Marketing your online courses in a highly complex & competitive industry can be considerably tricky. There are so many marketing approaches course creators can leverage to promote their courses – from paid ads to organic marketing.
However, SEO is by far the most effective.
Creating effective SEO strategies for online courses can help ensure that search engines accurately understand and categorize your content, making it easier for relevant users to find what they need.
According to HubSpot’s 2022 survey, 70% of online marketers claim SEO is better than paid marketing for generating sales. For online learning websites, SEO can be significant to not just increase their traffic numbers but also engage interested students (or leads) to their valuable learning resources.
Defined SEO strategies allow you to analyze competitors, discover new search terms, improve the content, and enhance the website user experience, among other optimizations.
In this blog post, we’ll look at some exciting SEO tips for online courses and e-learning websites. Stick around if you want to turn your online course into a bestseller.
What Every SEO Strategy Must Have?
HubSpot’s State of the Marketing report of 2022 mentions that 61% of B2B marketers consider SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative. This means that your SEO strategy must identify and optimize multiple aspects, including on-page, off-page, technical, and several others.
10 SEO Strategies for Online Course Creators-2023
Here are some exclusive SEO tips for online course websites looking to increase traffic and feature themselves as value-driven education providers.
1. Relevant Keyword Research
Keyword research and strategy determine the correct search terms that your target audiences are using over search engines. Keywords are beneficial when planning your content strategy to make your online courses easily searchable across different digital touchpoints.
The ideal place to begin your keyword research is on search engines, predominantly Google. Here is a great example to demonstrate basic keyword research for online courses.
When you type in the basic term i.e., ‘Online courses’, Google will complete the search with popular terms as shown above.
As one of the most crucial SEO tips for online course websites, course creators should keep in mind that targeting high search volume keywords is not always the best growth trigger. Top search terms that have the highest search volume are also highly contested by competing online course providers.
To avoid competing directly with one of these “more established” brands, it is ideal to target low search volume (or low traffic) keywords.
For example, don’t target programming courses or Python classes. Instead, go for “online programming courses for beginners,” so you’ll get low competition traffic. Once your website starts getting traffic, Google will gradually push you up in the SERPs. By leveraging low KD traffic, your website will have enough juice to rank on keywords with higher difficulty.
The dashboard snapshot from the SEMRush Keyword Magic tool above displays two important factors including the “Trend” and “KD%”. While trend indicates how popular the keyword is among users, the KD% or keyword difficulty indicates how competitive ranking your online course is on this term.
2. Focus on Your Content Structure
Once we have the complete keyword research, it’s time to begin using them across valuable content pieces to make them more searchable. Marketers recommend that your content should be informative, easily readable, and easily searchable for your audiences.
Understanding your audience’s needs, creating valuable content around the solution, and integrating your target keywords within this content are how you make the reading experience worth it. We recommend using three essentials components to create a great content marketing strategy:
- Use short, readable sentences
- Create quick and highly targeted introductions
- Provide Value. Value. Value
Some of the most popular types of content marketing pillars that online course providers create include blog posts, email campaigns, videos, podcasts, webinars, social media posts, e-books, and white papers.
Creating online courses is a strategic task on its own, but creating content optimized for search engines requires following certain best practices that include:
Accessible Links – Internal linking of different course pages of your online education website is a great way to facilitate users to navigate different pages, establish the information hierarchy and increase the ranking power of your website, according to Moz.
Content-Length – Longer content is the preferred length for a good SEO marketing campaign. HubSpot identified in recent research that blogs between 2000 and 2500 words perform better.
Content Tags – The content Meta tags (namely title and description) are essential parts of the SEO strategy that primarily describes what a web page is about, its target audience, and how to read its content.
Headings and Subheads – Headings and subheadings are meant to make landing pages organized for both search engines to crawl content easily, and users to navigate around pages better. Your headings should preferably describe the content that follows and consider not using too many keywords within the headings.
Images Alt Text – The image alt text is a content tag for your images to crawl easily in search engines since they can’t see visuals. It’s also an excellent tactic to feature your exclusive images with a concise description for your users, especially if the image fails to load.
CTA – The call to action button is an essential part of your SEO content. CTAs are meant to engage users to perform a certain action, like signup for a newsletter, go to the pricing page, or view a list of available courses on a website. CTAs like “Enroll Now” or “Free Enrollment” should exist on almost every page of your website, calling users to perform targeted actions.
3. Optimize For On-Page SEO
One of the tested SEO strategies for online courses to generate traffic is excellent on-page optimization. Good on-page SEO practices ensure your users can navigate conveniently, while search engines can crawl page content and context more effectively. This basically means your website pages rank higher in searches.
Adding keywords to your web pages is only one aspect of on-page SEO.
Here is a quick explanation of the ranking system:
- The first thing Google does is “crawl,” or scan, web pages.
- The page might then be “indexed” on Google. The purpose of the page and how it should be ranked are determined by a variety of variables, including on-site SEO factors.
- A page that Google agrees to the index can subsequently be reached via Google Search.
- However, Google does not promise that each page will be indexed. Or appear at all in search results.
- Therefore, it’s crucial to adjust the on-page SEO components discussed below so that they accurately convey your page’s purpose to Google.
- This will enable it to rank you for pertinent search terms in the search results.
Here are the most common on-page SEO attributes that online course providers should optimize across their websites:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Internal links
- Image Alt-text
4. Optimize For Search Intent
As an online course provider, you may have great education and marketing content, but have you considered why it’s not performing extremely well? Backlinko discusses in its interesting guide that it is necessary to identify the keyword search intent to grow traffic effectively.
Backlinko explains that search engines notice user experience, and optimizing content with user search intent makes it more noticeable. Since the object is to get as many visitors into your marketing funnel, it is simply justified to understand the different ways students search for your services.
For example, you create a blog of the best online business courses of 2022, but it does not rank on the primary keyword which is “best online business course.”
If you notice the trend in top Google searches, to optimize your content for search intent, it’s a great idea to improvise your topic into a countdown or ranking. For instance, you can retitle your blog “10 best online business courses of 2022 to advance your career”.
5. Find & Fix Technical SEO Issues
Identifying and fixing technical SEO issues is a crucial step to crawling and indexing your online course marketing and website pages. Professionals term technical SEO as the “behind the scenes” activities to optimize your website’s performance in terms of speed & accessibility over different platforms and devices.
Fixing technical SEO issues is generally complex and requires professional audit and oversight. There are several online SEO audit tools, including those from SEMRush and AHREFs, that can instantly identify technical SEO issues within your website.
The most popular technical SEO factors that can cause issues within an eLearning website include the following:
- XML sitemaps
- Site architecture
- URL structure
- Structured data
- Thin content
- Duplicate content
- Canonical tags
- 404 pages
- 301 redirects
6. Build Relevant Backlinks to Your Page
Backlinks are one of the most crucial and excellent strategies to make your online course website SEO friendly. Both SEMRush and WebFX establish that websites with a higher number of backlinks tend to have higher search rankings.
More backlinks mean stronger SEO roots, with multiple websites referring visitors to your web pages. Search engines love this, they will rank your content higher, and your website will have higher domain authority.
The most popular way online learning websites create backlinks is by publishing high-quality/high-value content that other websites and platforms will link to. Creating partnerships with influencers, professionals, and other organizations can provide a great source of backlinks that can not only increase traffic but also enrollments.
Social media is an excellent way to engage with popular education professionals and influencers, engaging them to share your content with audiences. LinkedIn, for instance, is one of the most popular places to engage professionals & influencers to promote online courses to B2B audiences.
7. Improve User Experience
Digital marketers establish that Google aims to provide users with a great experience through the relevant information in their searches. The user experience includes several aspects of your online course website, including the design and the ease of navigation.
Professionals recommend that online learning websites should have a clean design with a professional look. Menus and navigation should be organized to offer relevant links to visitors, while a search bar should be clearly visible for assistance.
Some of the most impeccable examples of simplified online course website user experience come from industry leaders Udemy and Coursera.
8. Format Content for Featured Snippets
Featured content snippets are the ideal answers to questions-based search queries. For example, when we search for the query “what is an online course”, we get the following featured snippet content
Professional SEOs recommend that to appear in the featured snippet, online course providers should look to answer important student questions in blogs and in landing pages. Creating an FAQ can provide your online learning website to answer multiple questions in detail, enhancing your SEO ranking opportunities.
Neil Patel discussed that in-depth Google keyword search, discovering content ideas on AnswerthePublic, and answering multiple user questions are the best ways to feature in the top snippet.
All this strategic planning and implementation may sound overwhelming. Yes, it is. You can always consider engaging an online promotion agency specializing in online course marketing management to assist you through the process.
9. Audit Your Competitors
One of the most effective SEO tips for online course platforms is to keep an eye on the competition. Analyzing competitor SEO strategies will identify their weaknesses, strengths, essential SEO tactics, and backlinks.
SEMRush recommends its Organic Research tool to identify your closest competing online course websites that also work on the exact keywords. The tool identifies organic competitors, the keywords they compete with, and the domains they backlink with.
10. Add Schema Markup
Schema markup is structured data, a language search engines use to identify, analyze, and understand website content. Search engines like google then categorize and characterize content to later display for relevant keyword searches.
The schema markup is a handy tactic to make an online course website SEO-friendly since it allows your content to compete for the featured snippets we mentioned above. You can feature important answers to significant audience questions, attracting a larger audience.
Why Is SEO So Powerful for Course Creators?
For course creators, SEO is a powerful tool to increase online traffic and enhance the quality of visitors to their learning websites. Experts discuss that there are several benefits of using SEO tips for online course websites:
- Access to a larger audience
- Increase online traffic
- Enhance brand awareness
- Grow ROI
- Low-cost and long-term tactic
- Provides a better understanding of the target audience
How to Start Your Online Courses SEO Campaign
Starting an online course SEO campaign requires careful planning and strategy. Here are some critical steps to get started:
- Research competitors
- Define your target audience
- Audit your website
- Create educational content
- Build relationships
- Monitor and adjust
By following these steps, you can create an effective and successful SEO campaign for your online course.
The online course & learning industry is a highly competitive sector that requires platforms to be consistent and value-driven in their SEO marketing efforts. Increasing traffic, conversions, and ROI require implementing tactical SEO tips for online courses and tuning different aspects of websites to achieve multiple goals.
Concentrating on the right keywords, creating valuable content, tweaking on-page & off-page elements, and fixing technical errors are some of the most popular SEO strategies for online courses to increase search engine rankings.
At ThinkOrion, we offer you in-depth SEO guides to provide your online course website with the ideal building blocks to grow as an authority. Our premium digital marketing plans are designed to offer your eLearning platform a centralized solution to optimize traffic & conversion numbers while boosting your ROI.