Success as a freelancer is incredibly difficult if you don’t know who you work for.
It seems counterintuitive, but when you’re precise about the kind of customer you work with and really specialize in the kind of freelancing you do, you spend less time and effort trying to find clients. That’s when you can really focus on creating a great experience for the people who do hire you…think of it as the difference between going to the grocery store with a meal plan and list vs. just showing up hungry…you don’t waste time on things you don’t want or money on things you don’t need.
While finding your perfect niche can take some time, there are a few skills you can pick up today that will serve you well into your freelancing career, and one of the biggest is being able to research and use the keywords that matter most in your niche.
Keywords are a shortcut.
They let your clients know you understand their worlds and can solve their problems. They allow you to find potential customers whose problems you may be able to solve even if they aren’t aware you exist yet. They are the code that you and everyone in your freelance world use to say “Hey. I’m one of you.”
Platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and even some email services use keywords to make suggestions, sort information, and target ads. If you want to make sure you’re connecting with the right people in the right places, using keywords in active ways is essential.
Thankfully, you’re probably already used to using them when searching for products and services, so you already have a general understanding of how they work — you just need to tweak the way you think a little to make them work for your freelance business.
The Tools You’ll Need
Regardless of your niche, keep a list of the keywords that are important to you and the people you’d like to work with. They may be…
- Products (“Pets”, “makeup”, “shea butter”)
- Technology (“Shopify”, “data”, “mobile devices”)
- Services (“writer”, “developer”, “therapist”)
- Lifestyles/concepts/values (“fitness”, “education”, “faith”)
They can be what are called “long tail keywords” or locally specific. Take this example…
“Detroit freelance photographer”
It’s a long tail keyword (3 or 4 words) and geared toward one geographic area.
Your list should contain a mix of different short and long keywords so that you have a good mix. If you don’t know where to start or are just feeling out a niche, try a keyword research tool like Keyword Tool or start reading blogs and news in your industry to see the topics and concepts that are discussed.
Outfitting Your Site
You’ll be using keywords everywhere from your profiles on freelance sites to social media posts, but since we’re focusing on websites this month at BlackFreelance, we’re going to start there.
Your website should absolutely include multiple mentions of your most important keywords in the following areas:
- Page titles
- Post and blog/article titles
- Body copy
- Your About page
- Meta descriptions
- Site title and tag line
- Categories and tags
- Anywhere else you can fit them in
Keep them natural and don’t start inserting them on the basis of count alone, but do use them at a level where anyone visiting your site knows exactly who you work with (without being annoyed.) So for example, if you’re a freelance beauty blogger in Mombasa, say that directly. If you design HubSpot websites for emerging B2C brands, use all those words.
Wherever you’re using your keywords, just remember that you can’t afford to be shy, indirect, or too creative with your wording since it has such a direct impact on your freelance income.
Want to work with us on applying keywords to your site? Come check out our free and affordable membership options to get started building a freelance career that works for you.