The complete guide to choosing an SEO coach

What’s an SEO coach? And how is an SEO coach different than a consultant? We’ll answer those questions and more.

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What is an SEO coach?

How is a coach different from a consultant?

Hey there, I’m Tyler. I’m the founder and head SEO coach here at Centori. I get asked these questions all the time. In fact, when I started running SEO coaching programs at Centori I asked this question myself!

I’ve been working in SEO for 4+ years.

I first got into SEO by freelancing. Pretty typical, and easy enough to get started. Over the years, that evolved into consulting and now coaching.

At Centori we offer private and group coaching programs, so we’ve seen a thing or two when it comes to SEO coaching.

I’ll answer the above questions and more in this guide to help you understand what SEO coaching is, how an SEO coach is different from an SEO consultant, and what to look for in an SEO coach.

Whether you are looking to build your first organic strategy, or have tried a few times (perhaps with mixed results) I hope this guide is helpful for you to take the next step in your journey.

What is an SEO coach?

Ask 10 people what an SEO/marketing coach is, and you’ll get 10 different answers.

A marketing consultant is easy enough to define, but what is a coach? To go one step further, what value does a coach provide?

Here’s a definition I use with Centori:

An SEO coach works with business owners to understand their goals, values, and customers and then guides them to build and implement strategy that meets their goals as efficiently as possible.

To put in “marketing terms” we view our coaches as one part guide, and one part head of SEO for a fraction of the cost.

Rather than muck around trying to wade through the world of SEO, an SEO coach helps you build a plan suited perfectly for your goals and guides you along the way to ensure you stay on track.

Like a head of SEO hire, our SEO coaches onboard onto your team, get to know you and your business, and work with you to build a strategy that reaches your goals.

SEO is a collaborative effort. As a result, our coaches walk through the fundamentals of SEO with you, and explore advanced SEO topics together with your team.

We’re here for you as long as you need us, and your education and success are our top priority.

Why might you need an SEO coach?

As the web gets more crowded, having an experienced guide to point you in the right direction can be a difference-maker for your business.

A good SEO coach can be a good sounding board, allowing you to share your business journey with someone who has been there before. Sometimes a coach needs to encourage you and build you up, and other times a coach needs to be firm to ensure you are staying on track.

Just like a sports coach, our SEO coaches help marketers and founders reach their potential and their goals.

In the past 30 days have you found yourself:

  • Needing a second opinion from a trusted pro
  • Wanting to increase organic traffic or sales but not sure how or where to start
  • Wanting to build confidence in SEO
  • Feeling overwhelmed trying different SEO tools or programs
  • Dissatisfied with your progress in SEO
  • Trying an expensive SEO tool but not getting any results

If the answer to any of those is “yes” an SEO coach may be the answer for you.

An experienced SEO coach can build a strategy with you and guide your team in the right direction rather than you spinning your wheels trying to find which direction to take your first step.

I see so many marketers and founders struggle through blogging and attempts at link building when even just a few sessions with an SEO coach could point them in the right direction to make some real progress with SEO.

What does an SEO coach do?

As an SEO coach, it’s my job to work with you to understand your business and identify the best tools to help you build a sustainable organic growth strategy.

In other words, I’m here to show you how to rank on Google for keywords that will make you money, and how to stay at the top above your competitors.

This means that each project is different because every business requires an individual approach to achieve growth and success.

There are different ways an SEO coach can help:

  • Deliver a professional and objective review of your current organic strategy
  • Plan an SEO strategy with you to grow your website’s traffic and revenue
  • Grow skills and add an experienced perspective to your business
  • Train your team on SEO fundamentals and advanced SEO concepts
  • Serve as a sounding board for your team to ensure you are moving in the right direction

An experienced SEO coach provides expertise, support, and advice when it comes to planning and developing your organic strategy for success and growth.

Professional SEO coaches are here to help you increase sales, develop skills and get the most from your marketing investment.

How is an SEO coach different than a consultant?

SEO coaching and consulting are similar and there can be quite a bit of overlap. However, there are a few key differences worth calling out.

Type of relationship

Consulting relationships center around a project and are either based on offering recommendations or presenting recommendations and implementing those recommendations.

An SEO consultant is a subject-matter specialist on SEO and will help a client identify and assess SEO/business problems and then provides solutions for the client. Consultants tend to hand off their work for the client to then implement, and can either work with a client for the short-term or long term depending on the size and scope of the project.

Coaching, in contrast, is more personal and relational.

Coaching involves a coach working directly with a client — either one individual in the company or an entire team. Coaches get to know the clients and their business to build a plan to reach their goals. It’s less “solve the immediate problem now” and more “build a plan for the future”.

Regarding SEO, it’s showing a client how to build an effective SEO strategy, and perform essential SEO tasks. It is the focus of a coach to identify and enhance a client’s abilities to help them reach their goals.

Duration

SEO consultants will typically work on a project basis. They scope out the work, come up with a quote, and will work for an agreed amount of time and then the relationship ends. This can range from one month all the way to 12 months, but most of the time there is a defined end date.

Coaching relationships often last was long as it takes for the client to reach their goals. At Centori we offer month to month pricing, as well as 6-month commitments (with a 15% discount!). There are no long-term contracts, but there are also no caps. In fact, we’ve had some clients stick with us over a year!

Deliverables

An SEO consultant will offer recommendations based on the goals of the project. Like other types of consulting, this may take the form of a packet/workbook and could include a meeting to review the findings together.

Consultants may aid with implementing their recommendations if that was agreed upon before the project started. Often times this comes with an additional fee due to the labor required.

Like consultants, SEO coaches work with your team to build an SEO strategy; however, they will typically stick with you to guide your team on implementing that strategy. Unlike consultants, where the strategy is the deliverable, for coaches your success and progress is the deliverable.

Like any good teacher, our success relies on our students passing the test. We can’t take the test for you, but we can ensure you are as prepared as possible and in a position to succeed.

What should I look for in an SEO coach?

Expertise

A good SEO coach is going to have expertise in SEO.

Revolutionary, I know.

SEO is extremely broad, and most SEO professionals are experts in one subsection of SEO.

Given that, it’s hard to find someone who is an expert on everything from link building to Javascript optimization. You should look for an SEO coach who is at least familiar with a broad set of topics under SEO and who can effectively guide you and your team.

Ability to teach

It takes much more than being a good subject-matter expert to be a good teacher. Being a good teacher requires the ability to gauge a student’s ability, and guide them to form conclusions on their own rather than simply give them the answer.

So many experts try to dump their knowledge and call it teaching. That’s a great way to overwhelm a student. Instead, a good coach (and teacher) builds out a roadmap, so each step builds on the previous, allowing you to feel more confident in your knowledge as time goes on.

Integrity

SEO has gained quite the reputation over the years. Between shoddy work and countless spam emails, it’s no wonder that the SEO industry leaves a poor taste in people’s mouths.

That’s why it’s especially important for a good SEO coach to demonstrate integrity and honesty in their work.

From the very first meeting to every interaction that follows, a good SEO coach will build and maintain trust with your team and hold your best interests as a top priority.

Should I hire an SEO coach, a consultant, or a freelancer?

When it comes to SEO, there is a variety of options at your fingertips.

From freelancers from sites like Upwork to SEO agencies, how do you know which is the right one to choose?

No option is universally better, it all depends on you, your goals, and what you are looking for.

You should hire a freelancer/agency if…

Freelancers are great if you already know exactly what you want and need to delegate it to someone else to do exactly what you tell them.

While some freelancers can be effective, there is a sliding scale in quality and ability which can return mixed results if you cannot give clear instructions.

On the flip side, agencies can be great options as well to completely outsource your SEO. Like freelancers, there can be a sliding scale in quality. Agencies also come with a hefty price tag, fully managed SEO work can start at a few thousand per month and go all the way up to $10,000 or even $25,000 per month.

You should hire a consultant if…

Consultants are great if you have a fixed project in mind and want an expert opinion to bring to your team to implement.

Similar to freelancers, consultants are great if you know exactly what the problem is or what you need solving. There is also a sliding scale of quality between consultants (this goes for SEO and any other industry) and you can expect higher fees if you want the consultant to implement their recommendations for you.

You should hire a coach if…

If you are looking for a guide that you can form a relationship with, and leverage for your team then an SEO coach is right for you.

SEO coaches are unique from consultants in that you actually get to know your SEO coach and work with them over the long term. While we offer fixed period pricing, most of our customers work month to month until they reach their goals or are otherwise satisfied with their progress.

What does Centori SEO coaching provide?

We view our SEO coaches as a head of SEO for a fraction of the cost for your team. Just like any head of SEO, our coaches partner with your team to build an effective SEO strategy and guide you to implement it.

We take a “done with you” approach to SEO that guides your team to build and implement a successful strategy that grows your business.

All our coaching programs include:

  • Zoom sessions with your SEO coach. These can be one:one or include your team. Sessions can be recorded and saved.
  • A strategy home built with Notion to manage your content calendar, link to essential reports, and hold notes from previous sessions
  • A personalized progress report every month
  • Access to our proprietary software platform we designed to make SEO simple
  • Access to our private SEO slack community

Interested in learning more? Or perhaps you still have a few questions?

Let’s chat.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your business, your goals, and how SEO can help you reach them.

Book a free consultation

Download the complete guide to choosing an SEO coach

Download our free guide to choosing an SEO coach.

Learn how SEO coaching differs from consulting, how an SEO coach can help you grow your business, and what to look for in the right coach.

When done right, SEO can be the most impactful channel for you to grow your business. Choosing the right SEO coach can be the difference in reaching your goals.

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