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Expanding your reach and establishing a local presence is critical for freelancers looking to consistently get new clients and grow their business. While word-of-mouth referrals have traditionally been the main source of new business for freelancers, the rise of digital platforms has opened up new opportunities to connect with potential clients in your area.
With more people turning to online searches to find local service providers, having a good digital presence and visibility in local search results has become extremely valuable. By optimising online assets for search and discovery, freelancers can now promote their services to new clients across a specific region or further afield. This allows you to break out of only tapping into your immediate network and expands the avenues where potential customers can find you.
Here, we’ll cover some of the top tips freelancers should utilise to improve their online presence and get their services in front of the right audiences actively searching for them. Whether it’s modifying your website for local SEO, building online citations or engaging on social media, consistently applying these strategies will incrementally increase your visibility. When done right, a strong online presence can take your freelance business to the next level by bringing in a steady stream of new clients within your market.
Optimise Your Website for Local Search
Having a website optimised for local search should be a top priority for freelancers looking to be discovered by potential clients in their area. When people search for specific services along with a location, you want your business to be among the top results. For example, customers seeking an estate agent will likely look to local agencies who will better understand the surrounding area, so having a strong local SEO strategy in place will ensure they appear for those searches.
Start by using keywords and phrases that include your service offering along with your city or region throughout your site content, for example, “social media marketing Brighton” or “graphic designer Manchester”. Research keyword demand and competition to find terms people are searching for locally.
Ensure your full business name, correct address and phone number are easy to find on your website. This helps search engines understand your geographic location and serves local SEO. If possible, you should also have a separate contact page with your local details clearly highlighted. You also need to make sure your website is listed on Google Business Profile. This will display your business information prominently in search results for location-based queries.
One of the most effective SEO strategies is to optimise your content using targeted keywords. These include keywords that incorporate a city, region or neighbourhood name to go after searches within a specific geographic area. For example, “social media marketing Edinburgh”, “photographer Birmingham” or “plumber Liverpool” are all geo-targeted keywords. To find these types of keywords to target, you need to do location-based keyword research. You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush or Ahrefs to search for keyword ideas including your area.
Look for keywords that have substantial search volume in your industry and are highly relevant to your services. The keywords should also align with topics, services and products you create content around. Identifying and using these types of keywords naturally within your website content and metadata helps attract more traffic from interested viewers. Optimising for targeted phrases shows search engines you are trying to rank for queries within a specific area or industry. This will boost your visibility and clicks from searchers looking for your type of freelance services.
Build Links and Citations
Gaining high-quality backlinks and earned media mentions from relevant websites and directories is invaluable for expanding your overall online reach and presence. This helps establish your brand’s authority in your industry. There are many reputable online directories and platforms you should create and optimise profiles on — completing your listings consistently on these sites demonstrates your brand’s prominence in the field.
In addition to directories, look for opportunities to get links and mentions from popular sites and publications in your niche. See if you can contribute expert articles or be interviewed to share your perspective. This allows you to organically showcase your brand on authoritative domains, and earning these high-quality backlinks and mentions signals search engines that your brand is an authority worth ranking.
The key is securing authoritative, trustworthy links and mentions that expand your brand’s visibility and build trust across your industry. This widens your audience and brings in web traffic from searches for your services nationwide or even globally, not just in your area. It also helps to build authority online which is important for improving rankings. Google favours authoritative sources and having links to your site and references to your name or brand can go a long way to moving your rankings up.
Start Your Podcast (Or Be a Guest!)
We’re currently living in the age of podcasts and that’s great news for freelancers and solopreneurs. As a freelancer, starting your own podcast or securing guest appearances on other shows can be a hugely effective way to expand your reach. Podcasts create an intimate and personal connection with listeners. Hearing your voice and perspectives weekly enables you to showcase your expertise and personality. This builds familiarity and trust with an engaged audience.
Consider launching your own podcast focused on a topic related to your freelance services. For example, a freelance designer could start a podcast discussing trends in graphic design. A writer could create a show featuring interviews with other notable authors in their genre. Even starting with a simple Q&A format or sharing your origin story helps listeners get to know you as more than just a service provider. Release episodes consistently and promote your podcast on all your platforms.
Alternatively, seek out guest appearances on established podcasts in your niche. Check podcast charts to find popular shows your audience listens to, then reach out to the hosts to pitch yourself as an expert guest. A podcast interview allows you to highlight your skills and perspective in front of the show’s existing fanbase.
Whether you start your own podcast or simply guest on others’ shows, embracing audio formats expands your local reach immensely. Audiences feel like they’re having a conversation with you, not just reading a social media post. Just make sure to weave mentions of your brand and services into the podcast content as well.
Engage on Social Media
Actively engaging on social media is a key way for freelancers to expand their reach and connect with potential clients, both locally and from further afield. Make sure to establish your presence on relevant Facebook Groups, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms popular in your industry or specialism.
But it’s not enough to just join these platforms. You need to be active and consistent with your posting schedule to build up trust and a strong reputation. You want your followers to know what they can expect from you, and to feel confident that they’ll get a response if they ask a question or post a comment.
Leverage targeted hashtags to engage an audience that’s already interested in your field, area of expertise or services. For example, using hashtags like #LondonPhotographer or #graphicdesign reaches users interested in what you have to offer, so you can be sure you’re interacting with the right users.
You can also partner with local influencers and brands on co-marketing campaigns. Sparking conversations on relevant topics and emerging as a trusted member of your industry’s social media community will gradually increase your visibility and encourage client referrals.
Advertise on the Right Platforms
Taking out ads on platforms popular in your area is an effective way to get your services in front of local audiences actively searching for them. For example, you could run Google Ads campaigns targeted to your city or region. Use location exclusions to only show your ads to users within your geographic market and target keywords and demographics relevant to potential clients.
Facebook Ads also offer excellent location targeting options. You can target your ads down to specific cities or regions and exclude other locations. Create ads optimised for local audiences and drive traffic to landing pages tailored to their needs. Paying to promote your services on popular local platforms means you can proactively put your business in front of the right regional audience. This expands your visibility beyond just organic search alone.
Expanding your reach online as a freelancer is crucial to continually get new clients and grow your business. While word-of-mouth referrals are still important, you need a solid digital presence and visibility within your local market to thrive. The key is to consistently apply these local SEO best practices over time. Commit to improving your local SEO, producing geo-targeted content regularly and running local ads long-term. Achieving greater local discoverability and authority takes an ongoing effort, but it’s worth it to tap into new client demand in your region.
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