Last Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What Do I Need to Learn to Become an SEO Freelance Writer?

seo freelance writer

As you are browsing the freelance writing job boards, I am quite sure that you have stumbled upon several ads like these:

“SEO freelance writer needed”

“Wanted: Writer who knows about SEO”

If you are just starting out your freelance writing career, you may not know what SEO is. 

To give you a glimpse on SEO, it stands for search engine optimization wherein different techniques are used to boost a website’s ranking on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. And one of the most effective and most commonly used techniques to improve a website’s ranking is through writing optimized or SEO content.

Though SEO rather sounds too technical, anyone could be an SEO freelance writer as long as you possess great writing skills because writing SEO content could be easily learned. 

If you are wondering what SEO content is, it is just like writing ordinary content, but you’ll need to make it a lot friendlier not only to your readers, but also to the web, through following some special writing techniques.

So, in this post, I will show you some of the most important things that you need to learn to jumpstart your SEO writing career.

Familiarize yourself with SEO jargons.

To become an SEO freelance writer, you need to familiarize yourself with the common terminologies to better understand your client’s instructions. To help you out, I have listed some of the basic SEO jargons that you will frequently encounter:

Keyword – an SEO jargon for word or string of words

Primary keyword – the most important keyword; also known as main keyword, root keyword or focus keyword

Secondary keywords – act as supporting keywords for the primary keyword; words that are relevant with the primary keyword.

Primary keyword - freelance writing
Secondary keywords - content writing, web content writing, blogging

Long tail keywords – keywords that are longer and more specific; usually 3-5 plus words long

what is freelance writing
definition of freelance writing

Keyword density – the number of times a keyword has to appear on your content

Keyword placement – location of keywords

Keyword research – finding the actual search terms that people type on their search engines; keywords researched are then used to optimize content

Permalink – link or URL of the web page

Meta title – the title of the web page that appears on search engine results; ideal character count is between 50-60 characters

Meta description – the summary description of the web page that appears on search engine results; ideal character count is between 150-160 characters

Meta tags – the keywords that describe your web page; meta tags are usually your primary keyword and their equivalent synonymous terms

Primary keyword - dog training
Meta tags - dog training, how to train dogs, training dogs

Understand keyword density (but don’t think too much about it).

Back in the early 2000’s, keyword density is what matters most for the search engines. However, today, it is not that relevant anymore, since keyword placement is now a more important ranking factor.

Nevertheless, you will still find clients who are a stickler about keyword density. So as not to leave you in the dark, I will still share with you a couple of things about it.

Say for example, your client told you to write a 500-word article with a 1% keyword density.

To calculate the exact number of times the keyword has to appear, multiply the article’s word count with the required keyword density percentage.

500 x 0.01 = 5

So, for a 500-word article, the keyword has to appear 5 times.

The ideal keyword density percentage only falls between 1-2% for every 500 words to avoid keyword stuffing. 

Incorporate your keywords naturally.

Writing SEO content gained a bad rap among other writers. They say that it is robotic, reads unnatural and aims to only please the search engines, not the readers.

But let’s take a look on the blogs of SEO experts like Brian Dean and Neil Patel. Do they write robotic posts? No.

While it’s true that there are tons of SEO content that are of poor quality, I think the fault also lies on the capability of the writer to incorporate the keywords naturally.

Here’s a tip. When you write SEO content, just write normally as you would. Don’t mind about the required keywords. Just write.

After you have finished writing, read your article again and analyze which sections could you possibly insert your client’s target keywords.

Of course, to make your keywords fit naturally, you’ll have to do a bit of editing. To make sure that you have written an SEO-friendly post, you may use these tools.

Learn about keyword placement.

Keyword placement is said to be among the most important factors in ranking web pages. Though this might not be a definite rule, web pages will have a higher chance of ranking when certain keywords are found on the following parts of your content:

  • Title
  • Permalink
  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Subheadings
  • Intro, body and conclusion

When I’m writing SEO content for clients, I usually receive these instructions for keyword placement:

Primary keyword should appear 1x on title, permalink, meta title, meta description, and any of the subheadings (if applicable). Distribute keywords evenly on intro, body and conclusion. Don’t lump keywords in one place.

Learn how to do keyword research.

Most clients will readily provide the SEO freelance writer a list of their target keywords which are researched by themselves or their SEO specialists.

Keyword research is generally the job of an SEO specialist, so as a writer, all you have to do is creatively and naturally insert their target keywords when writing SEO content.

However, in some SEO writing jobs, the client will ask you to do keyword research yourself and leave everything to your own discretion, since they expect you to be the expert on this.

Keyword research is a bit complex, but you could easily learn about it through reading Brian Dean’s keyword research guide. In this guide, you’ll learn how to find and judge the value of keywords that you could use for your client’s content needs.

Wrapping up

While some writers irked on the idea of writing SEO content, I personally believe that learning how to write one will be advantageous to all web content writers, because today, more and more clients are realizing the importance of SEO for their business websites. Improved search engine visibility will bring them more money on the table. And SEO freelance writers are just among the several persons who could help them achieve their goals.

Writing SEO content does not mean that you can’t write engaging content. So, instead of hating SEO, start loving it and make it as one of your strong points.