Hi all, my name is Dan and I am a digital publisher and SEO consultant based in Liverpool.
After 8 years working digital agency and in-house roles, I decided to take the plunge and become a freelance SEO specialist in September 2020.
Freelancing works great for me having 3 young boys aged 5, 3, and 1, (as well as two dogs and a cat!) as it gives me the freedom to adjust my schedule to fit around the kids if I need to pick them up from school or anything else.
I first got into SEO by chance (like all of us!).
A university friend of mine got a graduate job at a digital agency and I thought it sounded like something I may enjoy.
I made a (very bad) WordPress website with my CV on it and spent $20 on Facebook ads targeting people who worked at digital agencies near me.
I quickly got a couple of interviews, and the rest is history!
I hate doing SEO predictions because in my agency days (2012-2018) I used to go to far too many SEO conferences and at each one there was always a talk about the future of SEO.
I must have wasted at least 5 hours of my life listening to people talking about how optimising for voice is an absolute must!
For the most part SEO stays the same year to year:
- Building a site that makes sense and works well
- Creating high value, helpful content that perfectly serves the user
- Get high value links, focus on quality not quantity
That said 2023 has already been a fairly tumultuous year for SEO and we’re only a few days in, so just for you guys here are three predictions for this coming year in the world of SEO:
In the first few weeks of 2023 ChatGPT is already tearing up the SEO rule book!
While many are using it to generate content it can do a whole lot more than that including things such as analysis and optimization tasks, coding and much more.
Personally, I’ve used it to code a calculator for one of my sites and to quickly generate schema (it does a great job!), I’m also planning to use it to significantly improve the google sheets that i use for various SEO audits to improve my time efficiency.
As we head into 2023, I predict that the hype around AI will slowly diminish but people who really take the time to learn how to use it effectively will be able to massively accelerate their profitability as a freelancer.
I also believe links will still be important going in to 2023 (and I say that as someone who has built a few reasonably successful no link websites).
However, I predict it will be more important than ever to ensure that your onsite SEO is done to a high standard, I think we’ll see less and less sites getting away with poor onsite SEO just because they’ve got a strong link profile.
Fail to properly optimise a site and your external links aren’t going to move the needle anywhere near as much as you’d like.
Case in point, I recently audited a site that had invested heavily in links over the last couple of years but were seeing minimal progress.
An audit of their internal links revealed a lot of unclear anchor text and numerous pages linking to the same page twice using different anchors.
After tidying this up their rankings flew up almost instantly.
Like it or not we’re not going to be able to track data in Universal Analytics from 1st July onwards this year.
Many businesses continue to ignore it because they don’t have the time or patience to work it out, but unless we can persuade clients to move over to an alternative platform then we need to adapt to the mess that is GA4 as soon as possible.
The chaos that GA4 is likely to cause is a massive opportunity for freelancers.
I suspect there will be countless companies looking for help and training on how to setup GA4 and get usable data from it.
If we know how to use it there will be good money to be made from providing GA4 training and consulting.
Staying ahead of industry changes and trends is important as a freelancer.
The shift to GA4 and the suddenly ubiquitous arrival of easily accessible AI technology presents not only a challenge, but also an opportunity to provide valuable services to businesses and potentially earn more income.
The same can be said for other areas of freelancing. The flexibility and autonomy that comes with being a freelancer allows us to constantly adapt and evolve our skillset, and seek out new opportunities.
That said I understand why freelancing is not for everyone.
It certainly hasn’t been all easy money, short hours, and glamorous working locations.
One of the big things I miss about working a 9-5 is the fact that as soon as 5pm comes round I can completely forget about work without feeling any guilt or compulsion to check my emails.
As a freelancer I work on clients, marketing myself, business admin as well as various side projects.
There never seems to be enough hours in the day and the temptation to work in the evening is strong.
There are always nagging doubts in the back of my mind too, often imposter syndrome related or concern about how much money is coming in month to month.
While the flexibility of being a freelancer is good as a parent there are times when I wish I had more rigid hours so I could just get some work done without my hours being broken up on an all too regular basis.
That said despite the challenges it would take a lucrative job offer to temp me back to a 9-5.
The freedom, flexibility, and potential of freelancing make it a highly fulfilling career choice for me.
If your agency is need of an extra pair of hands, our awesome community of freelance SEO consultants can help you bridge resource gaps and take the pressure of your business and internal teams.