SEO: Your College Website’s New Year’s Resolution
Search engine optimization, or SEO, can no longer be at the bottom of your list or something you think about as a last resort when your marketing dollars run out. SEO should be an integral part of your overarching inbound marketing plan, especially in higher education – your potential students are constantly searching the Internet.
Simply put, content optimized for search can drive new qualified leads and protect the value of your website. It’s time to stop ignoring Google’s evolving algorithm and start making it work for you! Make SEO a part of your inbound marketing strategy for your website’s 2016 New Year’s resolution.
We rounded up a few basic SEO tips to get you started.
Knowing your target audience is the key to great inbound marketing, and it’s even more vital when it comes to SEO. If you don’t have insight into what your target audience is searching for, how will you ever create content that’s relevant to their searches? Identify key search phrases that potential students are using and show off your college or university’s most attractive features by creating content that uses those phrases. For example, if your institution is known for its outstanding engineering program, you should optimize your digital content so this is apparent and recognized by search engines.
So, how can you find out what high school junior and seniors are searching? Let Google help – use their Keyword Planner tool.
Once you have identified the keywords your audience is searching for, strategically build them into as much of your content as possible. Blog posts, especially, should be centered on these high-performing, long-tail keywords (but make sure to use one keyword or phrase per blog post). Tag your blog with the keyword and include it in your title, meta data, URL, social posts and the first paragraph of content. There’s no such thing as “just another blog post!” The purpose of your blog should be a strategic database of content that highlights your audience’s interests.
Quality Over Quantity
Search engine algorithms are constantly changing. It is their goal to supply “searchers” with the most relevant, useful information on the Internet in response to their most specific searches. It is no longer about the quantity of keywords – search points have evolved to include a quality filter to be sure they are pulling the best of the best. Higher education content creators should concentrate on quality, not quantity, when producing content online. Writing a truly helpful blog post will boost your SEO more than a frivolous paragraph with a repeated keyword. It is truly all about keeping your audience in mind and delivering the content they’re interested in. Think this sounds easier said than done? To get you started, we’ve got 4 content marketing tips for higher education.
Social Media Counts
Having a social media presence is just about as important as having a website. Not only is this an opportunity to connect with your audience, where they spend quite a bit of their time, and tell the story of your institution, but these accounts also help to prove the legitimacy, quality and relevance as part of your SEO strategy. Carry over your keywords from blogs as you craft social posts to boost traffic to your website. Search engines will pick up on this, and guess what? They like it a lot.
Mobile’s a Must
It’s official. If Google says, “Hey, you’re looking good” to your mobile site, it will boost your SEO. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly (easily viewed on smartphones or tablets) are being penalized by the big G. Want to check your site directly against Google’s requirements? Test it out. Not to mention, your potential students are on their mobile devices at all times of the day, so make sure you’re set up to reach them.
PPC: Quick and Easy Results
We’ll give it to you straight. Pay them enough, and Google will push you right to the top. If you have exhausted your organic options, this is a great way to give your SEO a little boost during important times of the year (application due dates, announcement of new programs, etc.). Using AdWords can deliver results fast, but can also be expensive. It can be tricky business balancing your organic and paid SEO efforts, but we’ve got some great pay per click advertising tips for higher education to help you weigh the scales.
The extra effort you put into your college or university’s SEO will be worth it as you attract qualified, prospective students who conveniently accessed your information from search results. Make SEO for your higher education website your New Year’s resolution, and let us help! Email us today at HigherEd@pyxl.com.
Updated: Nov 06, 2020