In today’s digital age, a school’s website is a crucial tool for getting the word out about your institution. But just having a website isn’t enough; people need to be able to find it easily. When parents use search engines like Google to look for schools, it’s essential that your school’s website shows up prominently in the results.
By teaming up with a specialized SEO agency that offers effective SEO services, you can take concrete steps to make your school’s website more visible online.
In this article, we’ll share seven practical tips that you can put into action right away to improve your school’s website rankings in search results.
- Start with Comprehensive Keyword Research
The foundation of any effective SEO strategy starts with thorough keyword research. At its core, this step forms the basis for all subsequent SEO efforts, including content creation and enhancing your Google My Business (GMB) listing.
To embark on this journey, it’s essential to put yourself in the shoes of your ultimate users—parents and students actively seeking educational options. Consider the keywords they might use when searching on Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other search engines. To answer this question accurately, employ a keyword research tool to identify common search terms.
Next, refine your list by selecting the primary keyword you intend to rank for. This target keyword should emerge from the initial set of broader keywords you identified earlier. Feed this list into your chosen keyword research tool to generate a range of keyword variations that will serve as your focal points throughout the SEO process
- Implement Local SEO Strategies
Local SEO for schools focuses on increasing your online visibility in specific geographical areas. By doing so, you can attract potential students by appearing prominently in local search results.
The geographical aspect in SEO is pivotal as it enables you to target potential students in your vicinity—those who are more likely to choose your school.
Here are some advantages of local SEO for educational institutions:
- Reaching out to local students
- Improving the user experience
- Establishing trustworthiness
By concentrating your SEO efforts locally, you stand a better chance of converting online visitors into enrolled students, building a credible reputation, increasing your visibility, attracting high-quality leads, and ultimately boosting your conversion rates.
- Highight Specific Programs
When prospective students consider a school, the quality of its courses often takes center stage. Many of them search for information about the specific subjects they intend to study. If your school offers various programs (which it should), ensure that they are easy to find through relevant search terms.
Consider the different words or phrases people might use when searching for these programs. It may require some research to identify these keywords.
For instance, instead of just using ‘MBA’ on your business course page, include ‘masters in business administration’ and ‘graduate business degree.
- Implement SEO-Optimized URL Structures
The structure of your webpage’s URL is a critical yet often overlooked on-page SEO element. When users click on a link to access your page, a URL composed of random characters, numbers, and symbols can confuse them and fail to convey the page’s content.
Each page’s URL serves as its unique address and should include words that accurately describe the page’s content. For the homepage, keeping the URL simple—www.yourschool.com—is typically best.
For other pages, adhere to a specific sequence starting with the domain name and followed by details relevant to that specific page.
A clear, SEO-optimized URL is advantageous as it aids Google in indexing your pages more effectively, providing searchers with the desired results.
- Incorporate Alt Tags for Images
A crucial SEO technique for educational institutions is consistently using alt text tags for images on webpages. Alt text, short for alternative text, provides descriptions for images on a webpage.
Since search engines cannot visually interpret image content or context, alt text tags are essential to convey an image’s purpose to search engines. Additionally, screen readers use alt tags to provide image descriptions for individuals with visual impairments.
Recognize that without alt text tags, your images have a reduced chance of being prominently displayed in Google’s image search results. To create effective alt text tags:
- Keep them concise, ideally under 125 characters.
- Include your target keyword if relevant, but avoid overusing it.
- Be descriptive, using nouns, adjectives, and adverbs to convey the image’s meaning.
- Avoid phrases like “image of” or “graphic of.”
- Ensure a Mobile-Friendly Website
To connect with potential students effectively, it’s imperative that your website is optimized for mobile use. Approximately half of all web traffic now originates from mobile devices, and most students turn to their mobile devices for browsing.
Ensuring a smooth user experience on all devices not only improves accessibility but also boosts web traffic and enhances your institution’s SEO.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a valuable tool for assessing your website’s mobile compatibility. It can identify basic technical issues or errors that may hinder mobile usability on your site.
- Leverage User Reviews and Testimonials
Positive reviews and testimonials from current and former students, parents, and staff can greatly boost your school’s credibility and online visibility. Encourage satisfied stakeholders to leave reviews on platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and other relevant review sites.
Search engines often consider user-generated content, including reviews, when determining the relevance and trustworthiness of a website. Positive reviews can also serve as valuable social proof, influencing potential students and parents to choose your school.
To make the most of user reviews and testimonials:
- Promptly respond to reviews, both positive and negative, to show your school’s commitment to improving and addressing concerns.
- Encourage detailed and genuine reviews that highlight specific aspects of your school, such as academic programs, extracurricular activities, or the quality of teaching.
- Display selected testimonials prominently on your website to showcase the positive experiences of your school community.
By actively managing and promoting user reviews, you can enhance your school’s online reputation and further improve its SEO performance.
In our fast-paced digital world, physical visits to schools are becoming less common. Therefore, capturing your audience’s attention online and generating potential leads is crucial. Leveraging SEO for schools can significantly enhance your online visibility and operational efficiency.
Remember that SEO analytics and methodologies are continually evolving, so staying up-to-date with algorithm changes and competitive dynamics in your industry is crucial.