If you search Google you will find endless resources for learning SEO, but not many of these guides are written specifically for coworking spaces.
In this post, we will provide you with advice on the SEO essentials, with actionable tips to improve your search ranking.
As a heads up, the majority of the tips in this article don’t require much technical knowledge, however, there is a section on website architecture which I would say is intermediate level, rather than beginner.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a free, organic method to increase your ranking on search engine results. Having a high performing SEO strategy will increase your chances of attracting potential customers to your website.
Let’s start by asking ourselves a simple question. How would you find a coworking space in Bristol? This would be my process;
- Head to Google and search for ‘coworking spaces in Bristol’.
- Scan through the first page and open the first three local business listings.
- Potentially open the first few organic search results.
- Compare the websites, read some reviews and check pricing, then decide which spaces look best and make some enquiries.
Now, imagine that your coworking space isn’t on that first page of Google. I wouldn’t have even seen you.
This is why SEO is important.
For those interested, here’s a cool animation to show you How Google Works.
Where to start with SEO?
For the beginner, SEO can be a daunting prospect. First of all, don’t stress yourself out, every industry expert started in the exact same situation as you are right now. Secondly, SEO is as complicated as you want to make it, but in this article we’ll stick to the basics. Our goal is to make Google notice and like us.
How do you make Google like your website?
- Technical Structure
You want to make it easy for Google to crawl your website and understand what you do. Navigation tools such as sitemaps and navigation menus provide well-lit runways for Google to quickly explore your website.
- Quality Content
Your written content should answer the searcher’s intent. They are looking for a coworking space in Bristol. So make it clear you offer coworking space in Bristol. You should be aiming to provide the best possible user experience. Focus on providing relevant content in a clear format that is easy to read.
These are links from other websites, for example, a local newspaper might write an article titled ‘the best coworking spaces in Bristol’. You want to be included in that article for SEO purposes. Google sees these links as indicators of authenticity and quality. Imagine backlinks as positive votes for your business.
So let’s jump into each of these topics and explore how you can improve your search ranking.
1) Technical Structure & SEO
Google My Business
If you don’t have a Google My Business (GMB) account, make one.
This free tool allows you to communicate tons of information about your business to Google, and therefore customers. Importantly, Google will know the location of your business, and so be able to direct users who search for ‘coworking spaces near me’ to your website.
By using GMB you will be included among the local business listings that appear at the top of searches along with a map. The more you build your profile, the more Google will trust and understand your business.
You can add a wide range of info to your GMB account, such as, the nature of your business, opening hours, contact details, available services, your logo, photos of your space and more.
Not only that, but you will be able to start gathering Google reviews which greatly improve your ranking. You can also quickly list any promotions, events or special circumstances.
Not exactly technical, but positive reviews are absolutely essential. Reviews are potentially the single biggest factor in driving people to your website.
The vast majority of online searchers will consult reviews before making a decision. At the very least, they will check the average rating of the business.
Let’s say you’ve just opened. How do you get reviews? Ask.
Honestly, if you know that someone has enjoyed their time at your coworking space, see if they’ll go a step further and give you a review.
If you don’t have many customers to ask, host a couple of networking events or workshops to get yourself started.
Your Website Architecture (Intermediate)
Your website should be designed to be Google-friendly. It just so happens that the vast majority of these steps make your website customer-friendly too.
Please note, this section is a little advanced, if you find it intimidating, do skip to the content section and come back to it later.
- First, connect your site to Google Search Console. This will provide insight into your website traffic, keyword suggestions and also highlight any problematic areas of that need fixing.
- Create an .xml sitemap. Sitemaps provide search engines with directions towards important content. You can submit your sitemap via Google Search Console. To learn how to create one, follow this article by QuickSprout.
- Is your website mobile-ready? Check here.
- How fast does your page load? Find ways to improve your speed here.
- Check for broken links using this free tool. DrLinkCheck.com
- Finally, pretend to be a customer of your own website. Does your homepage provide value? Is it simple to find what you are looking for? Is navigating your website an intuitive journey?
If you want to explore this in more detail, I suggest you check out Moz’s visual article about on-site SEO.
For those of you with an established website, I recommend that you conduct a full SEO audit. Follow this handy step-by-step guide by Ahrefs.
2) Quality Content & SEO
OK, so now your website is Google-friendly, you need to start filling it up with high-quality content.
What is considered high quality? I like to ask three questions about my content.
Is it relevant? Is it useful? Is it easy to read?
Is your content relevant?
Your first step should be to create a customer persona. This is the imaginary person you envision working at your coworking space. Let’s build one now.
- Professional background in Design, Marketing, Technology
- 20-40 years old, working freelance or remotely. Based in Bristol.
- Looking to connect with like-minded people and build social circle.
- Searching for a long-term dedicated workspace, not a drop-in desk.
- Affordable space with less premium perks, but a focus on community.
Now you have your imaginary customer, you can write content that focuses on them. For example, your website homepage should emphasise that you offer a creative community, dedicated desks and affordable rates in Bristol.
In short, you don’t have to please everyone. You are better off being highly relevant to a specific group, rather than mildly relevant to most people.
What are keywords? They are the words people search to find your business.
You will include these keywords in your content to indicate the nature of your business to Google. Your choice of keywords should be influenced by your customer persona and business goals. The aim is to create a list of search terms that your target audience would use to find you.
Keyword strategy will vary from business to business, but this framework should give you a starting point.
First, check your Google Search Console account and you will be able to see the keywords you are already ranking for. This gives you a good insight into how people are currently finding you. You can choose whether to build upon these foundations, or if they seem irrelevant, start building new foundations.
Now, compile a list of the search terms you would like to rank for, for example, coworking in Bristol, hot desks in Bristol, Bristol coworking space, shared workspace Bristol.
Notice that we have included Bristol in each variation. This is because you are only likely to find long-term customers who are searching for space in your city. Let’s imagine someone in Glasgow searches ‘coworking’ space’ and finds you, there is very little chance of them becoming a member.
Other ideas: tech coworking space in Bristol, flexible workspace in Bristol, coworking community in Bristol.
Basically, you want to study your niche and envision what your customers are searching for. This doesn’t have to be a blind process, talk to your existing customers and see what type of language they use.
* * Don’t spam keywords, use them organically in your content.
For further study, I recommend Ahrefs Keyword Research Guide.
Is your content useful?
Whatever you do, don’t try to rope people in with keywords only for them to leave 10 seconds later when they discover you aren’t providing any useful information. Google monitors how long people stay on your site pages and this is an important indicator of quality.
- Avoid creating pages with a low word count. You should be aiming for 2,000 words per page, you can get away with less, but make sure it is high quality.
- If your content becomes outdated, try to find time to go back and update facts & figures or add further information.
- Increase visitor site duration by adding appropriate internal links. For example, add a link to your homepage to a pricing page where people can learn more about what’s included in your membership packages.
- Where appropriate, include a clear, compelling call to action.
- Creating written content can be an excellent way to drive traffic to your website. When writing a blog post make sure to write a killer introduction, provide real value and link to relevant articles.
Is your content easy to read?
There are two sides to this point.
Firstly, your content must be easy for Google to read. This means proper formatting, such as using short descriptive page titles, appropriate headers and optimised images.
Secondly, your content must be easy for people to read. This means simple language with no technical jargon or slang. Make sure your choice of font is clear and scannable. Use images that complement your text.
Please remember that you cannot work overnight miracles with SEO. The key to success is consistency, keep these three questions in mind and you will see improvement.
These two checklists offer a superb way to check your content before posting.
Google tell you what they like in this article.
3) Backlinks & SEO
Backlinks help to boost your Google authority score. It works like word-of-mouth recommendations do for a restaurant. The more people who link you in relevant articles, the more Google is convinced that you’re the real deal.
One good route for coworking spaces is to be listed on directories or websites that connect remote workers with workspace. Some of these sites, like coworker.com, will also allow you to gather further reviews from customers.
Drop Desk put together a useful list of these websites here.
Another way to build links is to create valuable, shareable content. This might be in the form of an article, case study, podcast or interview with an influencer. Sit down and think about your unique knowledge or experience. For example, you could do a blog series about the challenges of running a workspace.
Likewise, you can flip this and offer your voice to other websites in the form of guest blogs, podcast appearances or interviews. To find these opportunities you should look for industry publications like All.Work or local papers and business magazines.
For further tips, I would read Ahrefs Noob Friendly Guide To Link Building
So, that’s a wrap!
Good luck spreading the word about your coworking space.
But, before you do… Check out Coherent and how we can help you become the best space you can possibly be.
We’re building some seriously cool stuff that will make your life easier and massively improve your member experience.
Or if you’re done with reading, send me a message at email@example.com. I’m more than happy to call you and let you know what we do.