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How to Use SEO to Maximize Online Course Sales

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In this LearnDash webinar, we review best practices for optimizing online courses for SEO. Discussion topics include creating a solid process for search engine optimization, researching and selecting keywords, mapping keywords to content, and optimizing content for on-page SEO.

Published in: Internet
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How to Use SEO to Maximize Online Course Sales

  1. 1. Use Search Engine Optimization to Maximize Online Course Sales
  2. 2. FORMULATE A STRUCTURED SEO PLAN TO EXECUTE 1 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  3. 3. Web Savvy Marke,ng Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved •  Ask questions about you and your target market •  Review your existing data and history •  Research competitors for keywords and tactics Research •  Build a seed list of preferred keywords •  Pull search volumes •  Score for Relevance •  Create a sitemap and plan for keywords Plan •  Write quality content •  Optimize content for SEO and usability •  Promote and link build •  Reverse engineer your success and repeat Execute SEO starts and ends with a structured process!
  4. 4. ASK QUESTIONS - LOTS AND LOTS OF QUESTIONS2 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  5. 5. Ask Lots of Questions ü  Who are you? ü  What do you do? ü  What makes you different? ü  Who do you compete with? ü  Who do you help? ü  How can you help them? ü  What problems do your visitors have? ü  What ques;ons do they want to ask? ü  Can you answer any of these ques;ons with courses, products, pages, or blog posts? The first step in your SEO journey is to ask questions about you & your visitor: 5 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  6. 6. PERFORM RESEARCH - LOTS AND LOTS OF RESEARCH3 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  7. 7. Perform Competitive Research If you want to beat your competition,you have to truly know who you compete with inside and out.Spend time researching your competitors and you’ll be rewarded. 7 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  8. 8. Build a Seed List of Possible Keywords ü  Your own ideas ü  Manual varia;ons of ini;al search phrases ü  Reports, presenta;ons, course outlines, emails ü  Google Search Console’s Search Analy;cs and Google Analy;cs reports ü  Google Adwords reports (adver;sers only) ü  Google auto suggest and related searches ü  Bing Webmaster Tools ü  Compe;tors’ visual content and sitemaps (HTML & XML) ü  Compe;tors’ meta ;tles and descrip;ons ü  Keywords found in SpyFu or SEMrush (you & your compe;tors) ü  Sugges;ons from tools like KW Finder Keywords are everywhere so keep your eyes and your mind open.Once you start thinking about keywords,you’ll see endless possibilities. 8 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  9. 9. What’s Your Keyword Focus? ü  Brainstorm the topic you plan on wri;ng about and write down the key points you’ll cover in the piece of content. ü  Write down a 5-10 search phrases you think would pertain to this topic. ü  Search for each phrase in Google and review who and what shows up on page one of the search engine results page. ü  Document any phrases that show a weakness and/or where you create beXer content. ü  U;lize the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool or KW Finder to view monthly search volumes for each phrase. ü  Narrow your op;ons down to obtainable search terms – aka not 60,000 phrases per month in search traffic. ü  Think about how easy it would be to cra` a course ;tle or opening sentence with the exact phrase you’re considering. Before you write your first course,ask yourself what keyword phrase you would like this content to rank for in search. Not sure? Let’s walk through picking the right one. 9 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  10. 10. Keyword Selection Warning! Before you proceed further,as yourself two very important questions. 10 Is the keyword precise enough or is it generic? Have you used this keyword before in other courses, products, pages, posts, categories, or tags? 1 2 Keyword Volume Difficulty Comment guitar lessons 73,990 55 Too broad learn to play guitar 18,186 45 Bad English guitar courses 260 38 Good online guitar course 320 52 Good learn how to play the guitar by yourself 168 31 Good Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  11. 11. Create a Keyword to Content Sitemap This isn’t an HTML or XML sitemap.It’s a roadmap for you to use in writing content. 11 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill Keyword Loca,on online guitar courses Main Course Page guitar course for beginners Course acous;c guitar course Course electric guitar course Course guitar instructor About learn how to play the guitar by yourself Blog Post Do not posi;on your course page and product page for the same keyword. You’ll compete against yourself and Google will degrade you in search due to confusion. Do not assign keywords to content that is protected by logins/subscrip;ons. Pro Tips for Optimization
  12. 12. WRITE CONTENT THAT USERS & SEARCH ENGINES WILL LOVE 2 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  13. 13. Longer Content Wins With Everyone Better for Keyword Ranking A serpIQ 2012 showed: •  The average content length of each of the top 10 results was more than 2,000 words. •  The average number of words for the content in the #1 spot was 2,416. •  For the #10 spot, the average number of words was 2,032. Better for Obtaining Social Media Shares & Inbound Links People tend to share longer content on social media more then shorter content. People also tend to link into longer content than they would a shorter ar;cle or post. Better for Conversions Website conversions can also be altered by content. The longer the content, the more likely the conversion. 13 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill 1 2 3 Long-form content has a variety of numbers assigned to it on the web.Long-form content is at least 1,000 or 1,200 words and really approaches towards 2,000 words.
  14. 14. OPTIMIZE CONTENT FOR SEO BEST PRACTICES 3 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  15. 15. Elements of On-Page SEO ü  Name of course, product, page, or post ü  URL ü  Headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.) ü  Paragraph text ü  Keyword varia;ons and related phrases ü  Internal links ü  Link anchor text ü  Images ü  Readability ü  Meta ;tles and descrip;ons We’ll go through these items one by one,but before we dig in,let’s review the list as a whole.When you break each down,you’ll see optimization is complely managable. 15 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  16. 16. Name Given to Content A page (our course) name is simply the name you give when you create it.In WordPress this is important,because it defaults other important elements like URLs and H1 headers. 16 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  Choose a ;tle that is relevant to what the content discusses ü  Make sure the ;tle is unique and does not duplicate another page/post ;tle ü  Keep the ;tle short so it is easy to read and digested ü  Include the keyword phrase, but do not repeat it ü  Use keyword phrase towards the start of the page ;tle if possible Pro Tips for Optimization
  17. 17. URLs 17 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  This should always include your keyword ü  This should be as short as possible ü  This should use words and not unrecognizable parameters (funky characters) ü  Use dashes to separate words ü  While content silos are great, keep silos short so they don’t create so many layers that the URL is long and unreadable The URL is the website address for a piece of content.The URL is displayed as part of a search result in Google and it appears below the document’s title and snippet. Pro Tips for Optimization
  18. 18. H1 Headers 18 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  Make sure your website or WordPress theme uses H1 tags ü  Make sure your website or WordPress theme uses only one H1 header per URL ü  Include your keyword phrase in your H1 tag ü  Posi;on the H1 tag before other tags (H2, H3, H4, etc.) The H1 is the most important tag and it should never be omitted on a page,post,or product. Search spiders pay attention to the words used in the h1 tag as it should contain a basic description of the page content,just as the page title does. While most WordPress themes will automatically create this for you,I see a lot of websites that forget to use the H1 or include multiple H1 headers per content piece. Pro Tips for Optimization
  19. 19. H2-H6 Subheaders 19 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  Use H2-H6 headers to break up groups of content ü  Include the focused keyword phrase where applicable ü  Include varia;ons of the focused keyword phrase ü  Keep headers in ;tle case ü  Avoid long sentences as headers ü  Avoid duplica;ng your H1 header within H2-H6 subheaders Search engines and human website visitors will use these to better understand the structure of the page.While headers can help with SEO,they are not a make or break SEO factor. Pro Tips for Optimization
  20. 20. Paragraph Text 20 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  Include your keyword phrase a number of ;mes within the content ü  Don’t keyword stuff ü  Use the keyword in the first sentence of the page and if that is not possible in the first paragraph ü  Use varia;ons and synonyms ü  Don’t worry about keyword density ü  Instead focus on wri;ng great content around a topic and use the focused keyword in a natural manner This simply refers to the content itself and this could reside on the home page,interior pages,blog posts,courses,products,categories,tags,etc. Pro Tips for Optimization
  21. 21. Keyword Variations 21 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  Brainstorming ü  Compe;tor websites ü  Google related searches at the boXom of a search page ü  Google Keyword Planner tool for Adwords or KW Finder ü  Google autosuggest phrases when searching for the phrase A keyword variation is simply an alternate phrase for a focused keyword.They help you rank on the focused keyword as well as alternate phrases. Pro Tips for Finding Keyword Variations
  22. 22. Images 22 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  Image file names should describe the image and use your keyword if possible ü  Image alt text should describe the image and use your keyword if possible ü  Use the right image size so performance and speed are protected ü  Write a keyword rich descrip;on for any image you want to rank in Google Example of Alt Text Usage Really bad alt aXribute: <img src=”puppy.jpg” alt=””/> BeXer alt aXribute: <img src=”puppy.jpg” alt=”puppy”/> Really good alt aXribute: <img src=”puppy.jpg” alt=”Dalma;an puppy playing fetch”> Spammy alt aXributes: <img src=”puppy.jpg” alt=”puppy dog baby dog pup puppies”/> Images are great for SEO,usability,and sharing on social media.While all content won’t have the option for an image,use an image whenever possible. Pro Tips for Optimization
  23. 23. Internal Links 23 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  Place links where they help the reader and provide value ü  Link to your cornerstone content, services, and products ü  Link with good keyword rich anchor text ü  Vary your anchor text for a link so it doesn’t appear forced ü  Don’t overuse links and in doing so, make content unreadable An internal link connects one page of a website to a different page on the same website. Internal links provide value to the human reader as well as help search engines locate content and know what content is of most value. Here is Google’s verbiage on this report within their help sec;on: The number of internal links poin3ng to a page is a signal to search engines about the rela3ve importance of that page. If an important page does not appear in this list, or if a less important page has a rela3vely large number of internal links, you should consider reviewing your internal link structure. Pro Tips for Optimization “
  24. 24. Link Anchor Text 24 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  Make sure this clearly describes the des;na;on link ü  If possible, include the focused keyword ü  Don’t make it spammy – don’t force the keyword if it can’t be used naturally ü  Avoid click here, page, read more, and ar;cle as anchor text as it does not inform human readers or search engines of the nature of the link Anchor text is the clickable text that users will see as a result of a link.This text is placed within the anchor tag.You set this in WordPress when you define the link.Anchor text helps users with disabilities and search engines better understand the link. Pro Tips for Optimization
  25. 25. Readability 25 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  Use short paragraphs ü  Use bullets to help digest lists ü  Use subheaders so visitors can scan content ü  User regular verbiage and skip the industry jargon ü  Don’t allow images to interfere with text flow ü  Say no to bling, bright neon, and unnecessary movement Ease of use matter in SEO.If readers stay on the page,this increases your time on site, which in turn helps SEO. Happy Visitors + Happy Google = Higher Rank Pro Tips for Optimization
  26. 26. Meta Titles and Descriptions 26 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  A page’s meta ;tle should be a ;tle (not a sentence) ü  Make sure it is unique and doesn’t duplicate other meta ;tles ü  Make it informa;ve, yet easily readable ü  Include the focused keyword phrase ü  If possible, keep the keyword phrase as far to the beginning as possible ü  This is your first opportunity to reach poten;al visitors, so make it en;cing, but not cheesy ü  Keep it under 55 characters A meta title and description are the very first thing a potential visitor sees for your website. They show up in search engine result pages,so this is your first opportunity to grab someone’s attention,gain their trust,and entice them to take action. Pro Tips for Optimization of Meta Titles
  27. 27. Meta Titles and Descriptions 27 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill ü  A page’s meta descrip;on might be a sentence or two or a short paragraph ü  Make sure it is unique and doesn’t duplicate other meta descrip;ons ü  Make it informa;ve, yet easily readable ü  Include the focused keyword phrase in it ü  If possible, keep the keyword phrase as far to the beginning as possible ü  This is your first opportunity to read poten;al visitors, so make it en;cing, but not cheesy (yep this was repeated because it is important) ü  Keep it under 150 characters Pro Tips for Optimization of Meta Descriptions
  28. 28. Common Mistakes to Avoid Crappy Content People write content to fill white space. Don’t do it! You need to provide real value to website visitors. You have to have something really good to resonate with readers. No amount of SEO will help bad content, so start with something solid. Write good content and you will be rewarded for it ten fold. You’ve done your keyword research and you’ve wriXen your content. When you look closely at the content, you realize you used varia;ons of your keyword phrase (good) but totally forget to use the actual keyword (bad). Take the ;me to go back through your content and weave in the right focused keyword. Be careful about what you read on the internet and watch ar;cle dates. Un;l you are confident with your SEO knowledge, refrain from op;mizing your pages and posts. Take the ;me to learn best prac;ces. And don’t try something unless you have a solid grasp of the tac;c and the posi;ve or nega;ve ramifica;ons that may result. Forgetting the Keyword Inaccurate SEO Knowledge 28 Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  29. 29. QUESTIONS & ANSWERS? Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill
  30. 30. 30 Digital agency serving small business through enterprise level clients.Services and products include custom website design and development,SEO consulting,and stock WordPress themes. Eight hour online course for DIY SEO education.Course includes videos,how-to tutorials,template downloads,and quizzes. Three day intensive SEO training workshop taking place in May of 2017.Learn my SEO process from start to finish in an interactive and activity driven classroom setting.Tickets are limited. Private Facebook group where I share the latest news and information on search engine optimization. Please join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/seolaunchpad/. @rebeccagill RebeccaGill.com Web Savvy Marketing Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved | @rebeccagill

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