So, what to do instead

When I talk about building websites, people often come to me and ask me if I also do search engine optimization. Especially here in Germany, SEO seems to be seen as the holy grail when people think about websites.

I get it, people want traffic to their website and they want it for free.
But here’s what you need to understand.

SEO is not some weird spell that tech-savvy people put on your website that mysteriously puts it at #1 in search engine results. I know, that’s what some website building platforms want you to believe, and they sell you on it for $5.95/month.

If it would be that easy EVERYBODY who builds one of these websites would occur on #1 at Google, right? So, here you have it. There’s only ONE #1 on Google

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Unfortunately, SEO is hard work!
So, let me explain…

What is SEO – and what it’s not

In short – search engine optimization is everything that improves your ranking in search engines. There are 2 different areas to improve your ranking. There are things that you do on your website (on-site SEO) and activities you do offsite (off-site SEO).

To understand what these activities are, you need to understand how search engines work.

First of all, search engines have a unique algorithm to find out which website is the most authoritative on the topic searched for. These algorithms are kept secret by the search engine companies so that the search results cannot be manipulated.

So, every search engine outside there has slightly different algorithms. That’s why you may find a different website at #1 on Google than you find on Bing.

But they all focus on the same main ideas, although their focus and the priority may vary.

Here’s what they look for:

  • How much traffic does your website have, meaning how many people come to your website per day, per week, per month?
  • How long do they stay on your website?
  • Do you frequently and consistently update your site?
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    Backlinks - How many other websites link to your website and how important are these websites, meaning what is their ranking?
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    Is your website user-friendly, meaning:
  • Does it load fast?
  • Is there a clear navigation/structure?
  • Is it mobile responsive?

By now, a light bulb should have popped up in your brain.

Wait a minute, it’s not about putting a keyword here and there and BINGO …?


Sorry to disappoint you.

Yes, being #1 on Google will bring you traffic, but for being #1 on Google you already need to have traffic in the first place.

And you need a lot of content. I mean a LOT!!!

So, here it is. Having a website with a nice homepage, an about page and a page with your services and your contact, a website that hardly ever changes, will have a hard time to become #1 ;-).

And making it through backlinks – these are links from other websites pointing to your website – won’t happen either. You will have a hard time to convince influencers to link to your website - unless you are friends …

So, when search engine optimization does not work for you, what can you do?

Here’s what works!

How to improve your website

Whether or not your website will appear on the front page of Google’s search results, you need to do some basic things on your website.


Well, first of all, you want to provide a great user experience on your website so that people that come to your website are not repelled by a slow loading and amateurish looking website.

Your website has a purpose

Meanwhile, almost every coach has a website, but almost nobody knows what your website is all about and what’s the role of your website when it comes to marketing your services.

So, people believe that it only needs a beautiful design and some SEO and people will line up for getting coached by you. They think having a contact form or a phone number on the website is all that’s needed, and the phone will ring.

Nothing further from the truth like that!

Your website often is the first contact that potential customers have with you and your business. And people are not likely to buy anything at the first contact. It’s not impossible if you make an amazing impression and people are actively looking for a coach, but it’s not likely.


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The purpose of your website is not to make people buy, it’s to get people to know, like and trust you. It’s much more about psychology than about design or technology.

You may have heard that people buy from people they know, like and trust, right?

So, how do you get strangers to know, like and trust you?

Remember, it’s their first contact with you. So, people need to get a feeling of who you are, what your values are and how it might feel like to work with you.

The design of your website plays a minor role – and so does your logo ;-). People are not interested in this as long as the website looks professional.

That should be a given.

And when it comes to technology, your website just should load fast – especially on a mobile device! And of course, it should be mobile-responsive. Nothing more annoying than a website that hardly can be read on a mobile.

What else can you do?

If you run a local coaching business that offers live coaching sessions at your office, you can work on Local SEO.

Local Search – local SEO

What is local search?

Local search is search engine optimization strategy that focusses on helping local businesses to be found in local search results.

You might know that at the beginning of Google’s search results ads are shown by businesses that use paid advertising (Google Adwords) to get people to their website. These entries are marked with a little “ad” symbol.

Right after the ads, you will see a little map in local searches (e.g. try to search for “coaching NYC” for example (or whatever city or area you live in). Attached to the map, you’ll find the top ranking local businesses in this area. These businesses are also marked on the map.

It is much easier to rank your coaching business locally than it is to rank for “business coaching” or “health coaching” in general. Just to name a few.

So, how do you do this?

How to dominate Local Search

Title and descriptions

First, you need to have a compelling title and description for your website. Your title and the description are shown in Google’s search results. That’s the only thing people see and the more compelling the title and the description are, the more likely it is that people click on it.

Local Listings

You want your business show up in listings of local businesses, industry specific directories, Yelp, for example.

Google My Business

Another powerful way to get ranked in local search results is to set up a Google My Business Page.

Local Partnerships

Look for local businesses that are willing to promote your services and link your website on their own. Build strategic partnerships!


Last but definitely not least, ask your current customers to leave a review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp.

Paid Advertising

What is Paid Advertising?

You can do paid advertising on search engines, like Google, to get a sponsored space on the search results page. Or you can use platforms like Facebook or Instagram to put an ad in front of your potential customers. There are several different ways of paid advertising. Sometimes you are charged when people click on your ad (PPC – pay per click) and sometimes you are charged when the ad is displayed (PPI – pay per impression).

How to make Paid Advertising work

Whether you do paid advertising on search engines or on social media platforms, you need to know what results people are looking for, or what pain or frustration they want to overcome. That’s what you need to express in your ad.

Your ad needs to be compelling and unique so that people are getting curious about what you have to offer.

Social Media Marketing

What is Social Media Marketing?

Actually, Social Media Marketing is everything you do on your Social Media channels, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, just to name a few, with the purpose to drive traffic to your website or services ...

There is a huge variety of platforms out there and the range of actions that you can do is even bigger. It goes from doing live videos, sharing images, videos, events to just posting some educational or promotional content.

You want people to come back to your Social Media Channels over and over again so that you can use these channels to drive traffic from there to your website and landing pages.

How to make Social Media Marketing work for your coaching business

I can’t answer this question here in detail, because every Social Media Channel has its own rules. So, what you need to do depends on the channel you choose.

But what they all have in common is that you need to post frequently and consistently to get a decent following. You need to have quality content and you have to engage with your audience.


What you’ve learned in this article:

  • What SEO search engine optimization is and why it does not work for a typical coaching business.
  • What you can do instead to improve your website conversion.
  • What the true purpose of your website is.
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    What local search is and how you can dominate it.
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    What paid advertising is and how to win with paid advertising.
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    What social media marketing is and how it helps to drive people to your website and services

Dagmar Schult

Dagmar Schult is an Online Visibility Strategist. She helps coaches, speakers, authors and trainers to find their unique voice. And more importantly she shows you how to express it throughout your online presence. This helps you to stand out of the crowd, get noticed authentically. Increase your impact in the world while making massive recurring profit!

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