A few year ago Search Engine Optimization must not have even featured in your plans. Today, it occupies a central place in school marketing plans.
Now, consider where we are today. SEO is a topic that virtually every school marketer is thinking about. Today decision-making process for prospective students has changed. We live in a world where nearly two-thirds of prospective students use Google, Bing or other search engines to choose their undergraduate and graduate programs (and technical programs, too!).
Start chipping away at your enrollment roadblocks with 7 immediate actions that you can consider.
1. Ensure consistent information about your school on other sites
Google uses information from other websites, called data aggregators, to confirm that data about your school is correct. Too many inconsistencies will make it see red. Ensure that your facts are straight on the sites like Google+, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
2. Conduct Keyword Research
Once you have clearly defined and established your goals focus on keyword research.
Develop a list of keywords that will help you rank well for relevant search queries. Use customer search terms rather than what you think are the keywords. An ideal way to start is to look at competitor information and keywords. Test these keywords for monthly search volumes on the Google Keyword Tool. All you need for this is a Google Account.
Clearly, the more popular the keywords, the higher the search volume. However, these keywords will also be much more competitive.
A good tactic, therefore, is to focus on long-tail keyword phrases. Long-tail keywords are often less competitive than generic keywords and will provide you quick ranking results. It can also be better targeted to specific audiences, which can improve click-through rate and lead conversion.
3. Keep Page Load Time in Mind
As Google says: Speed matters. Faster loading pages mean more visitors land on your site instead of waiting in frustration or leaving.
Essentially, the faster your program pages load, the more popular they will be and the better they will rank.
Check you site's page speed using Google Insights. The insights will tell you how your developers should optimize your site's page speed for better ranking. Google uses page load speed as a factor in how it ranks websites. Put a premium on quick-loading, user-friendly program pages and Google will reward you.
4. Limit Page Descriptions
You should limit all of your page descriptions for SEO to 165 characters. This is the maximum number of characters that Google displays on their search engine result page (SERP).
You want to do this so that your entire page description is seen on the SERP. Although the length of the page description doesn’t factor into Google’s search algorithm, it helps the person reading it to determine if the content on your page is what they are searching for.
5. Ensure that your site is mobile-friendly
Google insists now that your site is mobile-friendly for ranking. if your site is not mobile friendly it has already been probably replaced in the SERP by other sites that are mobile friendly.
You can check your site's mobile friendliness using Google Insights.
6. Link, Link, and Link more
One importance of backlinks is better Search engine ranking for your website.
Try to get quality links to the pages on your website from other popular sites, sites pertinent to the education sector and schools.
This will help improve your search engine ranking. Remember that you aren’t the only school vying for the students' attention. A better search engine ranking will give you an edge over your competition.
7. Increase the number of pages on your website
Remember, the more the page, the greater the opportunity for your school to seed pages with keywords and the greater your chance to rank for these keywords.
Here are some ideas for collecting content for your school.
Feature School Events, Activities, Celebrations, Essays by Students, Photo Galleries of Picnics & Excursions, notes about policies and more. Have a Blog on your website to keep adding new content to your website. Now let’s go fill those classrooms!
Do you have interesting ideas that you'd like share on getting better page rank?
Come, share them with us and our readers. Use the comment form below.