rate for a writer who is great with deadlines and willing to ask questions, because this ensures the creation of high-caliber content.

I have hired freelancers who are obviously overwhelmed, taking on too many jobs at the same time, rushing the content which means I have to spend precious time editing and/or rewriting. This is one of the main reasons that when I find an excellent writer, I do my best to provide them with ongoing work to keep them motivated to keep me as a top priority in their work cycle.

Finding Freelance Writers Who Understand My Marketing Vision

I have hired freelancers without explaining the overall vision that I had for the content marketing of a site. For instance, one of my site’s main purposes was to promote my Clickbank product. I had assumed that the writer would read a few of the articles on the site to see how each one created openings to promote this specific product in a seamless way. My assumption was wrong. I had to have this writer edit a large portion of each article submitted to highlight the product.

I realized that the onus is upon me to explain my marketing plan to the freelancer writers I bring on in order to give them a fair chance of creating content that will coincide with my site’s goals. As a freelancer, if a site owner is not forthcoming with their goals for the content they wish you to create, don’t be afraid to ask. Otherwise, it can be like writing in a vacuum.

The site owner won’t be please, which means they may not hire you again – all because no one failed to make clear the intended goal of the content.

Writers Who Know How to Make a Connection

SEO copywriting is much more than throwing in a few keywords here and there. Establishing a writing style that connects with potential clients or buyers is a must.

My audience doesn’t want to just read the same bit of repeated information they can find on hundreds of other websites. What they want is quality content with a fresh twist that offers meaningful and useful information.

Connecting with a freelance writer who intuitively understands this is like discovering the holy grail. It means they get internet marketing; they get that I’m paying for content that will distinguish my site from hundreds or thousands or others.

The Hunt for Native English Speakers

Finding native, English-speaking writers is definitely becoming more of a difficulty, so if you have this skill, don’t worry about competing with writers from other countries. Website owners who’ve gone down the road of hiring non-native speakers have learned the hard way that it’s not worth it.

Tools and Resources I Expect My Freelance Writers to Use

I strive to establish long-term relationships with a dedicated set of writers to avoid the hassle of having to find a new writer for every job that comes up. So I go out of my way to keep the ones I do hire happy, as mentioned previously.

One way I deepen the relationship is, after they’ve proven to me that they will stay on and produce high-caliber content, I provide them with a short list of tools that they can use to check the quality of their articles. Doing so saves me a lot of time, and helps them to write better content.

Here is a sampling of the free tools I provide. I’ve found that many of them didn’t know about them beforehand, and they go on to use them in all of their work.

1) I require my writers to test the readability of an article using the free Hemingway app.

2) Before a writer submits an article for review, I ask that they verify that it doesn’t cause Google to mark it as duplicate content by using a free plagiarism checker. The video just below explains how Google handles duplicate content, and why webmasters are so keen to avoid it.

FYI, here is a comprehensive list of more than 100 resources for freelancer writers to help you succeed.

Respecting SEO Writing as a Skill

The writers I hire are an integral part of my team. It’s a symbiotic relationship in that they are skilled professionals I depend on to keep my businesses profitable. I never forget this.

If you’re a freelance SEO writer, you shouldn’t either.

About the Author: Michael Mayfair likes to invest in the stock market and in real estate, although, his biggest passion is his family. Michael is a freelance writer and personal trainer from New York. In his spare time, he enjoys golf. Networking while golfing has allowed him to land several freelance writing jobs.


P.S.: Learn how to take your freelance business to the next level by outsourcing.

It’s the number one way to grow your business to the point where you’re earning more, without working more.

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