Which freelancer does NOT dream of being in the Top positions of Google.nl or on keywords that are the perfect representation of his/her business? 🙂
Have you just started your freelance business in the Netherlands and are looking for ways to promote yourself on the internet / find (relevant) clients / be more visible / gain notoriety? And of course all of these at the same time?
Or maybe you are already a well-established freelancer in the Netherlands and you are just struggling a bit to gain more visibility on Google?
And on top of that you probably heard once the little magic 3-letter acronym “SEO” standing more precisely for “Search Engine Optimization”, some of your friends or acquaintances might have even told you that SEO could magically boost your business.
Do you recognize yourself in one of these situations? 🙂
If so you would probably love to know more about the great myths, secrets and potential that are hidden behind this short but very meaningful term.
The coolest myths around SEO
So, let’s shed some light on SEO and its subtlety.
Speaking of myths first, let’s first break a few of them right away J
The great magic of SEO, i.e. ranking fast in Google search results and gaining quick web traffic to increase your results/revenue – can only operate when it is done in a clever and useful way.
By “useful” we mean here 2 things / core principles of SEO nowadays:
- If you try to optimize your site yourself, always do it for Your users first, never for Google only. This is absolutely crucial because your visitors are the ones who ultimately buy your services or products; And if you are trying to meet all SEO Google criteria just because you recently found out what Google takes into account to rank your website but you offer a very poor UX, your content does not sound natural and you keep ignoring your users needs and their behavior on your website, your website shall not stay in the top search results of Google for too long…
- Try not scamming Google. Again, even tough you perfectly know all the criteria that is considered by the mysterious Google indexing and ranking algorithm(s), do not try to over optimize your website or even worse, think that Google will reward you for this. If you over optimize your website, the exact opposite will for sure be happening. The Google robots that permanently crawl the web are much smarter than you might think.
That being said, you may now be telling yourself that anyways you will never “try to optimize your site yourself” because SEO is the exclusive field of a limited bunch of geeks: the so-called “SEO experts”.
Well this is just another common myth about SEO.
You might have indeed heard something like “SEO is quite complex, you need to be a technician or engineer to work on it, because unless you know how to code, you will never be able to do it yourself at an advanced level.”
All of this is wrong. First you do not need to be a geek to perform SEO for your website. Admittedly, you need to understand how a website is technically structured and basics of HTML, but you do not have to learn how to accurately code any website starting from scratch.
Second, without being an engineer, you can definitely conduct SEO campaigns for your own website at an advanced level, rank in great positions of Google for keywords that are extremely relevant to your business, and ultimately generate revenue. However, this will obviously requires time and effort. Again, the magic of SEO only operates when it is done in a useful and clever way.
And you can only learn how to do SEO meticulously when you devote a decent part of your time to understand it in depth and make all the adequate efforts in order to achieve the goals you have in mind. Because knowing how Google “thinks”, operates and constantly evolves will enable you to make the necessary adjustments on and off your website and win against the competition in the search results pages in the long-run.
In fact, this long-run characteristic tells so much about the true nature SEO: if SEO is not rocket science, it neither represents a set of adjustments done once and forever, nor something that you fully achieve within a couple of hours. Carrying out SEO is in the end everything but a short sprint: it looks much more like a long marathon, especially when the competition is tough and as determined as you are to rank in the top positions.
So if you still have prejudice about SEO, be a humble, lucid freelancer and erase that “easiness and rapidity myth” from your mind: the truth is that serious SEO always takes time and efforts. Truly, the “No Pain No Gain” quote also applies to freelancers in the Netherlands when they want to carry out SEO for their own website.
In essence, this means that if you want to build yourself a solid online reputation for your freelance business thanks to SEO, not only does it clearly take time and effort but you also need to attract visitors before they are ready to buy, when they are ready to buy and after they have bought. If you want to carry out SEO seriously, you do not do it once and for all, you investigate continuously.
Does this mean you can’t rank in Google top positions unless producing a massive amount of work for each specific keyword you target?
Of course NOT! There are plenty of keywords opportunities with great potential on which you could rank very fast just by conducting a full optimization of your freelancer’s website.
However, there are other keywords where beating the competition will take much more time and on-site as well as off-site efforts.
Just like our current economic system is dominated by colossal companies, the web market in the Netherlands – and more extensively in Europe – is ruled by Google where the rules of free competition and supply and demand apply. So on Google some keywords have less demand and are easier to target, others are impacted by a huge offer and ranking on them is everything but a piece of cake.
Now, in SEO, a small demand, i.e. a “small” volume of requests on Google per month/year for those keywords, does not necessarily mean the absence of competition, nor the right to neglect them. Although it rarely the case, some “long-tail” keywords can surprisingly be not that easy to rank well on, i.e. in the first 3 positions of Google.nl.
Furthermore, you can never neglect long tail keywords fully: the more specific you get about your business, the better your clients can find you. Imagine if you manage to rank well on even just 20 keywords that each have a small number of Google requests per month but that are extremely representative of your business: do you think you will attract visitors and customers? For sure, you will.
All that being said, just beware of all the myths you can read or hear about SEO and always double check them by researching on the web by yourself. In the next parts of this article we give you all our free tips, resources and tools that will help you to do so and build your SEO knowledge.
As we stressed it, SEO takes time and effort and definitely requires you to think in a certain way and have a methodological approach but another important aspect of it you should be aware of is that it is constantly evolving because Google themselves are continuously changing and updating their algorithms.
Why? Because the web itself constantly changes and one of Google’s challenges is keep on offering the greatest content to all users who research daily on Google – after all isn’t it why we all use Google?
5 elementary great SEO tips plus free tools that all freelancers in the Netherlands can start applying immediately
Register on Google my business and ask your clients to post reviews
If you are a freelancer in the Netherlands, you might not just be based in the capital of the Netherlands but also have most of your clients in the surroundings of the Netherlands. For that reason, your current and future clients can find you more easily if you are registered on Google my business (free) and have an optimized profile.
Encourage your new and existing clients to post a short review about your company. An effective way of doing so would be for example to print and give them business cards that encourage them to post a review on your Google business profile.
Know Your Target Audience and focus on the right keywords
You need to know who your customers are and what they want. If you can give them what they’re looking for precisely and quickly, then you can build a loyal audience in a short amount of time. So research your target audience in great detail and make sure your content uses keywords that match your customers’ thought patterns: how they landed on your website and what they are looking for on it are key information!
Also, if you are for example mainly active in Amsterdam, you’d rather target local queries such as “YOUR JOB Amsterdam” – this is just one example out of many – than general ones. To find out more about the keywords you should target and their current trend you can use many free tools similar to Google Trends.
Write Top Quality Content
If you really want to improve your SEO, you’re going to need to write top-quality content including the right keywords. The better your content is, the easier it is for your future clients to find what they are looking for.
Furthermore, Google will “see” that people are spending some time on your website when they search for certain keywords online, they aren’t clicking back or away from your site: that will also have a positive impact for your website in terms of SEO.
As we also stressed it earlier you must write for humans first and search engines second.
In brief, your content must sound natural, pleasant to read, grammatically correct and most importantly unique.
Keep content fresh and publish unique content consistently to improve your rankings
When people conduct research, they want correct, up-to-date, accurate information.
That’s why you should keep your content updated as much as possible: the “fresh factor” is indeed becoming an increasingly important ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm for a good reason: your audiences don’t want to waste time reading dated content.
Link to other websites with relevant content.
If you want to skyrocket your freelance business with SEO, you can go the step further and begin the “off-site” optimization of your website.
Linking to websites that talk about common or similar topics as yours and that, especially, add value to your audience plus getting links from highly trusted websites is what will eventually bring your website to top rankings.
However, you do not always need to make tremendous “off-site” efforts, especially if you operate on a niche market. Sometimes, a full and smart “on-site” optimization is, at first, sufficient to bring your website on the top of Google search engine result pages on a few strategic keywords.
Yet and in the end, the more competitors there are on your web market, the smarter and stronger your SEO initatives must be!
You may have found the content that you just read relevant for you if you think of how to apply it to your business particularly.
But if you are not familiar with SEO, we also understand that it can sound blurry to you.
What we can say for sure is that if your web market is not-so-competitive and you apply the above tips smartly, then there is a great chance for you to attract the right customers and get quickly new and increased traffic on your website.
Now, all what you just read is just a tiny fraction of what SEO truly encompasses.
Really, you have only seen the very top of the iceberg so far.
SEO embraces so much more knowledge, resources, tools, intelligence, strategy, techniques, evolution that if applying a few tips can definitely bring great benefits to your business, those are no-thing compared to the results you could get if you conducted meticulous, tactical SEO campaigns for your business.
And as we highlighted it earlier, anybody can progressively learn how to do it correctly.
However, if you are extremely busy like most freelancers in the Netherlands probably are, of course you can’t afford the luxury of diving deep into SEO to improve your business overall.
That’s why our team is here to help you.
So, if you do not have a time but are ready to invest – even with a small budget – in SEO to get tangible and long term results, we can make it happen for your freelance business.
Not only have we helped other freelancers and start-ups to grow but we also always keep ourselves up to date with the latest changes happening on Google and impacting SEO techniques and methodologies.
Again, the benefits you can get thanks to SEO can be incredible.
Of course, your main objective can certainly be increasing your turnover and that’s what SEO primarily consists in.
But SEO is not just about ranking in the top positions of Google as many keywords as possible.
It is also about understanding better the core of your business, your clients, how they think and find you on the web, their expectations, the approach(es) you should adopt to convince and persuade them, how to convert them, what makes your true own, unique value etc.
And once you are well established on your web market, because it provides this deep understanding, SEO will definitely help you to look further and beyond: how you can keep on growing online and attracting the right customers, how you can better convert your prospects, how you can save tremendous time by automating and delegating your online campaigns etc.
Surely, if you are not familiar with SEO you cannot imagine yet how much light and clarity SEO can shed on you and your freelance business.
If you wish to have SEO enlighten and grow business significantly or even if you just have questions, just drop us a few words here, we are happy to help you.
Apart all of this, have you tried applying a few SEO tips to your freelance business? And if so did you notice a significant change on your website? What else woud you personnaly recommend to do? 🙂