Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key for an effective online marketing strategy. In an educational institutional context, it could mean setting up your university’s website or social media networks and the content that populates them to rank higher on search engines.
No matter how meticulously you craft your content or study your target audience, you could be wasting time if your prospects (for example, students) are unable to find you anytime they want. This partly explains why educational institutions like schools and colleges need to implement SEO for marketing.
SEO should be the foundation at which point all of an educational institution’s digital marketing efforts are built. Here’s a list of 7 tips that will help your school rank better on search engines and bring good fortunes.
1. Know Your Audience
If you offer courses targeting certain demographic factors (occupation, age), tailor your content to this. If you know nothing about who you’re targeting with your programs, you can’t create the intended SEO-friendly content.
Since search engines like Google, are dedicated to providing users with the best search experience possible, only the best-tailored content will top the search engine’s result pages. If your target audience continuously skips over your site in Google’s listings, the search engine will take note of that and lower its rankings on the search results pages. So, it makes sense to ensure you clearly-define your target audience and continuously create content and programs that address the concerns of your audience categories.
2. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
The ideal SEO-friendly social media profile is one that’s as descriptive as possible. Always fill out the ‘information’ or ‘about’ sections of all your social media networks. Use words that describe your school as well as phrases that your target audience, students, for example, would use to search for your school.
To use SEO for marketing your school’s Facebook Page, consider including your state, city, address, and zip. Also, don’t overlook the ‘category’, as it helps a great deal in Facebook mobile searches. Always include links from your website to your social channels and vice versa.
3. Make the Most of Your Website’s Keywords
Search engines like Google work by users typing in a query in the search box. Then, relevant web pages with the same or similar keyword or phrases will be displayed in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This is how your website receives organic traffic.
Keywords are at the heart of SEO for marketing, particularly in schools. SEO keyword strategies differ across education institutions, such as a trade school vs. a private university. Even then, the keyword research process is about the same across all educational institutions.
Analyzing competitors’ websites, using keyword tools, and doing some digging to figure out the words students use when searching for the sites are thoughtful ways to help your SEO keyword strategy. Use the data obtained from here to optimize your content and web pages to double down on what’s already working.
4. Update Your Most Popular and Outdated Content
This is a serious game-changer when it comes to using SEO for marketing. If you’re not continuously optimizing your outdated content and updating your most popular content, you’re missing the opportunity to increase traffic and attract more leads.
Take a look at the content you’re providing. Are some posts older than 6 months? Which content drives the most traffic to your site for conversion?
So much can change in half a year, so whatever information your content provides, you need to ensure it remains accurate. Rewriting some content, refreshing your ideas, inserting some relevant links, and updating your CTAs are great ways to start.
5. Optimize Page URLs
If your page URLs are composed of random letters and numbers, search engines can’t understand them. This means, your page won’t rank highly, if at all.
The ideal page URLs precisely explains what’s contained in the web pages. If you’re creating a page about new programs, for example, a logical URL could be “www.yourexampleschool.edu/new-programs.” This is memorable, meaning your site visitors can easily remember it when they come back.
Similarly, try to insert page keywords. If your page URL contains the words or phrases that students are looking for, it can signal search engines that it’s relevant. Avoid using many keywords or “keyword stuffing” in the hopes of ranking well. Search engines, like Google, view this as spam and will penalize your pages.
6. Clean up Your Website
Auditing your website can help set the stage for your SEO for marketing strategy. Reviewing your site helps you in identifying issues that may inhibit visitors and search engines from correctly accessing or indexing your website.
Crawling your school’s website using a web crawler tool can help detect serious issues that aren’t easy to spot. A site crawl tool can help you identify on-page issues, robots.txt, redirects, on-site, and off-site errors. After identifying the problems, you may want to create a ‘priority list’ encompassing the identified issues and when to fix them.
7. Ensure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
In recent years, more searches on Google have been via mobile and not desktops, reaffirming the need to have mobile-friendly sites. In 2018, Google announced that its page indexing would focus more on a website’s mobile-friendliness. Whether or not to have a school website optimized for mobile is no longer a question for discussion.
A majority of users are unlikely to revisit a mobile site they have trouble accessing—they’d rather visit a competitor’s website. This makes it super-important for schools, particularly those with multiple domains, to optimize their web pages for mobile. We recommend utilizing a mobile-friendly testing tool to identify issues to solve and using accelerated mobile pages (AMP) to help your pages load faster.
Your School Can Benefit From SEO for Marketing
Schools using SEO for marketing can be sure to rank better on search engines than those that don’t. But keep in mind, SEO is not a one-and-done because search engine algorithms are always changing.
However, structuring your website, using the right keywords, and continuously updating past content, providing high-quality content can help your educational institution stay on top of the SEO trends.
For expert assistance with optimizing SEO for your school’s website, feel free to contact us today.