Are you looking for your next online course idea? Struggling with trying to decide which topic to cover next? Don’t fear - turn to keyword research to help you decide what digital product to create.
Why should you use keywords to find course topics?
Most people use keyword research to help guide their marketing content or copy - so they know it'll be more likely to rank in search results and thus drive traffic to their website. But, the same research can be applied to the topics and titles of your digital product offerings.
Discoverability and demand for a topic can help improve your chances of a successful launch. The goal is to find and understand which keywords are easier to rank for with less competition but still a substantial number of searches. This way, you can fill a gap and hopefully connect with people looking for information on your topic.
Using an SEO tool like SEMrush, Moz, or Ahrefs can help you measure your site’s search engine optimization and find ways to improve it. All three tools allow you to see the monthly searches and the predicted difficulty to rank for the term.
What makes a keyword easier to rank for?
SEO is a complex field, but there are a few things you can do to help your keywords rank:
- Getting do-follow backlinks on that keyword from high quality websites that link back to your intended page
- Including your intended keyword in the page header and meta description
- Having a high amount of time spent on the page
- Having a low bounce rate from that page
Looking at your page performance in Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster tools can help you understand the performance of your website and individual pages.
Example: Beauty-related online course topics
There are tons of makeup, hair, and skincare tutorials available online, but there are always new beauty trends and new possibilities for digital products. So, to show you the power of keyword research, let’s use beauty and cosmetology courses as a demonstration.
Disclaimer: if you’re thinking of offering any of these beauty-related courses, make sure you’re within compliance of any cosmetology licensing requirements in your area.
In October 2021, we pulled this data from Ahrefs about keywords related to beauty courses.
When it comes to the difficulty, the lower the number, the better. There’s often a correlation between high difficulty and high search volume (but not always). Finding a course with a lower difficulty and a disproportionately high number of searches is the goal.
We can see that a more general term, “online makeup courses” is a lot more difficult to rank for than more niche topics like “online lash course”. But, the second keyword still has hundreds of people searching each month for it.
We can see that some course topics are listed as super easy to rank for, but come with a low search volume. For example, “henna course online” and “online eyebrow threading course” are some of the easiest keywords but both only have 30 searches per month.
These sorts of easy-to-rank keywords with low traffic might be great options for someone who already has a following who could become customers of this course. Why? They have a group of buyers who can make the course worth their time to produce, but also use the easy-to-rank for keyword to secure their page’s spot high in the rankings.
That low-difficulty search term could surge in popularity. Then, that course creator will be well set to benefit from more traffic to their page, and hopefully more course sales. It’s very much a case of the early bird catching the worm.
Google Trends shows that the searches for that top keyword, “online makeup courses” have increased since the early 2000s. So, if this keyword was once easier to rank for with lower search volume, but consumer demand for this content has shifted. You can't just predict which of the low-volume keywords you are targeting will get a surge in search volume; you would have to use Google Trends API or a similar option to monitor your targeted keywords' search trend regularly or weekly.
How to decide what to sell after analyzing keyword data
So, after you’ve looked up your keyword data, what’s the next step to deciding your next course or digital product topic? Here are some tips:
1) Ultimately, you’ll still need to be knowledgeable enough on the subject to create content that has value to your customers. If you see a potential future trend, but have a gap in your expertise, you could look into professional development there to still be ahead of the curve.
2) Look for the keywords in a niche that has some kind of community around it. Following our beauty example, there is an online presence of people looking for tips to take care of and style curly hair. Whether you build that community yourself or can market to that community, that can help indicate interest and unlock potential customers.
Using Moz’s free SEO keyword tool, we can see that there are a number of related keywords that could help someone rank for a page with an online course about curly hair. The combination of a passionate community and low-difficulty keywords can help indicate success.
3) Find keywords that correlate to your niche expertise. If you teach on a subject that requires high barriers to entry, certifications, or advanced education, that can reduce your competition. Search long-tail keywords that include your qualifications and implement those if they look promising.
4) Look to see how many linking domains you need. Ahrefs has a feature that estimates how many backlinks you would need from other sites to rank in the top 10 search results. You may choose the keywords that only need a few sites to help you rank as your next topic.
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