The first time I heard “SEO” was in my first meeting when I got hired at Moxie (triple bonus points if you were here then too and remember that things were Hectic back then). I had taken up the habit of writing down anything I didn’t understand to search for later.
“Esseo” is what I wrote.
So that’s my background on Search Engine Optimization (see how far I’ve come!).
Liam Carnahan, however, is a magician. I know SEO isn’t actually magic, especially now that I’ve seen Liam breakdown creating a digital homebase and what it means to make yourself findable on any website with a search bar (looking at you LinkedIn).
Liam answers your question with two questions:
Are you going to write long form content for a search engine (Google, yes, of course we mean Google) to read and learn from? Or are you primarily going to create a website with your portfolio?
The longer your post (Liam recommended 1000 words or more), the more likely a bot that is reading your information will understand what you’re talking about. In a short post, if you spend a few words introducing the idea with a clever story about the opening days of your company, a bot might start to think it’s a lifestyle post.
Then you make a clever transition, but a hard left and spend the same words on what your post is actually about, it might be difficult for the search engine to know who to send to your page.
It’s the same reason that creators on every platform recommend you find what your audience wants and stick with it. It helps inform a search engine or algorithm know what you’re about and who to send your way as they search.
Content doesn’t have to be part of your strategy. But if writing a long form post at least once per month isn’t in your wheelhouse or your plan for your business, this traditional way of thinking about SEO is not going to show up in your business.
There are freelance coaches out there. And freelance writers. And there is probably (unless you’re The Futur and you’re reading this post, then hello, Chris Do!!) someone with an older, more favored site for a search engine ranking.
However, if you’re a coach for Canadian accountants, that could land you on the first page when a potential client comes looking. Or if you are a technical writer specializing in SaaS company help documentation. Or a web developer with experience creating fundraising websites for humane societies. You get the picture.
As of this writing, John Cena owns the first page of a search for “freelance.” And if that’s not the best illustration of needing a niche for SEO to work for you, I don’t know what is.
So does that mean you don’t have to worry about SEO?
At its core, Liam tells us that SEO is about making your page accessible and engaging.
Liam calls your website your digital homebase (and social media like a vacation home). And like any home, when someone visits for the first time, it should feel welcoming and easy to access.
Is your website accessible and easy to navigate? This is the right place to be clear and not clever. Calling what you do your “knife skills” sounds awesome, but if you’re not chopping garlic or selling knives, it’s better just to call that page “what I do” or “services.” You can showcase your razor sharp way with words in other places.
Your website should feel more like an Easter egg hunt for 2 year olds. Everything is right in front of you and all your future clients have to do is pick it up.
Also, sure your favorite colors are neon, but does that make your site easy to read? If you’re wondering if you’ve chosen colors that are easy on the eyes, sites like WebAIM can help.
As you think about content on your site, it should be
You hate reading a blog that tells you something you already knew. Especially when the title promised to help you. Create content that leaves your readers feeling like they learned something and want to share it.
Fresh content does not mean you need to write a new blog post every day. Shoot for once a month to start and see where that takes you. Search for a sustainable cadence that allows you to make regular updates.
You have varied hobbies and interests. However, if we made a hard left to talk about the woes of the New York football Giants over the last decade on a site that is otherwise about freelancing and how to set and scale your business, no one would read it. (It would mostly be me venting anyway.) Keep your content relevant to what you do. That’s what you’re here for anyway.
Liam Carnahan of Inkwell Content shared some absolute brilliance in his full workshop. Don’t miss it here. And find more resources from Liam if you love SEO and want to learn more about cracking the code (including his free 60 minute course on SEO fundamentals).