top of page
  • Writer's pictureCrystal (aka Stella)

Search Engine Optimization Basics for Coaches & Service-Based Entrepreneurs

If you’re ready to skyrocket your online presence and bring your coaching or service-based expertise and offers to a bigger audience then you're in the right place because today, we're diving into Search Engine Optimization Basics – your Secret Weapon to online success. 


Search Engine Optimization or SEO, is the art and science of making your website easily discoverable by search engines when your ideal client is looking for a solution that you provide. Imagine your newsletter subscriber list growing, more and more people devouring your content and being able to hit new sales targets with your launches.  That's the magic of SEO!

While social media marketing is vital for your success, it’s a beast that constantly needs to be fed.  However, with a focused and robust SEO strategy that is sustained for 6-12 months, your results can last for years to come. The ROI for Search Engine Optimization is unmatched.  

Keyword Research for SEO Success:

Keyword research is your first step to SEO success.  Without taking this crucial first step, it’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks.  Selecting the right keywords for your website copy and your content can literally be the difference between four-figure and five-figure months for your business.   And doing the research gives you incredible insight into the problems your ideal client is looking to solve.

In the early days of the internet, it was possible to rank well in Google for a term like “life coach” however those days are now long gone.  Instead, you need to find long tail keywords to rank for such as “relationship coach (your city)” or “how to get over a breakup”.  This is where content creation is your best friend.  You can create a blog post, YouTube video or a podcast on “how to get over a breakup” for ranking in the search engines.

Recommended Keyword Research Tools:

So what tools do I recommend for keyword research?  I’ve got a few that I’ve used over the years.  Some are free, others are low cost and some others are on the more expensive side.  Here is the rundown:

1. Google Keyword Planner – this is a free Google tool that’s easy to use and a great starting place for your research.

2. Google auto-suggest – this is also free and keyword suggestions are automatically given as you begin typing what you’re looking for in the search bar.   You can also scroll down in the results and check the “related searches” section or “people also ask” section for some great ideas.

3. Keywords Everywhere – this is a very inexpensive tool (you can purchase 100K worth of credits for $15 as of this writing) but the results this tool spits out can be limited.

4. Ubersuggest by Neil Patel – this is the tool I use most often. I’ve got a lifetime plan that I purchased for around $300.  But, you can start with a monthly plan that costs around $30 per month.  Ubersuggest includes lots of other goodies as well to help you with your SEO such as site audits, a content idea generator and backlink opportunity suggestions.

5. Ahrefs – this is a great tool for finding long tail keywords but…it’s pretty pricey at around $100 per month.  There is a free version but it only gives you a limited number of keywords so I prefer my Ubersuggest tool over this one.

6. Semrush – this is similar to Ahrefs but it’s also very pricey at over $100 per month.  If you want to, you could get a one-month membership and then cancel.  But in that month, do a massive amount of keyword research and build up a keyword bank to use throughout the year.  This tool is mainly for agencies who make use of it daily.   Otherwise, for most people, it’s more than they need.


On-page SEO is all about fine-tuning the content on your coaching or service-based website so that search engines and your dream clients can find you. It involves using your keywords in your page and post titles, your H1 tags and meta descriptions.  

If you have a WordPress website, you can install an SEO plugin on your website such as All In One SEO (AISEO) or Yoast SEO.  I’ve used both and personally, I prefer AISEO but they both work very well.  And by the way, as a solopreneur, you don’t need to upgrade to the paid versions.  The free versions of these plugins work fine.

If you don’t happen to have a WordPress website, you can still add the H1 tags and meta descriptions with most website builders such as Squarespace where the SEO options are built into the platform.  I suspect that this is the same thing with Wix but I haven’t worked on that platform before.  My experience is mainly with WordPress and Squarespace.  

Also, you may have heard the saying “Content is King”.  When it comes to SEO this is very true.  The Google bots need content to accurately determine what your website is about.  If your content is sparse or confusing and unfocused, Google will have trouble with the placement of your website in the search engine results.  In general, you should aim for a minimum of 300 words per page.  Ideally, though, you should shoot for 500+ words per page.  

You’ll also want to be mindful of the image tags on your website.  Any images should include alt text that includes your keyword for that page.  And while we are on the topic, make sure that you use an image compressor plugin as some of your images can slow down the performance of your website (which is another website SEO consideration that we’ll discuss below).

Website Speed and Mobile-Friendliness for SEO:

Two additional important aspects of SEO are website speed and mobile-friendliness.  Not only does a slow-loading website make for a less-than-satisfactory user experience, but the search engines will also penalize your site and not give it a favorable placement.  The mobile-friendliness aspect is pretty obvious.  Far more Google customers are on mobile devices these days so if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, your website visitors are likely to click away, causing Google to drop your placement in the search results.  

Local SEO for Coaches and Service-Based Entrepreneurs:

One other important consideration for your website is local SEO.  Local SEO is just what it sounds like.  You are trying to rank for your local market.  Even if your services span the globe, optimizing for your local market can be the key to unlocking a lot more client opportunities. 

Consumers often feel more comfortable doing business with people who are located close by even if they are working with them in a virtual format.  So your close ratios will usually go up working with your local market.  In addition, it’s a lot faster and easier to rank in the search engines for local keywords.  

Setting up a Google Business Profile (GBP) is your golden ticket to local rankings.  Fill out your GBP with all your details and make sure you include your keywords in the description of your business as well as with the services (or products) that you offer.  And if you’re worried about privacy, don’t! You can keep your home address private for your GBP. 

Now, let's talk customer reviews. On your Google Business Profile, they're the testimonials that help you rank in what is known as the map pack. The more you can get, the better but make sure they are quality reviews.  Do not cheat here.  They absolutely need to be authentic reviews.  So encourage your satisfied clients to share their experiences, and make sure that you respond to all reviews you receive.

In the world of Local SEO, citations are one of the signals that Google looks for. What exactly are citations? Think of them as online mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across various platforms. These mentions not only boost your local visibility but also validate your existence in the eyes of search engines.

A key aspect of citations is that your NAP needs to be consistent with all of your listings otherwise, the Google Bots can get confused.  For example, if the address on your website is 123 Anywhere St., then you cannot have your address listed as 123 Anywhere Street on Yellow Pages online.   Likewise, if your business name is ABC Coaching Ltd, it cannot be listed just as ABC Coaching elsewhere.  

The Role of Link Building and Backlinking in Off-Page SEO:

Link building is another crucial step for a successful SEO campaign.   Your website should include internal links that weave your various pages together.  And, if you have a blog, you should always include at least one link to another blog post or page on your site.  

Off page SEO magic lies with backlinks.  Essentially these act as endorsements and tell search engines that your website is legitimate and trustworthy. Focus on quality over quantity and, backlinks from reputable sources.  Unfortunately, I’ve worked with business owners who’ve bought links from link farms that have hurt their rankings so, avoid them.  Good link sources are guest blogging opportunities and podcast appearances where the host includes a link back to your website in the show notes.  Not only do you get to share your expertise as a guest, but these are golden opportunities for securing backlinks.

Monitor Your Google Analytics to Enhance Your SEO Strategy:

In the realm of SEO, knowledge is power.  Monitoring your analytics is essential for a successful SEO strategy as it will allow you to see what keywords website visitors are using to land on your website.  This provides further website optimization opportunities and blog topic ideas.  

The most common tool used is Google Analytics.  The best part is that it’s free however with the recent GA4 update, many small business owners are finding themselves overwhelmed with all the information it offers.  If you find that GA4 is too much for you, there are other free or low-cost analytics tools that you can use instead.

On that note, make sure you also set up Google Search Console and submit your sitemap.  This is an essential step that a lot of entrepreneurs miss with their website set up and it’s necessary so that Google can track any changes to your website and ensure placement of your pages in the search engine results.

Blogging and SEO for Coaches & Service-Based Entrepreneurs:

Blogging is hugely beneficial for SEO.  I know, I know, some of you don’t like to write.  Maybe it reminds you of those writing assignments for school all those years ago.   But the truth is, once you develop a writing/blogging routine, you will start to find your flow and it will get a lot easier.  Writing is like a muscle.  The more you do it, the easier it gets.

But make sure you do your keyword research.  I see a lot of coaching blogs where the posts read more like journal entries.  Don’t get me wrong, inspiration is necessary to write and I don’t want you to write solely for the search engines. But do a little keyword research before publishing your blog post so that you are getting the most out of it for growing your business.

Also, if YouTube videos are more to your liking, make sure you transcribe those videos and post them to your blog as well so that you can get some SEO juice.  Content repurposing for social media will save you time too.

Finally, Google is also keen on social signals for search engine placement.  So, make sure that you are sharing your blog content on your social channels. One particularly effective social media platform for sharing blog content is Pinterest.  And if you didn’t know already, Pinterest is a visual search engine so you will also need to include your keywords in your pin titles and descriptions.  The combination of blogging and sharing your content on Pinterest is super powerful.  

An SEO Case Study:

Here's a quick case study to drive home how beneficial Search Engine Optimization strategies can be for your business.  My very first client was my husband.  He had started a residential painting business a few years prior where I had designed his website for him.  Around 2014, I completed a training program on SEO and used my husband's business as my guinea pig.  I did all the things and worked on his SEO for approximately 12 months.  I haven't done any more work on his SEO since then and he still shows up on page one of Google (as of this writing in 2023) for multiple long-tail keywords.  On top of that, he's had a steady stream of clients ever since.  That's the power of SEO and the reason I say that the ROI is unmatched.  


In summary, the ROI for your SEO efforts will pay you dividends for a long time to come.  Performing your keyword research for your website content will be immensely valuable for your business.  In addition, optimizing your website for your local market, building backlinks and creating valuable content for your audience that you can share on social media ensures that you have the perfect formula for the growth of your coaching or service-based business.  


If you'd like to learn more about SEO, I invite you to download Your FREE SEO Checklist at my website:


expert on search

Laura Whitelaw is the owner of Virtual Solutions by Laura.  She works with coaches and service-based entrepreneurs helping them attract their ideal clients online through Search Engine Optimization, Optimized WordPress website design and Pinterest marketing so that they can focus on their zone of genius and meet their goals for business growth. 


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page