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How To Choose The Best SEO Writing Course For You

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How To Choose The Best SEO Writing Course For You

In a fascinating burst of synchronicity, I was halfway finished with this blog when the news hit about Google’s digital marketing certification course mentioning keyword density and word count. Sigh.

This is one of my rant-filled blog posts. You’ve been warned.

Are you confused by all the SEO writing course options out there?

That makes perfect sense, especially since new courses keep popping up — and they all seem so different.

Some SEO writing courses are short and cheap — but the materials are often more like an overview, and the information may not be current.

Other SEO writing courses may be more in-depth and updated — but the cost is higher. (I’ve seen some over $2,500.)

How do you choose?

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Not all writers need ALL the bells and whistles. Sometimes, you just need an SEO writing overview — and then you can dive in more deeply if it makes sense. Sometimes, it pays to go all-in and review more robust SEO writing courses.

Fair disclosure: I created the SEO Copywriting Certification training over ten years ago because the information back then was non-existent. Since then, I’ve developed white-label SEO writing courses for organizations (like The Freelance Writers Den and AWAI) and have customized in-house courses for big brand companies. So, I’m big on quality, accurate instruction.

Here are some things to consider.

Why are you searching for an SEO writing course?

Do you want to get a sense if SEO writing would be fun? Dipping your toes in the water with a less-expensive training (or even one that’s no cost) is a great way to see if you want to learn more.

If SEO writing is a big part of your job (or freelance business), investing in a more expensive course may be wise. You’ll be able to master SEO writing more quickly and will learn how to work with different types of sites and situations.

How old is the SEO course?

SEO writing courses do not age like fine wines. Although some SEO content writing tips like “write for your reader” have stood the test of time, other aspects move more quickly. If an SEO writing training is more than two years old, there are probably some out-of-date elements. (After all, how often do I write about Google doing something new?)

I find that I have to make significant updates to my SEO writing course at least once a year, with minor updates in-between. Yes, THAT’S how much things change.

Who is the instructor, and what is their experience?

Here’s the thing: you want to learn SEO writing from a writer who has successfully written content for various sites — and has done it for several years (five or more.) Experience matters, especially when sorting through misinformation and common SEO myths.

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My guess is the instructor for Google’s SEO certification course got the SEO writing part wrong because they didn’t know any better. There’s a high probability that the author heard the familiar “two-percent density” and word count myth, thought it was real, and included the information on the slide.

I’m not saying that SEO writing courses created by companies (instead of SEO writing experts who regularly write content) are bad. I’m just saying to consider the source — even if that source is Google.

Side note: Google has removed the slide discussing keyword density.

Is the training solely focused on SEO writing?

Some “SEO writing courses” include only a couple of chapters about SEO — and the rest of the course discusses how to use a software tool, other types of copywriting, or business tips. This format is fine if you just need general SEO information — but not so great if you want to dive in more deeply.

If your learning focus is just SEO writing, pay attention to the course curriculum (especially if you’re purchasing the course) and ensure it has the information you need.

Do you want feedback and the ability to ask questions?

Here’s the reality: Cheaper courses tend to have little-to-no email support and few training calls. Why? Because good support takes time and is expensive to provide. If you’re the type of person who loves asking lots of questions (I’m one of them!), spending more will give you the learning experience you need.

Some people want to receive personalized help so they can upskill even faster. You can dramatically shorten your learning curve by working with course trainers one-on-one — but this is the most expensive option.

Does the course format work with your work and learning schedule?

No matter what, taking an SEO writing course means a considerable time investment. Two big questions to factor into your decision are:

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  • Is the class set up in a way that “clicks” best with how you learn? 
  • Will you have enough time to take this class and successfully complete it?

For instance, some people love short-term courses that run for a limited time — it forces them to stay on task and get the work done. BUT, if you’re already working 50+ hour weeks, you may not have the available brain space for a short-term class.

Other people need the flexibility of a self-directed course with the option of live (or recorded) updates. BUT, if you’re the type of person who needs a sense of urgency, self-directed may be challenging.

You’ll want to consider your learning style and available time before purchasing an SEO writing course. After all, the best SEO writing course is the one you love, you learn from — and you have time to finish.

What do you think?

Do you have a question about finding the best SEO writing course for your needs? Leave a comment below. Or head over to the SEO writing tips Facebook group and share your thoughts.

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Google Clarifies Course Structured Data Requirements

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Google Clarifies Course Structured Data Requirements

Google updated the Course structured data requirements for appearing in the Course rich results. Failure to follow the guidelines may result in not qualifying for the rich result.

While the added requirement is not new, it was previously missing from the Course structured data requirements page.

Course Structured Data

The Schema structured data for courses is what schools use to appear in the associated rich results, which can appear as a carousel.

The official Schema.org website defines the Course structured data as:

“A description of an educational course which may be offered as distinct instances at which take place at different times or take place at different locations, or be offered through different media or modes of study.

An educational course is a sequence of one or more educational events and/or creative works which aims to build knowledge, competence or ability of learners.”

As long as schools follow the Google Search Central structured data guidelines and requirements for the Course structured data, students can find courses they’re looking for in the rich results triggered by educational course search queries, and everyone wins.

Unfortunately, the Course structured data guidelines were incomplete because they were missing an essential requirement.

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Google Clarifies How to Be Eligible for Rich Results

The change to the Course structured data was to add a requirement missing from the guidelines.

The change is described in a Google changelog:

“Clarified that you must add three courses to be eligible for the Course rich result. This is not a new requirement; it was previously only documented in the Carousel documentation.”

Google added additional sentences to the section of the Course structured data guidelines that is titled Technical Guidelines.

The new wording that was added is:

“You must mark up at least three courses. The courses can be on separate detail pages, or in an all-in-one page.

You must add Carousel markup to either a summary page or an all-in-one page.”

Previous to this clarification, developers and SEOs who followed the Course guidelines would not have known about this requirement unless they had looked at the Carousel structured data requirements.

All schools that failed to mark up three courses and add Carousel markup will not qualify for the Course rich results.

Additional Changes to Structured Data Guidelines

Previous to Google’s clarification of the Course structured data requirements, the word “carousel” appeared only two times.

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After the change, the word “carousel” appears six times in the new documentation.

The Carousel structured data requirements were important all along, but the previous documentation did not communicate that importance to the search community.

Check Your Structured Data

If the Course structured data has failed in the past to result in a rich result, it may be helpful to review the current structured data that’s on the pages to ensure that there are at least three courses marked up and that the Carousel markup is also used.


Citations

Read the Updated Course Structured Data Guidelines

Use Schema for Course Carousel

View an Archive of the Previous Guidelines

Archive.org Snapshot of Google Course Structured Data Guidelines

Image by Shutterstock/Maxim Gutsal

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