I almost went mad when I first learned about SEO.
I’d only been in the working world for five minutes, and I barely knew what marketing was. Let alone something as scary-sounding as Search Engine Optimisation.
So, my first blogging assignment sent me down a rabbit hole of content, as I tried to learn EVERYTHING I could about the topic.
Once I eventually resurfaced and began putting what I’d learned into practice, I realised SEO isn’t as hard as it sounds.
It’s actually really quite simple.
(Unless you wanna get into technical SEO. If that’s the case… I’ll say goodbye now.)
When you know what you should write and where to write it, creating content that gets seen on Google (or YouTube or podcasting platforms) is totally doable…
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
Short answer: it’s the process of strategically creating content so that it shows up on the search engines when people type in specific keywords.
It’s basically a way you can reach more people for free.
SEO is super important for websites and blogs. But nowadays, it’s also becoming a thing in the world of podcasting and social media. Platforms like Apple, Spotify and YouTube all use search algorithms to scan content and present the user with the most relevant results.
Why is SEO important for language teachers?
Firstly, SEO optimised content shows up for terms your ideal students or clients are actively searching for — which means you can specifically target people at different stages of the buyer journey.
For example, search terms like ‘French classes near me’ or ‘best online French beginner course’ imply that the reader is looking to buy. If you show up in the results and your content convinces them you’re a good fit, you’ve just got yourself a new student without investing a dime.
You can also purposely attract people into your world who are earlier on in their journey by answering common questions like, for example, ‘how long does it take to learn French?’
Basically, optimising your content for the search engines is a super powerful and affordable way to boost your content marketing efforts and reach more people without having to show up every single day.
The second reason SEO is important for language teachers is that SEO content is evergreen content. That means it stays relevant and searchable long after it’s published. In other words, all that effort you put into creating great podcast episodes, blog posts or YouTube videos is very much NOT wasted when you create them with these principles in mind.
Here’s how to optimise your content for SEO
STEP #1: Brainstorm content ideas
Start by thinking about the kind of content your ideal students will find useful. Refer to your market research and think about the kinds of questions people ask you about the language, learning techniques, your courses — anything you feel is relevant.
Make a list and group them into categories based on the topic. For example, place all ideas related to ‘learning techniques’ in one column, and so on.
STEP #2: Search for keywords
Keywords are basically the phrases your ideal students will enter into the search engine to find your content. Despite what the name suggests, they’re not just words.
From the list you’ve created, start thinking about what terms people might look for to find that content. Then enter them into tools like Wordstream, Google Ads Keyword Search and Ubersuggest to see how many people are actually searching for them.
You may find they have low search volume numbers. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Targeting keywords with a low search volume means you’ll stand more chance of showing up in the search results.
And if similar questions are showing up on Google’s ‘People also asked’ section, chances are people ARE searching for them — the tools just haven’t caught up yet.
Add these keywords to your list along with the search volume and move onto step three.
STEP #3: Research what’s already out there
Whether you’re writing a blog, creating a YouTube video or recording a podcast episode, your rankings will depend on how good competing content is.
Search engines are getting scarily good at scanning content to decide what will best serve their users. So it will choose the most detailed, relevant and unique content.
If you find there’s nothing new to say on the topic, move onto the next one. The chances of you being able to outrank existing content with samey posts is… slim.
STEP#4: Plan your content
Once you’ve found a great idea or new angle, it’s time to get planning.
Revisit your keyword list for the topic and choose your primary keyword — aka the main term you’ll target. Then start planning what you want to say.
STEP #4: Create your content
This is where your keywords come in. You’ll want to include them throughout your content to make sure it’s clear to the Google Gods what your article is about.
Just be careful not ‘stuff keywords’ a silly number of times to try and rank. Like I said, those search engines are smart. They’ll know, and they’ll punish you.
This applies whether you’re writing a blog post or a podcast, by the way. Search engines can now scan audio content for relevancy. So, make sure to add the keywords into your script in a natural way.
STEP #5: Place your keywords in the right places
Your content is ready, but your work isn’t done. Before it goes live, you’ll need to make sure your keyword is in the right places.
For blog posts, that means:
- Making sure it’s in the title
- Writing it naturally in your meta description (the text that shows on Google under the title link)
- In a couple of subheadings (again, needs to be natural, so related terms are also okay!)
- Adding it to your URL (not super important if it’s too long)
For podcasts, that means:
- Making sure it’s in the title
- Including it in the description
- Adding it naturally to your show notes
- Writing it in the URL
For YouTube, that means:
- Including it in your video title
- Writing it naturally in the description
- Writing it on the video cover
- Adding relevant keyword tags
And then? It’s time to hit publish.
SEO is a great way for language teachers to get more visible
And the best part is that it’s way less complicated than it sounds. Even if you don’t want to spend hours optimising your content, simply researching a few keywords and creating your articles, videos or scripts with them in mind will help get you in front of more of the right people.
And don’t forget, it may take some work, but it’s free. How many marketing tools do you know that offer that?
Want to learn more about SEO for language teachers? Join me live on LinkedIn on 15th February. I’ll be joining Laura Wilkes from Communicating for Impact to bust some myths and share some tips on how you can boost your search visibility. Join us here.