Want to boost your school’s student population?
If so, inbound marketing is the way to go. It involves marketing methods that attract the right students to your educational institution. It also gives you a competitive advantage over other universities in the country.
To reap the benefits of attracting students with inbound marketing, you must do it right. Read the rest of our article to help understand how:
Why Is Inbound Marketing Important for University Sites?
Millions of college students enrolling each year look for the best universities around. Students want to ensure that their higher education will land them a stable income. As the internet continues to flourish, students rely on search engines like Google.
Many students now consult the web to run a background check on universities. They do this before doubling down on their chosen university. It’s why universities must maintain an optimized, well-updated website.
Google is currently the biggest search engine in the world. To ensure your website ranks well, ensure that you follow Google’s SEO standards.
With technological advancements, every university allows students to enroll online. If you want to get more students, practice higher education marketing techniques. Your primary goal is to use proper SEO.
Higher Education Inbound Marketing Tips
Your efforts in inbound marketing for colleges should focus on SEO techniques. It helps your student rise to the top of the Google results page.
If your website isn’t on the first page, your chances of visibility drop close to zero. Your inbound marketing efforts will become the first step to push students to your doors.
1. Get an SEO Audit
Changing your website for better rankings means knowing what to change. An SEO audit will let you determine what changes you need. If you encounter technical issues, have your university IT department handle them.
SEO audits are easy to perform since you can use free tools online. However, it’s better to get an SEO expert or agency to do it on your website. With direct interactions with experts, you can ask for simpler explanations.
After knowing the required changes, it’s easier for you to do it. The process becomes more streamlined. Competent SEO agencies can work with your IT department to produce the best results.
2. Review Your Keywords
Students look for various course names when searching for universities online. Use the most common course-related keywords for your website when optimizing for inbound marketing for universities. If you have a course with a unique name, substitute it with a more common one.
Pick a synonym for your unique course and stick with it. That way, your website will appear when people search for that term. You need not change the actual name of the course.
All you need is to include the alternate course name a few times in your content. It’s the best way for it to rank even when students search for the more common alternative. Regardless, discover the most common keywords using keyword research.
Make your keywords more unique by adding your brand name. For example, you can use keywords like “psychology courses from (your university name).” You can use it like anchor texts to help your link-building campaigns.
3. Make Unique Content
Google always focuses on quality, good user experience, website UI, and unique content. These factors are some of the heavier determinants of your search rankings. Giving the most useful information to various people keeps this search engine at the top.
Your website needs various pages like course offerings and academics. At the same time, you must maintain a blog. It helps keep people on your website longer.
Regardless of your post’s content, ensure that it’s at least 500 words long. It allows you to add a decent number of keywords without getting flagged as spam. Knowing what students look for in a blog post can help you craft compelling and useful content.
Supplement your blog with email marketing. It broadens your university’s reach. It means you can reach a wider section of your intended audience.
Use this section to notify subscribers, students, and parents. It matters not whether it’s university events and other academic topics.
4. Build Relevant Links
Search engines see your website as credible if you have links from other websites. These are inbound links from authoritative websites. Whenever you can, ask online university directories for inbound links.
Whenever websites mention your name, ask them to link to your website. It’s an important factor that contributes toward a higher ranking. Do a link audit and fix broken links within your website.
5. Local Search Optimization
Most students prefer entering universities located near their homes. It’s also a common practice among adults who want to enter part-time courses. Some students from other locales may look for universities in your city.
It means they’re unlikely to look for your university by name. Enhance your efforts by optimizing your website for searches within your area. This method is local SEO.
With this, you must use keywords specific to your location. Add your location to your keywords to make your website more visible. List your university on online directories or make a Google My Business listing.
With a Google My Business listing, students can leave reviews. You can reply to these or answer their inquiries. High ratings encourage students to enroll in your university.
6. Strive for Mobile-Friendliness
Attracting students with inbound marketing is all about knowing how to cater to what they consider normal. Most people nowadays use their mobile devices like smartphones to find information online. Regardless of their location, they can go to the internet using their phones. It allows them to do rapid searches.
It means your potential students might use their smartphones to access your website. For this reason, your university website’s mobile-friendliness is important. Google’s recent algorithm updates made sure that mobile-friendly sites rank higher.
If your website isn’t updated, it’s likely incompatible with mobile devices. It causes mobile users to back off and search for other universities. It increases your bounce rate and lowers your search engine rankings.
Do your best to optimize your website to run on smartphones. It means getting a responsive web design. With a responsive site, you can adjust its elements to fit various screen sizes.
7. Use Optimized URL Structures
Another factor most people forget is your web page URL structure. It’s important since people click on your link to visit your web pages. If your URL is a string of random alphanumeric characters, it may not be effective.
When this happens, visitors will have no idea what your page is all about. To avoid this, ensure that each page URL is descriptive but concise. It must tell your audience its purpose since it builds their trust.
Your homepage must have the simplest URL. As for the others, you must make a specific order for your URLs. You must put the domain name and put its specifics as a follow-up.
Ensure that the URL structure is short and meaningful. It must include your keywords to optimize them better. With a simple URL structure, Google can index your pages faster.
At the same time, it gives searchers more relevant results. It’s because it indexes the keywords contained in your URL. It gives you more points for your inbound marketing techniques.
8. Put More Interactive Features on Your Website
Some students can’t visit your campus before they decide. It’s why your responsibility to make your website more interactive. This enables them to navigate your website with ease and reach out when necessary.
Allow your students to fill application forms and make payments online. Make a virtual university tour to show your campus facilities and amenities. Include a map of your school, annual schedules, and a live chat feature.
Your audience will understand your university website better using these features. It lets them get direct answers without waiting for days. It makes them feel that you care for their time and interest.
9. Optimize Your Website
Interactivity is important, but never neglect to optimize. It’s what makes your website’s interactivity make sense. For example, an optimized website will often put its chatbox on every page’s bottom-right side.
It’s because people notice this spot easier. When they’re looking for answers, their gaze often shifts toward that space. However, it’s only one of the many aspects of website optimization.
Make your website clean while giving space for each information type. Never scatter them where they won’t make sense. Arrange them into main categories and subcategories.
Website optimization includes designs and color schemes. Your website theme with your university’s logo and institutional vision. A good place to start is to use two colors while avoiding bright hues.
Put crucial details like events and enrollment deadlines at the center of your homepage. Add more details to bolster your university’s credibility in this area. For example, you can put some notable alumni whenever they achieve something major.
10. Know the Difference Between Sub-Domains and Sub-Directories
Most people get confused about these concepts. However, it’s easy to distinguish them since sub-domains work like independent websites. It means you won’t rank well because you’re managing multiple websites at once.
An example of a sub-domain URL is “mba.universityname.com.” A sub-directory URL is “www.university.com/mba.”
The distinction comes from the way Google indexes your pages. Once they find a sub-domain link, they consider it as a separate website.
Never use sub-domains when you want your main website to rank higher. If you need them, ensure your main domain has a landing page. It must lead your readers to the sub-domain.
11. Think About Your Website Performance
The tips mentioned above are great for boosting your search engine rankings. However, it’s not as effective when you don’t measure these changes’ success. It means you won’t know whether your efforts are bearing fruit.
It’s why you must assess your efforts. See the type of outcomes they bring. Use analytics to keep track of your marketing efforts and set new goals.
You’ll see the number of people visiting your page and other key metrics like bounce rates. All these contribute to the success of your inbound marketing campaign. Using higher education inbound marketing techniques alongside this can strengthen your campaign and boost conversion.
12. Consider Technical Factors
Some technical factors are difficult to manage without professional help. If your IT department is competent enough, they can deal with these aspects with ease. Otherwise, work with a professional SEO agency.
Deal with these problems as soon as possible. Otherwise, your website will suffer some penalties from search engines. Here are some you can solve immediately:
If you have a cheap web host, investing in your website won’t mean a lot. It’s why you must ask your IT department to find a better web hosting provider. Otherwise, your website performance suffers.
Cheap hosting often means sharing your web server with other sites. When sudden traffic spikes happen, your website loads slower or not load at all. Most users will get out of your website when your pages don’t load within the first three seconds.
For older websites, pages deleted for any reason can be a problem. When other websites direct to these pages, you won’t benefit from it. To solve this, redirect these broken links to your main website to keep its benefits.
Using outbound links is one of the easiest methods of improving your search rankings. If you have lots of broken links, your rankings will suffer. It’s because people will click away from your website when they find that their desired page is no longer there.
Boost Your Inbound Marketing Campaign Today
Your inbound marketing efforts will mean more if you invest in an optimized website. It’s why you must consider improving it. Do this before focusing on other marketing strategies.
Do you need professional help to improve your university website? If so, fill out our contact form, and let’s work together.
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