The U.S. Department of Education predicts that there will be 3.2 million High School graduates in 2016. Of those 3.2 million, how many will attend your University? Would you like to see that number increase? We have 3 words for you: search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s visibility in a search engine’s organic search results. It is an ongoing process made up of quality content creation, link-building, social media, proper HTML coding, and so much more. If you work for a University, school district, elementary school, or other educational institution and you have not thought about SEO before, it’s time to step up your game.
To help you better understand what SEO is and why it’s important, we have gathered a list of frequently asked questions. Carefully consider the answers to these questions before you step into the great world of SEO.
1. Is SEO Important for the Education Sector?
Have you ever wanted to recruit a new student to your University? Are you interested in families that are new to town moving to your part of the school district so their kids can attend your particular school? There are so many reasons why SEO is important for educators and these are just the beginning. Search engine optimization allows you to garner new leads through your website. With a properly optimized SEO strategy, you can quickly transform from an unheard-of high school to the best in the Midwest – all online! So the short answer is “yes”; SEO is a must, even for you!
2. How Can We Identify Our Targeted Keywords?
A big part of SEO is determining what people are typing into search engines in order to find your services. Once you know what those terms are, you’re ready to begin developing SEO-friendly site content, blogs, social media posts, and more! However, the hard part is identifying just what those keywords are. Here are a few tips:
- Use your Google Analytics (or other stats package) to determine which keywords are currently driving the most people to your website
- Meet with a few team members in your company and fill out audience worksheets (answer questions from your audience members' point of views) to form your best guesses as to what people are searching for
- Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to learn about the search volume of your proposed keywords as well as recommendations for new keywords
- Conduct competitive research and see what other schools or districts in your area are using as their keywords by reviewing their content with a fine-toothed comb
3. How Long Before I Will See Results from SEO?
As we mentioned before, SEO is an ongoing process and it takes time to see results. This is because search engines have millions of sites to crawl and your small changes may take time to get indexed. Realistically, you can expect to see effects from your SEO strategy within 3-6 months. Be patient! If 6 months have passed and absolutely nothing has changed, it may be time for some more hands-on optimization.
4. What are Ways of Keeping Content Fresh without Altering Main Pages?
Keeping the content on your site fresh and updating regularly is a very important aspect of SEO. Search engines like to see that you are active online and that you are taking strides to keep things up-to-date. We understand that some content is fairly static, including your school history, contact page, and more. Fortunately, there are other ways you can change out content on your site:
- Manage a keyword-rich blog
- Give your site a refresh each school year (new year, new pictures, new classes)
- Continually add to your FAQ section
- Manage a news section or events calendar
- Incorporate a photo gallery and add to it regularly
5. How Can We Build Our Inbound Links?
Another very important part of search engine optimization is link-building. And while internal links (links within your site that point to other pages within your site) are great, they are not quite enough. Google likes to see inbound links (links from external domains that point back to your site). In fact, Google sees inbound links as “votes”. You can increase your inbound links in a number of ways including through social media shares, submitting your site to education-related website directories, and creating infographics. Another option would be to share information about your school-related events and asking local organizations in the community to share on their websites. Provide them with your logo, link, and content in order to streamline the process. You will see your inbound links increase in no time!
We hope these frequently asked questions were able to educate you and motivate you to take on a new SEO strategy! Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you would like more information on how SEO can work for your educational institution, contact Informatics.
View the rest of the education digital marketing blogs from this month: