In my case, I code VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) and there are many shops, some might say too many. What is worse, the big players like Toptal, Fiverr, Upwork and Guru pay dearly for the privilege of being the first shops on the street. It’s called Top of the page and it is the cost per click an advertiser pays (remember not every click converts to a sale)
If we look at the Google keyword results for VBA Programmer that has a monthly search volume of between 1,000-10,000 we see that advertisers are willing to pay between $1.36 and $15.00 per click for that top-of-the-page position. I can assure you the conversion rate (how many clicks result in a sale) is not 100%.
The astute will realize those costs are pricy and passed along to the customers. If you google “VBA freelancer” those Ads (Advertisements) fill the first page and are also the first five of page two of the search results. The non Ads are known as organic search results and they are listed in order by a mystical thing called the Google algorithm.
Google’s algorithm searches out Web pages that contain the keywords, in my case: VBA freelancer, then Google assigns a rank to each page based on several factors, including how many times the keywords appear on the page. Specifics on the algorithm are the holy grail of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) crowd and Google’s closely guarded secret.
My planned first step for Building Your Freelancer Platform book was to do a detailed study of the attributes of my successful competitors. I googled ‘VBA freelancers’ and guess what? An article I wrote a while back: My Entrepreneurial Life as a Microsoft VBA Freelancer Part II appeared as the #1 organic listing (see below).
You will note the dark Ad to the left of the URLs which indicates a paid-for advertisement. Also, the key with a zero and a one tells me also these are companies are paying for their spot. The 9 next to the key in my listing indicates I use the keywords 9 times in the 1420 words on that page.
Exactly how and when I achieved this feat is impossible to say, but I have a suspicion that tenacity is rewarded by Google. It has taken 2 long years to get a #1 listing and of course, there is no telling how long it will last. I am taking a minute to celebrate that you can have fun and succeed. I will readily admit “VBA Freelancer” is not the highest volume search keyword (a.k.a. Long tail words) in the VBA universe, but it demonstrates steady improvement. If you actually google “VBA Programmer” keywords that get between 1,000 and 10,000 searches each month the first 8 pages or more are full of paid-for ads. How Google can call the competition “low” is beyond me. That is fodder for those that believe organic SEO results are no longer feasible.
My SEO success with Google
♦ I endeavor to write thoughtful and relevant content.
♦ I publish pretty regularly
♦ I giveaway free tools
♦ I pay attention to keywords and title consistency
♦ I accompany most posts with a YouTube – how-to video
♦ I link to both internal and external relevant sites.
*if you see an SEO firm advertising that they will move you to the first page of search results- stay away they cannot, those spots are bought and paid for. Maybe they can on some oddball (longtail) keyword that has a volume of 5 a month. Certainly not on a search on VBA freelancer! They can’t the Ads own the first page.