5 SEO essentials for your website

Before you start different SEO services and techniques, check five SEO essentials on your website right now.

Record your ranking in these categories – just as you would measure your weight before you start a diet – and see whether they go up as you work harder. Paul Robbins of SEO specialists Inbound Interactive – who has advised The Collective of International Advertising Freelancers and other leading ad freelance figures – suggest you devote five minutes to checking five things, and then do the same for your nearest competitors.

STEP 1: Know where you are

  • Page Rank: 

How important does Google think your website is based on incoming links? The highest you can really aim for with a freelancer’s website is around 4/10. Any higher and you need to become a full-time blogger. If you’re disappointed with your pagerank, you might be more disappointed when you find out how few people actually link to your site. Now you can see how much work you have to do and how many friends you have to ask to link to you.

  • Social media

We all hear about the importance of social media, so check how popular you are with sites such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. Google thinks this is another good judge of your importance.

  • Keyword position

Your keywords as a creative freelancer should be your discipline (copywriter, art director, designer) in the locality you service (london, paris, new york). Focus on these two keywords. You can’t be No. 1 in the world and you don’t want to be. People want local freelancers.

  • Keyword density

These two same keywords should be the most common words on your website so measure your keyword density now. The keyword density is the total number of keywords, divided by the total number of words that appear on your homepage.

Your two main keywords should make up between 3% and 5% of the words on your site. Less and google things you’re not serious, more and they think you’re a spam site. So don’t try and be a jack of all trades, filling your site with every conceivable keyword, as you will just dilute your real keywords. You have to stand for something.

  • Metatags

Metatags are HTML or XHTML elements used to provide structured metadata about a web page. Do you have the right metatags inbedded in your site? Again, don’t – aim for 20 that really relate to you.

  • How do you choose the right metatags?

After your discipline and city, it can be hard to know which other keywords you should include in your metatag. This is a handy tool that suggests other keywords related to your main keywords.

STEP 2: Know where you want to be

Once you’ve run this ‘SEO Essentials’ analysis on your own website, go back and run it on your competitor’s websites: other freelancers in your discipline and location who come up when you search your keywords. Now you can see what you have to do to get above them. If they have a pagerank of 2/10 you don’t need to bust your balls getting higher. Borrow their metatags, follow their keyword density, aim for their popularity. Choose your goals and make them realistic.

  • Goals and google analytics

If you’ve got these simple SEO essentials mastered, you can go much further with Google analytics. Once you’ve joined, you add their code to your website and it starts recording who’s visiting your website, where they’re coming from, what language they speak, how they got there, and much more. Invaluable information when you’re trying to improve your website.

For example, if you’re getting lots of French visitors to your English-language website, but they all leave after the homepage, maybe you should put a section in French.

You can also get Google analytics to track the goals you’ve set for your website, which is essential for determining your success. Up to your eyeballs in statistics? A few minutes looking at the results in Google analytics should be enough to convince you that you need a professional.

  • Go SEO pro

From here on in though it starts to get more complicated and take up more of your time. As we established in the previous article – The most common mistakes on a freelancer’s website – we recommend that you hire a SEO company to help you achieve your goals. If you want your website to be the best, you have to hire the best.

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