Should You Use an SEO Professional?

You’ve probably heard the term SEO, but do you really know what it is and how to use it to your advantage? A clear understanding of SEO is vital to building a successful website. This article is the fourth in a series covering SEO for Beginners.

When setting up a new website or promoting the growth of your site, it’s worth considering engaging an SEO professional to handle the process of keyword research, optimization and content marketing. SEO professionals can handle the process of building advertisements, developing social media campaigns and creating ongoing strategies that can help pages to rank up search engines. If you’re interested in these services for your company, you might be interested in the types of advantages that a professional SEO firm could deliver for your needs:

Huge ROI

SEO has one of the best returns on investment when compared to other types of digital marketing. SEO specialists may charge just a small fee to complete keyword research, to start creating a plan to rank your page or to technically optimize your page to rank with improvement. These small changes and ongoing strategies can put your page on the map of search engines and generate a massive amount of traffic.

Keeping your rankings longer

SEO professionals know all of the latest search engine standards and will provide regular updates to you when changes need to be made. Working with professionals ensures that you can capture a great search engine spot and continue to hold it over time. This means results which are much more sustainable – especially when compared to a PPC campaign or other digital marketing effort.

Working on branding

SEO is a brand strategy that uses keywords, a writer’s voice, and a full-blown strategy that spans far out from your website. Using a professional SEO firm could place your website on Twitter, in various message boards, as guest posters on other sites and more. This means greater brand recognition by seeing your logo all over the internet for valuable backlinks. SEO professionals often have greater connections to get you these improved spots and opportunities.

A website anyone can access

SEO professionals can optimize your page to make sure it loads fast and functions well on a variety of different devices. This ensures your site will be compatible with phone and tablet browsers and easier to use through technical optimization and speed improvements. Making your site mobile friendly is vital as many people primarily access the internet on a mobile device.

 

Consider these key points when deciding whether to use an SEO professional for your website.

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Top Tips for Ranking on Google

You’ve probably heard the term SEO, but do you really know what it is and how to use it to your advantage? A clear understanding of SEO is vital to building a successful website. This article is the third in a series covering SEO for Beginners.

Improving your Google ranking can be an extremely frustrating process, especially if you’re trying to rank your website in an extremely competitive niche. Here are some of top elements of your page that you could be forgetting when you are trying to boost your website’s rank on Google.

Your tags

Meta tags, title tags and even image tags are all very important to search engine spiders. Make sure that every single page has these elements or you could be missing out on the 50 to 60 character title tag that displays below your website on a Google search engine ranking. This not only prevents many people from clicking your page but gives the search engine far less to go on when ranking your page against competitors.

Focus your keyword research

Keyword placement in your content as well as following a strategy to rank your page for popular keywords in your niche is very important. It’s going to take a lot of content and ongoing valuable content to make sure that you can rank well against your competition for a competitive keyword, but it’s well worth the effort for the amount of traffic that this can bring.

Building a site map

A sitemap or full listing of various links and pages that you control can really ease the process of a search engine spider ranking every aspect of your content. In most cases, when your page is indexed a search engine spider can forget certain elements as well as images and pages. Building up a site map as you go will make sure that every single page is indexed and ready for publishing.

Using the latest web standards

HTML 5 is the newest in web standards and creating a responsive website in HTML 5 rather than flash is a great way to make sure that all of your websites will work properly on lots of different mobile devices. Updating your website to the newest web standard is one of the only ways that it can obtain top search engine rankings.

Regularly update your content

You’re going to want to place a lot of emphasis on working on your content. Regularly updated content that’s valuable and well viewed is the only way to keep your site relevant in highly competitive niches. Content marketing will dictate the future success of your website in search engines.

 

Keep these points in mind to make sure your website ranks well on Google.

Common Mistakes with SEO

You’ve probably heard the term SEO, but do you really know what it is and how to use it to your advantage? A clear understanding of SEO is vital to building a successful website. This article is the second in a series covering SEO for Beginners.

There are many common mistakes you can make when trying to perform search engine optimization on your website. Search engine optimization, especially from the technical side, is generally best done with the help of a service or a professional. Experts can identify a range of simple mistakes that arise with DIY jobs and help you get the best results. It’s also important to remember that many search engine algorithms are constantly updating with new standards so you need to keep an eye out for new problems to ensure you maintain your ranking.

Here are some  of the most common mistakes made with SEO:

Working with the wrong keywords

Keyword research is essential to having success within your niche. Picking keywords that have fairly low traffic can help you to rank well for those keywords but you may have difficulty actually attracting organic user searches and visits to your page. Careful planning for your keywords and making sure not to use ‘keyword stuffing’ is important.

Publishing content that’s not original and not valuable

Your content needs to be valuable for your readers and visitors to the site. Your content also needs to be about your keywords with relevant information. When you publish plagiarized content this can instantly flag your site and cause it to shoot down search engine rankings. Work at creating your own original ideas and publishing content that is interesting and engaging.

Skipping descriptions, metatags and image tags

Building alt tags, optimizing meta-tags and filling out the full description for elements of your website is extremely important. This type of optimization is commonly missed, which will ensure that many elements of your website are never indexed and the site will be effectively invisible to search engines. We will cover these topics in more detail in future posts.

Missing out on mobile

Building a page that’s not optimized with a responsive web design for mobile use can be a huge mistake. A large number of web users now access the internet primarily on mobile devices so you could be missing out on a massive number of users by failing to create a good mobile browsing experience. It’s not hard to set up and it’s very easy to test for yourself. Navigating your site on a phone and a tablet should be as easy as it is using a laptop or desktop computer. Try it now!

 

Keep these top most common mistakes in mind when planning your search engine optimization strategy. Avoid them all and you’ll start leagues ahead of your competitors.

We are working on building a database of high quality SEO service providers. If you have had a good experience or have expertise to offer to our readers then get in touch. We vet all of our recommendations so that you don’t have to!

What is the Gig Economy?

gig economy
noun
a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs
Oxford Dictionaries

In recent years there has been a considerable shift in the overall nature of work. Where previously almost every working person would find a job (or at least an industry/sector of work) for life, there is a rising trend towards temporary and short-term positions. In general, this represents a notable move away from certainty, security and stability in work.

While many find this prospect at least a little bit scary, it also brings many new opportunities and the potential for greater freedom, varietal and control in your work. The modern Gig Economy is fiercely competitive but presents extraordinary potential for success to those who seize their chances. Savvy entrepreneurs are the new CEOs and CFOs of their own lives. You don’t have to build up a bricks-and-mortar company or sacrifice your work-life balance to be your own boss.

“This on-demand, or so-called gig, economy is creating exciting economies and unleashing innovation. But it is also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”

Hillary Clinton

To realise success in the Gig Economy, you need to first understand what it is and how it’s different from the way in which previous generations have worked and lived.

The rise of the Gig Economy is in large part a result of rapid advances in technology. In particular, the ubiquity of high-powered personal digital devices (i.e. smart phones) with constant global access to the internet has created a web of electronic marketplaces that never close. It’s easier than ever to establish yourself as an independent contractor and market your services directly to millions of potential customers.

To be continued…

Gig Platforms

Think of something you can do – absolutely anything – and chances are there’s someone out there who is willing to pay you money to do it.

Do you personally know that person? Probably not.

Fortunately, there are numerous platforms out there to help connect you with them (and all their likeminded friends). Here’s a list of the sites and apps that can help you earn extra cash:

Marketplaces

Gigs

 

We are continually growing this list. Want something added? Let us know!

Getting Started in the Gig Economy

For most people, the hardest part about succeeding in the Gig Economy is getting started.

This is normal.

Society and the media continue selling the idea of a single, stable job as the real-world possibilities for this evaporate. To reach your full potential you need to embrace the opportunities that the Gig Economy offers. Get yourself out there. Find your niche. Make yourself known. Success, satisfaction and money will follow.

First Steps

Clearly, the Gig Economy is less predictable than a ‘career’ has traditionally been – at least less predictable than a career was 50 years ago. When getting started, don’t forget your basic needs. You still need somewhere to live, something to eat and people to share your life with. Success is hollow without human connection.

Assets

How you approach this will depend on your current situation, your assets (both personal and financial) and your skills.

If you have the privilege of being able to live cheaply with family or friends – use it. Everyone needs help to get established. It is a sign of strength to understand when you need help and to accept it with humility. Don’t see it as a step back or an imposition. Taking temporary measures to minimise your cost of living will let you focus more time and energy on building a sustainable independent income.

If you have money saved away for a rainy day then consider how stormy your situation really is. While it can cost money to money, especially in the early stages, consider the risks and rewards. Spending a portion of your savings on a new camera, programming courses or art supplies may be necessary to start up your project – but also take time to find alternative avenues. Perhaps you can borrow a camera once a week? Perhaps you can learn what you need to online for free? Perhaps you can use a computer at the library instead of buying your own?

It is a sign of strength to understand when you need help and to accept it with humility.

Skills

It may seem obvious, but how you get started is likely to be determined by the skills you already possess. If you’re already able to do something that people will pay for then it makes sense to start by monetising this – even if it isn’t your ultimate goal. Embracing the Gig Economy doesn’t necessarily mean only pursuing your passion. You can start by shifting to greater independence and control in your current field then use this a stepping stone to an alternative path. If you’re working in graphic design but keen to branch out then picking up some freelance graphic design work is a logical starting point. From there, you can work on building your personal brand, portfolio and online presence to move into other areas of interest.

While you may not feel like you have any skills that can be traded, consider the vast arena of (relatively) unskilled gigs. These are gigs that don’t require any specific training or experience to get started, such as online trading or completing surveys. Your personal qualities can still influence how well you perform in these roles, so it’s worth looking over your options and working out which best suit you.

Building Your Gig Portfolio

The immense range of potential avenues can initially be overwhelming. Don’t fear – we’ve all been there.

You may already have a good idea of where you want to focus your efforts. If you’ve always wanted to turn your hobby into a full-time pursuit then this step may be simple (though it probably won’t be easy). It’s important to consider your options seriously regardless. I’ve met many people who found tying their passion to money drained it of enjoyment and led them to regret the move.

If you’re not sure how you want to make money – take a look at The Gig Shortlist for inspiration. Think about what will most likely provide an adequate income but also think about what you will enjoy, what you will find fulfilling and how much time or effort each would require. You may be able to start something immediately if you have readily marketable skills (e.g. graphic design) or resources (e.g. an empty room just waiting to be listed or a car that’s ready for ridesharing). You may also need to invest some time and/or money to get things off the ground (e.g. craft supplies and production or a typing course).

Diversify

One of the key advantages of the Gig Economy is the ability to diversify your work. By dividing your time between multiple avenues of income you can keep your work interesting, have greater control over how and when you work, and protect yourself against market fluctuations. Many gigs will see fluctuations over time – demand for Airbnb properties, for example, is often seasonal and will change with local events and the overall economy. Unless you have the rare fortune to find a niche of high demand and reliable returns, it would be wise to avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket. For most people, this means a mix of income streams including some that are interesting and enjoyable with others that are purely to keep money coming in. Interest and enjoyment won’t pay your rent or put food on your table.

By dividing your time between multiple avenues of income you can keep your work interesting, have greater control over how and when you work, and protect yourself against market fluctuations.

Where to next?

Making a living in the Gig Economy is hard work. If all of this is confusing or intimidating then take a step back and breathe. It’s scary to take the power and responsibility for your livelihood into your own hands – especially when you’ve grown up being sold the ‘dream’ of working a steady 9 to 5 job for life. You aren’t the first person to feel this way and you certainly won’t be the last. Subscribe for ongoing advice and inspiration for surviving in the Gig Economy. We’re here to help.