Search Engine Optimization for Online Courses: A Beginners' Guide - The SEO Series Part 3 | LearnWorlds Blog

Growing the visibility for an online course in organic google results can be a great way to attract visitors and increase course sales. Optimizing your online school for search results early on is important for long-term effects.

Along the following lines, you will learn the basics of SEO optimization and how to optimize your courses to rank better in Google.

If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to read our previous articles on the topic:
The Importance of SEO & SEM for Edupreneurs
Doing Keyword Research for your School

After identifying the keywords you would like to rank for, you can begin optimizing your school or website for them. Ready to dive deeper into the “elements” of SEO?

Website Naming & Address (URL)

When it comes to reaching high ranking on search engine results, URL’s can have a significant impact as they not only help search engines determine a page’s relevance to a particular search query. Your website’s name matters (a lot) in search results. And a welcoming, relevant to the search name will rank higher.

For both your website and website pages, it is essential to have a separate SEO friendly index of what the end of the rainbow will be all about. A well-generated URL will help internet users and search engines get an excellent idea about the nature and content of your website by simply looking at the relevant eye-catching and easy to remember indication.

Keywords of a page/website that are included in its URL can be a promising ranking factor. It’s better if your domain name includes the main keyword you are targeting. For example, if you are all about cooking courses, a domain like www.theCookingCourseQueen.academy might be the right one for you. If you prefer to use your name or company’s name, then you can have sub-pages’ name reflect the keywords you are targeting e.g. www.CompanyABC.com/cooking-courser-dummies

Keep in mind though that you should not create an unuseful URL solely to include a keyword in it, as URLs alone do not have such a strong effect on a page’s ranking capabilities.

LearnWorlds Course Wizard Screenshot
Customizing a Course URL with LearnWorlds

SEO tips for Course Urls

Page Title

A title tag is an HTML element that determines the title of a web page. Title tags are presented on search engine results as the blue clickable headline for any given outcome, and are significantly important for SEO, web browser usability and social sharing.

LearnWorlds Course SEO Settings Screenshot
Customizing Course SEO Settings

The reason why title tags are such a major factor in SEO, lies in the fact that they can help Google and other search engines have a very good idea of what your website is all about as well as the impact it can have to newcomers.

They happen to be one the most crucial aspects of website and pages as they can determine whether a potential customer will “click” on your product or not. A good page title has to be able to catch someone’s attention, prompt them to click and work well for SEO purposes by showing up on Google Results.

To get more practical, it is simply the headline of a website/page shown on search engine result pages. For example, if you search on Google for LearnWorlds, you will see that the page title tag is the blue font headline indicating what the website is about.

Both internet users and search engines can see this indication. It is the first thing people will see so it matters to offer some of your time and effort to create the best title tags possible.

LearnWorlds Course SEO Settings Screenshot
Customizing Course SEO Settings

You can think of your title tags as your message to your audience. So it makes sense why there are good reasons why you need to put quite some work into them. Having a clear, straightforward and relevant title will have a great impact on both internet users and search engines as they will be able to recognize this as good page.

Furthermore, a page’s title influences the Click-through rate (CTR) of a page. The higher your CTR, the higher your ranking in Google and the more visits you are getting. It also impacts your social media, as the title tag will show as the title of your page when shared on Facebook, Linkedin or elsewhere.

Meta description – Make a Difference by Describing Your Page

Those 160 characters below the title that also make a difference. A meta description is an HTML tag which offers brief but reflective information about a website’s contents. Its length can be from one sentence to a short paragraph and you can find it under the title tag we just saw, in search engine result pages (SERP).

The type of user query submitted can affect the meta description shown in search results, as Google can fetch meta description content from other areas of your website (if for example meta information needed to answer the query is not fetched due to lack of proper SEO provision).

While meta descriptions do not directly affect algorithm ranking in web search, they play a key role (along with keywords) to a website’s click-through-rate (CRT) on Google which consequently can have a positive impact on its ranking potential.

Meta Description Screenshot

In terms of website promotion, meta description tags can greatly work as advertisement for your business as they are a significantly visible and important part of search marketing. Your audience will be drawn to your website from a search engine result page very easily as long as they can find a website description relevant to their query. Similarly to the title, meta descriptions also show up on social media previews!

Also, search engines tend to bold the keywords searched if found in a description. For all those reasons you need to put your heart and soul when configuring your website’s meta descriptions as they can undoubtedly help your business reach higher rankings.

SEO tips for Meta Descriptions

How to Use Keywords for SEO

Keywords, in general, are topics that define content. Regarding SEO, keywords are the words, terms, and phrases that users enter into search engines – aka search queries. Your aim should be to use keywords that match or answer the search query. Your aim in SEO is to be useful by being the “answer” to the question, need or service of the user.

You can learn how to do keyword research in our previous article on the topic, then come back and optimize your LearnWorlds online school to match your research 😉

Optimizing Images

Search engines have a difficult time identifying images. However, images might show up on search results and help your ranking. So, how do you optimize images?

Subtitles and Headings are Important – H1, H2, H3 tags

While your page title can also be repeated as an H1 tag, you should include subtitles for any long text (more than 300 words) in a page. Heading text on a webpage can be marked by HTML tags to highlight importance.

These HTML headings can be defined by the use of H1 to H6 tags (from the most important heading to the least). Include your main targeted keyword in your H1 tag, and once at one of your H2 tags (if you use them, they should be at least 2-3 sub-categories with H2 tags).

The use of these tags can indicate that the website is focused on this keyword and thus draw the right attention in search engine result pages.

H2 & H3 Tags
H2 & H3 Title Tags Templates
H2 & H3 Tags secondary
Another example of H2 & H3 Title Tags Templates
H2 Tags
H2 Title Tag Template

The H2 tag can be regarded as a subheading which needs to include keywords similar to those of your H1 but of lower importance level. With H2 tags you can reinforce your H1 and theme in general. A good idea is to use alternative keywords for H2 subtitles.

For example, if you are targeting “cooking course” as a keyword, use “baking course”, “learn to cook”, “cooking masterclass” etc.

Here is also an example of breaking the page into levels with subheadings

H1 tag: Painting Lessons for Kids
– H2 tag: Why is it important for kids to express artistically?
– H2 tag: Painting for pre-school
– – H3 tag: What should a parent know
– – H3 tag: Your first painting supplies
– H2 tag: Painting for elementary school

Top Resources for Learning SEO

We have covered the basics of SEO and how you can optimize your online school. But, SEO is it’s own extensive marketing discipline with a lot of material to cover. If you are interested in more advanced methods, you can visit the following:

Ahrefs Academy
Moz Academy
SEMrush Academy

And, don’t forget to download our own ebook on how to sell online courses:

Free ebook
The Ultimate Guide
To Selling Online Courses
Discover how to make your online courses ready for sales and, most importantly, profitable.

Search Engine Optimization is a long-term and very rewarding marketing strategy if done right. Following the basics of optimizing your own online academy from day 1 is important for attracting your first customers from search results and for your future SEO efforts.

Don’t overwork or overuse keywords, as this will definitely lead to a penalty by Google and will instead harm you. Just follow a simple rule of thumb. Be helpful and give a complete answer to the query of the user.

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Customer Support Specialist at

Joey Tsouvalas is a Customer Support Specialist for the LearnWorlds team. He has a Bachelor's in English Language Teaching from the University of Greenwich and loves to communicate with people of various cultural backgrounds. He values respect and patience when it comes to dealing with both learners and teachers.

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