Thursday, 13 March 2014

Search engine optimisation (SEO) for your freelance website

By: James Roberts, Brookson

If you’ve dabbled in the world of setting up your own website, you may have already heard of search engine optimisation (SEO). Although it is fundamental when producing online content, there are lots of misconceptions around regarding best SEO practice and what may seem like received wisdom one day can be obsolete the next.
It might sound like a daunting process, but here are a few tips to guide your SEO strategy. This is by no means an exhaustive list – Google is believed to use as many as 200 different criteria when it comes to ranking pages – but these key principles are a good place to start.
It’s not about the keywords
Many budding web writers assume that getting one or two keywords into every other sentence will automatically push their content up Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). While this may have been true a few years ago, now it couldn’t be further from reality – trying too hard is actually more likely to see you penalised than rewarded.
The single most important thing you can do is produce unique, relevant and interesting content, only including keywords where they flow naturally in the context of the piece. Anything duplicated from other websites will not perform anywhere near as well as fresh content, so never just copy and paste information from your social media profiles on to landing pages.
Index and navigation
Search engines love sites that are easy to navigate and organised in logical ways. In practice, this means your freelance website needs to have short and simple URLs for every page – words from the headline connected by dashes will work much better than a long line of numbers – as well as being properly indexed.
Make sure your most important information is in HTML text format on the web page. Generally speaking, images, Java applets and other content that isn’t text tends to be ignored or even devalued by search engines, in spite of big changes to the way crawling technology scans web pages. Providing captions and alt text for images as well as transcripts for audio and video will pay dividends in the end.
Similarly, you need to pay attention to your meta-descriptions – the 150-character summaries which show up under the linked title of your site on SERPs. Wherever possible, make sure they stick to the character limit, so your site both looks professional and tells visitors exactly why they should click on your link.
Make connections
Links aren’t the be all and end all when it comes to SEO, but they constitute a great way of demonstrating not only that you are engaging with respected, useful sources to produce your own content, but also that other people view you as exactly that.
Inbound and outbound links alike are beneficial for SEO, so when writing your content consider including informative links to other sites you’re looking at – if you have a blog, for example, linking to the trusted sites that have inspired your post is a great place to start. Similarly, look for guest blogging opportunities on other sites that will allow you to link back to your own.
How Brookson can help…
We will provide all the information and support you need to develop a successful career as a freelancer, whether you are a freelance marketing consultantgraphic designercopywriterphotographer or any other freelance professional.
From deciding which way of working suits you best or how to set up a limited company, to which expenses you can claim, how to manage your invoices sand how much to put aside for tax, we are by your side throughout, making sure you have the information you need to make the right decisions. Find out more about our all-inclusive accountancy services.


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