My SEO Story

A while back I wrote a blog about my 10 years as a freelancer and got some great reactions from my Twitter followers. This is the other side of the story (my SEO story!) on how Google helped me get to where I am today.

It started years ago when I was made redundant and began trading as Sans Deputy Creative, a title that everyone I ever told had trouble with. After a few years I decided to drop the name and went with a website that reflected me and used my name in the title. > mikehince.com

I’m not very technical so I knew the new website had to be a solution I could update easily and landed on a WordPress theme called Goodspace. It ticked all the boxes and was exactly what I needed to get my portfolio live quickly.

Over the years the theme has been customised heavily not only by myself but some really talented developers. Sebastian Lenton, Day Media and Tier One have all helped me get my website to where it is today.

At the time of launching I knew I wanted to design apps and had been designing my own products for a number of years and posting them on Dribbble. I filled my portfolio with a few live products that I’d launched, some websites I’ve designed for clients and a good handful of my own app concepts.

I made use of the brilliant plugin Yoast – making sure each page had a green light for the SEO and BOOM I was off.

After a few months remarkably Google liked my site and boosted me high up on the ranking for search terms like “Freelance UI Designer” “Freelance UX Designer” and “Freelance App Designer” and I started getting enquiries! In fact they poured in, in 2014/15 I was tracking them and stopped at 500 for the year.

That’s when it started to go wrong.

I got busy, I neglected my website and over the course of two very busy years the visits to my site dropped massively. Now I don’t think it’s as simple as Google falling out of love with my site, I think there are many factors.

One. Google changes it’s search algorithm all the time and if you don’t know about what they’ve tweaked you may suffer page drops.

Two. There was more competition, more talented designers started covering UI/UX and the search results would be stretched thinner.

Three. Location became a factor, Google favours sites that have location tags, I kept my vague on purpose to attract remote clients.

Four. Most importantly… I stopped posting, Google probably didn’t think my website was active.

So what did I do?

Firstly I contacted Zack Neary-Hayes and purchased a site audit package from him. He quickly identified areas where my site was struggling including many fine details that I won’t go into here (you should purchase one from him instead!). He provided me an action list of things to improve and was worth every penny.

I got to work fixing as many of the issues as I could myself, for the more technical problems I reached out to Mahtab at TierOne. He fixed errors and changed areas of my site that I’d redesigned to better attract SEO rankings (more internal linking to name one change).

I started blogging again, I posted new work to my portfolio section and shared my site on social media where possible (without spamming people).

I resubmitted my sitemap and then played the waiting game.

It’s taken me about 6-9 months for Google to start picking up my website again and as of today it’s showing signs of climbing to it’s former glory once more.

I’ve even started getting new enquiries again complimenting me on my SEO, so it must be working!

Moral of the story: keep posting! Don’t let your website go idle no matter how busy you are.

Thanks for reading!

Credits:
Photo by Tom Grimbert on Unsplash
Photo by William Iven on Unsplash
Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

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