Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of listing your website, domain but also your different pages and blog posts and anything else that is providing helpful information to your potential and existing customers. It is much more than “I want to be number one in the search engines”.
As the name suggests, SEO is about placing yourself in an optimal way for search engine results, so your audience knows very fast that your offer and your company is what they are looking for.
This article is part of the newly updated 2018 edition of our Ebook How To Get More Sales And Students For Your Language Business. You can download the full version at www.sandyallain.com/getebook
There is much confusion about how important SEO is and why so many companies are obsessed with “being number one in search results” and where the real importance of SEO lies.
First things first: if you are interested what the essential basics of SEO are, we have created a special small E-Book that quickly explains what you need to know. You are invited to download it for free at www.sandyallain.com/seodownload
Second: it is very important to understand that the difference between SEO and SEM. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the paid advertising that happens if someone types in a search term into a search engine. Based on your advertising budget you can become the visible #1 entry within minutes and can be seen on top of every “natural” organic search engine results.
Both of those strategies are valid and important to use, but for our explanation here we only focus on SEO. Those are the search engine results that are returned to you based on for example what Google “thinks” what is most relevant to you.
And here is the important insight for you: “natural” organic search results are important and they communicate trust and reliability to your audience because those listings do NEVER show up overnight. That the other uncomfortable side of SEO: it takes time and major efforts to be listed highly in the search engines. SEO is a solid long-term marketing strategy and it has nothing to do with “tricks” and “secrets” that will bring your business in position number one overnight.
Let’s take a look what this means for Language schools.
If you just start a new language school and nobody knows you, it is very unlikely that you will show up right away on top of search engine results. For starters, you need to have social media presences that show that you are a real business. You need to create and claim an entry on Google Maps for example and create a business account on Google to confirm you are for real. The same is true Facebook and for example Tripadvisor and specialized websites such as www.MyLanguageBreak.com where you can find new language students that are actively searching for a school where they can improve their language skills while they travel and visit the world.
All those entries on other websites that then link back to your own websites are important because they prove that you are real and those backlinks are an important measure of Search Engines to see how popular and relevant your website is.
For example, it is very likely for new restaurants that their entries in Tripadvisor show up first in the search engines when you search for their restaurant names. Over time, however, if you add more information on your own website and more people talk about your restaurant and link directly to your website instead – then the restaurant website will show up directly in the search engines.
Here is some surprising revelation: SEO rewards you if your website contains relevant, entertaining and informative content that is worth to share with others. So it is actually the other way around that in order to listed highly in search engines, your website needs to have visitors first.
Search engines know exactly, how long visitors stay on your website, how much of your content is shared with others via social media, how many people write about you on review websites such as Tripadvisor, Google Maps entries, and Facebook reviews.
If your language school generates happy customers – or even “just” happy readers that found relevant information about learning languages, you will gain long-term benefits in the search engines.
SEO is very important also for another element: the description of your content. Successful SEO means that your results that show in Google and other search engines make sense to your potential customers.
What is more appealing:
Language School Sunset – We have the best language courses for you
Language School Sunset Beach – Improve your language skills while enjoying the world’s best sunset at our beach language school
It is as important as in paid advertising that your “natural” organic search engine listings that are showing up independently of paid money – that those listings look as good as possible and are a close match to what people type into the search engine search bar.
And that is finally the third important element of successful SEO. The keywords. What is it that people type in search engines? It is here where a lot of companies waste a lot of money and time on “optimizing” things that have no value for their business.
You can’t be “number one” for “language schools” – because let’s face it: search engines list relevant content to your audience based on many factors. Google knows what kind of searches someone did in the last couple of hours, days and weeks and will show based on someone’s preference very specific search results.
If someone would type in “language schools” alone, a search engine would not know what to show and would try to combine former searches to bring relevant information. Like someone searching for “best hotel” would return hotels in Paris if the person did do some research about popular tourist spots in Paris. Likewise, if someone would just type in “language schools” they would then get results for language schools offering people to learn French.
This makes it clear that advertising and focusing on generic terms like “language schools” is bad marketing advice and will not work and benefit you. The term “language schools” is also way too generic and indicates that this is not a student that is ready to buy and book a course right now.
The more close a potential customer gets, the more detailed they will search for something. If a student plans to travel to Malaga they would type in “language schools in Malaga” or “learn Spanish in Malaga” or even “Get A Spanish DELE certificate in Malaga” which are excellent search terms from people, ready to buy and book a language course.
Now the real work begins with your Language school website. You need to optimize your website content and the structure of different pages and write specifically for someone that is entering those search terms. That is where the exciting important work of SEO begins – and it is something that you barely can do on your own because it requires a massive amount of time to do it right.