Local SEO for Freelancers: Rank as an Expert in Your City

26.09.2018

Many people think the concept of SEO is too complicated to master, when in fact you can make a few small changes to your website to start rising in search engine rankings.

Improving your SEO, especially local SEO, can be a great way of putting your website in front of potential employers.

Nowadays, when remote work is a well-extended practice, sometimes we underestimate the power of positioning ourselves as an expert in a city. This can be the city where you live, or perhaps the nearest metropolis to which you could easily drive.

Chances are potential clients could search for “web designer Florence,” “I need a website Manchester,” etc., so it would be great if you appear as a result for those searches.

You don’t need a SEO agency to start, so take the chance to bring your freelance business to the top of engine results.

Below, we’ve listed a few tips you can easily implement yourself today to start improving your SEO and rank as an expert in your city.

 

1. Have an Updated Website

Of course, to rank on search engines you first need to have a website where you present your freelance services. Secondly, you need to have a regularly-updated website in order to rise in search engine rankings.

Even if some weeks all you do is change the wording of a few sentences on your homepage, updating your website shows it’s not neglected, which will give it more respect in the eyes of Google. A great way to ensure you update your site regularly could be to add a blog and create a content plan that requires regular additions. 

Read about the other benefits to having a personal website here.

 

2. Make Your Website Responsive

A huge part of SEO is making your website user-friendly - websites that are difficult to navigate often will not perform well in SEO, no matter what keywords you target. This has been already verified by Google, so you can check if your website is mobile-friendly with Google’s mobile-friendly test.

You should make sure that your website is responsive, which means it is mobile-friendly. These days, many people browse online using their phones, so your website needs to accommodate this. Potential employers may be looking for services you offer on their phone, and having a poorly-designed website that is not adaptable for portability will not make a great impression or do well in terms of SEO.

 

3. Find Keywords to Rank for

While ranking for a broad term such as ‘freelance designer’ will be difficult, you may be able to rank high for more specific terms related to your area.

There are many online tools (both paid and free) that will help you to find keywords that you may be able to rank highly for, especially in your local community.

Tools you could use include:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMRush
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ubersuggest

Below, we've used Ahrefs to demonstrate how you could find keywords to improve your local SEO.

 

 

First, you should type in your job - we've used the example of freelance designer here - and your location. London is our example city.

Ahrefs will then show you:

  • The keyword difficulty (how easy or hard it will be to rank for that keyword on a scale of 0 - easy, to 100 - very difficult).
  • Search volume (how many monthly searches that keyword receives)
  • Parent topic (the #1 ranking keyword that would also allow you to rank for your chosen keyword)
  • Search volume of the parent topic
  • Traffic potential (how many visitors you can expect to receive if you rank highly for the parent topic)

Following with our example, you can see that ‘freelance designer london’ has a low keyword difficulty - meaning you could easily get on the first page of results. While that search term receives considerably fewer searches than 'freelance designer,' it will be much more difficult to rank for such a general term. 

What's more, you may get searches from people who do not find your website relevant to them. On the other hand, people who are searching for 'freelance designer london' are probably looking for a designer based in London - meaning 150 of those 150 searches are relevant to you in this example.

Potential clients may be using Google to try and find freelancers in your field, so using these niche keywords can be a great way of putting your website in front of those potential employers.

 

4. Content Creation

Once you've found the keywords for which you want your website to rank highly, it's time to focus on creating content either in the form of a blog post or a landing page with those keywords.

For example, your home page could list you specifically as a freelance designer based in London. However, if you still want to attract clients from other locations as well, it may be best to dedicate a separate page or post to your 'freelance designer london' keywords. You might want to add images or videos that locals will easily recognize to create a special appeal to users in your city.

If you are using WordPress for your website, download Yoast - a free SEO plugin that will provide an analysis of your post or pages SEO. It will help you with:

  • How frequently you have used your keyword in the text (and whether to use it more)
  • How effective your title is (it should always include your keywords)
  • Adding SERPs to your post (the description or snippet that will be displayed in search engine results)
  • Analysing your use of headers, sentence construction, and ease of reading.

You want your page/post that targets your local SEO keywords to mention those keywords enough that search engines pick your page up, but not so much that the writing seems unnatural.

Do not forget to include your keyword in URLs and different subheadings. This is also important to rank your website.

 

5. Create a Web of Links

An effective way of improving the SEO on your website is to start building links to your site, both internally and externally.

If you have a blog, you can link to other relevant posts you have written to create an internal ‘web’ of links that will show Google that your website is legitimate and helpful to your readers.

Likewise, if you can find other websites to either link to your site, or that you could guest post for, this can help you to rank higher for SEO. Guest posts can also expose your work to an entirely new audience and direct them to look more into your content, which further boosts your clicks.

 

 

6. Tailor Your Website to Your Location

Having a local address listed on your website - whether that’s your business’ address or a P.O. Box - can be very helpful for improving your local SEO.

Rather than creating a generic website about your, for example, web design business, write specifically about your local area.

Things you could include to are:

  • Address
  • Operating hours
  • Contact information
  • An embedded map (if relevant)

All of these things, alongside location-specific keywords, can help you to rank highly for your local area.

For example, if you are offering translation services in Mexico City, it’ll be effective for your Local SEO if you have long tail keywords such as “English to Spanish translation services in Mexico City” or “traducciones español-inglés en Mexico.” Same for “Web developer PHP in Madrid” or any other specific role or skill.

 

7. Social Media

Having social media accounts for your freelance website is essential if you want to find more clients in your local area.

Aside from your website, your social media profiles are one of the first things potential clients are going to see. You want your accounts to be professional, and to clearly show where you’re based and what you do in order to attract local clients.

Right now, Instagram is such a powerful tool for creatives and designers. It's the perfect showcase for your work.Here a two great examples:
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Carlotta ? (@carlotta.klee) am

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Digaworks (@digaworksdesign) am


If you happen to be very active in two cities, it might make sense to create different profiles for the different locations to deliver more relevant local content. Of course, that takes time, so just do this if you see that it could be particularly beneficial for you. Consider using a social media scheduling tool such as Hootsuite or Buffer.

 

8. Go Offline with Events

People love to connect and to receive free stuff. We have already talk about the power of organizing meetups as a freelancer and bringing your strategy offline can do wonders for your business.

If you are a designer, for example, you could organize a meeting to talk about different tools for beginners or different online tools that people could use. Use the chance to show at the end some of your own work and portfolio to show that, although online tools can be useful, nothing can compare to the work delivered by a professional.

 

Overall, improving your local SEO is not as complicated or daunting as it may initially seem. If you make the changes suggested above, you should quickly see your website rising in search engine rankings and become one of the first steps for potential clients searching for the services in your local area.

But do not forget global clients either; having the chance to work from home with clients worldwide is an incredible opportunity and has the potential to help you grow your freelance business.

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