Welcome back to our Be the Best Freelancer series, a collection of articles from the FreeeUp contractor community that shares tips and advice for fellow freelancers. The articles focus on different areas of expertise, based on each contributor’s knowledge, skills and experience.
This second post in the series, “10 Secrets to Becoming a Successful SEO Expert”, is from Jackquiline Doring, whose digital marketing prowess has provided support for several prominent companies. Jackque may have spent 8 long years as an SEO expert in the industry, but being here was not part of the plan. In 2009, while looking for work, she noticed the demand for SEO professionals. Curious about what SEO was all about, she self-studied and then tried her luck. In no time, she was hired by a kind client, who took time to set her up on everything related to SEO. Now, she’s making a name for herself as an SEO expert in her own right.
Some say that becoming an SEO expert is easy. You only need to familiarize yourself with Google, know about keywords and links, create sitemaps, optimize content and images, and then you are all set.
Seriously, if that was the case, everyone would be on top of the search results, which is obviously every SEO expert’s dream. The sad and harsh reality, however, is that the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) only have 10 major spots. That means only 10 websites will rise to the top.
Then again, making a website visible on the first SERP doesn’t actually make you a top SEO expert. Though it can be an edge, consistency is what really matters. There is no point in landing a spot in the top 10 only to find out that in the next couple of days, the website is nowhere to be found on the list.
As an SEO expert, I believe it takes time, effort, and consistency to make a site rank higher on SERPs. But despite the countless websites vying for the number one spot, I still consider myself a successful expert. If you want to be like me, here are some tips:
1. Don’t go cheap. If you are confident about your skills as an SEO expert, set a price for your worth.
Here’s one important tip to begin with. The SEO industry is very demanding. So here, an SEO expert names their price. That is why you should never attempt to lower your price just to entice more clients. In the long run, you will suffer the consequences.
Of course, without experience, you cannot set a very high price. To be sure which rate range suits you, it is best to ask around. You can ask your fellow SEO pals for an idea. But a Google search can provide you with answers as well.
2. Get involved. Build a strong network by interacting with masters in the field.
You never know. Your neighbor could be one of the best in the SEO community. Try to get involved and participate in SEO events so you can meet the local experts. Make yourself known in the field by interacting with professionals who share the same skills and passion for digital marketing. This could also be a chance for you to find potential clients or gigs.
What better way to stay in the loop about the latest SEO updates and learn new strategies than to attend SEO seminars and conferences? During these events, top SEO experts share their expertise and knowledge. You might want to take note of them.
Since it is a digital era, the best way to find out about these SEO seminars is online. Join Facebook groups or follow social media pages dedicated to SEO. You can also sign up and register for seminars and conferences on platforms like EventBrite.
Some worthwhile SEO events I’ve attended, sponsored by the SEO Organization Philippines:
- Morcon (Mastering Online Ranking Conference) – a conference with more than a dozen leaders in the Philippine digital marketing industry invited to share their SEO, PPC, social media, web analytics and other related expertise. It provides the perfect platform for more than 200 digital marketing professionals and entrepreneurs and 40 companies from all over the Philippines to absorb actionable knowledge that can make an immediate impact on every marketer’s day-to-day practice.
- PeepCon (The People’s Conference) – a non-profit event that seeks to provide the Filipino SEO community with topnotch learning and networking opportunities at the lowest possible cost.
3. Attend digital marketing webinars by top SEO experts.
In this digital era, everything can be done right in front of your computer. As long as you have a stable and reliable internet connection, you can order food and have it delivered right to your doorstep. You can also attend seminars over the Internet, called webinars. With webinars, if you are busy working for your clients, you can still hone your skills as you listen to digital marketing professionals sharing tips and advice online.
Just like searching for local SEO seminars and conferences, you can follow local and international SEO Facebook pages. From time to time, they host webinars to keep SEO professionals up-to-date. Neil Patel and SEMrush webinars are my favorite. Why? They are free and they are created by experts in social and search engine marketing. You can look them up on Google to learn when their next webinar is.
4. Read and continue reading. Keep yourself updated on the latest Google algorithm changes.
Google is constantly updating its search engine algorithm. Having said that, you have to be updated as well, unless you want to get left behind. The changes come fast, and even if the SEO world is warned ahead of time, the effects of such changes are often unknown. Lagging behind can be devastating to your SEO.
5. Bookmark beneficial SEO blogs so you can easily find information and how to’s when you need them.
Blogs are also great resources for you to become an SEO expert. If you think one particular article is relevant and might be useful someday, bookmark it. It won’t hurt to do so. This is especially helpful if you are still starting in the industry.
6. Gather all the strategies you tried, scale, and implement the best one.
If you have already worked for several clients, chances are, you have encountered many different SEO strategies. You know which of them works best, and which ones don’t. It’s common sense that you practice and implement only the best strategies that you have learned through experience.
Do not be discouraged if you don’t have enough SEO knowledge. With perseverance, passion, and dedication, you can still compete with other SEO professionals and develop winning strategies. Take advantage of online resources. Don’t underestimate any beginner’s guide. Finally, have the courage to ask. After all, understanding the fundamentals is all that matters. Once you master the basics, you can craft your own SEO strategy.
Here are some good reads to help you devise a killer SEO strategy.
For a fast and more hands-on experience implementing SEO strategies for beginners, try contacting SEO professionals in the community. Many of them offer onboarding services for a very affordable price. If you are in the Philippines, you can check out Jun Baranggan’s workshop.
7. If your client doesn’t believe in your suggestions or capabilities, you will not grow with them.
As an SEO specialist, you know better than others when it comes to anything related to SEO. Therefore, if a client does not listen to what you’re saying and insists on implementing a strategy he thinks is more practical and economical, the relationship is not likely to work.
Try first to explain your strategy and provide evidence to support your plan. If your client is not open to hearing you out on the matter, you might want to suggest that they hire a different SEO who is more aligned with their thinking. If you decide not to continue on, make sure that you go about it in a polite and professional manner. If you are working through a platform like FreeeUp, get help and make sure that you are following the proper policies and procedures. If you decide to proceed, make sure that your client acknowledges your doubts about their ideas and document this.
We all want growth, and working with somebody who does not believe in your skills won’t help you in any way. Furthermore, if you are an expert, not following your instincts and thought-out plans will not end well for your clients, which can damage your reputation.
8. Build a professional LinkedIn profile and get recommendations.
For those of you looking to get more leads, LinkedIn is the way to go. Make your profile professional-looking and reach out to colleagues and clients to get skill recommendations. Soon, potential clients will take notice. When the time comes that they need to work with an SEO specialist, they’ll remember you.
My professional SEO career became even better because of LinkedIn. With over 500 connections, detailed descriptions of previous projects, certifications, and recommendations, I made sure my profile spoke of what I really do best. And because of it, I was contacted by many potential clients like Coco Treasure, LLC.
In 2016, Coco Treasure was looking for a topnotch SEO specialist in Cebu. They came across my profile, were impressed, and contacted me right away. Seeing the company’s potential, I accepted their offer. Now I work as their SEO strategist, developing and implementing strategies to make their coconut oil and other coconut products known in the market.
9. Share your knowledge with the community.
At the end of the day, we must give back to the community that nurtured us. The best way to do so is to share our knowledge with people who are interested in the field. Who knows, you might just land an awesome SEO gig because of doing that, just like me. Through one speaking engagement I participated in, I was introduced to FreeeUp, a marketplace that paved way for more SEO opportunities!
10. Most of all, balance your work and personal life. It will help you become more productive.
Everybody deserves a break from work. Take a day off from your SEO stuff and focus on your needs as an individual. Spend time with family and friends. Go on a vacation. When you come back, you’ll see that you have become a much better person.
Yes, you may have all the resources to become an SEO expert – books, podcasts, certified onboarding – but they are not enough to make you a top player in the industry. The best way to become a top SEO expert is to build a strong network, embrace new strategies, practice your learnings, share them with others, and have confidence in what you can do. If you take these tips seriously, in no time, you could be on the path to becoming the next big name in the industry.
Jackquiline Doring has been working as an SEO specialist for many well-known and established companies. Her work involves introducing digital marketing strategies and innovation and injecting them into business plans. Despite her busy yet promising career as a digital marketer, she manages to find time for her family. Connect with her on LinkedIn.