SEO Techniques for your School Website
What is SEO and what role does it play in your school website?
Are you curious about how to enhance your school's marketing or heard about SEO but not sure exactly what it is? Well let's dive into what it is and how you can get started today!
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the art and science of publishing content and marketing information in a manner that will rank high in search engines like Google, but also making it easier for people to find your site's webpages.
Most people rarely click on the second or third page of a Google search result, and therefore, ranking on the top half of the first page will ensure your content will get in front of the right audience.
Why optimize your website?
Optimizing your website's content is very cost-effective. Developing high quality content doesn't cost a thing, and reaching the #1 spot is free!
It will increase quality traffic to your site.
Since SEO is about enhancing your content so people on the internet can find what they are looking for, if they are looking for a school in your area, including information they would be searching for will bring the right traffic to your site.
High search result rankings build trust and credibility.
People trust Google, and if a potential family sees your school is on Google with relevant and up-to-date information, that increases your school's credibility and tech-saviness.
Return on investment (ROI) is high.
Putting in a little bit of effort in optimizing your site will go along way in your ROI. The more relevant and valuable your school's web content is, the more qualified people will find and apply to your school!
Get on people's radar.
With over 250 million websites, if your school is new or beginning to grow, SEO is a great way to get found online. With a strategic plan and new content published regularly, you'll start climbing the ranks for your keywords.
How can you optimize your school website?
Here are some simple ways to get started.
Define your target audience and what they search for.
It all starts with keywords! What are your prospective families searching for in Google? What keywords are neighboring schools targeting? Google's keyword planner is a great first step. Choose a small list to target first, balancing search volume (how many times each month the term is searched) and competition (how difficult it is to move up the ranks). https://ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/
Optimize your title and description tags.
These two elements are what you see on the search results page and carry a lot of SEO weight. The title tag (which is the page title in the Edlio CMS) should feature the main keyword you're targeting for that page and be around 60 characters long. The description (accessed in Page Settings in Edlio) should include your keyword in a brief description of the page, ending with a call to action (ex., Schedule a campus tour).
Develop content targeting these keywords.
Now the most important part of SEO--content! A simple method is to target one keyword per page, making sure that keyword is in the page title, heading (the h1 tag), a couple subheadings (h2 and h3) and sprinkled into the rest of the content a few times. Create a blog section for your website, and post articles that do double duty: demonstrate your school's leadership in education with a 1,000+ words.
Utilize Alt-text and links.
Not only is Alt-text extremely important for accessibility, it is also important for SEO. Search engines can't see your images, all they can do is read the Alt-text to understand what the image actually is. And adding links to other sites and links to other pages on your own site is also favored by Google.
Stay away from from the SEO cheat tactics.
Long gone are the days you could just pack a bunch of keywords at the bottom of the page. Google is smart enough to recognize any over-stuffing of keywords that will negatively impact your ratings. They key is to strategically place them throughout your content.
Keep it going.
The final step is to add content regularly. This can be a challenge for a busy school, but take advantage of your staff. Open up copywriting to multiple people, using their expertise and point of view to come up with new ideas for targeting your keyword list.