SEO tools can be a secret weapon for coaches. But I’ll be honest, many coaches shudder when they even hear the word "SEO." Get links to research, screenshots, and more for this episode over here on the blog!
It sounds technical, maybe a little cold, and definitely too complicated to understand, so why even bother, right? Wrong!!!
Today on the podcast, I talk about how SEO strategy can make every piece of content you create work harder for you over time and help your perfect fit clients find you with way less effort.
I dive into:
Grab my free SEO Cheat Sheet with my 5 minute tutorial for how to use my favorite tools that helped me grow my podcast by 58% in just 5 months!
And apply to snag your spot to receive your customized SEO content marketing roadmap, where you’ll get the best keywords for your Home page, About page, and content, a custom guest podcasting plan, and more. I only offer one of these intensives each month. You can find out more and apply to work with me at staciemitchell.com/marketing.
Read it over on the blog: https://www.staciemitchell.com/blog/seo-for-coaches
Why every coach should use SEO in their business:
SEO tools are like a secret weapon for coaches. I’ll be honest, many coaches shudder when they even hear the word. It sounds technical, maybe a little cold, and definitely too complicated to understand, so why even bother, right?
But SEO tools can help us figure out:
What your ideal clients are searching for
What questions they’re asking
The language they’re using
How to more strategically create content to help those clients find you
You can also choose to use SEO for your main marketing strategies through writing blogs or even with your podcast. Did you know that Google now includes podcasts in search results? So you can optimize the blogs you write or the podcasts you record to get more traffic from Google.
Doing this research also helps coaches take off their “expert” hats and really put themselves into their clients’ shoes: How do they describe themselves? What is the ultimate result they’re looking for? How are they describing their own problems?
And when you’re able to get really clear in these areas, you can position yourself as someone who really gets it, so that they know you have the solution you’re looking for.
Think of it this way: If you went to the airport to pick up a stranger, and you wrote the wrong name on the sign, you’d never find each other. Using SEO tools helps make it clear.
The biggest reason most coaches don’t focus on SEO: It’s a long game. But don’t let that deter you!
Though you might struggle waiting 4-6 months to see results, SEOcontent lasts much longer than social media and only gains more traction over time, not less. So if you’re sick of the always having to create more and more content to appease the social media Gods, it could potentially be a good strategy to scale back social media, and focus in on SEO as a more long-term business strategy. While there’s a bit more work up front, it can take a lot of work off of you later!
What is SEO and why do coaches need it?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization -- which basically means having a website, blog, or other Googleable content like Pinterest pins or YouTube videos, that are optimized to be found via Google. The better you optimize your website and content for search engines, the more likely you are to get organic traffic – meaning that folks will more easily find and consume your content. I love SEO for coaches especially because it can bring perfect-fit clients right to your door.
The important thing to know is that SEO has traditionally been about optimizing your website and content based on keywords your ideal clients would be searching for - basically, putting yourselves in the shoes of your ideal clients and then using real data to create content they’re already searching for on Google. You’re basically diving into the data that already exists for search, and using that data to help you create content that gets you found online.
There are three types of SEO to use in your business as a coach:
On-page SEO: Which is what I basically just talked about here, and which, honestly – tends to be the most discussed aspect of SEO. It’s how well your content is optimized for SEO keywords, as well as how readable and/or enjoyable it is. For example, podcasts are now analyzed by Google for keywords, but if your sound quality is a mess, it docks points from you. Same for if you stuff a ton of keywords into a post that ends up being a big old mess. Quality matters here.
Off-page SEO: This is concerned with your domain authority – or how many other trusted websites have linked to your content. The more you’re linked by other trusted websites with high authority, the higher your own authority grows, and the more likely you’ll be to rank higher in search results. This is why I love guest podcasting as an ideal way to easily grow your links! I have a whole approach to this in my SEO Content Marketing Intensive for Coaches!
Technical SEO: I feel like I just heard some groans out there. Technical SEO is about site speed and having your website set up correctly. Technical SEO is the main reason why I switched to Squarespace from Showit this year. I loved the look of Showit, but the backend was a bit of a hot mess. Squarespace has built-in SEO functionality that takes care of a lot of this for you, like site maps, clean urls, SSL certificates, and built-in mobile optimization.
You need all three of these SEO types to make it work for you, but it’s definitely worth the effort given the reward.
Does SEO really work for coaches?
It does! Now, it doesn’t work as fast as social media, as it takes some time to begin to rank. It’s a strategy like any other and it’s not an overnight fix. SEO strategy typically takes 4-6 months to see results. However, you can also combine your on-page SEO content strategy with off-page strategies like guest podcasting or guest posting, to get in front of new audiences without that wait.
The best part of SEO is that it continues to work over time. SEO content doesn’t lose its oomph and its impact as quickly as that Instagram post you put up yesterday that will be totally forgotten about last week. In fact, SEO content tends to grow your organic traffic over time. The more folks who visit your content and stick around, the more likely it is to move up in the rankings, and the more likely you’ll get more traffic. And you only need to go in about once a year to make a few quick updates to your content to keep it bringing you that traffic. SEO strategy gives you the ability to take breaks in your marketing because it’s still working for you in the background.
And as I’ve talked about in my episode of Marketing Your Business Without Social Media, I’ve found great success, specifically with my podcast, using SEO strategy. My podcast downloads have gone up roughly 58% in 5 months after implementing SEO research and using keywords in my podcast titles and summaries. And I make it work even harder for me by using my podcast content on my blog – bringing in even more organic traffic. And what’s great: I’m still posting to social media, but because I’m using my SEO content as the foundation of my social media content, I’m driving more traffic to my longer-form content, and building my authority and thought leadership in the process.
And while we’re talking about authority and thought leadership, you also know my feelings about how social media can potentially injure our coaching abilities due to its impact on our attention, our egos, and our mental health. You can learn more about that by listening to the podcast on social media marketing for coaches.
I’ve also found that many coaches want to go deeper than an Instagram post with their content. They want to create their own intellectual property and frameworks, and I find that longer form content that’s required for most SEO strategies really allows them to do that.
But what’s more, this longer-form content also builds trust with your ideal client. When they find your podcast, or blog, or YouTube video, that answers exactly what they were searching for, they see you as the expert. This trust can be harder to build on social media, given how – I’m just going to say it – many folks tend to be swindlers and fakers there. I know that I am much more guarded when I’m on social media than when I’m searching for help, and I cringe every time I get a DM from someone new. If I never read the words, “Hey girl…how’s your business?” again, I’ll be just fine with that.
SEO content also tends to work very well with my other favorite marketing strategy: email marketing. You can create content that brings in your ideal coaching clients, and those folks are the most likely ones to download your email opt-in (so long as it’s optimized to them!). You can then use your email to continue to grow that trust factor. And email marketing has one of the highest conversion rates ever. In fact, email campaigns have an average conversion rate of 4.29%, which is higher than the averages for traffic from search, direct and social media, according to WordStream.
How SEO keywords help coaching clients find you
I’m going to be really honest with you: I never know what people are actually searching for and the words they’re using. And I used to create my content willy-nilly and just use the words that made the most sense to me – which is what I think a lot of coaches do, and I understand why.
Even just the term “SEO keyword” used to sound scary and technical to me, but it’s actually not that at all. By focusing on SEO keywords in your content – aka what real people in real life are actually searching for – you are boosting every piece of Googleable content you put out into the word. It’s almost silly NOT to do SEO keyword research before you create your content.
And what’s great about this, I have always been able to find a way to include keywords in my content. I love being creative and thinking outside of the box, and SEO strategy isn’t asking you to stop doing that. Instead, you can find keywords that align with those creative ideas, so more people actually find that outside-the-box content you’re creating. It’s a win-win for sure!
And what’s really cool, which I won’t dig deep into today, but you can also use SEO keywords to attract clients at different stages of awareness in their marketing journey and use your other content, email marketing, and sales pages to continue to move them through those stages until they’re applying to be your client!
In case you have no idea what I mean for the stages of awareness: There are five stages:
Clearly, our Unaware folks aren’t searching for anything yet, but let me give you an example for Problem Aware. Maybe you’re a health coach or even a burnout coach – one of your ideal clients may be worried about why they are always so tired, and they might search “Why do I always feel tired?” – which by the way gets 12,000 searches a month! This person knows there is a problem, but they don’t know exactly what their problem is or how to fix it.
For someone in the Solution Aware stage, these are folks who have some sense that there is a solution to their problem, but they’re not sure of the right solution for them. They might be comparing solutions, like “Do I need a life coach or a therapist?”-- which, by the way, gets 90 searches a month. You can see they’re starting to narrow in, but they’re still unsure of what they want.
Your content, your website, and your email marketing can guide them through these stages of awareness – and SEO is what allows these people who are already searching to find you and consider you as their coach.
Pro tip: Set up a Google My Business account for your coaching business, so when someone searches for “Career Coach near me” or “Life Coach in Fort Collins”, your business will come up in the results! You don’t have to list a physical location, and even if you only offer online sessions, people still tend to love working with locals!
My two favorite simple tools for SEO keyword research
First my very favorite tool ever for SEO is Keywords Everywhere! *Note this is a referral link, which gets me some free credits if you sign up, but it doesn’t change the price for you!
Keywords Everywhere basically shows you keywords – everywhere! 😆 It’s a Chrome Extension that costs $10 for 10,000 search credits, meaning you can do 10,000 searches — way more than you’ll ever need for $10. Your search credits last one year. For just $10 a year, this tool is so very worth it. You can use it for Google Search, YouTube, Pinterest, and more.
You can learn how I use this tool by downloading my SEO Cheat Sheet at staciemitchell.com/seo.
One of my other favorite tools is UberSuggest. You get three free searches each day, and you can use this tool to find keywords, check out how your own website is performing, and to do some competitor research.
An example for competitor research:
Let’s say you’re a career coach who wants to up your SEO game. So you input the websites of several other career coaches in your sphere to see how well they rank and what they rank for. Ubersuggest gives you this information. This isn’t about copying their content by the way. Remember that you can use those keywords to create entirely different content!
How to make SEO work for you as a coach
While I absolutely encourage you to start using SEO keyword research in your content today, and I make that super easy for you with my SEO Cheat Sheet, I also want to encourage you to look at SEO as part of a larger marketing puzzle. SEO is one piece.
If you’re someone who wants to pull back from social media marketing, I recommend slowly creating an ecosystem of content and approaches that work together over time to bring clients to you without need to constantly be creating. It’s bigger than just using keywords in your content; it’s about having a clear message, knowing your client inside and out, creating strategic partnerships, either online or in your community, and using SEO strategy – which is more than just creating keyword focused content – to drive new traffic to you as well as build even more trust and authority with the people who are already in your orbit.
You need a solid content strategy that helps you create the right content, for the right people, with the right keywords – so folks can actually find it! – and a method to keep them connecting with you more and more through email marketing.
The cool thing is that you can use SEO strategy for your website, your podcast, your videos if you’re using YouTube, and even your Pins on Pinterest – and all using the Keywords Everywhere tool to find the right keywords to target depending on your platform. But you really compound that effort by also working on your off-page SEO – like through guest podcasting and getting links in podcast show notes, or hosting workshops for local businesses or online groups. It all works together for you!
Bottom line: SEO isn’t a magic wand that gets you results in 30 seconds – let’s be real, nothing works that way! – but a solid SEO strategy can help you get out of the constant “must create more” mode that social media tends to keep us stuck in.
And if this all sounds fabulous but you have zero idea where to even start, aside from my amazing SEO cheat sheet which you can grab for free, I also offer custom SEO content marketing plans for coaches. You do some pre-work, we meet for one hour, and in just 7 days, you get your unique messaging report, a custom SEO content marketing roadmap with the best keywords for your Home page, About page, and content, a custom guest podcasting plan, and more. I only offer one of these intensives each month. You can find out more and apply to work with me at staciemitchell.com/marketing.