When you create any course on the FutureLearn platform, it goes through a rigorous SEO process to ensure that your course has the best chance of attracting rankings, organic traffic (from Google), and enrolments.
This article reviews what SEO is, how we do it, and what you can do to support our SEO efforts.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a marketing practice that focuses on making updates to a website and how it relates to the internet as a whole to improve positions in search engine results - this is usually focused on Google as the market leader.
Google makes hundreds of algorithm adjustments per year, but the basic principles of SEO have remained the same for years. We follow SEO best practices and stay on top of the latest changes to ensure that FutureLearn and, by extension, your courses, gain strong organic traffic.
How we optimize your course
Once we receive your course proposal, our team conducts detailed keyword research based on the information within it. This helps us understand which aspects of the course attract the most searches, and therefore guides the structure and focus of the page.
Part of on-page SEO is ensuring that we use language that reflects popular searches, and placing those keywords in the right positions. While many people refer to ‘keyword stuffing’ (the act of including keywords on a page over and over again in an unnatural way), the practice has not been effective for some time so we focus on correct positioning of the terms and strong research to support our efforts.
Items such as the name of the course, the metadata, the subheadings, and the introduction of the course are particularly important, which is why these areas gain particular attention.
We never duplicate content from elsewhere online - this is considered duplicate content and can result in poor rankings and even penalties, which is why every single Course Description Page is written specifically for your course and for our website.
What you can do to help
There are plenty of ways that partners can support us in our SEO efforts:
- Submit detailed course proposals. The better our source information, the better the content. Providing details of course contents, your ideal audience, pain points, and key themes/software/technology is extremely helpful for our research and helps us provide a clearer picture of the course for potential learners.
- Work with our team to get the best possible description. Our team will coordinate with you as part of the copywriting process. They may have made extensive changes to the original copy or may have questions to supplement their research - your input is invaluable to us for making these pages rank.
- Link to your course. Linking is a form of off-site SEO and is incredibly helpful for improving rankings. You can find more information about link building here.
Great resources on SEO
Want to learn more? There are some great free resources on SEO available online: