In today’s digital age, establishing a robust online presence is imperative for businesses across various industries, and the field of English teaching is no exception. As the demand for English language learning continues to grow globally, reaching and engaging with prospective students is vital for educators and language tutors. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) emerges as a crucial tool for English teaching businesses, enabling them to enhance their visibility, attract a broader audience, and ultimately thrive in a competitive online landscape. In this era where individuals often turn to the internet to find language instructors and resources, the importance of SEO cannot be overstated for those in the English teaching profession. This article explores how effective SEO strategies can elevate an English teaching business, driving growth, and fostering success in the digital realm.
“What I do now will affect my SEO strategy and my business 6 months from now.”
If you’ve ever tried to get into great shape, you know it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it can take months and even years to achieve your goals. There is no magic pill to take that will transform your body into your dream body. Likewise, there is no magic pill in marketing. There is simply wisdom and best practices to follow. One of the absolute best marketing tactics you need to learn if you have an English teaching business is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. In this guide, I will highlight the importance of SEO for English teaching businesses and how you can implement your very own strategy.
Benefits of SEO for English Teaching Businesses
SEO will benefit your English teaching business for the life of your business, if you do it right. Let’s review some benefits of SEO for English teaching businesses:
- SEO will work nonstop for you
- SEO doesn’t need to be paid for (no advertising)
- SEO, if done right, will last for years to come
- SEO will position your company to get found by your ideal customers
- SEO is “free” other than your time (or if you hire a SEO company for their expertise)
- SEO will bring in quality leads who are searching exactly for your services
Of course, all of the above are only true if your strategy is built correctly. In this guide on SEO for English teaching businesses, I will show you how it’s done.
What SEO is Not
Before we jump into what SEO is, I’ll highlight what SEO is not:
- SEO is not advertising, you aren’t paying to climb rankings
- SEO is not a quick fix to growing your practice
- SEO is not a magic pill that requires little work
If you’re still interested in SEO and why your English teaching practice 100% needs it, continue reading!
What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a lot simpler than it sounds. Your goal is to get ranked highly on search engines like Google for things that your ideal customers are searching for (called keywords), and to continually add new keywords so that more of your target customers find your website. In SEO, a lot of little things add up to the big thing. In other words, each little tactic you implement matters for the entire landscape of your SEO strategy.
In this next section, I’ll review what matters in SEO
Starting a SEO Strategy for your English Teaching Practice
You can read and watch hundreds of hours of tutorials on SEO (I have over the years), or you can do the following things and learn on your own website how to be successful:
1. Learn Who Your Customers Are
The very first thing that matters is learning who your customers are. If you build a strategy that gets people to your site, but they aren’t the right people (not your ideal clients), you’ve wasted all your efforts. You need to know exactly who you want to target.
For example, If I’m an English teacher overseas in Japan and I am building a strategy, I should answer these questions:
- Who do I want to teach? (business professionals?)
- Where do these people go to find my service offerings? (search engines, social media forums, etc.)
- What are these people searching for related to my offerings? (business English teachers, Business English teachers Japan, Business English teachers Tokyo, etc.)
- What are my top search engine competitors doing to attract these clients to their sites? (whitepapers, city strategies, etc.)
- How do I position my brand and website to my target audience that gives them comfort and the desire to work with me
- What do I have to build on my website to maximize my visibility for what my target customers are searching for? (service pages, city pages, whitepapers, how to blogs, etc.)
You should answer the above as thoroughly as possible. There are free tools to help you with #3 and #4 above. Google Ads’ Keyword Planner is a free tool once you create an Ads account (you do not need to advertise, but the tool is within this site),
2. Your Website Strategy
Your website strategy is massively important in SEO. If you slapped something together overnight and made it look “pretty” you are most likely not doing anything to impact your SEO.
This is how I recommend building your strategy:
- Research your top competitors by Googling a service(s) that you offer. Take those domains and enter them into the Keyword Planner tool. It will list out hundreds or thousands of keywords that your competitors are ranking for. You can download these keywords into an Excel file, and then add them all into Excel sheet.
- Research keywords based on the service offerings you offer. This can be done the same way using the Keyword Planner tool.
- Research what else your ideal customers search for. For my niche of mental health professionals, I know that they search for mental health forms, so I started offering these (initially for free) and received quality leads from mental health professionals downloading my forms. There are many things that your target customers want and you can give these things to them via gated content (content that requires them to submit their name and email to you).
- Find out where you can serve your customers. If you’re a local business in say, Tokyo, Japan, your entire site should be geared around “service offering + Tokyo, Japan”. For example, “Business English Teacher in Tokyo, Japan”. If you serve customers in many cities around the country virtually, you can build out specific pages for different service offerings in different cities.
- Finally, your goal will be to sift through all of the keyword data and pick out what makes up your strategy. I always say Go Big or Go Home. This can be a strategy that you implement over the course of months or even years, you don’t need to do it all overnight. Choose keywords that show “intent” of your customers to do something that benefits your English teaching business. For example, someone searching for “Business English teachers in Tokyo” is most likely looking to find that exactly. In contrast, ranking for a keyword like “teacher” shows little intent from your customers. In fact, that term is searched by many other types of people, not only the types of customers you want.
3. Website Basics
There are basic requirements for your website that you should follow. Don’t get too caught up in the weeds with technical SEO, which a lot of “experts” push. However, there are some basics you need to implement:
- Fast website: your website needs to load quickly. There are some best practices to make this happen including:
- Choose a fast hosting company (cheapest option is usually not your best option)
- Upload images that are around 100 kb’s in size – DO NOT upload professional quality images that are 1+ MB in size, it will kill your site speed
- Update your website regularly
- Use a caching plugin to help speed up the site
- Create separate pages for each “idea”. That means, separate pages for each service page, separate pages for cities you serve, separate pages for everything (blogs and product pages are good examples of having an idea on a separate page)
- Create great content (words) on your pages, and make sure they are robust and best answer what your customers searched for on Google. This is a major point in SEO.
- Follow on-page SEO to help search engines read your content better. This can include: Use your keyword in your title, permalink, metatitle, metadescription, throughout your copy. In addition, you should follow a title structure (h1, h2, h3, etc.) that makes sense so Google can read it. For example, there is only 1 H1 per page, H2’s are sub ideas underneath that main idea, and so on.
- Make sure your site has SSL security. This helps with your SEO and also shows your visitors that the site is secure
The above are just some of the website basics you should follow. Most of them I believe are pretty common sense.
4. Creating More Opportunities
Your goal should be to constantly create new ways for your customers to find your site. The project is never “finished”, you always have work to do with SEO.
Here are some ideas you could work on:
- New blogs targeting questions or ideas that point to your service offerings
- New products that are something your ideal customers want
- New pages on your site
5. Getting Backlinks
Another thing you should focus on once you have your site built out to a good point is to start writing for other websites. One reason for this is to get what’s called a “backlink” to point back to my website. This tells search engines that my site must be great content because other websites are pointing to it. This can be done for all your key pages (service pages, product pages, etc.)
6. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
Remember that exercise analogy above? It’s the absolute truth in SEO and marketing in general. If you are not consistent, you will fail.
You should adopt this outlook: What I do now will affect my SEO strategy and my business 6 months from now.
Conclusion on SEO for English Teaching Businesses
If you own an English teaching business, implementing a SEO strategy is one of the most important marketing tactics you can do. If you follow this SEO for English teaching businesses, and the tactics listed above, you will be on your way to SEO success. Remember, what you do today will affect what happens 6 months from now!
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