The virtual world has always been described as the survival of the fittest. 

The SERP ranks and positions can make or break the reputation of any brand.

Every business must look for innovative ways to capture viewers’ attention and scale their sales in the current hyper-competitive world. The same is the case for websites that offer online courses. With a strong online presence, online course websites like Udemy and Coursera have more opportunities to engage with their students and maintain enrolments.

But how do websites ensure that?

Well, through SEO. And what impacts SEO the most – website design. 

The websites for online courses are designed to answer all of your questions about what you will learn in this course. They usually include essential information from current staff and learners, so there’s no need to go searching elsewhere or try out different sites with confusing interface designs before committing!

However, most of the time, these websites often lack on the SEO and digital marketing fronts. Most online courses selling websites may seem credible, but they can’t expect to beat others and stay atop the ranks without a solid SEO plan.

Website design plays a crucial role in SEO success. Your website is the first thing prospective students interact with, so it should go beyond compelling aesthetics. It affects SEO in the following three ways:

  • A quick loading time and an updated site design pleases visitors and search engine alike
  • It boosts your authority and builds trust with the users
  • It makes it easier for the crawlers to index your website

SEO and website design go hand in hand. In order for higher education lead generations to be effective and successful, a website’s design must be taken into consideration. This is because website design can impact a site’s SEO, which can in turn affect how many people see and enroll in an online course. In this blog post, we will discuss how website design impacts SEO for online courses and provide tips on how to optimize your site accordingly. Keep reading to learn more!

Features of a Search Engine-Optimized Web Design

Creating a well-optimized website is a crucial part of higher education SEO strategies. Not only does it help improve your search engine ranking, but it can also increase customer confidence and encourage more web traffic. 

So what makes a website design search engine friendly? 

Let’s find out!

1. Page Should Load in 3 Seconds and Should Have a Score of 90

How fast your course page loads itself is an important search engine factor. When pages take too long to load, users can get frustrated and leave your site quickly. And when Google realizes that your portal is giving a bad experience to the users, it lowers your SERP ranking.

The ideal website loading time is less than 3 seconds. Enhancing the page speed will help you create a thriving institute with a website that boosts conversion. To improve your website speed, you can use a tool called “PageSpeed Insights ”. Page Speed Insights is a tool developed by Google. Its purpose is to help site developers improve the user experience of their sites by improving their speed and performance. The tool provides a report that includes the page’s loading time, size, and the number of requests made. The report also includes suggestions for improving the site’s speed and performance.

Aim for a 90+ Google Page Speed score. That way, your website will load quickly and the user experience of your visitors will improve drastically. 

If your website is taking longer than 3 seconds to fully load, use the following tips to optimize it:

  • Use a CDN
  • Integrate compressed images
  • Minimize the use of redirects
  • Minimize your JS and CSS files
  • Use a caching solution
  • Upgrade your web hosting solution

Note that even a 100-millisecond delay in the loading time can decrease your conversion rate by 7%. A slow website speed works like a kiss of death to all your efforts in your website design. 

2. Website Design Should Be Responsive

As more and more people use smartphones and other mobile devices to browse the internet, it’s important that your website is designed to be responsive. This includes having a responsive layout, which will automatically adapt to fit any device with a display size of 3 inches or wider, as well as making sure your site is compatible with a wide range of browsers and operating systems.

There are plenty of websites online that can help you determine if your website has a responsive design.

One of the best ways to ensure your online course-selling website is effective and engaging for all users is through responsive website design. This type of design allows your site to automatically adjust based on the device that it is being viewed on, ensuring a seamless user experience for all visitors, no matter what type of device they are using.

Google does take responsive website designs into consideration when ranking pages in its search results. This is because responsive designs provide a good user experience by making it easy for users to view and navigate a website on any device, including smartphones and tablets.

3. Conversion Elements of the Website Should Be Easily Accessible

The strategy of every great website is to convert its traffic into paying customers. As for the online courses, every website element should help enhance the visitors’ experience. 

To turn visitors into paying customers, you’ll need to do more than just drive traffic to your site. You’ll need to convince them that the benefits of the product or service outweigh the costs. And you’ll need to let them know how those benefits compare with similar products on your site, or on other sites.

The best way to do this is to create a well-designed, informative sales page that outlines the benefits of your product or service. Your sales page should:

– Be easy to navigate

– Include a strong headline that catches the reader’s attention

– Clearly state the problem that your product or service solves

– Describe the benefits of your product or service in detail

– Use testimonials, reviews, and other social proof to build trust

– Include a strong call to action

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at some landing page examples from other sites to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t.

4. A Custom 404 Page

Most prospective students will inevitably quit your website when a page shows a 404 error. This error occurs when a link breaks or a page doesn’t exist anymore. 

That said, if you sprinkle a bit of creativity, you can compel your visitors to keep exploring other pages of your website without leaving. 

Here are a few ways to make your 404 page contribute to your overall SEO strategy:

  • Design graphics for this page that are customized and catchy
  • Tell students they have followed a broken link, so they must keep looking for more
  • Integrate a search bar functionality to provide students with other options they can explore
  • List the essential web pages on the 404 page and ask learners to check them out

Ideally, an online course website should be enriching without any dead ends. However, escaping the possibility of 404 pages is impossible as they get triggered by minute mistakes. 


A refined website design and search engine optimization are essential to maintaining high traffic for any website.

5. Popups Should Be User Friendly and Not Aggressive

Popups are one of the most common features on websites. They are used to display additional information or to prompt the user to take action. One of the most common ways to use a popup is to display a form or survey which disappears once the user has responded. This is usually preferred to having the form in an entirely separate webpage, as it reduces the amount of time and effort required. 

Popup windows may contain text, images, or even videos.

An online course website may use pop-ups when:

  • They want to grow subscribers list
  • They want to offer promo codes on specific courses
  • They want to highlight their latest faculty members
  • They want to inform about their future endeavors

It is essential to remember that pop-ups may cause extreme user annoyance if used incorrectly. According to a survey by the Coalition of Better Ads, up to 50% of the responders found pop-up ads extremely annoying.

Given that you want students to probe into more details and enroll in your course, you should use pop-up ads that are not overwhelming and contain a clear exit button.

You shouldn’t show pop-ups on every page but avoid using condescending language. A user-friendly pop-up that doesn’t annoy a visitor can increase conversions.

6. Reading Experience of the Website Should Be User-Friendly

There is no doubt that the reading experience on a website should be user-friendly. However, what does user-friendly mean? User-friendly means that the website is easy to read and navigate. The text should be easy to read, and the navigation should be intuitive.

There are a number of ways to improve the readability of a website, including:

1. Use typography to improve readability

2. Use whitespace to improve legibility

3. Choose the right color scheme for your website

4. Use images to break up the monotony of text and add visual flair to your website

5. Use multimedia elements such as audio and video to keep visitors engaged

6. Use colors, shapes, volume, fonts, and other visual elements to create a visual hierarchy and highlight important information

7. Use meaningful headings, subheadings, and lists to simplify complex content for your users

8. Use icons and other visuals to help users navigate your website easily

9. Use animations and transitions sparingly to avoid overwhelming users

Instead of providing lengthy details, online course websites should leverage short texts, vibrant colors, and styles to make their content scannable and easy to understand. This will significantly impact their website design and SEO.

7. Easy to Navigate Structure of the Website

The framework of every website is centered around a robust navigation system. A navigation bar follows the same convention of integrating drop-down menus under broad categories and headings.

Nowadays, many educational websites are designing new layouts to enhance their efficiency and versatility. Instead of tapping their way to different sections of the website, scrolling favors the mobile and desktop versions of the website.

Three common navigation patterns for educational websites are:

  • Fixed navigation: This is the menu that sits in the same place. These are helpful on long scrolling pages where the users might get confused.
  • Left navigation: A left navigation allows you to list essential sections on the side horizontally when you need more links.
  • Mega menus: A mega menu is the oversized drop-down menu that takes up a large portion of the page, vertically and horizontally

An SEO-optimized website design will keep your website atop the SERP ranks.

Is a Custom Website Better for SEO?

Is a custom website better for SEO than a CMS-based website? While there is no definitive answer to this question, there are some factors that you should consider when determining whether or not a custom website is the best option for your business’s online presence.

One of the main advantages of using a custom website is that it gives you more flexibility and control over the appearance and functionality of your website. With a CMS-based website, you typically have to rely on templates or predesigned options that may not be exactly what you’re looking for in terms of design or functionality. A custom website is designed specifically to meet your needs and preferences, so if these are important considerations for you, then a custom website may be the better option.

Additionally, because a custom website is designed specifically with your business’s needs and requirements in mind, it can also help to improve your SEO ranking by ensuring that you are conveying all of the information that search engines need to determine how relevant and valuable your website is to users. However, it’s important to note that a custom website will not guarantee better SEO results; it is just one of many factors that can influence your ranking.

So, ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use a custom website comes down to your specific needs and goals. If you want more control over the design and functionality of your website and believe that this will help you to achieve better SEO results, then a custom website may be the best option for you. However, if you’re not as concerned about these factors or don’t believe that they would have a significant impact on your business’s online presence, then a CMS-based website like WordPress is more SEO friendly and seems a more suitable solution. Whichever option you choose, it’s important to work with a qualified web developer who can help you to create a website that meets your needs and maximizes your online success.


This wraps up our blog on how website design impacts SEO for online courses. Hopefully, we were able to provide you with the clarity you needed. The design of your website is a critical aspect of your online courses’ SEO. 

A well-designed website that is user-friendly and easy to navigate will help keep visitors on your site longer, decreasing the bounce rate and improving the time-on-page metric. This, in turn, will improve the overall ranking of your website with search engines.

Design is a critical factor in the conversion of any website, including online course websites. The layout, colors, fonts, and images on your website should be chosen to support the message you want to communicate and the goals you want to achieve. A well-designed website will help potential students feel confident about enrolling in your courses and provide them with all the information they need to make a decision. 

After the pandemic, educators focus on internet marketing and the question is how to market online courses.

In order for your website to convert traffic into paying students, it must be easy to use and navigate, visually appealing, and trustworthy. If you’re not happy with your website’s conversion rate, consider hiring us (Think Orion) – a renowned digital marketing agency. We offer the best SEO services for universities and colleges.