There are a lot of controversial discussions on how to improve the results of language school marketing online and it comes down to one crucial element that possibly is ignored by at least 75%-90% everyone doing something online.
You can’t make any smart business decisions based on “guesswork”. You can’t make any online business decisions based on “guesswork” either – it is even more unforgiving. The SEO spies are already online and active 24/7.
The Internet today makes it easier than ever to watch what others are already successfully doing – and then to go and copy their strategies.
But is this actually a good thing to do?
Which Spying Is Good? – Which Spying Is Bad?
There are two kinds of spying going on, and one is good and the other is bad – at least for the long-term that is.
Let’s start with the bad spying. That is mainly exploring what others are doing and then performing the whole copycat thing and just undercutting other businesses based on their price to attract customers that do not want to pay less. It is basically stealing the strategies and components and just selling them under a new name.
You can prevent this for your own business by being uniquely positioned, by having trademarked and recognizable USP (unique selling proposition) elements that nobody can take away from you, because “you” are always a part of what you offer and “you” can’t be cloned and stolen that way.
Now let’s look at the good spying. Because let’s face it: everyone has to have to do their research. What is it that customers want and excites them? If another language school attract a lot of attention and show great success the key is to learn from them and then apply the success for yourself.
Being An Innovator Not A Copy Cat Still Requires Industry Insights
It should be clear that you can only as successful as you allow yourself to stand out from the competition. Copycats will never enjoy long-term success as they will never be recognized as a leader and innovator.
If you want to make more money and attract more customers you need to design your language school learning experience in a way that it is so unique that people will instantly connect it to your name.
As an innovator, you need to have business insight data. What do people online search for today and what is the trend? Which demographics group spends the most money? Are online learning apps a new way to go and create your own?
Most if not all of those questions can be answered by spying on SEO information from other language service companies and language schools. The key is then being innovative and using all those insights to strengthen your own brand instead of stealing and copying.
What Spying On SEO Really Means
Spying on the SEO of your other language service competitors: what does that actually mean?
Let’s rephrase the “spying” with “constant ongoing research and monitoring”. If you want to find out why other language schools are popular in search engine results, then in 2018 and beyond it has most often nothing to do with SEO-trickery and spammy marketing attempts to manipulate Google to show you in the first positions.
Make no mistake: SEO professionals know that there are hundreds of hundreds of different SEO signals that search engines use (some say it is already over 500 signals!) before they make their calculations and start ranking a website.
How does that SEO research look in the real world then?
It is surely not enough to just look at some of the other competing language school website and trying to emulate their web design. While a user-friendly web design is highly important – as very fast web hosting speed is – it is only a tiny part of the success story.
You need to do ongoing more detailed SEO research. Here comes a fair warning: this is not a one-time business To-Do.
You can find out exactly what is going on the search engines over time. You barely know nothing by just “googling” keywords this week and base all your business decisions on that one-time search.
Free SEO Tools: Biased And Not Really Free – But Still Worth To Use
The most popular research tools are included with your free Google services, no matter if you use their paid advertising offers such as Google AdWords or not.
In Google Adwords, you can do keyword research and basically spy on how many people search for certain terms and what other advertisers pay showing ads when people search for those keywords. It should be obvious that those numbers are biased and never reflect the real numbers: Google wants to sell you advertising after all. But those numbers are helpful to recognize trends and indeed start your paid advertising campaigns with it.
There are other Google services such as Google Analytics and the very important Google Search Console – but those tools do not let you spy on other websites. You can see however how your current keyword ranking develops and the click-through-rates and also very important metrics that help you to fix SEO-problems with your sites that you will not see and understand otherwise.
In order to gain insights into other websites you really have not much choice in NOT using professional tools and analytics that make important metrics known in public.
Most of those professional SEO research tools offer usually a free but short trial period and often offer a very limited free version of their full services just to get a feel for them, so the free versions are usually of no good for long-term successful usage.
Examples Of Professional SEO Tools
Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not getting paid for listing those services here. They are meant to be examples and also as everyone knows sometimes services shut temporarily or permanently down. All links were active and verified in October 2018, if you find anything outdated, please let me know.
There are many important factors you need to watch and optimize for your own websites and over the last decade, many companies have made themselves a name as SEO-must-have.
A quick and helpful paid tool to get good and in-depth metrics is called SerpWorkx, it creates overlays in search engines results. So you can do very easy researches on any website you like or carry out your own keyword searches and then learn from the results.
This tool is worth mentioning because it combines most of the favorite big name tools for SEO like Majestic SEO Data, Moz Metrics, Semrush Data, AHrefs, and the all-important On-Page SEO Metrics analysis including daily searches.
Majestic SEO is a powerful research tool to check vital SEO data including analyzing backlinks and important summary data for any website and they have developed a metric called TRUST FLOW that is helping you with understanding Authority – and how you get ranked higher in search results. Their monthly fees start from $49.99 up to $399.99.
In the past PageRank was very important but Google discontinued to use it and it can no longer deliver any values that are worth to consider to improve your own SEO rankings.
Ahrefs – another popular and influential SEO research tool – has its own values for checking authority and call them “URL Rank” and “Domain Rank” instead. Their monthly pricing starts at $ 99 and goes up to $ 999.
SemRush is another very established and popular SEO Suite. Their monthly fees start at $99.95 up to $ 399.95.
And MOZ is also a must-mention here. Their monthly pricing starts at $ 99 and goes also up to $ 999. The MOZ professional services are along with Ahrefs the most expensive, but they are SEO industry standards.
Without professional SEO Help You Are Probably Wasting Your Time
Let’s face the cold truth: doing extensive SEO research requires a significant amount of money for professional tools and the time being paid for researchers doing the actual spying of SEO results and movements for you.
And finally: all those results need to be understood and to be acted upon – there are website changes to be made and often technical upgrades required such as changing your web host to speed up your website (which gives a great proven SEO boost).
If are trying to do it all yourself then most of your regular business activities will suffer, because it is simply impossible to get all necessary ongoing SEO work done by just one person.
If you are serious in wanting to beat the competition by using smart SEO tactics, then you have to invest time and money.
That is why we are here to help you. I have the resources and together with my team, I will let you focus on your daily language school obligations instead. Find out more about the Language School services available!