Making Your Coach Or Consultant Website Visible
There are over 1.9 billion websites and more than 600 million blogs on the world wide web. Approximately 6 million blog posts are published every day. You read that right. Every single day. And the number of daily Google searches is 5.6 billion per day. So, is there a chance for you as a coach or consultant to compete and find an audience in such a content-rich digital world?
The simple answer is yes, if you get content, keywords and ranking right. But let’s start at the beginning.
The process of making your website visible in search engine results (Google search and other search engines) is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). People can find you on Google that way.
While the main content of your website should focus on selling your coaching or consulting services, writing blog posts can be a big part of making your website show up in search results. But why?
First, writing blog posts is a good way to massively increase the amount of content you are putting out there. The more content, the bigger are your chances to be found. However, if you compare quantity and quality as part of your SEO optimisation strategy, quality always wins. Publishing blog posts for the sake of it isn’t going to cut it. If no one wants to read what you are writing, then people won’t come and stay on your website. And if people bounce off too quickly, Google will notice this and won’t send any new people to your site next time.
A lot has been said already about Google and the Google algorithms that determine how your website ranks. But this is not about some google engineers who create a sophisticated algorithm every month. A Google ranking is always determined by what people are searching for and what they decide to read.
What People Are Searching For
So, when blogging you should write what people are searching for. It’s all about answering their questions, addressing their pain points, and providing helpful information. Step into their shoes and think about what message you want to convey to your readers. And what benefits will they get out of it? The answers can guide your writing and help you create value for those who read it. Creating value is an essential part of any SEO optimisation strategy for coaches and consultants.
Blog posts that are being read position your website as a credible source. That is what helps you rank higher and higher. The higher you rank, the more people will visit your website in the future. Generally speaking, people trust sites that rank high.
Always keep in mind that you are writing for people searching for answers and information. Part of ranking well involves writing about what your audience wants to read about.
Why Long Quality Content Ranks Higher
Now that we have established that it needs to be quality content with high value to the reader, the quantity is coming back in. Despite knowing that most people won’t read a full-length article, longer blog posts (900 to 3,000 words) still tend to rank higher. One reason is, that with more content Google can rank you more accurately. More text also means that, by average, users stay on your website for longer, which reduces your bounce rat. Google notices if people like your content and stay for longer.
But don’t sacrifice quality for length. It is still better to have a shorter but higher-value blog post than a longer one filled with unnecessary information. If you can write long quality content, you’ll nail it.
The Not-So-Secret Sauce
Let’s look at what the Google top performers are doing. Most of them follow a formula which has 3 main components:
- Long blog posts of excellent quality. We have spoken about that already.
- Strategic Keywords
Part 2 of a SEO optimisation strategy for coaches and consultants are strategic keywords.
Strategic Keywords Are The Core Of Any SEO Optimisation Strategy
A keyword is what people are typing into Google, it’s the search query that a person uses to search for something online. A keyword is therefore what you want your blog posts or content in general to rank for in search engines.
For example, as an expat coach you might want to rank for “living abroad”. In that case, you want your blog posts to pop up on the first page of Google when someone types “living abroad”. However, this is a very broad keyword. There will be millions (remember the daily figures I mentioned in the beginning?) of search results for “living abroad”.
This is why you will need to be more specific and strategic. For example, you might choose “how to be happy as an expat living in India”.
That’s a so-called long-tail keyword or focus keyword. You could also call them your niche keywords. You are niching the “living abroad” down. Now you are looking for phrases that are more specific and longer than any broad keywords like “India”, “expat” or “living abroad”.
Why is that so important for your SEO optimisation strategy as a coach or consultant? Well, it is a much better outcome to be on page 1 for a long-tail keyword than being on page 59 for a popular but broad keyword. Nobody’s going to scroll and click all the way down to page 59 to find your coaching or consulting website. Even if that popular keyword attracts tons of traffic, it won’t lead people to you.
With a lower search volume, there’s also less competition. You have a much better chance of beating out ten other websites for the top spot. Ranking for long-tail keywords is a great way for coaches and consultants to generate organic traffic to their website for free.
Also, people searching long-tail keywords naturally know precisely what they are looking for. They are aware of the problem, they want to solve. And that makes long-tail keywords much more conversion-friendly for coaches and consultantstoo. Someone looking at focus keywords has a specific purpose, you can consider them as so-called warm traffic, ideal for converting them from websites visitors to coaching or consultanting clients. Long-tail keywords bring you clients who want what you offer.
And this brings us to the next essential part of a SEO optimisation strategy for coaches and consultants:
How To Find Keywords For Your Coaching Services
What you need to research is that sweet spot between coaching niche relevance and low search competition.
So, start with making a list of broad topics relevant to your coaching or consulting niche. Thinks of topics which will interest your audience because they address their pain points, hopes, or goals.
Now think about how your audience would try to find this information. How will they search for it? What are they looking for beyond just the general phrase? With regards to our example earlier, people might not always search for ” how to be happy as an expat living in India” They might go for “how to settle in as an expat in India”or “how to make friends as an expat in India” or “how to overcome loneliness as an expat in India”.
Next, you should consider keyword search tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, KWFinder, MOZ Keyword Explorer or Ahrefs. In slightly different ways, they all provide information on the popularity of a search term. The popularity equals the search volume, which tells you how competitive specific keywords are. Other helpful Google tools include Google Trends and Google Search Console. They help you analyse search volume, ranking probability, and more synonyms to target.
You can also use Google itself. Enter your keyword and scroll to the bottom of the search results page (SERP). Here you’ll find alternative phrases based on what people are searching for on Google. Interesting is also AnswerThePublic. This website generates questions about a given keyword.
Ideally, for each blog article, you want at least one primary long-tail or focus keyword (the most important one) and one or two secondary or related terms. Make sure you tweak your primary keyword to make it grammatically correct so you can use it in your blog post without sounding like Google Translate.
By the way, keyword research can also help you generate ideas for future blog post ideas. Create clusters that target a few keywords across various pieces of blog content. The more time and effort you invest into this step, the better your SEO optimisation strategies will work.
Where Should You Put Your Keywords?
You have done your research, now let’s see how you can incorporate your keywords while writing your article.
If you are like me 40+ years old, please note that keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. So don’t write “expat coaching in India” or “business consulting for SME” into every sentence! You will annoy your audience, write unreadable content and get penalised by Google.
Also, never target the same keyword on different pages. This is called keyword cannibalisation. You are competing with yourself. Put everything you have to say about one specific keyword onto a single page.
Within that page, you need to strategically place your keywords. And this is how:
Step 1: The Title (H1)
Ideally, use the exact long-tail primary keyword whenever you can. Alternatively, use a slight variation of your primary keyword and still get your article indexed as long as the rest is relevant and optimised.
Think of the people who type your long-tail keyword into the search field. Make your title as promising as possible. Show them that your article is relevant since it closely matches their search. It is not enough to rank in the top 5 search results, if your title isn’t the most appealing to click on.
Step 2 – Meta Description
And this is where the meta descriptions come in. Meta descriptions are short summaries that appear in the SERP just underneath the blog article title. Therefore, they support your blog post title. Try to make them sound as relevant as possible and again include your primary and also one secondary keyword to boost your ranking further.
Step 3 – URL slug
Most Content Management Systems will automatically add the title of your blog post as URL slug. The slug is the part of a URL that identifies a particular page and from a user’s point of view explains the page’s content. It’s the bit after the slash: www.mywebsite.com/blog/how-to-be-happy-as-an-expat-in-India If you can, edit the slug and keep only the most essential part of your longtail keyword: www.mywebsite.com/blog/happy-expat-India
SEO experts still debate how important the URL is, but I think it might help your ranking and it is also good for website visitors who would like to bookmark and share your URL. Definitely avoid anything like /blogpost-2131
Also, keep in mind that the URLs of your website age well! Meaning, the longer an URL including its key words is online, the better the SEO juice after some time. So use existing URLs of your website to its maximum use. For example, if you are promoting a webinar, do so on one of your URLs and redirect to the signup page controlled by Zoom & Co. That way, once the webinar is done, you can remove the redirect to retain the link equity and relevance around the subject or keyword of the webinar and use this page, maybe to host a recording of the webinar or transcript. Just remember that URLs with keywords are getting more and more valuable over time, so don’t delete them or even worse let them become harmful 404s.
Step 4 – The First and the Last 100 to 150 Words
Now back to the content of your blog post article. Google won’t reveal what exactly goes into its ranking algorithms. However, most online marketers agree that Google favours the first and last words of a page. So regarding your SEO optimisation strategies as a coach or consultant, it’s a good idea to mention your focus keywords early on. Let Google – and your audience – know what your blog post is all about.
The same counts for the last paragraph. Here you should summarise your main points and use your keyword(s) one last time. If you can add your keyword to the call-to-action at the end, do it! “I can help you figure out how to be happy as an expat in India. Click to book a free consultation”
Step 5 – Throughout Your Content
Finding the right balance between creative and SEO friendly writing can be challenging at first. Here are two things to keep in mind:
- The most talented writers often don’t rank well in Google because they don’t want to sound boring and avoid repeating themselves. As a consequence, they start playing with words. But it takes a lot of repetition for search engines to pick up keywords.
- You are not only writing for google but for humans too. The humans are your future coaching clients. They should start liking and trusting you when reading your blog post. If they don’t, they won’t buy your consulting services. Therefore, you should write naturally and in your authentic voice.
To get it right, find ways to slip your keywords into sentences. Don’t force keywords in if they don’t work. Your sentences should always flow naturally and grammatically sound.
Writing the content first, then adding keywords later, can be easier for some. And before you ask: There’s no golden rule for how many times each keyword should be inserted. Some experts recommend 3-5% of the word count should be keywords. I would say, use your best judgment based on readability and content length. Google is getting more and more artificially intelligent and will soon be “reading” and evaluating your article like a human being.
Step 6 – Headings And Lists
The downside to long SEO friendly articles is that they can be overwhelming or hard to read. Your blog post may be full of relevant information, but this doesn’t matter if it isn’t accessible to your audience. Unfortunately, most people just spend a few short minutes on a blog post, hardly anyone will read it all. To keep people on your site as long as possible, you’ll want to break your pieces down into smaller, more scannable parts. Look carefully at your blog post’s structure.
It’s an important part of a well-balanced SEO optimisation strategy for coaches and consultants. You should always add subheadings to your blog articles to break up large chunks of text and to visually organise your article. Subheadings draw attention to the important parts and make it easier for people to skim through your article’s main points.
This is also true for search engines. Headings are also ranking signals as they help search engines to find the essential points. Good headings increase your chances that google will pull information out of your article for featured snippets on the SERPs too. Snippets are the small boxes of text that appear above the first search result on Google. It is a brief excerpt that best answers basic search terms such as “what is the definition of”. They often provide lists, steps or tables as well.
This is why bullet points are another important organisation element in your blog articles. Structured lists tend to perform better than essay-style posts. A section containing a numbered list or bullet points can boost your ranking too.
Step 7 – Images And Alt Tags
Images are crucial to make blog posts more digestible for readers. If you follow the recommendation that your blog post should have 900 to 3,000 words to be noticed by Google, 2 to 3 images should be placed to break up text walls further.
From a SEO strategy point of view, you should use the primary keyword as part of the file name when uploading your image to your Content Management System. The next step are adding image alt tags. This is the text you can see on your screen first when the website is still loading the images. Image alt tags also support screen-reading tools for the blind. But alt text definitely helps search engines to crawl and rank your post. And alt text identifies your images as relevant when people do image searches on Google. Images and in particular infographics can be an effective way to bring more visitors to your blog article.
Hyperlinks – The 3rd Component Of A SEO Optimisation Strategy
Remember the not-so-secret formula? Long quality content + strategic keywords + Links. The content of a blog or website should be structured to signal expertise and authoritativeness to the search engine algorithms. It’s not just about how well-written and thorough articles are; it’s also about how different blog posts and pages on your website support one another. And this is where hyperlinks join the game.
Hyperlinks in your blog posts are the clickable bits of text that take you readers from your blog page to another page. Of course, you don’t want your readers to leave your blog post too soon. But hyperlinks play a significant role in SEO by helping search engines to view your content in context.
There are two types of links, internal and external links. Links that point to other pages of your website, such as a related blog post or a consulting service page, are called internal links. By linking to related content you show more of your expertise as a coach or consultant, which will make you look more credible and trustworthy. Your readers will love and use your internal links to find more relevant content. And because of that, your blog’s SEO will generally improve.
External links send people off to other websites. At first, this sounds like the wrong thing to do. But don’t be afraid to link to sources that aren’t on your site. They show your readers, and to a certain degree search engines as well, that you did your research. Go ahead and make your blog posts more credible by linking to statistics or research papers, which will help you build more trust.
Just make sure your links always go to high-authority sites. When search engines follow your linking to trustworthy sites, they’ll view your content similarly. Being seen in good company can help to boost your ranking.
Backlinks are external links pointing to your blog or website. If another website links to yours, your content is essentially endorsed, and search engines acknowledge that you are worth ranking higher on search results pages.
Unlike internal links or external links to other websites, you can’t control backlinks. They have to be earned. You can do this by writing content others find valuable for their audiences. Create a guest post on another blog that will link back to your blog. Get in touch with websites that you mentioned in your content before. Ask them if they would mind sharing your post with their readers after thanking them for their information. Find bloggers with similar content to yours and ask them for a joint blog post. Everyone who is involved will link to it. Or tell them that you read their recent articles and have a post that can provide further information on one of their points. Invite them to link to your additional post.
SEO Optimisation Is A Marathon
Your SEO optimisation as a coach or consultant is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, commitment, and perseverance to get there. If you have a brand new website with a new URL, there’s going to be a so called “sandbox period” of three to six months when Google doesn’t yet trust your website. Keep going and don’t fall for any quick solutions that people might offer you unsolicited in your inbox. Anyone who promises you fast results while you are leaning back usually works with so called black hat techniques. Google will eventually detect that and dish out penalty points. Instead, opt for a healthy, long term SEO strategy and master all three components of the winning formula, then your online presence as a coach or consultant will take off.