The few significant ways you’ll get new design work is:
1) word of mouth (out-of-the-blue referrals.)
2) from your portfolio website – but usually people will go there because you’ve invited them. There’s not really much traffic from search engines. So invite qualified leads! If you are advertising generic design then be “geographic specific” in the text somewhere. (Not in a machine-unreadable image file).
3) Asking for new work or references from existing clients.
That seems pretty dismal (limited) but it’s true. A few hints: on your website in the NAVBAR (persistent navigation) have a link called “Hire Me”. On that hire-me page, be specific as to what the potential client needs to do next (a Call To Action). That hire-me page can also include your “rules for working together.” Keep them simple.
Get to know an accountant, printer, and banker (or more – Chamber of Commerce) who know when new businesses come to town. Ask them to give you a heads up and keep them on your “good guy” list.
A website homepage needs to tell me who you are, what you do exactly (specialty), and why I should care. People make a snap decision on this page. You don’t need to junk it up. Just give a little more relevant info.
Google etc cannot read images. Machines (search engines) read the text. So, on your text pages, just provide more. One of the things I’ve found – when building portfolio sites for others – is a fake “Interview” page works – sort of like Q&A or an FAQ page. Search engines love cataloging interviews – for some unknown reason – about creative people.