Successful SEO in L&D – How to fill courses
The learning and development industry is going through unprecedented changes as companies utilise in-house resources and online training portals to improve employee skills and aid in career and company progression. Further, employees themselves have a world of training in their hand and can brush up on sales skills or management tips on the train out of London of an evening.
For marketing managers and strategists, this is proving to be challenging ground to navigate – how can a website optimised to increase new users who are willing to book and pay for courses, as opposed to those just looking for information and advice?
Course based keywords for buyers
At the heart of any B2B SEO campaign is aligning a business organically to rank for terms which will target different buyers within a business.
For example, ranking for ‘how do you split cells in Microsoft Excel’ might be helpful from a user-generation perspective, but this is not a conversion keyword.
Build a keyword matrix that outlines course categories (With variations) and locations, and second this with specific areas of each course.
An example is:
|Course Type||Course Location||Variation|
|Management training||Manchester||Strategic awareness|
|Management courses||Cardiff||Commercial awareness|
This would lead to:
Management training London, management training Manchester, management training Cardiff, management courses London, management courses Manchester and management courses Cardiff
Variations come in following this: For example, management training London can also be paired with team leading training London or strategic commercial courses. Although these terms are very different, they will fall under the same umbrella – managers looking to improve skillsets within a business.
Secondly, courses with specific qualifications attached should also be targeted (PRINCE 2 etc.).
Site structure for multiple buyers
Within the learning and development there are various routes to sale and attribution to multi-channel routes is a necessity to fully analyse the success of different marketing channels.
For example, personal assistant may find a course, pass it on to a manager who may then pass it on to a finance department or back to the personal assistant to make the booking. This means that a clear path to conversion is not always apparent.
Tagging auto-shared URLs, tracking through Gclid if using paid search and hooking elements such as call tracking up to CRM systems will remove a large percentage of the manual work involved with attribution here.
For a user, courses need to clear and concise with calls to action to either share, buy, find out more or request a call back – this allows to cover for each eventuality within the initial stages of the buying cycle.
From a search engine perspective ensure URLs are clean (management-training/leading-a-team), the path through the site is clear and information about buying and dates is clear and visible.
Site structure needs to be built with a buyer in-mind and should also take into account sub-pages used to strengthen the core of the website. Essentially course categories need to be accessible immediately, with individual courses accessible within two clicks.
Once this list is built, research rankings and traffic – if you rank for a range of terms driving traffic, which are not buying terms, then a strategy needs to be in place to improve this.
Get technical with course cards and data highlighting
Google is currently pushing forward with rich cards across a range of sectors. The most popular of these are recipe cards – whereby we see a picture of a recipe, and method, above search results or within the results themselves.
For the learning and development industry the fact Google has introduced course cards is fantastic. Work with a developer or SEO agency to created and develop these courses cards, which will look something like this:
“name”: “L&D SEO”,
“description”: “Learn the basics of L&D SEO, ranking, user analysis and increasing bookings”,
“name”: “POLARIS Agency”,
Create JSON code per course, or build it into your theme, this will result in core information being sent to search engines.
Beyond they use of structured data, is the use of data highlighting with Google Search Console. This will result in courses being listed in search results by date
This functionality can be created through any Search Console login attributed to the website in question.
Course pages can be tagged as events and products, the events option will show the above and take a user direct to the attributed tag (whether it be pages by a single date or those on a course itself).
Build subsets of pages, by course categories, to ensure data highlighting remains easily managed should the website go through any changes.