It’s time to make a change to one of the most important aspects of your course for SEO purposes: the course title.
Now many instructors feel that their title cannot be changed. It was the title they chose before they created their course, it’s on all their slides, they mention it inside the course, it’s part of their brand, it is just too sacred to touch.
And it’s fine to hold that view I guess – it’s just potentially holding students back from finding your course. You’re helping less people learn the topic because you refuse to change the title.
All I ask is that you try a different title for 24 hours. Stand back, become temporarily detached from it, and think of a title that includes your keyword that’s simple and clear on what the course delivers.
Preliminary Task) This is where I’d ask you to check your search position for any changes, but most of you made no SEO changes to your course yesterday, so this isn’t necessary today. But we’ll check tomorrow for sure. If you did change your course yesterday, check the search position for any changes.
Day 2 Task) Go into your course dashboard, under the Basics menu, and change your title. Let it sit for 24 hours.
Tomorrow, we’ll check the changes and see if there was any impact. Don’t worry, it’s easy to undo if the impact was negative. Don’t be disheartened if the impact was negative, it’s a test and not all tests succeed.
Update: The challenge is now over. But feel free to start from Day 1 on your own schedule.
“Optimize Your Course for Udemy SEO” Challenge (Unofficial)!
Throughout the week (Monday April 18 to Friday April 22), I will challenge you to a series of small, tiny tasks to improve your course in Udemy SEO / search results. Each day, I will ask you to experiment with something on your course landing page, and you’ll come back to check on your course the next day to see the effect and make another change. I would hope that it will not take you more than 5 minutes to complete each day’s challenge. You’ll check the results of the previous day’s task, and make another small change to your course landing page and save.
The goal is to get your course from its current position in search for your desired keyword to a higher position. If by Friday, it’s higher, that’s success.
Because I am unable to send out daily course announcements (there are more challenge days than in course announcements), and the course Q&A tab is no longer set up for student communication like this, the challenge will be posted on my website at http://videocourses.ca/SEOChallenge
The challenge is free to join, and I don’t request any personal info from you. Come back to this URL each day for the new days’ challenge! I will remind you in course announcements twice more during the week next week.
Your Udemy SEO is too important not to spend a few minutes every day trying to improve your course.
Update: Since the challenge is over, the prizes have already been awarded. But don’t let that stop you.
No monetary prizes, but I will randomly pick up to 10 winners from all who are students of my Udemy SEO course and complete this challenge, to promote your course with a non-affiliate coupon code on my personal Twitter and CourseMania.com website. The winners will also be announced after the end of the challenge. I obviously can’t promise any sales, but if you want your link somewhere thousands of people will see it, I can offer you some free exposure.
FIRST 3 TASKS (BEFORE Monday April 18)
1) What’s your main keyword? __________________________
Hopefully after going through this course, you understand the importance of being very targeted with your keyword. When you’re just starting out, you need to be aware of one key word that people will use to search. Ideally, you want to use a word that LOTS of people are using to search. So don’t pick a word like “spontaneous”. Put yourself in your student’s shoes – what words would they enter into the search box to potentially find what they are looking for? Choosing the right keyword is one of the keys to good Udemy SEO.
2) When you enter that one word into Udemy.com, on what page of results do you appear? __________________________
If you have to go to page 4 of search results to see your course, the answer is “4”.
3) What would you estimate your overall search position to be for that word? __________________________
There are 12 results per page, so if you are in position 4 on page 4, you are in (3 X 12) + 4 = 36 + 4 = 40th position.
Write the answers to these three questions down. We will want to come back to this at the end of the week to see the progress for your course.
DAY 1 CHALLENGE
Today’s challenge is outlined in this video.
Day 1 of the SEO for Udemy course challenge.
1) Make sure you come back to this page every day until Friday to get the next day’s challenge. I am unable to send course announcements every day to remind you.
2) If you didn’t do the First 3 Tasks above, do it. Do a search for your course using your keyword, and record the search position that you’re at today. We will be measuring the success of this weeks tasks against beating that search position.
3) Finally, “do a backup” of your course landing page. Make a copy of your course landing page (screenshots or copy/paste) so that you can get back to the current settings if things go wrong. Make sure to expand the description to the full length.
Day 1 challenge:
Do you think you know what your main keyword is? Let’s verify that.
Day 1 Task 1) Take the word you answered in Question 1 of “First 3 Tasks” above, and do a search in Google Trends.
Warning: Adwords forces you to create an ad when you create a new account. Don’t be worried about this, you don’t have to go live with this ad. Just create it and leave it unpublished. It will cost you nothing if you do this. Go under tools and see the keyword planner tool.
Validate your assumption for the keyword by finding out the number of monthly active searches for :
[your keyword] + course
[your keyword] + courses
[your keyword] + training
Choose exact match search. Find out how many times people are searching for that. Is it small? Less than 1000 per month? That might not be enough.
Play with Google’s keyword tool to find if your word is best or if there’s a better word.
How many searches per month does [your keyword] + course get? __________________________
Day 1 Results:
I expect most of you will be satisfied with the keyword you originally chose. If so, great. You should have more confidence than before that this was a good keyword and some actual numbers and research to back up that assumption. But perhaps some of you are starting to rethink your keyword and are leaning towards another more popular one. That’s ok too! It’s easy to change with Udemy courses. Even if you have to change your keyword, you should have more confidence that more people will be searching for that word and have a chance of finding your course. More data (as long as it’s clear and consistent) equals more confidence.
Do not go and make changes to your course landing page just yet with this new keyword. In tomorrow’s challenge, we’ll make a change to the course landing page and you can use that new keyword then.
Update: They’ve reversed the policy on this, and this post is no longer valid.
In case you missed it, Udemy has “dropped the other shoe” and announced changes to it’s pricing structure (link no longer valid).
Udemy has changed so much in the past 6 months, hasn’t it?
There is a consistent thread through much of how Udemy has changed over the past few months, and to me there is one incident that defines “why” all of these changes are happening.
Exactly on Thanksgiving Day 2015, a massive controversy erupted. Someone had stolen a course from pluralsight and posted it to Udemy. The original author, incensed that someone had stolen his work and put it up for sale, posted his grievance to the web about how Udemy was stealing their work for profit, and it became an international incident. Stories about Udemy being a home to pirates appeared all over the web, and in prestigious places like the BBC.
Except, it wasn’t 100% fair. Indeed someone had stolen his course, but it wasn’t Udemy that stole it. Like any business on the web, Udemy acts when it’s notified of pirated content on its site through the DMCA process, as they are required to by law. The author hadn’t given Udemy much time to respond, and Udemy got a black eye over essentially nothing. However, Udemy had the global lynch mob’s attention that week and the facts couldn’t stem the outrage, and it must have been painful for all of Udemy’s employees.
I believe it was a defining moment in the history of the company.
That incident gave Udemy executives and investors a real scare. Udemy’s reputation been attacked on many fronts that week not just the pirated course in question, and Udemy having a good reputation was essential to the future of their business. Udemy for Business is trying to strike deals with companies, and the Partnership team is trying to work to make deals globally. Once you have a bad reputation, it takes time to build a new one. And so Udemy had to get to work.
Recovering Udemy’s reputation became job #1 in December 2015.
First up, re-focusing on trust and safety. They already had a trust and safety team, but they needed to get serious about rule enforcement.
In December, thousands of fake reviews had been removed from Udemy in a bulk cleaning. In January and February as well. Strikes now had force. Some instructors who’ve abused the system for a while were kicked off Udemy entirely. In 3 months, there are not many courses on Udemy that you can point to as obvious scams. One has to say that a lot of the obviously bad stuff has been removed at this point.
Incidentally, this is one reason why courses about guns were recently banned.
Second up, instructor verification and stricter review process. Just try to upload a course today with a Lynda or pluralsight logo in the bottom corner, and see if it gets approved. I’ve seen instructors asked to prove their courses really were theirs. And some instructors are being asked to verify their identities again even though they’re live on the platform. This ensures the Thanksgiving incident doesn’t happen again.
Third up, student reviews. One major knock against Udemy has been “all courses are 5-stars”. The old review system was basically useless. Students could not use the star rating at all in selecting courses, and so buying a course was hit or miss. Yes, there was the 30-day refund. But I’m sure the person who refunds does not go back and buy another Udemy course. Once burned, twice shy.
And now, pricing. Go out to the wider web and ask about Udemy, and anyone who knows will tell you never to pay full price. How many instructors signed up because they thought every Udemy instructor must be a millionaire? (4000 students times $300 each = $1.2 million, wow!) How many students that paid full price ended up either refunding or regretting paying so much when almost no one else was? Do they become raving fans of Udemy after?
Again, if a student has a bitter taste in their mouth after their first experience, refund or no refund, that’s not good for any of us.
Underlying Udemy’s business model is trust. Students must trust Udemy. Instructors who try to game the system with fake reviews undermine trust. Pirated courses and PLR content undermine trust. A perfect 5.0 course review score on every course in a category undermines trust. And listing a course for $300 when Udemy frequently sells it for $10, and the instructor themselves will sell for $1 also undermines trust.
Despite my success on Udemy (more than 10,000 paying students), the screen recording software I choose to use is called Screencast-o-Matic. This might be surprising, because I pay only $15 per year for the pro version, and it does a pretty good job at screen or webcam recording.
The question was asked in the Studio, so here is my setup.
How I Record with Screencast-o-Matic (SOM), PowerPoint (PPT) and Windows
First, I use the desktop version of SOM. I know there’s a web version, but I’ve never used it. So download and install SOM on your computer.
She hit the marketing world hard with her 2010 book, Fascinate. Inside is one of my favorite quotes, that I repeat often.
Different is better than better.
The core of Sally’s message is that humans are born with an innate ability to be fascinating. Some of us have developed good sense of humor in order to make others laugh, while others know how to sweet talk their way into a party without an invitation. Being fascinating is not something you learn, according to Sally, but you need to unlearn being boring.
Fascination is a state of intense emotional focus.
According to Sally, there are seven fascination triggers that we can tap into:
So what does this have to do with online courses?
We’re all trying to attract students to our courses. We’re all trying to stand above the other courses and get people to buy. We’re all trying to get people to WATCH our courses after buying them, implement what we teach, and leave us a great review. (And buy our next course!) So we all want students and potential to be fascinated by us.
I’ve always said that your unique advantage over other instructors teaching the same subject is YOU. The other instructor is not you, and you are not them. Don’t try to be them. Be you.
In fact, shed those boring parts and be more like who you really are. If you like to tell a joke, try to be fun and funny inside your course (without being annoying with it). If you suck at reading from a script, be yourself and talk freely (as long as it’s on point to the topic). There is always the chance of going too far with it, but the bigger risk is not going far enough. Be yourself, and people will like you for you. You have the ability to fascinate.
It’s a good book. Recommend picking it up if you get a chance.
Here are some interesting videos of Sally Hogshead talking about fascination.
The strategy of creating several small inter-related courses has been around for a while. The low prices that Udemy charges for courses encourages instructors to break up excellent large content into smaller pieces hoping to extract more revenue from the students. I am not a big fan of doing things solely for the goal of “more revenue”. Ideally what you want is to do things that are in the best interests of students. Provide more and more value, and that value comes back to you as revenue. But I can see the argument for several small target courses. I do this myself, although the purpose is NOT to make more money for myself.
In this video, I discuss the pros and cons of each approach.
Have you ever considered getting deeper into Enterprise Architecture and actually becoming TOGAF 9.1 Certified?
If so, I’ve just finished adding a lot more content to my TOGAF 9.1 Part 1 course.
30 sample questions added. I just yesterday added, in the conclusion section (section 7), 3 new quizzes that contain 10 questions each. Go ahead and test your knowledge of the TOGAF spec. Hopefully you will find the questions challenging enough, and will help you discover areas that you need more study on.
80 lectures detailing all the steps of the ADM. Over June, July and August, I’ve completed hours of new videos going into each of the steps of the ADM in more detail. This is not yet part of the core course, but I’ve added it as a bonus to those who really want to get deeper into the steps and phases.
All class slides available for download. Added a single 400 page PDF to the class that you can download and use offline to study for the test.
General cleanup and redo. Over the summer I’ve re-done some of the core lessons and added some introductions when it makes sense.
And we just passed 3400 students in that class! So thrilled!
<course image here>
Right now I am having my special end of Summer promotion called <coupon code> that can get you this course for only $15. There is only a couple of days left before I turn off the codes for that.
My friend Dennis Smith had me on his show “Late Night with You, Me, and Udemy” recently to talk about how Udemy instructors can get their courses taken down off pirate websites. The conversation also went into other topics relating to Udemy and online selling. I always love being on blabs with Dennis and others, and I think I should do more of them. Perhaps I should start my own show?
Perhaps not. But this is why I do video courses – to share what I know with a wide variety of people around the world. I do many of it for free on Youtube, and sell some too.
Check out this interesting chat.
Feel free to like it on Youtube, share the video on your social media, or leave a comment below and ask questions. Love to chat and interact with you!
If you’re just starting out on Udemy, you might not know where to begin when it comes to marketing your course. I created a video on Youtube that outlines some basic ideas when you’re just starting out.
Always (always) use a coupon when marketing your course. If you just send a link to your course without a coupon code, you are leaving money on the table. Udemy treats non-coupon sales as Organic sales, and you only get 50% of the revenue. If you drive the student, you can get up to 97%.
Udemy is a discount marketplace. 95% of sales on Udemy are at a discount. So price your course higher than you expect to get. But don’t price your course for $300 (the maximum) because you want to get full price sales sometimes. But aim higher than you expect, without being unreasonable.
Fish where the fish are. Don’t spend all your time fishing where there are no fish! So figure out where you students are most likely to hang out, and hang out there. Be helpful. Don’t sell, or be pitchy, or be spammy. Go be with your students, answering their questions for free, and allow people to learn that you actually teach a course on it.
What terms are people using to search for your topic? You have to use words in your course title and subtitle that directly speak to their needs. It’s tempting to call your course “eJoe’s Ultimate Guide to Dominating Online Commerce”, but do people search those words in Google or Udemy? When someone is looking to increase sales of their product, they are more likely searching “how to increase sales” than “dominating online commerce”. Use words in your course title and description that speak to the way the customer talks. Make them feel like your product is the exact solution to their problem.
Consider marketing on Youtube. I uploaded this video on Youtube, and have dozens of similar videos. I give away a lot of information for free (like this post), and then that leads them to your online course or other products. Youtube is a natural place to feature video course promos. Upload your promo video. Upload your free preview videos, and link all that back to your Udemy course using a coupon code.