Wondering how to get your coaching services in front of the right clients?
Not keen on relying on word-of-mouth referrals? Read on to discover how SEO can help you to grow your practice with highly qualified visitors to your website.
SEO can help you grow your coaching business
Ranking on Page 1 of Google sounds like a vanity metric. But think about it – the last couple of years have been extremely challenging.
- Roughly 1 in 10 children experienced mental health issues even before the pandemic.
- There’s an ongoing war.
- Many people experienced loneliness or faced unexpected changes in their careers or financial positions.
- Some were juggling homeschooling and working from home.
There are people out there crying out for your help.
SEO can help those people to find out about your services.
Have you ever wondered how SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) could help you to grow your coaching business?
“SEO for Coaches” isn’t a module that’s taught in your core training, but it could substantially help your efforts to get in front of the right clients.
Equally, there are a lot of misconceptions about SEO for coaches so let’s explore those before you decide if it’s the right strategy for your coaching business.
If you don’t have a specific niche, it will be much more difficult to get your coaching site to rank well.
What are the benefits of SEO for Coaches?
Before you consider implementing SEO tactics for your coaching website, let’s look at the benefits of SEO when it comes to growing your audience.
Firstly, you need to look at your existing offers and your target audience. If you don’t have a specific niche, it will be much more difficult to get your coaching site to rank well.
Secondly, if you are operating in a very competitive niche where lots of other coaches have invested time and money into SEO then it will also be difficult (but not impossible!) to be listed high up on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
However, if you are working in a niche that has lower competition SEO could work really well for you. Many of your peers may be looking for quick wins and ignoring the benefits of SEO.
Have a look at the competition. Are the majority of other coaches in your niche focusing their marketing efforts on social media, speaking at events, etc?
If your competitors aren’t focused on SEO, then it could be extremely worthwhile to learn search engine optimisation tactics to grow your coaching business.
According to Ahrefs, over 90% of websites get no traffic (visitors) from Google. Sounds like an opportunity if you are willing to invest some time to optimise your content!
More organic website visitors
One of the benefits of SEO is that it can help you to increase the number of organic visitors to your coaching site.
Simply put, rather than investing in Facebook ads or Google ads, instead, you could focus your energy on free marketing strategies such as writing a helpful blog post to attract your dream clients.
Often coaches will pay for Google ads so that their website is prominently listed on the SERPs.
There are two problems with that approach –
1) your potential clients may be less likely to trust a result that is labelled as an ad
2) once you stop paying, your coaching website will no longer rank high in the search results.
In my view, it is a mistake to be completely reliant on paid strategies to grow your coaching business.
SEO complements social media marketing efforts
You might be thinking that because you have a large following on social media you don’t need to bother with SEO, especially if other coaches seem to get clients on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Let’s look at why you might need to reconsider that position.
Have you ever noticed that if you take a break from posting on social media that fewer people see your post or video when you resume?
That’s because the algorithm changes and your reach is lower and that can impact your coaching business.
So how can you mitigate the risk of relying too heavily on social media to grow your coaching business?
What can you do to make sure that you are still growing your audience, even if you’ve had a busy week, or are going through a tough life event and it feels hard to show up on social media?
Or what if feeling like you have to constantly show up on social media depletes your energy?
That’s when using SEO on your coaching website can really benefit your coaching business.
Your coaching site is open for business 24/7, even if you are on holiday, feeling sick, or going through a tough time.
If you create evergreen content (content that isn’t time-bound and is relevant at any time of year) and implement SEO effectively, you will still build awareness about your services even if you need to take some time off.
If you can attract your ideal clients to your coaching website, you can nurture your audience through blog content, signpost them to your freebies and build your email list.
Another advantage of SEO is that even if the social media platforms go down, you have another way of growing your audience and being visible online while many other coaches are panicking.
Marketing for introverts
Depending on your personality and strengths, SEO could be a really good fit for you.
For example, if you are an introvert and enjoy writing, SEO may feel less scary as a marketing strategy than trying to convince yourself to create daily Facebook videos!
Am I suggesting that you should ditch social media platforms altogether? Absolutely not!
Social media marketing can boost visitors to your website, so that would be a pretty foolish thing to recommend.
What I am suggesting is that it’s worth thinking about how existing social media strategies could complement any new SEO measures that you might implement.
Grow your coaching business
By using a combination of SEO and social media marketing, you are increasing your brand recognition.
That can only be a good thing when it comes to attracting qualified clients into your world. So how does that work in practice?
SEO and content repurposing
A common mistake that I often see coaches making when it comes to their marketing is thinking that everyone has already seen it.
Don’t forget that the content you have already created may be exactly what a potential client needs to hear.Marie O’Sullivan
By sharing helpful content on your website and using SEO to get more eyes on it, you are showcasing your expertise AND helping more people (even if you feel like everybody has heard it all before).
For example, if you have already created content that has worked well on social media platforms, why not repurpose that content by adding it to your coaching website using SEO?
Content repurposing is just a fancy name for the process of creating new content from previously created content.
It’s a way of repackaging a post or video into a new format. For example, you might have created a Facebook Live that performed really well and decided to turn it into a blog post.
Build credibility and authority
SEO tactics help you build your credibility and authority. When people search for information online, search engines such as Google or Bing will show a list of the most trusted websites to give them quality information.
The better your coaching website ranks for the keywords they’re searching for, the more relevant it is.
Who does SEO work best for?
It’s best suited for coaches who operate in a specific, targeted niche and know how to implement effective keyword strategies.
Many coaches make the mistake of trying to rank for keywords like “executive coach”, but that’s a highly competitive term and extremely difficult to rank for.
Search engine optimization is all about making sure the right people find your page when they search for the right things.Marie o’sullivan
Another common mistake is trying to rank for an industry term e.g. “Cognitive Behavioural Coaching”, forgetting that it isn’t what your ideal client would actually type into the search engines if they are looking for help!
It’s well worth taking the time to learn about keyword research and to choose a focus keyword with a relatively high search volume and low search difficulty if you are serious about growing your coaching business online.
Here are some free keyword research tools you might like to explore:
Broad and Specific Keywords
Keywords can be very broad or very specific. Broad keywords are simply terms that cover a lot of ground and often are synonymous with your main keyword phrase.
These can sometimes help you to get found organically on Google (other search engines are available!), but they’re not very useful to your site’s visitors.
Broad keywords can also be highly competitive and hard to rank for.
If you’re not sure what I mean by “broad” or “specific” SEO keywords here is an example that should help: broad – “career coach” specific – “career coach Kildare.”
Choose specific keywords
Specific keywords are far more useful because they target a more refined audience.
Your site visitors will want to find specific information or answers and these keywords help you connect them with the right content.
That might be
- a helpful guide or tips that you link to on your article in order to grow your email list.
- worksheets or a free course that you offer to nurture potential clients.
- blog posts that would interest new clients
- case studies that explore helpful tools and techniques
It might be worth researching the competitiveness of a specific keyword to increase the likelihood of your post being found.
Specific keywords can be easier to rank for and they can also indicate that your website visitor is “problem aware”, i.e. they are looking for a solution.
You can see how having an SEO strategy rather than making it up as you go along could improve your website content to match the needs of your target audience.
If you’re interested in free SEO tools, don’t forget about Google, you’ll see there’s a lot of information in that “people also asked” searches section. Consider using those questions to create an FAQ section on your website.
Remember when you’re using the right keywords, you’re getting the right eyes on your site.
Even simple SEO focused on the basics can lead to significant results if you keep it up over time.
Share valuable content
If you’re going to add content to your site, be sure it’s valuable to your target audience.
Your goal isn’t to come up high in search results so that the top pages aren’t filled by your competitors.
Focus on creating content that shows up in the search results because it speaks to your reader.
Never prioritise SEO over nurturing your website visitors with helpful information.
Your main goal is to pique the interest of potential clients so that they are more likely to work with you.
How to choose keywords
When it comes to choosing SEO keywords for your coaching business, you need to think about your ultimate goal.
- Are you creating content because you want more visitors to your website?
- Are you hoping to sell more of a specific coaching package?
- Do you have an online course that you’d like to promote?
Think about the types of content that you could create that might help you to achieve your goal of growing your coaching business.
For example, if your target client isn’t problem aware, you might need to create content that explains how, left unchecked, a specific issue might impact their lives.
Many coaches make the mistake of trying to rank for their job title at the expense of creating content that could help a potential client.
When it comes to your keyword strategy, try to put yourself into the shoes of someone who needs exactly the help you provide.
- How might they be thinking and feeling?
- What types of resources could be helpful for them?
- Are there simple tips that could help to ease the problem?
If you’re really stuck for inspiration, when it comes to creating a keyword list, think about themes that have cropped up again and again in your coaching sessions.
- Are there any parallels that stand out?
- Maybe many of your recent coaching clients have struggled with Imposter Syndrome, for example.
- Can you think of any helpful resources or tools that could help people in your audience who might be facing a similar issue?
When you create helpful content that answers a specific need, Google starts to see your site as an authority. Over time, this can help to boost your site in search rankings.
Tip: consider contacting a college you trained with to see if you could write for their blog.
Avoid overusing keywords
Most search engines will be able to identify keyword variations and synonyms. There’s no need to use “keyword stuffing” (repeatedly adding in your keyword for the sake of SEO).
Ultimately you are writing for humans – i.e. the potential clients who will be reading your posts! They’ll click away if your article isn’t engaging.
How much time should you spend creating SEO optimised content for your site?
SEO needs to be sustainable or else you won’t keep it up. Far better to be realistic about the amount of time it takes to perform a keyword analysis AND the time you have available to create new content.
It’s much better to post one well researched, well written, helpful article a month than to burn yourself out attempting to sustain the time investment needed to post new blog content on a weekly basis.
How long does it take for SEO to work?
SEO isn’t a magic wand! It takes time and effort, so you need to be convinced that the benefits are worth it.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t see the benefits of your search engine optimisation efforts immediately. Your authority builds over time.
- Keep sharing helpful content that answers a problem for your clients. Include links on tools available that speak to topics a client would type into the search bar.
- Build your brand credibility by making your coaching website a go-to resource for prospective clients and your page views will naturally increase over time.
- Update content on a regular basis
- Create a process for publishing that allows you to easily update your content on a regular basis. And don’t forget to track the analytics to see how your content is performing.
Remember too that the search engines love fresh content, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to constantly create new blog posts or pages on your website!
Have a look at the blog posts and articles you have already written and think about how you could improve them so that they are even more helpful and informative for your target audience.
Suggestions for updating content:
- add more images, such as infographics to make your blog content easier to digest
- add subheadings, bullet points and bold and italics to make your content easier to skim and scan
- link to other articles you’ve written on related topics that might be of interest
- link to an article or podcast created by an authority in your field that could be helpful for your audience
You might find that reading over the content you have already created has sparked your creativity.
Think about potential article topics that you can add to your SEO keyword list. Remember that common themes that come up in your coaching sessions can make great articles.
If you want to increase the number of qualified visitors coming to your website, then you need to make sure that your website is ranked higher in the SERPs. This means that you need to ensure that your website has the right SEO.
I hope you found these simple SEO techniques help to attract more targeted visitors to your site. I’d love to hear how you used these tips to connect with the humans who need you.
MIACP, B.A. Business and Languages, B.Sc. Counselling and Psychotherapy, M.Sc. Child and Adolescent Counselling, PGCE, Dip Personal, Leadership and Executive Coaching, Dip IT, Dip Web Design, SEO Specialist Certification.
Marie O’Sullivan is a Counsellor and Web Designer who loves helping other therapists and coaches to connect with more clients and impact more lives.