In 2020, there were 4.9 million searches performed every minute. This means people use specific keywords to find the answers they’re looking for, from places to eat to colleges to enroll in.
If you’re a school looking to improve your online presence, the first place to start is with your SEO strategy. While it might not seem like a huge deal, the right strategy can do several things for your school, including increasing website traffic and producing organic leads.
Get ready to increase your attendance once you’ve checked out our comprehensive guide.
Why SEO Is a Must-Have
Again, if you thought you didn’t need to implement an SEO strategy, you’re not the only one, but there are several reasons why you need to change your way of thinking. Think about your school’s website.
What does it have to offer to people that hope to attend your school? Future or current attendees should be able to find some of the following things on your site:
- Forms for application
- School social media pages to follow
- Resources for those already enrolled
If someone is looking for something, how can they find what they’re looking for if you’ve not taken the time to optimize each page of your site? The answer is they won’t be able to.
While it’s easy to think your job is done once you’ve invested in sending carefully created print mail and emails, that’s not where things should stop. You’ve got to continue marketing even once you’ve gotten people to visit your school page.
Is SEO for higher education marketing starting to look good to you? Great, now it’s time to jump into the things you need to pay attention to before giving you some tips on how to do the research the right way.
Use of Website Images
You can’t pick any images and think they’re going to work once uploaded to your school’s webpage. It takes skill to find an image that will be compelling and fit within the rest of your site’s design seamlessly.
Not only should you think about the photos you’re using it’s also beneficial to sprinkle in some videos. For example, if you’re looking to keep people on your site longer, having a video depicting a school event where students are having fun shown on your homepage is an excellent idea.
This is the perfect form of marketing to show students why enrolling at your school is the best decision they will make as they continue their education.
Your domain authority is the score you’ve been given by MOZ that lets you know the likelihood of your school page being ranked amongst others. You will be scored from 0-100, and the higher your score is, the better your chances are of appearing on the first pages of any search.
The links you use on your page are what will be used to create your domain authority score. You shouldn’t be worried if your score changes because it’s common for it to change, especially if others in your niche go through a phase of acquiring more links.
The Content You’re Creating
Several types of content can be used on and throughout your site. It’s not about how often you publish content to your page, but about the quality of the content you produce.
The best practice for schools is to create a schedule of content to be released. Ensure as your push the content out, it’s full of engaging information that will captivate those visiting your site.
For example, if it’s enrollment season, you don’t want to post information about summer activities. You’ll need to create content that provides information about how to enroll in classes and submit applications.
As well as the deadlines for submitting this information to the school. Another thing to think about as you create your content is the length of your content.
When you create longer posts, it increases the number of backlinks to your site. Backlinks are when other sites create content that has links to your site embedded in them.
The more backlinks you have out there, the better, but keep in mind low-quality backlinks will increase the penalties against your page, bringing down your overall search engine ranking.
The structure of your page is vital, mainly when search engines perform an indexing of your site. Search engines use things known as crawlers to go through the design of your website, placing those that are more favorable at the top of the list.
You need to ensure that all the content you’re creating is in the proper structure, meaning it’s put together in a way that makes sense to those visiting your site.
Everything on your site should feature some of the following:
- Header tags
- Meta descriptions
If you’ve not done so already, go back and check the things posted to your page to see if you’ve structured them properly.
On average, people spend upwards of 3 hours on their phones. They use this time to do several things like scrolling through social media or checking their emails.
Because of the time they spend on their phones, it gives you the perfect time to market to potential students and gets them to visit your site. However, there’s one problem, and that’s not having a user-friendly website.
No matter the device someone is using, they should be able to load your site and visit each page without any issues. If your site loading speed is slow, you run the risk of losing leads before you’ve got a chance to share information with them.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re going to drop in the rankings quickly.
SEO Strategy Creation
Now that you’ve got in-depth information about the factors of your website you need to pay attention to it’s time to move on to your SEO strategy plan and how to create it. Keep in mind this isn’t a one-time thing; it’s something you’ll need to continually review and make changes where necessary.
The reason for this is trends come and go, as do the keywords that people search. If you don’t improve your strategy often, it will be easy to get overtaken by others competing for the same students you are.
Here are some tips to help you optimize your content as you move forward with your higher education marketing plan.
Research Popular Keywords
One of the common things you hear about in SEO is keyword research. This means you research the most popular words that consumers type into the search engine when they’re searching for something.
The more you use these keywords in your content, the better. As you do your research, you’ll find words upon words that you can use, but the thing is, you want to use words that rank higher on the list.
It’s about anticipating what phrases are used the most and using the right keywords. Before you start using keywords in your content, take some time to create a list of phrases that people will search.
There are several free sites out there you can use to check how often certain words are used. If you find yourself stuck with a list that doesn’t seem to be growing, specific sites will help you by providing other popular phrases.
The keywords you use should vary in length to ensure you show up in sources for multiple people. For example, the phrases used in the body of your content can be longer, but the keywords used in things like titles or headers should be concise.
Keywords that have a lower search volume are helpful because they can increase the website traffic you get. If you’re not sure how SEO works, you can always work with a company that will track how well your keywords are performing.
Place Keywords Strategically in Content
Now that you’ve done the research, it’s time to put those keywords to good use. Every area of your site should feature a sprinkling of the keywords you’ve placed on your list, including phrases.
Although keywords are helpful, one thing you want to avoid is using too many. ‘Stuffing’ is when you overdo it with the keywords, and if you do this, it can also affect your rankings.
You need to find a natural way to work your keywords in; if it doesn’t sound natural, don’t put it in there. The overall purpose of the keywords you use in your content is to improve the quality of your content.
Diversify Your Content
The content published to your site should be as diverse as possible. This means finding unique ways to put multimedia to work for you, like including infographics or videos on your site.
If you’ve gone the route of optimizing video content, there are several ways you can do this. The first thing you can do is provide transcripts and closed captions for the video.
This gives people that have missed the information shared in the video a place to find what they didn’t catch the first time. Another thing you can do is provide a link to your social media pages.
This gives people a chance to follow the school and get more information in varying ways. This will increase your school’s visibility.
Metrics Matter Too
We’ve given you a better understanding of the best ways to optimize your website, but there are other things to think about too. It’s essential you have a way to measure the keyword performance you’ve used.
If you don’t know what metrics you need to keep track of, how will you see how you’re measuring up to the competition. Here are some of the metrics you need to monitor.
Bounce rate is when people visit your page and leave before they make it past the home page. If your site has a high bounce rate, the chances of people filling out applications to your school are low.
If the bounce rate is high, you need to revisit your SEO strategy, web design, and page loading speed because these can all be what’s causing issues for your site when it comes to reaching people.
The reverse of the bounce rate is your page’s dwelling time, which is the amount of time people actually spend on your site. The longer people spend browsing your site, the better your site rankings will be.
If you want people to dwell on your page longer, you need to grab their attention. You can do this by creating compelling titles and headers because these will be the things that make people want to read more.
If you’re not paying attention, it can be easy to duplicate content on your site. You need to have a way to check for duplicate or similar content on your site.
There are times when you may not be producing the same content, but it’s close enough that a crawler will read it as duplicate content.
SEO Strategy: Getting People to Your Page Then to Your School
Your SEO strategy aims to get people to visit your website and then, once there, search for other information they need, such as an application form. Have you been scrolling through your school’s site and realize you need an expert’s help when it comes to your SEO strategy?
If so, contact Local Finder. Not only are we knowledgeable about SEO, but we can also help you create content to include video and news releases. Let us help you increase your student population one piece of optimized content at a time!