In 2014, Go Overseas launched a TEFL Course sub-folder, along with 100+ listings. However, after two years we still had only seen minimal increases in organic traffic to the section, and weren’t ranking highly for key terms like "TEFL Courses". Since organic search is a primary part of Go Overseas’ new user acquisition strategy, and the lack of traffic was having a direct, negative impact on business, I led the charge in improving the performance of this section of our site through an experiment.
Phase 1: Research
Our research phase consisted of two main parts:
We brought several users in to conduct user research sessions, and learn what was confusing them? Where were they navigating to? Was the section easy to find for them? Where did they give up? After the initial research, it was obvious that users were confused by all the acronyms in the field and, without a basic understanding of TEFL vs. CELTA, they weren’t likely to engage with a course listing.
The top ranking results for TEFL courses and other key searches had basic definitions for the different types of courses (CELTA, TEFL, TESOL, etc.), which lined up with our users’ confusion. Further, search data told us that, unlike other program types listed on our site, searchers were adding modifiers for the program type — and not just location.
Phase 2: Experiment Set Up
After we had a better understanding of what our users and the search landscape, I first outlined the key changes we needed to make to the page:
Add short definitions for each key category of TEFL course to better rank for definitional search queries while priming site visitors on key information.
Included a guide, to help site visitors better understand what to look for.
Add a navigation filter based on course type, in addition to location. We also added “online” as a location.
With these recommendations, our UX designer took the requirements, incorporated them into the new design, and launched the new web experience.
Phase 3: Results
First, we ran heatmaps to check if and how often users were engaging with the new additions to the page. With this, we saw a 20% lift in web visitors using our course type filter, further validating that this was a necessary addition.
Next, we waited 30 days from launch and compared our search rankings and website traffic 30 days prior to launch against 30 days after. The results:
Organic traffic to the page increased by 2x and traffic to the section overall increased by 1.5x
Total unique page views were up 30%
We went from ranking, on average, in spot 42 to spot 2 in SERPs for "TEFL Courses"
The bounce rate went from 12% to 11%