Hiring a freelancer to provide search engine optimization (SEO) for your site has many advantages if you find the right source.
Naturally, your goal is for search engines to list your site near the top (page one or two) of client search results and drive traffic to your website.
This, in turn, leads to sales and the ultimate growth of your company.
You’ve hired a reputable SEO freelancer to do the job for you, so what can go wrong?
There are 10 common mistakes SEO freelancers are likely to make when it comes to optimizing your content.
1. Selecting Keywords Without a Keyword Planner
A freelancer may know something about your product, but that does not mean they are in touch with the words and phrases your potential customers are entering into search engines in order to find your website.
You may have a data analytics program to help you with this task, and then you must share the right keyword phrases with your SEO freelancer.
If not, ask them to use a keyword planner to research the most popular yet not highly competitive keyword strings. Google’s Keyword Planner is a good place to start.
Never assume you or your SEO freelancer knows which keywords are driving your website traffic.
2. Optimizing for the Wrong Geography
You need to let your SEO freelancer know what geographic areas to target.
Content optimization for local communities can be quite different than for the global market. If you are targeting a local market, the unique keyword strings you need for your content should be specific and may even include your region.
Your page titles and meta description should also include such keyword phrases.
Your page footer should include your contact information.
A good SEO freelancer will be on top of the methods for optimizing for local audiences versus those abroad.
3. Sharing Only Goods and Services Without Education
SEO freelancers are often focused on optimizing your website pages primarily to describe your goods and services and encourage consumers to buy.
After all, this is the goal, right? While product data is, in fact, a number one priority for most sites, it should not be the only priority.
Content is used to draw visitors to your site, and once they are there it is important to provide them with knowledge or information to satisfy their needs or curiosity.
High-quality content that describes your goods is significant, but you may also find an informational blog a worthy method to educate people and turn them into loyal customers.
A properly-keyworded, educational blog is one of the best ways to attract and retain clientele.
It may be up to you to alert your SEO freelancer that you need this type of content both on your goods and services pages and in a professional blog.
4. Ignoring Meta Descriptions and Image Tags
You’ve heard of metadata many times, but is your SEO freelancer using it within your content?
A meta description is simply the 155-character sentence (HTML tag) that summarizes the content of a web page.
This important tag shows up in search results!
It is really this bit of text that could draw a researcher to select your site to view out of so many others.
Your home page and subsequent website pages each need a special title that describes the exact topic for that page as well.
Image tags are shortened keyword phrases attached to your images that also increase traffic.
An SEO expert will be very well versed in the importance of metadata.
5. Using Poorly Written Anchor Text
Anchor text refers to the text that is “linked” within your content. Internal links (those that link to your own pages) and external links (those that link to another authority site) are often used as an SEO technique to drive traffic.
While there are some rules around anchor text you can brush up on, a common SEO freelancer mistake is to create an anchor text that does not increase click rates to support website traffic.
Anchor text should include a descriptive word or phrase, so your reader knows what to expect when they click the link.
For example, “click here” is a mistake, but “click to learn more about anchor text” will generate much more interest.
It is also important that your SEO freelancer use different anchor text for all of the links on your pages.
6. Abusing Internal and External Linking
As most SEO freelancers know, linking is a great way to guide visitors to easily navigate, gain credibility, increase customer loyalty, and overall increase traffic to and from your site and other sites.
That being said, over-linking can cause some problems.
Both internal and outbound links within your content should lead to relevant, worthy information.
It is a mistake to over-use links, and certainly to link to inappropriate or illegal sites.
Your SEO freelancer should also avoid linking to your home page or the contact us page.
There are typically many default internal links on the header and footer but in terms of additional content links, two to three is often a good choice for the number of internal and outbound links.
Whether you choose to supply appropriate internal and external links or call on your SEO freelancer to do some research is up to you.
7. Duplicating Content
A freelancer with a trusted reputation will create original, thoughtful content that is not duplicated anywhere on the web. While there are many common words and phrases that are accepted and used repeatedly throughout Internet sites, original content also includes unique words and phrases.
Original high-quality content will pass a Copyscape test. Any user can enter a phrase within quotation marks in a browser’s address bar and duplicate content site locations will be revealed.
It is wrong to duplicate content. It is plagiarism, and it is not accepted by Google.
Site owners may pay heavy fines for doing it. It is important to get reassurance from your SEO freelancer that you will be receiving all-original content for your website projects.
You would be amazed at how many times entire websites and articles are directly copied. Make sure your SEO freelancer is informed about this subject.
8. Writing Website Content Without Structure
It is important to provide your SEO freelancer with the structure or wireframe for your website.
If your freelancer is writing optimized content without understanding the structure of your site, it is unlikely that meta data and keywords will appear in the correct headlines and locations within your content for good search engine results.
Every website has structure, and in fact, the content must fit within the structure.
For example, if you contracted an SEO freelancer to write five pages of content, every component of each page is critical to search engine optimization: banners, taglines, headlines, service blocks, paragraphs, calls to action, and more.
Your SEO freelancer should be asking you for a wireframe or template before beginning your website content project.
Plain text submitted on a page may work for you, but the developer will have a difficult time figuring out what text goes where on the page.
In fact, a good SEO freelancer should provide content for all of these elements and be able to work with your developer if you wish.
9. Relying on Irrelevant Keywords
Keywords that strongly support your products and services are usually the same as those your customers use to locate your website.
Your SEO freelancer may spend a few hours using a keyword planner seeking all kinds of keywords, but if they are the wrong keywords your site will be hard for people to find.
Good content is generally already populated with the best and most optimum keywords pertaining to your products.
Make sure your SEO freelancer is familiar with your products before they begin to write and optimize content for you.
If you sell swimming pool supplies and your freelancer is writing about swimming pool construction, the right audience will be hard to attract.
Find relevant keywords that are directly associated with your business and provide them to your SEO freelancer.
You likely know best what those words are. This may be more effective than having your freelancer search for your best keywords.
10. Taking the Wrong Assignment
Website content, graphic design, and website development are different tasks involved in the creation of a new website.
A successful website often requires hiring a content writer, a graphic designer and a web developer.
All of these contractors should be familiar with good SEO. You might find a contractor that can perform all of these tasks, but it is likely they are only excellent at one or two of them.
An SEO freelancer should be good at writing and optimizing your website content, but this person is generally not a graphic designer or a web developer.
Make sure you hire the right person for the work you need to be done.
An SEO freelancer may take on the wrong assignment and you may suffer the consequences.
You may be in luck if your SEO freelancer has more experience than you thought.
Wrapping Things Up
The internet is a competitive market for content, and everyone engaged in eCommerce or an online service offering is challenged to develop content that is rich, engaging and searchable.
Taking SEO into your own hands is do-able, but finding a reputable SEO freelancer can simplify your ranking requirements and allow you to focus on your work at hand.
Getting assistance is a great alternative, but make sure your SEO freelancer is familiar with these topics and knows what you need in terms of optimized content, whether it is for a website, landing page or educational blog.
The more information you can share about your needs, the better your SEO freelancer can respond. When you decide to contract with an SEO freelancer, ask some simple questions about these 10 topics.
This process can help you find the right talent to guide you for success in content optimization.