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SEO for Coworking Spaces: A Step-By-Step Guide

Drive traffic to your website and generate leads with this complete guide to coworking SEO
By Kelly K
February 7, 2024
SEO for Coworking Spaces: A Step-By-Step Guide

There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this article, it’s because of SEO.

SEO is both oversimplified and not well understood. Part art, part science, it can leave even the most experienced SEO’ers scratching their head at times.

Even so, there are a number of best practices and recommendations that we give to anyone who is looking to master SEO for their coworking space. So, we put it in this guide.

In this article, we’ll demystify SEO for coworking spaces in 2024. Rather than covering every aspect of SEO, we’ll focus on the most relevant topics that you need to understand to be successful as a coworking operator right now.

By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start ranking for relevant keywords and bring high quality traffic to your website. Let’s get started!

What is search engine optimization (SEO)?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the likelihood that your business will appear on the first page of search engines.

Because Google makes up over 90% of search market share worldwide, most people consider search engine optimization to be synonymous with Google optimization. 

Technically speaking however, you can optimize for different search engines (ie. Bing), but it isn’t common. Rather, people tend to focus on ranking their website in Google search, with the understanding that articles that perform well in Google, tend to perform well in other search engines. In this article, we’ll use Google and search engines synonymously. 

Types of SEO

There are four primary types of SEO that are relevant to coworking spaces: on-page, off-page, technical, and local. All of these elements work synergistically to improve your visibility in search engines. 

    • On-page SEO: actions you take on your website, like using H1 tags and keywords
    • Off-page SEO: actions you take in places other than your website, like generating backlinks
    • Technical SEO: technical actions you take on your website, like site structure and proper canonicalization
    • Local SEO: actions you take to improve ranking your website locally, like setting up a Google Business Profile

While all types are important for coworking spaces, local SEO usually comes out on top. We’ll discuss this in detail later on.

What is SEO for coworking spaces?

SEO for coworking spaces refers to the process of improving the visibility of coworking space businesses in search engines. It is usually part of a larger coworking marketing strategy.

There are general SEO best practices that everyone should follow, regardless of what industry you’re in. Then there are specific subsets of tactics that are helpful for your industry.

For example, all businesses will want a fast website that is well structured and uses proper H1 tags. 

From here, ecommerce websites will want to focus more on ranking product pages, SaaS websites are more likely to write in-depth educational guides, and coworking spaces will be highly focused on local SEO. 

Why is SEO important for coworking spaces?

Benefits of SEO for Coworking Spaces

SEO is important for coworking spaces because it helps you capture the demand for coworking spaces in search engines and attract members at a relatively low cost.

Let’s say someone is new to a city and they want to join a coworking space. Chances are, they’re going to go to Google and search for something like “coworking space near me.”

After this, a list of coworking spaces will appear. They will select one of the first coworking spaces on the list, or the coworking space with the most positive reviews. They won’t scroll much further than the first few listings.

If your website and business profile are well optimized, your space will show up near the top of search and people will easily be able to find you. If not, you’re missing out on lots of potential customers.

Benefits of coworking SEO

Benefits of search engine optimization for coworking spaces includes:

  • Increases visibility for potential members
  • Generates brand awareness
  • Is a low-cost marketing tactic
  • Considered a long-term growth tactic

Those who do SEO well are those who understand it is a long-term investment with the potential to pay off in dividends down the road.

When is SEO not a good choice for coworking spaces?

Although everyone starting a coworking space can benefit from SEO, it is not the ideal marketing strategy for your coworking business if you: 

  • Need to acquire members immediately: SEO takes a long time to start working, anywhere from 6 months to a year depending on the age of your domain and your industry. If you need leads tomorrow, invest your resources in paid media strategies.
  • Do not have a lot of resources: SEO is a resource-intensive strategy. If you do not have the internal resources to dedicate to SEO, you will likely not see the results from it that you are looking for.

SEO is a long-term, resource intensive marketing strategy. It’s not good for getting members tomorrow, but be consistent and it’s excellent at getting members for many years to come.

A word of caution about SEO before we begin

It’s important to note that there is no way to guarantee that your website will rank well in search engines. There are thousands of ranking factors and Google is updating its algorithm constantly (read more about Google updates here). 

Many industries are reporting their SEO efforts showing diminishing returns year over year as search becomes more competitive and AI uproots the industry.

SEO is an incredibly effective channel, but it is never a panacea. Thus, it’s important to keep your expectations in check when it comes to what SEO can and can’t do for your business. 

The good news is, despite these challenges, coworking operators can still benefit greatly from some form of search engine optimization.

How to optimize your coworking website

Optimize your coworking website and rank higher in search engines

Before getting into the nitty gritty of coworking SEO, let’s unpack how to set up and optimize your coworking website. There are many steps you can take at the beginning of your website journey to set you up for positive search engine rankings down the road.

1. Host your website on WordPress

We often see new coworking operators hosting their website on a website builder like Wix, Squarespace, or maybe even their coworking space software provider if they have one. 

However, there is a reason why no large professional business use builders like these.

While these website builders make it easy for anyone to get a website up and running, they are not a good idea for SEO. These website builders limit the control you have over your website. With all of the ranking factors in Google, you want to be able to control and manipulate as much of your website as you can.

It is possible to rank with a Wix or Squarespace website. The problem is, if your website doesn’t rank well, you’re far more limited in what you can do to improve it.

You’ll be much better off hosting your website yourself, ideally on WordPress.org, and hiring a freelance developer to build your site for you. It is a larger up-front investment, but will pay off in the long run. 

2. Get your analytics tools up and running

Once you have a domain and a live website, you’ll want to set up some basic data and analytics tools. These will help you understand how your site is performing and the impact of your SEO efforts.

There are two free tools that are most commonly used to analyze website performance – Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

  • Google Analytics (GA4) gives you information about your website including the number of users to your website, where these users are coming from, and what pages are most popular. Google Analytics is a free and powerful tool that every website owner should be leveraging. Learn how to set up GA4.  
  • Google Search Console tells you information about how well your site is performing in Google search including number of clicks and position tracking for high-intent queries. It’s very powerful for SEO because you can directly tell if what you’re doing is working. Learn how to set up Google Search Console. 

There are many many other tools you can leverage for your website, but these are the two to start with first. Here are seven free digital marketing tools to help you optimize your coworking space website

Join our We Run Flex Community for Coworking and Flex Space Leaders

3. Complete your one-time SEO basics

There is a list of basic SEO practices that every person should do when they get their website up and running. Those basics are:

✔️ Install an SEO plugin on wordpress. The most popular choices of SEO plugins include Yoast SEO and RankMath. These will help you with everything else we’ll discuss in this article, from generating a sitemap to completing meta descriptions. Best part? They’re free to use. 

✔️ Create a sitemap. A sitemap is a file that helps search engines find your website. If your website is on WordPress, then your sitemap will automatically be created for you. Otherwise, you can generate one using a sitemap generator.

✔️ Submit the sitemap to Google. Once you have your sitemap, submit it to Google Search Console. This will allow Google to find your website. 

✔️ Create a Robots.txt file. A robots.txt file will tell search engines which pages it should and shouldn’t crawl. Again, WordPress will automatically create this for you.

✔️ Make sure your site is indexed. Finally, check that your site is indexed in Google Search Console. This means Google can find and recognize your website.

Congratulations! Your website is now discoverable in Google. Now it’s time for the fun part.

Technical SEO for coworking websites

Technical SEO focuses on improving the technical aspects of your website in order to increase search rankings. It is foundational to the success of your website.

We recommend working on the technical aspects of your website at launch and then completing a technical audit every 3-6 months or as needed. 

Technical SEO checklist for when you launch your website

✔️ Is your site mobile-friendly? Mobile responsiveness is a major Google ranking factor. Make sure your site is easily accessed via mobile devices and looks good.

✔️ Is your site speed over 90? Use a tool like pagespeed insights to check the speed of your site. A higher site speed means a better chance of ranking.

✔️ Do you have HTTPS set up? This is a sign to Google that your site is secure. It’s easy to set-up – simply install a SSL certificate on your website using a wordpress plugin.

✔️ Do you have any orphaned pages? An orphaned page is a page that is not linked from any other page. Avoid orphaned pages by creating a comprehensive Footer that includes links to all pages not mentioned in the top navigation.

✔️ Are you using a clean URL structure? Your URL structure refers to what comes after your domain. Keep your URLs as short as possible. For example, instead of using domain.com/all-membership-plans-coworking, use domain.com/plans. 

Use a clean structure from the beginning to avoid setting up redirects in the future.

Ongoing technical SEO checklist 

As you consider the technical health of your website, you’ll want to look at all of the pieces above as well as a few additional pieces. 

✔️ Are there any issues with indexing? Check Google Search Console errors to ensure your pages are being indexed. That means that Google is able to find your website and it is showing in search results.

✔️ Is there proper canonicalization? Canonical tags help search engines know which webpage they should be looking for. Ensure that there are proper tags on the pages where they are needed.

✔️ Are there any 404s? A large number of 404 redirects and broken links is a bad sign to search. Check to make sure there aren’t any redirects and if there are, set up the necessary 404 redirects using a plugin in WordPress.

✔️ Are there any duplicate pages? Sometimes pages can accidentally be duplicated, such as if there is an HTTP version of the page and a HTTPS. Do a scan to ensure there are no duplicate pages and consolidate duplicates as necessary. 

On-page optimization for coworking spaces

On-page optimization includes all of the work that you do on your own website including using relevant keywords, proper heading tags, internal linking, and so much more. When most people think of SEO, they think of on-page optimization. 

One of the core tenets of on-page optimization is keywords. Keywords are words that you strategically target throughout your content to increase the chances of your website being shown to the right people. Finding and targeting the right keywords can make or break your entire SEO strategy.

Relevant keywords for coworking spaces

Most businesses will conduct keyword research to find out exactly what queries their customers are putting into Google related to their business.

For coworking spaces, the relevant keywords you’ll likely want to target are:

  • Coworking space [city]
  • Best coworking space in [city]
  • [niche] coworking space [city]
  • Private offices for lease [city]
  • Meeting rooms for rent [city]
  • Shared office space [city]

Notice how all of these terms include the name of your city. We’ll get into this a bit later when we discuss local SEO, but targeting localized keywords is very important for coworking spaces.

Writing a blog about private offices will not likely get you the traffic you want. However, having a highly relevant product landing page associated with private offices for rent in Los Angeles, California will be much more likely to bring in high-intent leads. 

For those just starting out, these keywords are likely enough to get started. If you’d like to conduct keyword research, check out Google Keyword Planner to get a list of keywords relevant to your business. Look for keywords that have a low difficulty rating and a high search volume to target.

Incorporating keywords into your website

Let’s say you are a coworking space in LA and you want your homepage to rank for “coworking space Los Angeles”. Here’s how to do just that:

Think about the intent of the keyword. Keyword intent is a very important and often overlooked part of SEO. What does someone want when they type in that keyword? What are they looking for and how can you give them all of the information that they need? 

Someone searching for a coworking space in LA probably wants to know how much it costs, the amenities in the space, what other people think of it, what the coworking space is about, and where it is located.

Include the keyword in your H1 heading. This is the heading or title of your webpage. In our example, we would make the title of our homepage, “A Community-Driven Los Angeles Coworking Space”. This is the biggest text on the page and the first thing people will see.

Answer all top questions on your webpage. Because we want our homepage to rank for the keyword, we would include a section on our homepage for:

  • Amenities offered in the space
  • Membership plans available
  • Social proof featuring positive reviews
  • Pictures of the space
  • About section describing the community

Throughout these sections, we would look to include our keyword and variations on our keyword including “coworking space in los angeles” and “LA coworking space”.

Avoid keyword stuffing or using keywords too much in unnatural ways. It’s always better to write in a way that feels natural and human rather than robotic.

On-page optimization checklist

Consider these on-page optimization best practices when writing content for your website

✔️ Include your keyword in the title tag. Your title tag is what appears in Google. It can be different from the H1 tag on your webpage. Ensure your title is short enough to appear in search engines while including your keyword. Keep it to less than 150 characters.

✔️ Write a meta description. Every web page should have a meta description. This is a brief description of what someone can expect the webpage to be about. Include the keyword in the meta description.

✔️ Ensure images are less than 150 mb. Optimize your images using an image optimization program like squoosh. Keep your images to less than 150 mb and serve them in next-gen format (webp) as much as possible.

✔️ Make content easy to read and understand. Ensure your copywriting can be understood at a glance. Make your copy clear and compelling to encourage visitors to continue through the rest of the website.

✔️ Add alt-text to images. Add descriptive alt-text to the images that you include on your website. Use keywords in the alt text when it makes sense, but avoid alt text spam or stuffing your alt text with keywords as Google will read this as spam.

✔️ Use headings and clear structure throughout your content. If you have different sections throughout a page of your website, separate them with appropriate H2 tags. Make these H2 tags descriptive of the questions someone has at that time. For example, if you are talking about the amenities your coworking space offers, the H2 tag could be “Amenities for You to Enjoy”

The most important thing when it comes to effective on-page optimization is, as they say in SEO, content is king. 

Focus on writing copy that is clear, easy to understand, and captures the intent of the reader.

Off-page SEO for coworking websites

Off-page SEO for coworking websites like backlinking, generating local press, social media

Off-page SEO is one of the lesser known types of SEO, especially for beginners. However, it’s extremely important.

Off-page optimization helps signal to search engines that your site is an authority figure, and it can often be the difference between a 2nd page and 1st page ranking. Here are three high-impact off-page SEO tactics for coworking spaces.

Build a backlink strategy

Generating backlinks is somewhat controversial in the SEO world. While some swear their website improved drastically solely after building backlinks, others say it is an irrelevant ranking factor.

What most people do agree on is that the more reputable sources are talking about your business, the better it is for you. Instead of getting as many backlinks as possible, focus on generating high quality backlinks from other relevant businesses, like other coworking spaces, local businesses, or your software providers.

  • Make a list of websites that are relevant to your business that have a good domain rating. A high domain rating is a sign of a trustworthy website and it means that backlink will be worth more.  
  • Reach out to these websites offering a guest blog (if relevant) or a link exchange. A guest blog is where you write a post for someone else’s website and include a link to your space in it. A link exchange is where you offer to add a link to their website on your website in exchange for a link on theirs.
  • Focus on building partnerships. Backlink building is incredibly challenging, and everyone appreciates a partnership approach. Focus on developing ongoing partner relationships with relevant businesses rather than trying to get as many links as you can.

Generating local press

Coworking spaces are in a prime position to benefit from some local press. Local media companies are always looking for things happening around the city. 

If your space has an interesting concept or you frequently host events, consider reaching out to local media companies to cover them. They’re fairly easy to pitch to via email.

Generating some press can help you build credibility and raise awareness, as well as generate backlinks and increase traffic to your site to benefit you from an SEO perspective.

Posting on social media

Social media helps build your brand and drive people to your website. Search engines see a lot of referral traffic from social media channels like Facebook or LinkedIn to be a positive signal of a highly relevant webpage.

The best part is, posting on social media is free and easy for anyone to do. Check out this guide for how to promote your coworking space on social media.

Local SEO for coworking spaces

Local SEO for coworking spaces include creating a google business profile and adding listing

Finally, it’s time to talk about local SEO. Local SEO is the secret sauce for coworking owners and operators. If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this: local SEO is your best friend.

Local SEO is defined as the practice of increasing search engine visibility for local, brick-and-mortar, businesses.

According to SEMrush, Google uses three main factors in it’s local search algorithms to help businesses rank:

  • Relevance: how related your business is to the search query entered
  • Distance: how close a business is to someone when they search
  • Prominence: how important or notable a business is 

Mastering all of the practices we discussed in this guide will improve the possibility of ranking for local search terms by increasing your prominence in search. However, there are additional tactics that coworking spaces should implement to improve their rankings. 

The most notable? Google Business Profile.

Create a Google Business Profile

If you search for a keyword like “coworking space Vancouver”, you’ll most likely see a map and a collection of businesses in the search results before you ever see a website link. This is what’s known as the Google Map Pack, and these are Google Business Profiles.

Google Business Profiles, formally known as Google my Business, are business listings that include important information about your business including hours of operation, reviews, photos, and more. Optimizing your Google Business Profile increases your chances of appearing high on the list in the Google Map Pack, therefore increasing your overall visibility. 

In this blog, we go into how to optimize your Google Business Profile in detail if you’re interested in learning more. Here are the three most important things you can do to improve your chances of ranking high in search results.

Fill out all of the information on your profile. When you set up your free profile, you’ll be asked to fill out information around hours of operations, location address, website link, and more. 

Complete all of the information that you can and add a few photos to build a complete profile. This is a simple step, but many operators fail to add all of this information!

Gather positive reviews (and reply to them). Hands down, the best thing you can do for your listing is get positive reviews from your members. The more positive reviews you have, the better your prominence signals will be to Google.

Some of the best ways we’ve heard of getting positive reviews from members include:

  • Ask your most loyal members for reviews (think: the ones who have been with you the longest and who you have a good relationship with)
  • Include a QR code at the front desk that will take people to the review page
  • Leave a link to review the space in your onboarding email flows
  • Incentivize and/or gamify positive reviews

The trick is to catch people right after they’ve had a positive interaction with your space so that the experience is top-of-mind. And don’t forget to reply to all of your reviews!

Update your listing regularly.

Keep your profile up to date and update it as often as you can, ideally at least once a week. This could mean answering a question, adding an image of the space, or replying to a review. Anything that shows that the listing is updated regularly is a positive signal to Google.

Having a comprehensive, well-reviewed Google Business Profile is the best way to improve your local SEO rankings. However, there are a few other tactics you can do as well, which we’ll discuss below.

Ensure your name, address, and phone number are consistent online

Your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are key elements of your business that Google wants to know about. Ensure that this information is consistent wherever it’s posted online, whether that’s on a social media account or a partner listing page.

One of the best places to put your NAP is in the footer of your website, as well as a Contact Us page. Make sure this text is crawlable by Google by avoiding using an image to convey this information. Rather, build it right into the footer itself by embedding Google Maps into your website.

Add your listing to directories and citations

Your Google Business Profile is just one online business listing. There are many other places to list your business online including Yelp, Apple Maps, Facebook, and more. 

Local business listings and citations play a critical role in improving local SEO for your coworking space. You can check your local listing score using this free checker by Moz.

You can choose to add your coworking space to listings and create citations manually or you can use a data aggregator like Express Update.

Our recommendation is to list your space in the most important listings first (the four mentioned in this article are a good place to start), then use an aggregator to cover everything else. The most important thing to remember about this process is to make sure your information is consistent across all platforms, especially your NAP. 

Join the We Run Flex Community for Coworking and Flex Space Leaders

Get started with SEO for coworking spaces

SEO is a vast topic that can often feel overwhelming for coworking spaces just starting out. For that reason, we usually recommend starting with the basics and employing an external resource when needed to help optimize your listings.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while SEO is a strong marketing tactic for coworking owners and operators, there are many other tactics that may prove more fruitful for you. 

Take an experimental approach with your marketing, try as many tactics as you comfortably can, and keep track of what works and what doesn’t. It’s the only way to figure out the best way to market your coworking space.

Looking for more marketing inspiration? Check out this article outlining 23 ideas to market your coworking space.