If a tree falls down in the forest and there is no one around to hear it, did it really make a noise? And if you launch your brand-new course and Google isn’t around to crawl and rank your pages, did you really launch it? Will anybody find it? Not likely… This is where SEO comes into play.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website is essential if you wish to build your reputation, rank higher in search results and get valuable – essentially free – organic traffic!
But the nitty-gritty details of SEO are not easy to master. And it’s certainly not what most people would consider as fun. In fact, it looks more like this:
But fear not! We are doing all the dirty (💩) work to help you get your school all the way to the top of the Google search results and get tons of traffic. In light of the upcoming Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping spree, we worked double shifts so that you can get the SEO benefits your school needs without you having to do anything for it! Isn’t that nice?
So here is our latest gift to you: LearnWorlds now automatically creates a sitemap for your school and passes it along to Google, Bing and other search engines. This will increase the number of pages indexed and improve your overall ranking. All you have to do is sit back and wait for Google to do its job.
Amazing, right? I know 😊
Read on for a quick primer on SEO and learn how our latest feature helps you jumpstart your SEO and improve your organic traffic:
How does Google know which sites from around the web to crawl and how often to do it?
Google’s bots crawl and index everything they can lay their hands on from around the interwebs. However, not all sites get equal treatment. Big, well-known and especially well-linked sites are indexed more frequently (clue: PageRank and the algorithm that’s the secret sauce behind Google’s success. It’s latest nickname? Fred). More importantly, Google spends more “juice” (bot bandwidth and processing time) on those high-value sites in order to crawl even more pages and extract every last drop of keywords and links from them.
Well, my school/website is new/small. How am I going to get up there with the big boys?
Well, that’s the difficult part of SEO. Chances are if you have a new/small website then your Domain Rank is small, you don’t have enough backlinks from other sites and likely you get equally small scores in the hundreds of variables that the Google algorithm uses when deciding which pages to crawl and how to rank the various sites. In this case, if you are lucky, the Google crawler/bot will find your website but only spend a few milliseconds in there and will probably not bother with anything beyond your homepage or, worse, randomly select a few pages from your website. This means that all the great course and sales pages you spent so much time to creating might probably go unnoticed. All the great marketing copy you wrote, all the highly-relevant keywords you injected, all the juicy testimonials, will be left unappreciated 😞
Sounds like a chicken 🐔 and egg 🥚 problem. How can I avoid this?
Well, it sort of is. If your school/website doesn’t rank then people will not find it. So, they will not link back to it and Google will keep ignoring it. So, it will always remain in obscurity.
As with all things, you need to start from somewhere and work your way to the top. One thing you can do is sit around and wait for Google to drop by your website and crawl it.
A Google bot will eventually oblige and visit your site however it will not know what to look for and which pages to crawl. What it will do is randomly choose a few pages, besides your homepage, and it’s likely that they will not be the most important pages.
That’s terrible. I need results today for my school, I can’t just sit and wait.
Neither do we! Well, here we are approaching fast the obscure levels of Search Engine Optimization. It’s not exactly black-belt level knowledge yet however more than 90% of school owners don’t know about this step and are likely missing valuable opportunities to get their content ranked and are losing tons of organic web traffic. Bear with me for a second:
Google, along with all the other less popular search engines, relies on an internet standard called sitemaps. These sitemaps are, well, “maps” of a website, complete inventories of all the webpages included in a website, along with highly useful metadata (for a search engine, that is), such as full URL, page titles, page hierarchy, when a page was last modified and how frequently it’s likely to be updated in the future. By giving to the search engine bot a well-structured sitemap you really increase your chances of getting the proper webpages crawled and indexed, ultimately showing up higher in Google search results.
Wow, Sitemaps sound really cool! Where can I get one for my site?
In theory, you can manually compile such a sitemap and submit it to Google to help its crawler minions navigate your website and spend its “crawl juice” wisely in the pages where it really matters. But this is a very tedious process and you probably don’t have the time or knowledge to do it properly. After all, sitemaps are written in XML, a markup language – just shy of a programming language in complexity – and has its own protocol, grammar and rules. There are all sorts of formats and guidelines to be followed and the slightest error in your sitemap can give Google a headache, earning perhaps a SEO penalty for your school. There are tools out there that who could help you automate the process but some of them are expensive, others are error-prone and even those that work need you to be alert, get the sitemaps they produce and upload them to your site. With every update you make you would have to do this again.
You first build me up and then you let me down 🤔. I am starting to get angry now 😠
Hold on, it’s almost over. That’s what we are here for. One thing developers hate is inefficiency, repetition and manual work. And our wizkid developers are prime examples of the species. So, once we identified the problem and mapped the whole process the first thing they did is go out and try to automate this. What did they come up with? A built-in dynamically generated, comprehensive sitemap for every LearnWorlds school.
It includes all the public pages you create in your school and all the proper metadata, like when they were last updated. And you don’t have to worry about maintaining the sitemap. With every page you add, with every title you change or with any page you edit and save, a new version of the Sitemap gets created, always reflecting the latest structure of your site, always ready to help Google rank your most important pages.
In fact, LearnWorlds is the first and only e-learning platform that automatically creates sitemaps to help you with your SEO efforts!
That’s it? I don’t have to do anything and this works on its own?
Yep, that’s it 😊
You are not kidding me, right?
Nope. It already works for you. Just visit your school’s URL and add /sitemap.xml at the end. You can see your sitemap is already there, doing its job.
And now, do I have to submit It to Google, Bing and the rest?
Yes, you can do it and it will speed things up. However, we have even taken care of that little step for you! Our wizkids employed their SEO wizardry and made sure that every time a bot from Google (or from any other search engine for that matter) lands on your website, it’s immediately presented with a helpful sitemap. The little bot is quite happy to follow our instructions because we save it time and effort.
How do we do that? That’s another piece of obscure knowledge our SEO maesters employ to benefit your school. If you really wanna know then read on:
each LearnWorlds school has now been equipped with its own Robots.txt file. That’s another internet Standard used by websites to communicate with web crawlers and other web robots. These are little robots talking to each other! But we know what they are looking for so we can nudge them to do our bidding. Υour school’s Robot.txt includes a pointer to your school’s Sitemap, so anytime a search engine bot will land in your site it is guaranteed to find your sitemap and index all those pages.
Nice, huh? So you actually don’t have to submit to manually submit your sitemap. However, we do strongly advise that you sign up for a free Google Search Console account and verify your URL with Google. It’s a super valuable tool that gives you invaluable insights about how visitors end up in your site and you can even see which searches they used to get there. Through the search console you can manually submit your sitemap to Google and, after a few days, see the report of how your school was crawled and how this has affected your Google rankings.
But hey, if you are super-impatient like me, you can go out and make it to do its job right now! Here is an article from our Help Center showing how. This way you can get your school listed in Google in under 24 hours!
Wow! I am not quite sure I really needed to know all this stuff but I am sure glad that you do and are taking care of my school! I think I am going to get a 🍺now.
Me too 🍻