Today, we are talking about working from home as a freelance SEO writer. We've explained to you what this is, how it works, and also provided a short list of five sites that are regularly looking for SEO writers to work online!
Some of the best, and most reliable, jobs out there for work from home freelance writers are in the SEO content creation niche, and that's been true for a very long time.
In the early days, when online remote employment first started becoming commonplace, writing web content was one of the best areas to specialize in, mostly because there was always plenty of work available. And if you think about it, you can probably see why.
Writing is one of those unique skills where you don’t necessarily need any special education to deliver top-notch results. And it’s also a profession where managers don’t really have to watch over someone’s shoulder constantly, hour by hour, to make sure they’re doing everything exactly right. Writing is a great way to earn money online!
At the end of the day, if you're running a blog and you need articles on a regular basis, you may not care if the people working for you went to college for five years or dropped out in high school. You also might not care when they do the work or where they are when they sit down to write.
Bottom line — If the people writing for you are delivering high quality results and meeting deadlines, then you're getting what you need from them, and that's what matters most.
As promised above, this article lists out five online companies that pay (sometimes very well) for SEO content. But before we get into that, let's first talk a little about the basics of SEO writing so we can all be on the same page about what exactly we’re discussing, and the skills required to do it well.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When people use the term, they're talking about creating content that's catered to the needs of search engine algorithms.
If you’ve spent much time looking around the web for new writing job leads, you've probably seen “SEO knowledge” mentioned in the skill requirements for certain positions. It sounds very technical, and some writers might be a little intimidated by the term even if they're confident in their basic abilities.
In reality, it's not that hard to do, and in many cases you won't really have to know that much about how SEO actually works in order to satisfy your clients.
Keywords Are The Key
Typically, SEO writing involves using certain special words or phrases in your copy. These are called “keywords,” and with most SEO jobs, your client, or the company you work for, will give you a list of them for each new assignment.
Generally, your goal will be to get those words and phrases into the article a certain number of times (but not too many), and to do it in a way that sounds natural.
Sometimes, the exact location of the keywords will also be important. For example, you might have to put a certain phrase into the opening paragraph, and then work it into the text one more time somewhere closer to the end.
The Changing Landscape of SEO Writing
If you spend much time writing online content, one thing you'll learn about SEO is that it's very difficult to keep up with the best practices. This is because the search engines are constantly changing the rules.
There was a time when keyword stuffing was the best way to get good rankings. In those days, you could sometimes get assignments were a client would want a certain word or phrase used seven or eight times in a 500 word article.
This, for obvious reasons, led to a lot of really awful writing, and average consumers browsing the web got sick and tired of running into content written this way.
The search engine companies responded by changing their algorithms so that keyword stuffed content didn't get high ranks anymore, which led to a new set of basic guidelines for good-quality SEO.
Since then, there've been dozens of incremental changes to the search engine algorithms, and each time it happens, writers have to slightly alter their approaches.
These days, there are all sorts of things you need to think about when writing web content, including optimal word count, paragraph length, and the number of headings in an article.
This probably seems pretty daunting for the average beginner. With so many rules to keep track of, how can you just relax and focus on writing well?
But, the truth is, usually your client, or the company you're writing for, will have their own idea for the SEO practices they want you to follow, and they'll make that very explicit in your instructions for each assignment.
What this means in practice is that, most of the time, you'll just be following a simple set of directions, like a recipe. And after you do this kind of writing for a while, you'll get a feel for the best way to approach things.
Eventually, you’ll be able to deliver good SEO content even when you're working for clients who don’t know much about optimizing for the web, and don't provide specific guidelines.
Start Small and Build Your Resume
Reading about the technical aspects of SEO can be helpful, and you should make sure you know all the best practices before you jump into the freelance jungle and start selling your services to the highest paying clients. But, one way to get a feel for web writing is just to dive in with some of the lower paying content mills and get some practical experience.
In the list below, we’ve included some entry level content creation sites: places where you can learn the basics of SEO and get your feet wet while making a little bit of income. Additionally, you’ll find a few higher paying sites that might not consider your application until you have some experience and a proven track record.
Being an online freelance writer is a lot like many other home businesses. You have to pay your dues in the beginning and gradually work your way up the ladder.
We hope the sites below will give you a good foundation to begin your own journey towards success in this popular work from home niche, and we wish you the very best of luck in your endeavors!
1 – Textbroker
This is one of the oldest content mills on the web, and still to this day, I would consider it a pretty good entry level option for most new freelancers. You won’t make a ton of money writing here, especially not at first, but Textbroker usually has quite a bit of work available, and it’s fairly easy for a newbie writer to get an account.
Textbroker uses a ranking system for writers to determine the pay rate. Those with higher ranks can access more lucrative jobs. In the beginning you’re going to have a low ranking (think of it as a trial period) and sometimes there’s not very much work available for lower ranked writers.
Periodically, the editors at Textbroker will review your work, and if they see your quality is good enough, they’ll raise your rank. How long will this take? It varies, but you might have to wait a few months to get into the higher ranks where you can earn real money, so it’s probably best if you don’t get in a big hurry.
There was a time when some writers actually made a living working primarily on Textbroker, but based on things I’ve heard recently, that’s much more difficult now, and it was never actually very easy to do, even in the old days.
Think of Textbroker as a place to get started, not as a place to build a career. This site can be your training wheels while you’re figuring out how everything works. And later on, after you’ve established yourself, you can still use your Textbroker account to pick up a few jobs here and there when your other work isn’t keeping you busy enough.
2 – BKA Content
BKA stands for “Buy Keyword Articles,” and it’s another content mill like Textbroker, but with a few key differences.
The main thing that separates BKA from Textbroker is that everything at BKA is very formalized. BKA puts their writers into specialized teams, each one with a focus on a particular type of content. So for example, you might be a member of the medical team, or the real estate team.
Also, unlike Textbroker, you’re expected to deliver a minimum quantity of work every single week. I’m not sure what the exact number is right now, but not too long ago it was 3500 words. That’s not an overwhelming amount of writing, but it’s significant enough that you’ll have to make sure and carve out a certain amount of time for it.
The minimum word count rule makes BKA a bit more like an actual job, and as you would probably expect, the pay is a little better than many other low-level content mills.
Apparently, when you first start, you’ll have to spend some time in a lower paying bracket while you prove yourself, but their top writers max out around $18 hourly, which isn’t too shabby for entry-level sites in this category.
3 – The HOTH
This is one of the better paying sites for freelance SEO writers. It’s a content mill with a business model based on taking over blogs for their clients, and handling all the regular weekly writing duties.
You can make around $50 for long articles with The HOTH, while shorter articles will get you around $16. That’s actually a pretty good amount (for a content mill), and faster writers will be able to rake in a decent hourly wage at those rates.
Based on what I’ve read, The HOTH has fairly stringent standards with regards to hiring, but their standards are based mostly on the quality of your writing samples, not your past experience or previous education.
So, if you’ve got the right skills, and they like your style, you might be able to get hired by The HOTH right away without having to build up an extensive resume.
4 – Writer Access
This site is set up as a marketplace that makes it easy for needy clients to find skilled freelance web writers. They have a star rating system for writers, much like Textbroker, but at the higher rank levels you can make a whole lot more money than is possible on Textbroker, and their bottom end isn’t too shabby either.
One potential issue with this site is the amount of work available for a typical beginner. Their system seems to be primarily built around allowing clients to choose individual writers and pitch articles to them, whereas Textbroker’s default approach is for articles to be put into a pool where all the writers (within a certain rank level) can access them.
With a system like the one Writer Access uses, it might take a while to develop relationships with enough individual clients to stay busy. But that’s just a guess on my part, and there may be workarounds for that built into the system.
Regardless, Writer Access appears to be a good site to sign up with. The pay is fairly high, and it looks like they have a thriving business with a good number of clients.
5 – Content Runner
This site seems very similar to Writer Access in a lot of ways. It’s also using a marketplace-style system. Each writer creates a unique profile where they can include their past experience, specialties, and (optionally) work samples. Clients can browse the profiles and choose the writers that appeal most to them.
To make really good money here, you would probably have to spend quite a bit of time building up your reputation and developing client relationships. Which, to be honest, isn’t the worst thing in the world.
One way or another, if you want to get into the higher earning brackets as a freelance web writer, you’re going to have to gradually develop a strong base of regular customers. A site like this, which has good tools built in for putting writers together with clients and helping them form long-term relationships, could be very beneficial in the long run, even if it doesn’t earn you that much in the beginning.
Go here to apply to write for Content Runner.
We hope this list and the information provided helped give you some good ideas for how to start your career as an SEO freelance content writer.
Be sure to sign up for our FREE work at home weekly newsletters, too! We share SEO writing opportunities there as we find them, among other jobs.
Good luck if you apply for any of these.
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Anna Thurman is a work at home blogger and mom of two. She has been researching and reviewing remote jobs for over 13 years. Her findings are published weekly here at Real Ways to Earn.