It seems as though the new search engine optimization (SEO) aspect to freelance writing is two-fold: The whole concept of SEO has created many more jobs for writers, yet it has created a lot of new and different work for a writer that doesn’t always seem to fall under the “writing” category. For the latter reason, many freelance writers are not overly interested in learning SEO and would rather continue being an “old fashioned” freelance writer. After all, SEO can get complicated for someone new to the field. Although SEO is a thrill for some writers, many writers cannot help but ask themselves: Do I really need to understand SEO to be a writer?
Why Learning SEO Is Highly Encouraged for Freelance Writers
No freelance writer has to understand SEO. You can be a wonderful writer without the knowledge of SEO, and this is truly the core of any writing career. However, many experts recommend that a freelance writer learn at least the basics of SEO in order to become more marketable. In other words, you will have an easier time becoming a profitable writer if you have SEO skills.
When it comes to working for a company, SEO isn’t something that is generally passed on to another department. SEO is very connected with content, so it is naturally going to be the job of the freelance writer to take the reins. Some of the ways content and SEO are connected include:
- Unique Content – Google penalizes websites for having duplicate or scraped content. This can seriously affect a company’s position on a search engine results page (SERP), so a company needs a writer to create unique content. This is one point that a writer doesn’t necessarily have to understand to do a great job, but it’s good to be informed.
- Keywords – A company often targets specific keywords that users might type into a search engine query. If a company wants to rank well on a SERP for a specific keyword, the content on the website will need to reflect these keywords. This is one aspect where the writing may change if a writer didn’t understand this important SEO factor.
- Linking – Companies always want writers to link back to the company website when guest posting. Google and other search engines put a huge emphasis on the importance of backlinks, and one of the quickest ways to obtain these backlinks is through guest posting. And this is where you come in.
Some writers get nervous diving into the SEO world because they think it will affect their writing. However, both search engines and companies agree that a writer should write for an audience first and write for SEO second. SEO ultimately won’t matter if no one wants to read the article and continue to come back to the site, and an editor certainly won’t post an article with backlinks if the content isn’t great. In other words, SEO does not have to change the style of the writer—but it will give the writer more opportunities.
If you’re interested in learning more about SEO, visit Word Count to get a full description of what writers would want to know about SEO.
Do you agree that SEO is a good skill for a freelance writer to understand? Or have you been doing just fine without the knowledge?
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Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to employee background checks. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including VoIP to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.