From Content to SEO: How to Make an Online Course a HIT

Christopher Pappas
The views of contributors are their own, and not necessarily those of SEOBlog.com

If a tree fell in the woods but nobody knew, did it really fall?

If you designed the greatest eLearning course but nobody knows about it, does it really count?

When people think about online courses, generally they think about learning content and how it should be written and presented. To make a point, they might throw in an example of some “great” course that they have come across.

Seldom does anyone give a second thought to HOW they came across that awesome massive open online course (MOOC), which is aimed at unlimited participation and open access on the web.

Besides personal recommendations, finding good content in the ocean of the internet takes the support and magic of good marketing strategies.

How to Make an Online Course a HIT

SEO: The Savior of MOOC

Whether you have a team building the content in-house or you are outsourcing an eLearning course, if you wish to monetize it to its maximum potential, visibility is the key.

And the only way to make something visible on the internet is SEO.

Yes, search engine optimization is not a choice but a lifesaver when it comes to content marketing. It regulates the:

  • Quantity of your website traffic
  • Quality of your website traffic
  • Organic search engine results

SEO is not a one-time exercise. Rather, it is a consistent process that requires patience and perseverance.

Even though the technicalities of SEO are essential for breathing life into an eLearning course, it is not enough.

Content Marketing + SEO: The Yin and Yang

Going by the basic definitions of these two concepts, SEO takes care of the needs of the search engine, whereas content marketing is about taking care of the audience.

But when your audience uses search engines to reach your content, then SEO and content marketing become two halves of one body. There is no SEO without content and, well, content needs the technicalities as proof of its existence.

The math is simple – use SEO to direct the right audience to your content and use relevant content at the right place to keep them interested and bring in a conversion.

But how? Let’s see.

1. SEO Means Using Keywords for Content Marketing

The building blocks of SEO and digital marketing are keywords:

  • Researching the right keywords
  • Strategizing the use of keywords in the right places
  • Selecting the right amount of keywords
  • All the technical research

Once SEO has done its job of finding the keywords, content marketing kicks in to create similar content that interests readers, all the while using the keywords in the most natural way that does not create SPAM.

It does not matter if you are creating a course for children or for corporate Process and Technical Training; the right keywords mean that your content will reach its intended audience. However, to stick with the audience, having great content is crucial.

2. SEO Thrives on Backlinks and Content Marketing Makes it Possible

Every SEO professional’s dream is to get a DA 95 backlink.

But we all know these juicy links are not easy to find. They take hard work and, of course, original, powerful, outstanding content.

Without having great course content, trying to build backlinks means BUYING links, which can only go in three directions:

  • The links you want are impossible to buy
  • They are way too expensive
  • They are not quality links

The only surefire way of building a link network is by creating mindblowing, original content that high-DA or .edu websites want to link to.

3. Onsite Optimization from SEO Leads to Great UX for Content Marketing

There is no debate on the fact that SEO is absolutely technical. Beyond the keywords, SEO takes care of improving metadata, using the right tags in the right way, optimizing the web robots, and creating an overall strategic and intuitive sitemap.

All of these details decide the performance of a website. But is it independent from content marketing?

Well, no.

While some people can hold different beliefs, there is a strong reason behind this conclusion.

All these advanced technical optimization practices are done for making the visitor’s (and potential customer’s) life easier when they land on your website. While navigating, reading and searching, users require a level of site optimization to not bounce back due to sheer frustration.

In other words, these optimization practices can serve to enhance the user experience of your eLearning website. And in the end, you do onsite optimization to promote your online course content.

4. SEO and Content Marketing are Both About Consistency

It is common knowledge in the marketing world today that new and fresh content is better indexed and ranks higher on search engines.

This is why people optimize their old courses and articles with new, more relevant and trending keywords and facts from time to time.

This means that in order to stay alive, both SEO and content marketing need to be consistently worked on.

For a long-lasting online course, do not stop enhancing it in terms of content and SEO, and every time you do, market it like a new edition for gaining a maximum audience.

Is That All?

Not quite.

SEO and content marketing are trend-based domains and there is always something new to learn. And creating superhit courses take a little more than just content or SEO.

The important takeaway here is that in order to become successful and convert as many deals as possible, your online content should abide by a few rules:

  • Be consistent with your SEO and content marketing practices when you create an online course. It is an ongoing process.
  • While creating your course content, keep in mind the trends of your market. Basing your course on trending keywords makes it much more likely to become a hit among your target audience.
  • Always focus on the relevance of your course. This is because SEO is not just about increasing traffic but increasing the right traffic. If you put your dollars into gaining organic traffic and strategizing, you must have the content that your audience is looking for.

If your visitors do not find the right content, then no amount of SEO can save your course.

Just remember: SEO and content marketing ALWAYS go together.

Written by Christopher Pappas

Christopher Pappas
Christopher Pappas is the founder of eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning field. He holds an MBA and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU.

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