Everybody seems to be talking about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) these days. In fact, coaches ask me all the time if it’s a good strategy for them, so I wanted to write an article that addresses that question.
Whether you’re looking to create an in-depth SEO strategy or not, you’ll find this article extremely useful.
But before I delve deeper, let me explain if you’re unsure what SEO is.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is when your website is written by implementing keywords and key phrases that help you rank on search engines for those search terms.
Or, in even simpler terms, it’s using words and phrases that help Google understand what topic your website is about.
For example, I’m a web designer for coaches, so when I write pages or articles, when possible, I try to include the keywords and phrases like:
- Web design
- Life coaches
- Web design for coaches
So, when Google crawls my website, it sees these keywords and phrases on most of my pages and knows how to categorize my website on their search engine. If you’re a coach, you’d include keywords relating to your coaching niche, like life coach for weight loss, mental health coaching, etc.
The next question you might be asking is: as a coach, how important is SEO for you?
How important is SEO for coaches?
This is where you expect me to say “very,” right?
If so, then this might come as a bit of a shock: I don’t think SEO is necessarily the best strategy to focus on for every coaching niche.
So how do you figure out if SEO would be a good strategy for you as a coach?
First, is your coaching service something users are actively searching for on Google?
For example, I had a client who coached women with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to lose weight. SEO worked for her because she blogged regularly about specific problems relating to her target audience, like:
- Which health foods prevent you from losing weight with PCOS?
- Why most weight loss programs don’t work for PCOS?
By creating content answering questions her clients were searching for on Google, her website traffic increased and so did her client base.
If you’re unsure whether your blog titles are being actively searched for, you can check Google Keyword Planner if you’re a bit more technical-minded. But if you’re a beginner, the Hubspot article, How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide, is the perfect place to gather all the knowledge you need to begin in-depth keyword research.
When an SEO strategy isn’t your best option.
If your coaching niche and topics are not something users are actively searching for on Google, then, in my opinion, a thoroughly researched SEO keyword strategy isn’t necessarily a good use of your time or effort.
Instead, you can strip it back to basics and use topics and titles you know your clients will need or want when searching on Google, rather than delving deep into deep keyword research.
Search Engine Optimisation can also be incredibly slow. For most, it can take between 6 and 12 months for results to bear fruit. Many seasoned and new coaches find much faster ways to market their business, like posting on Facebook Groups or engaging a lot with social media.
That said, coaches ask me how they can improve their SEO. Regardless of how else you’re marketing your business, SEO is a useful passive tool to get more eyes on your coaching website.
With that in mind, I have compiled a list of SEO basics any coach can implement, whether you’re doing in-depth keyword research or not.
8 SEO basics for coaches
To ensure you stand a chance of ranking highly on search engines, follow these basic rules:
1. Create high-quality, relevant content
This is the most crucial piece of advice on this list because nobody wants to read poorly researched, bland content. Whether it’s your homepage or an article, your written copy needs to be to a high standard, engaging, relevant, and valuable to the reader.
Give them your unique insight and go deep into topics.
When writing content, ask yourself:
- How does this solve a problem for my audience?
- Am I explaining things clearly to them?
Once written, ask yourself:
- Is this my own original insight?
- Is it going to change how my readers think and act?
If not, go back and find ways to add those nuggets of gold that will turn an ordinary article into something super-awesome.
2. Blog regularly
Not only should your content be high quality, but if you have a blog, update it regularly. Google and your users need to see that you’re still active, so if your last post was pre-pandemic, it’ll look like you’re no longer practicing.
If you don’t blog, that is okay, but if you do, update it regularly.
3. Create a Secure HTTPS Website
This is a small thing and easy to miss, but having HTTP instead of HTTPS at the start of your web address means your site will be flagged as insecure and will give visitors a warning before entering.
You could lose vital clients who worry your website contains a virus (plus it just looks unprofessional).
To change your website from HTTP to HTTPS, you need to update your SSL certificate. To do that, contact your web hosting service or check out this super-helpful article, How to Convert HTTP to HTTPS: A Quick Guide by Brafton.com.
4. Make your website mobile-friendly
In 2021, 54% of website traffic was viewed on a mobile device, compared to 46% on a desktop. This means that if your website isn’t what is known as a “responsive website,” then it’ll look small and unreadable on a mobile device.
And search engines will punish your ranking.
A responsive website creates a mobile site alongside it, which you can view during the design process and adjust accordingly. To view yours, visit it on your smartphone or tablet. If it looks messy or the text is small and unreadable, you’ll need to either contact your web designer or, if you did it yourself, check to see if there is a ‘mobile’ section in your website design tool.
5. Make your site easy to navigate
While covering website accessibility, ensure your website is easy to navigate. Your homepage shouldn’t be too cluttered, overly long, or complicated to read.
Ensure your links work and the most important pages are easy to find.
Confuse visitors too much and your bounce rate will increase, making search engines think your website is low-quality.
6. Check your page speed and loading times
Visitors won’t stick around if your page takes a long time to load. And search engines will look at you unfavorably again. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of looking at your site on your desktop and seeing that it loads quickly.
Be aware that just because it loads quickly for you on your desktop or mobile, this might not be the case for everyone.
You need to test it on a speed test tool, and you can do that on the following websites:
Others are available, but I would recommend these as the top three. Once you test, the results will tell you which pages are loading slowly and why, allowing you to fix problems and optimize your site speed.
7. Link to and from authoritative and relevant websites
If you include statistics, ensure it’s from a reliable source and link to that website (especially important if the website is relevant to your niche). Also, make sure you link to your website from any directory you join and link back to the directory from your website, too.
The more helpful content you create, the more chances you have of others linking to you, increasing your authority in your field.
8. On-page optimization
SEO is more than just including keywords and key phrases in your website copy. You also need to make sure you optimize your:
- Heading 1 (H1) tag: Every page needs one, and it’s best if your keyphrase appears in this heading
- ALT-Text image tags: When you use an image, include your keyword phrases in the ALT-text section, too
- Metadata: That bit of writing that appears under the link on Google searches? That’s your metadata, and your keyword or phrase needs to appear here too
Each page and article should also have a different but relevant keyword or keyphrase.
WordPress has some great plugins, like Yoast SEO, that make it easy to understand and implement if you’re a bit confused about on-page optimization.
All of the above are useful for any website to implement, whether you do a deep dive into SEO strategy or not. By implementing some (or all!) of these things, your website will stand a better chance of getting more natural traffic via search engines.
Need help implementing basic SEO?
One of my specialties is implementing SEO basics into client websites. So, if you want me to create a coaching site with these fundamentals included, get in touch today.
Hope this helps!