SEO is a valuable marketing tool for any business with a website. And it’s constantly evolving; what worked a few years ago won’t get you results today. So I’ve created The Ultimate Coaches guide to SEO for 2023 to help you understand what’s working in the world of SEO today.
What is SEO for Coaches
Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of optimising your website to rank highly in online searches. SEO for coaches applies SEO principles that will work for your coaching business when you’re selling a service, often with intangible results and not a product like an iPhone with defined characteristics.
Traditionally coaches have relied on in-person and online networking building to find clients. Both work but require a relatively significant investment in time and energy – outsourcing them is challenging. However, SEO allows coaches to reach a wider audience and scale their business sustainably.
SEO can significantly improve your website visibility and traffic, and since up to 80% of people will visit your website before deciding to do business with you, it’s pretty essential.
The 3 elements of SEO
If you’re not familiar with SEO, it might seem complicated, and it is multi-faceted, but it can be simplified down to 3 elements:
- Technical SEO
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
Technical SEO ensures your website design is responsive and displays well across all devices. It also looks at the page loading speed as slow-loading sites are a red flag to both google and website visitors, who will bounce straight off your site if it’s not loading. Page experience matters.
Since Google released their Core Web Vitals algorithm update, Technical SEO forms a foundational part of any SEO work.
On-page SEO looks at several elements on the individual pages of your website, including; Meta titles & descriptions, H1 & H2 title and subtitle descriptions, keywords, the quality, originality, relevancy and recency of your content, internal links to other useful and related content on your website, media including images, videos and graphics, alt tags, and schema markup.
Off-Page SEO can incorporate many elements: Google reviews, Social media profiles and mentions, Press mentions, external links (backlinks) to your website from other websites, and guest posts. The more authoritative the ‘off-page’ mentions, the better – so a genuine article in Forbes or The New York Post is more valuable for SEO than a mention in a local community blog (albeit, if you’re a local business, that might have a higher value in other ways).
Google offers advice on Ranking Factors on its website.
10 benefits of SEO for coaches?
SEO for coaches offers a more sustainable marketing approach than social media, where content becomes almost obsolete after just a few hours or days.
Here are 10 benefits of SEO for coaches:
- Increased visibility: SEO helps coaches to improve their website’s visibility and ranking on search engines, making it more likely for potential clients to find them.
- Cost-effective: SEO is cost-effective because it targets users actively searching for the products or services a coach offers.
- Increased website traffic: Optimizing your website for search engines can help increase the amount of traffic you get from search engines.
- Better user experience: A website optimised for search is more easily navigable and relevant to users, improving the overall user experience.
- Increased credibility and trust: Websites that rank highly are seen as more credible and trustworthy.
- Better lead generation: SEO can help coaches to generate more leads by making it easier for potential clients to find and contact them. Optimise your website for conversion by using lead magnets and call-to-action buttons.
- Increased brand awareness: A coach’s brand can become more well-known and recognised by appearing at the top of search engine results.
- Competitive advantage: Just 30% of small businesses use SEO, which means there’s a real opportunity for coaches to gain a competitive advantage by optimising their websites.
- Long-term results: The benefits of SEO can last for months – even years, as opposed to paid advertising which stops as soon as the ad budget runs out or social media posts that can become obsolete within days.
- Measurable results: SEO provides quantifiable results, allowing coaches to track their progress and adjust their strategy.
The value you can deliver for your clients with an aligned SEO strategy goes beyond simply selling more as a coach. Your website can be a vehicle for good, inspiring, educating or entertaining people who may never become paying customers.
How do you get coaching clients with SEO?
The best way to get coaching clients with SEO is to map your website content to the services and products you are selling. That way, when someone needs what you have, they’ll find you easily when they are searching (and in the market to find a solution).
You’ll need to establish what types of things your potential clients are searching for (keywords) or the questions they seek answers for and create web pages and content optimised for those keywords and search terms.
You have seconds to make a good first impression on your website, so make clear what services you offer and to whom. Make it easy for people to do business with you by having call-to-action buttons, buy-now links to pay or contact forms on your homepage and relevant website pages.
For new visitors who might need more time to be ready to work with you, it helps to have a lead magnet that lets you capture their contact details to nurture them as leads.
SEO vs Social Media for Coaches
SEO works very differently from social media. For example, SEO focuses on the keywords customers might use to search for your services. In contrast, social media focuses on building online relationships, interacting with others on the platform and growing a brand.
Social media is an interactive 2-way conversation with your audience, and your reach is often governed by the size of the community that you’ve built. In contrast, SEO offers more of a level playing field – it’s possible to rank highly without having an established audience.
SEO is searchable, whereas social media largely isn’t – even though you can use searches and hashtags on the big social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter – the search function doesn’t work the same way on a search engine.
Social media generally requires posting content multiple times daily to retain your engagement and audience, whereas, once published, an SEO-optimised website requires far less effort.
Social media can feel like a relentless hamster wheel and beauty parade, whereas SEO focuses on your area of expertise and helping your audience.
How to create content that ranks
With so many ranking factors to consider, it’s hard to know what to focus on to create content that ranks. Thankfully, there’s a simple rule of thumb for creating high-ranking content; create high-quality, useful content, ideally that people are already searching for.
- Research the topic or keyword you want to rank for and see what is currently ranking in the search results (SERPS) – then look for ways to improve that content. Finally, check out Backlinko’s helpful guide.
- Use a search engine plugin like Rankmath (my favourite) or Yoast to help you see where you could improve your content.
- Google’s ‘People also ask’ will tell you what other search phrases people are using when you type in a keyword or search phrase. For instance, when you type in ‘how to create content that ranks’, you’ll find additional suggestions under ‘People also ask’
These suggestions help you create comprehensive and helpful content for each keyword or topic.
Google rewards you for time on the page, so if you can keep visitors on your page or website for longer by answering all their questions on a topic, either in a single blog post or several interlinked posts, you’ll see your content starting to rank higher.
- Showcase your Experience – Google now prioritises content and websites written by people with relevant authoritative and trustworthy experience and expertise.
With the introduction of this algorithm change, A qualified nutritionist will rank higher on nutrition content than a blogger with no demonstrable experience or expertise in this area.
Creating content that ranks: what google wants
Google has been clear about how to create content that ranks. It is looking for high-quality content that is helpful, relevant and answers people’s questions.
- Write with EEAT in mind – Google ranks content that is written by authoritative websites that are experts in the topic they’re writing about and who have a high degree of credibility and trust. Read more about the EEAT algorithm to see how it could affect your content ranking.
- Create relevant content – You would think that relevancy would speak for itself, but I can’t tell you how often I’ve landed on a blog post where the content doesn’t match the post title – or where the post title features a question that isn’t answered in the blog post text.
- Make it search-friendly – use schema markup, alt tags for images, and descriptive and relevant H1 & H2 tags.
- Design for Mobile – make sure your content renders well on all devices; Google will penalise sites that are not mobile responsive.
- Update your content & make it good! – Nobody wants out-of-date or obsolete information – especially not Google. So update old blogs, refresh the content and images and, importantly, any statistics, facts & figures.
- Use video, audio & images – wherever possible, enhance your content with video, relevant images (bonus points if they’re original to you), infographics or audio links – remember, people like to consume content in different ways.
Keywords for Coaches
There are several tools you can use to create a list of target Keywords for SEO, including:
Google Keyword Planner will give you a list of suggested Keywords for a specific topic:
The Suggested Keywords for coaches include:
- business coach
- life coach
- confidence coach
- life coach near me
- personal coaching
- certified life coach
- spiritual coach
- health and wellness coach
- wellness coach
- mental health coach
- mindset coaching
- online life coach
- personal development coach
- NLP practitioner
- Performance coach
- love Coach
- lifestyle coach
- holistic health coach
- mindfulness coach
As well as niche keyword terms like
- Christian life coach
- personal life coach
- life and business coach
- time management coach
- intuitive coaching
Depending on the type of coaching you offer, you may find that some of these keywords don’t apply to your business. Create a list of keywords relevant to your services and audience.
Keyword Tools for SEO
Here are some of my favourite Keyword Tools for SEO planning:
These keyword suggestions are an excellent jumping-off point for researching topics you want to write about on your website.
Remember – start with a single niche – then expand out.
Top SEO tools and resources
Here are my top SEO tools and resources to start your SEO journey.
Google Trends – Discover how search is changing over time, you can search worldwide or choose your country location to see what people are searching for and what related search terms are trending.
Google Search Central (formerly webmaster tools) – Learn the basics of Google search from the people who make the rules! You can find a huge amount fo free information on content standards, technical SEO requirements and much more.
Rankmath SEO Plugin – RankMath scores your page for SEO and offers suggestions to optimise your content. It also includes a powerful Schema markup tool. Available in both free and pro versions for WordPress websites. I include the free version on all of my clients’ websites.
Ubersuggest – Get a comprehensive SEO site audit, keyword suggestions and limited analytics in the free version. Paid version available.
Answer the Public – Get related search terms as well as similar questions to help you create move comprehensive content that covers all angles. Limited free version & pro versions available.
Keywords Everywhere – A paid Chrome and firefox plugin that suggests similar keywords and search terms with search volume. Starts from $10 a year for 100,000 searches, you can toggle the plugin off to only work whilst you’re doing keyword research.
SEO for life coaches
If you’re a life coach, depending on your content topics, you may fall under the YMYL (Your money or your life) algorithm. This algorithm applies a higher bar of trustworthiness and credibility for individuals creating content that affects people’s finances or health.
Ensure you have an about page with your qualifications, experience and testimonials, contact details, author bios and an author page. Link to any industry accreditation you have, and it may also be helpful to include case studies and interviews with past clients.
It’s also important to remember that life coaches vary hugely depending on their audience and niche. So whilst you may be able to help ‘everyone’, Google takes a Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none stance on websites that try to be all things to all people.
Pick a specific niche and create content around that subject until you establish your website and start ranking; once you’re established in one area, you can branch out and become more general.
SEO for health Coaches
If you’re a health coach, you must be aware of Google’s YMYL (Your money or your life) algorithm. You must demonstrate Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust across your website. The following are essential:
- Contact details
- About page
- Author bio
- Details of qualifications and links to your bio on industry directories
- Press mentions, guest posts and backlinks are also beneficial trust factors
It’s also helpful to know that Google penalises content that goes against the ‘expert consensus’, so if you have controversial views that are at odds with the traditional approaches to health as agreed by ‘mainstream experts’, you may struggle to rank your content.
Ensure your content is trustworthy and credible by using proper references and linking to relevant research, facts and figures and other expert figures.
How do I start SEO for my website?
If you’re new to SEO, I highly recommend finding an SEO specialist to work with and creating an SEO strategy. It will save you time and money and help you create results faster.
Here are 10 more ways to start SEO for your website:
- Use niche search terms over keywords
- Regularly publish high-quality content.
- Map your content to your services & programmes
- Set up Google Seach Console & Google Analytics to understand your site traffic & trends
- Install an SEO plugin like Rankmath or Yoast
- Optimise Page titles and meta descriptions
- Optimise your images and use alt tags
- Use responsive design & optimise your page speed
- Optimise your Google Business Profile
- Create quality backlinks – read: Building backlinks for SEO
Make sure your content is correct and helpful; you may also want to include caveats and links to official sites for further resources.
Turning your website into a lead-generating machine
If you want to turn your website into a lead-generating machine, you’ll need to find a way to turn website traffic into website leads.
- Use attractive web design and branding – research shows people don’t buy from ugly websites.
- Include your Contact details in the footer
- Include clear call-to-action buttons in key places on your website
- Add a newsletter sign up
- Include a lead magnet opt-in
- Have an about page
- Use trust markers and social proof
- Use exit-intent pop-ups – some people don’t like them, but they are still incredibly effective.
- Create incredible resources and require email sign-up to access
- Add a live chat option
SEO principles of following good design principles, creating high-quality, helpful content and focusing on creating an exceptional customer experience will stand your business in good stead for all the right reasons.
SEO could significantly impact your coaching business and allow you to scale sustainably. Just remember that you won’t see immediate returns. Instead, expect improvements in traffic and rankings to take at least a few weeks and potentially months to bed in.
Consider hiring an SEO specialist who can also help you discern not only what will drive traffic to your website but what content will drive the most growth for your business.
If you’d like to book an SEO audit and strategy session or work 1-1 with me to optimise and supercharge your website – please get in touch here. You can also find out more about Six-figure SEO, my bespoke service for 6-figure coaches selling high ticket programmes and packages