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How to adapt your language school SEO strategy to promote your online courses

Tech focus: We take a look at a couple of options to boost your chances of appearing in search for your online courses when people are using keywords that no longer relate to your geo location.

Covid-19 has (and keeps) affecting the worldwide economy. Many language schools have closed for good, and those that have re-opened, the summer season may not be proving any kind of return to normal.

At Disquiet Dog, we’ve been supporting education providers digitally as they reinvent themselves to keep their businesses going. And that’s not always an easy thing to do when your business model is based on face-to-face education.

The market for potential clients may actually have grown during lockdown as we've all tried to learn new skills online . Online education has been one of those go-to escapes, keeping brains active and occupying time. Unfortunately for many language schools, the potential students who would normally have found them through traditional channels, like a local educational travel agent, or a Google search for “French school in France” have quite understandably switched their search to “online French lessons”, or even “online French teacher”.

As a school, all the hard work behind the scenes to reconfigure delivery for an online world will bring no further benefit if the market is unaware of your offering, and your school can’t find its rightful tribe.

Face-to-face language schools had never sought to market themselves to consumers primarily seeking online learning. Hence the need to switch rapidly from a location-based SEO strategy to an approach which works for online courses.

Choosing your approach

The approach to follow depends on your current site structure and the size and complexity of your operation. Whilst every language school and language school website is unique, we have a couple of approaches which should work for most schools.

Approach A for smaller schools: Create new dedicated online pages for your online courses

Here you create a new main landing page on your website that is specific to your online course offering and new pages for each of your online courses. This approach is particularly good for small to medium sized language schools that have low to medium domain authority. If you’re not sure, you can check your domain authority via Moz.

If you have ever carried out optimisation work on your website, you probably have course pages for every kind of face-to-face course and lesson. That’s something you should keep doing if you wish to continue offering face-to-face courses in the long term.

Additionally then, we suggest creating a new section on your site for your online courses that is easy to see from anywhere on the site. That means you’ll have to add the new section to the navigational structure of your site.

In creating the new landing page, remember:

Content is king By creating dedicated pages for your online courses, you can provide more specific information on, for example, how the lessons will be delivered, the course structure, the online platforms used, the benefits of doing the course online, etc. Basically, answer all the questions that potential students may have about that specific online course by creating good content.

Google likes relevancy Creating dedicated pages for your online courses, that are optimised for the right keywords, will give your website more chances of ranking in Google search (in organic and paid).

Approach B for larger schools: Add ‘online’ as one of the delivery methods of your course pages

This approach is recommended for medium to large organisations that have strong domains with medium to high domain authority.

For larger educational chains, universities or FE colleges with a very wide programme offering, or any institution already delivering in multiple locations, it may be better to include ‘online’ almost as one of the locations or delivery methods offered.

This approach will only require modification of your main course information page.

Including ‘online’ as a new location or delivery method will help ensure the page has enough “online content”. Adding an online section on each course page about the online offer is a must as it will increase the chances of appearing in Google search for keywords in combination with ‘online’.

The main benefit of this approach is that the effort behind optimising the online courses for search is minimal as you don’t have to create new pages but add more content to your existing ones.

Approach C: All of the above

Of course, you can go the extra mile and do both. You can have a dedicated page which extends beyond the usual “COVID-19 Measures we’re taking” page to explain your digital delivery, and still have additions on each course page. Just make sure you don’t unnecessarily repeat yourself so your users have the easiest experience as they move through your site.

Once you've decided on your approach, you might want to look at our SEO checklist on how to optimise your online course pages.