by Sara K. Sims
Did you know that 96% of people who are looking to hire a coach are searching online? You can't play the game unless you get on the court. Having a website is the first step for marketing your business and attracting new clients. However, just having a website isn't enough. If it's not showing up on the first few pages of search results it's probably not doing you any good. If this is your predicament, you are probably wondering what more you could be doing to rank higher in search engine listings. It’s all in the search engine optimization (SEO).
What is SEO and how can it help your practice? Search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engines. An optimized website is one that shows up high in search engine listings when people search for goods and services. If a website shows up on the first few pages of a Google search that can lead to high traffic, which can result in new business. Let's face it—if your website can't be found in searches, then it won't be effective in attracting new clients to you. That is the goal of doing SEO—to effectively drive traffic to your website.
The first thing to know is that search engines such as Google and Yahoo! pick you, you don’t pick them. All of the search engines download the entire contents of the Internet using web crawlers that continually cruise around, cataloging websites. They determine the search engine ranking of each as democratically as possible according to a number of different factors, including: the number and popularity of sites that link to the site in question, the number of visits to the site, how long it has been up, and the amount and quality of the content. Another thing the web crawlers keep track of is the meta-tag keywords associated with that site (meta tags are HTML codes that are inserted into the header on a web page, after the title tag.)
The more sophisticated search engines increasingly rely on words gleaned from the content of the website itself. Therefore it is important that your content reflects your specialties and geographic location so that people will be able to find you. If someone types in a word or combination of words that's very specific to your site—such as your name—you'll likely come up at or near the top. If they type in more generic terms, such as "coaching" and [name of your city], you'll still come up in the results, but you may be in the company of many other sites that also contain those words! Give it try and see what happens. Keep in mind that nearly everyone with a website would like to be at the top of the search engine listings. Where you—or they—come up in that listing will be determined by some of the factors listed above.
A great easy way to improve your search engine rankings is by listing your website in online directories. That means that in addition to listing your website in the major search engines themselves, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, you also want to list your website on many other important directories like Google local and Yahoo local. The more inbound links (links from another website) pointing to your site the better and these links should come from high quality sites. Just remember: a well-networked website is a high ranking website; high rankings mean high visibility; the more visible your website is, the more business you’re going to get.
Sara K. Sims is the Director of Business Development at CoachingWebsites.com, who specialize in creating coaching websites that are professional, affordable and effective. Websites are just $59/month with no long-term contracts. Attracting new clients and generating more revenue is easy with Coaching-Websites!
Member benefit: IAC members receive a free website with three months of hosting with a promo code available on the IAC member benefit page.