If you’ve started searching things like “marketing my business online,” you’ve probably come across the term SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and in short, it’s how people find your classes on the web without paid or promoted ads. If your website or class description is intentionally designed for search engines, you increase your chances of showing up in search results and connecting with your target audience.
As Jason Barnard from Semrush puts it, “SEO is the art and science of persuading search engines to recommend your content to their users as the solution to their problem.”
Can we explain to you exactly how the mysterious, ever-changing search algorithms choose which links to put on the first page of results? No – but no one can. Google and other search engines are constantly updating their search processes and often don’t share every detail of how their system works. The good news is, there are plenty of steps you can take (ranging from basic to advanced) to start improving the SEO of your class listings or business website.
One caveat before we dive in: There are many different approaches to SEO. You could rabbit hole through the internet for days visiting different blogs and gathering opinions – so much so that it can begin to seem impossible to know where to begin. In this article, we’ve compiled a few links to sources that we believe offer professional, trustworthy insights to get you started. We recommend getting a good handle on the basics of SEO – specifically keyword research, writing for searcher intent, and updating your class listings/website – before moving on to more complex tasks.
If you already have a solid understanding of SEO and want to learn about optimizing your classes on Outschool, head on over to this article to get our tips on writing class listings with SEO in mind.
Terms to know
Keywords – These are the terms or phrases that someone may enter into a search engine when looking for resources on certain topics. For example, a parent may search for “online art classes for kids” or “high school chemistry tutoring.” By including keywords on your website or class listing, you increase your chances of appearing in search results.
Short-tail keywords – Single words or two-word phrases that are related to your subject. Examples could include: piano, piano lesson, learn piano.
Long-tail keywords – 3-4 word phrases that are related to your subject. Examples could include: kids virtual piano lessons, beginner piano for children, take piano classes online.
SERP – SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. The results you see on Google after conducting a search are SERPs.
Ranking – How high up in the SERPs your link is on Google. For example, if your class is “ranking 3rd on Google” for a certain keyword, then it is the 3rd link down on the first page of results.
Organic – Organic searches or traffic means someone arrives at your website or class listing after searching keywords. Non-organic traffic would be someone who finds your business because of paid advertising.
Searcher intent – Basically: why did the searcher type in those keywords? What problem are they trying to solve or question are they trying to answer? Search engines analyze your page to see if your keywords match searcher intent before showing your content in SERPs. To learn more about searcher intent and its importance in SEO, check out this blog.
Backlinks – Links pointing to your website from elsewhere on the internet. You’ll also see the process of creating backlinks called “link building.” If others link to your site or page, its credibility increases and it’s more likely to be recommended.
Get to know SEO
As you explore these resources, remember that you are a business owner! Whether you run an organization on Outschool or teach solo, SEO can help you bring in new customers (aka families, parents, and learners).
If you have your own business website in addition to your educator profile, these tips can be invaluable as you work to grow traffic to your site. If you don’t have another website – SEO still matters. Your class listing on Outschool could still show up on Google if you’re able to outrank the competition. We go into more detail specifically about writing class listings for SEO in this post.
And lastly, keep in mind – SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. To really master search engine optimization, you may need to revisit and revise your class descriptions or website regularly.
This free video training from Ahrefs is an excellent introduction to SEO and keyword research. The first 40 minutes will be the most relevant for educators looking to improve their class descriptions, and educators who have their own business website may want to continue watching for more insights. It’s a time investment – but worth it in the long run if you’re looking to grow as an online business. Watch now.
Below are a few other resources you can explore if Ahrefs’ video training isn’t for you. If you’re only looking to enhance your class descriptions on Outschool, pay attention to the sections about keyword research and usage, since you don’t need to worry about back-end coding or on-page optimization on the Outschool platform (we do that for you).
- Moz – Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- Semrush – What is SEO?
- Outschool Educator Conference Recording – Utilizing SEO in Class Listings
Once you feel like you get the idea behind SEO, it’s time to figure out which keywords you should include in your class descriptions or in the content on your website. This is a multi-step process, and each course you offer may have different keywords. If you skipped the Ahrefs video listed above, Hubspot has also put together a short, easy-to-understand guide to getting started with keyword research, including links to popular free SEO tools available on the web. We also like this guide on writing quality content for SEO from Semrush.
Remember that keywords don’t just matter for Google – they’re also essential to make sure you show up in searches within the Outschool platform. Read more about using keywords in class descriptions here, or watch as Outschool educator Kellie Thompson goes over her favorite search tools in this virtual educator conference session.
One more thing: Keep in mind Outschool’s policy on using copyrighted material and trademarks in class listings to help your listing get approved.
This process is most important for educators looking to drive organic traffic to their website or have their Outschool classes show up in search results on external search engines. While having the right keywords in the right places is one piece of the puzzle, link building is (some would argue) even more important.
Remember that link building (or backlinking) refers to placing links on other web pages that point back to your site or class URL. Search engines use the existence and prevalence of backlinks to establish the trustworthiness of your website. The theory being – if high-quality websites choose to link to your site when talking about a particular topic, you may be trusted as an authority on that topic. But how in the world do you build links for your young website? Moz has put together this helpful guide with the answers.
Time to take action
SEO is a tricky beast to manage, and it’s okay if you still feel a little shaky about how it works. But don’t let that stop you from using your newfound knowledge to try out a few strategies! Do some keyword research, and try changing up your class listings or website.
Track what happens after you make those updates and watch for changes (good or bad) in clicks or enrollments. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see huge jumps in traffic or bookings right away – it takes time to build up your SEO performance and for search engines to catch up with any changes you’ve made. If you have your own business website, make sure you ask Google to re-index your site after adding or updating content.
Don’t forget that SEO is only one piece of the running-an-online-business puzzle. For more marketing ideas, check out these resources from the Educator Library:
- Educator Stories: Social Media Marketing
- Business Coaching on Outschool
- Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business