Optimising your website is crucial for the success of your school, whether it is a public school, private school, college, or university. A well-optimised website can help attract prospective students, increase sign-ups for open days, and more. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a vital aspect of website optimisation and it is becoming increasingly important for schools to stay at the top of search engine results.
Here are 10 essential steps to implement a successful SEO strategy into your school marketing (or you could hire a school SEO agency)
1. Structure Your Page Content
It is important to have a well-structured website with clear navigation, a sitemap, and meta tags for each page. Utilising header tags (H1, H2, etc.) and internal linking can also help search engines understand the hierarchy of your content and better crawl your site.
Incorporating relevant keywords in your content and meta tags, as well as building high-quality backlinks to your site, can also help improve your search engine rankings. Additionally, having a mobile-friendly website and using social media platforms to promote your content can also help drive more traffic to your site.
The key places to optimise your school web pages include:
H1 and H2 tags across the webpage
Alt tags on all images
By focusing on these elements, search engines will be able to better understand the content of your web page and improve its visibility in search results for targeted keywords. Additionally, it will provide a better user experience for visitors and increase the chances of them staying on your website and interacting with it.
If your website is built on WordPress and you’re unsure of how to implement the points made here, it might be best to consult an expert WordPress SEO agency to help!
2. Do Keyword Research
Conducting keyword research is crucial to the success of any SEO strategy for a school. Understanding the phrases and terms that prospective students or parents might use when searching for a school like yours can give you a significant edge. This knowledge can then be utilised to effectively incorporate these keywords into your website’s content.
To start, investigate the most popular or desired phrases for ranking and examine what is already ranking for them. Determine if the SERPs, or search engine results pages, are informational (e.g. blog posts) or commercial (e.g. sales pages). This information can provide valuable insights into what search engines consider when ranking pages.
Utilise the insights gained from your research to improve the optimisation of your web pages for your target keyword or phrase, positioning yourself as a strong contender in search engine rankings and increasing visibility in organic searches.
3. Create a Linking Strategy
Enhance the credibility and authority of your web pages by linking them to other reputable sites. This is an effective strategy for improving your SEO. Additionally, having links from high-ranking websites back to your site, known as external linking, is also highly beneficial.
In addition to external linking, make sure to utilise internal linking as well. This involves linking to other relevant pages within your own website.
Search engines pay attention to both occurrences and will recognise that your school’s website is trustworthy and deserving of a high ranking in the search engine results pages.
4. Write the best answer on the Internet. Yes, really.
Easy right? You have the right answer to the question, but how do you make it the best? and found by the people asking? These questions are likely to be the base of most SEO strategies. Writing quality content is important to your audience’s questions; done correctly, that content can be showcased.
Search engines have a section called a ‘featured snippet’. These short excerpts are located at the top of the SERPs and are usually taken from the ‘most helpful answer’ to your query; decided by the search engine.
This is also known as ‘position 0’ and is a highly sought-after spot in the SERPs and one your school’s website should aim to win!
Are your competitors consistentlyoutrankingyou?
We can help you understand why and, more importantly, how to change it!
Get an SEO Review Now (Personal Video)
5. Regulary Use Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a valuable resource that provides information on the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. To ensure that your newly created or optimised pages are able to be indexed and ranked by Google, it is essential that they can be easily crawled and indexed. If your pages are not properly crawled or indexed, they will not be able to achieve a high ranking on Google.
Once you have finished making changes to your website, it’s essential to run them through Google Search Console to ensure that there are no problems and to inform Google that the page is available to be examined, indexed, and assessed.
6. Check Page Speeds & Core Web Vitals
Page speed is critical for a webpage to achieve a high ranking on search engines. Slow page speeds can result in penalties from Google, which can negatively impact your webpage’s position in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Evaluating and optimizing your page’s speed is made simple with the use of Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. This tool will provide you with a score between 0-100 that represents the speed of your page on both mobile and desktop devices. The goal is to achieve a score as close to 100 as possible, as this will enhance your school’s search engine optimization efforts.
7. Include the Most Important Pages in Your Websites’ Navigation
When a visitor arrives on your website, it’s crucial to keep them engaged and provide a seamless experience by ensuring they can quickly find what they are searching for. A carefully designed navigation system plays a vital role in the overall success of your website.
The navigation bar, typically found at the top of a website, should always feature the most important pages of the website. This is because the website’s navigation is a key method that search engine crawlers use to find and index content. A well-organised navigation system can aid search engines in determining which pages are most important, thereby enhancing the page’s authority.
8. Make Sure Your Website has a Sitemap
The Sitemap, also known as sitemap.xml, is a crucial component of your website as it serves as the foundation for its structure. Search engines use the information provided in the Sitemap to comprehend the organization of the website. Search engine robots are looking for:
If everything is in order and found correctly, a Sitemap will help Googlebot discover your content more quickly and in some cases, the priority of each page. It’s very important that your website has a sitemap for your website to rank on search engines.
9. Use Google Business Profile to get found locally in Google Maps
Google Business Profile is extremely helpful and free to all businesses and schools. This is a great way to promote your school in the local area and to be found correctly on Google Maps and in the main Google Search Results. Optimising your Google Business Profile is very important to help get your school found on local searches. When optimising your GBP make sure you have:
Claimed your listing with your actual business name.
Chosen a business category as accurately as possible.
Provided as much data as you can – your profile has to be 100% complete.
10. Stay on Top of Your 404 Pages. Implement a Redirect Strategy.
If you have older or deleted pages of pages that may have been moved, you must make sure to implement a redirect strategy to help with your SEO efforts. A user finding a deleted page or directed to a 404 can be very damaging to your rankings and brand in general.
Redirects are not bad for SEO, but only if you put them in place correctly. When used properly, 301 redirects should have no impact on your schools website’s search rankings.
It’s best practice to use 301 redirects to pass the value of those pages to alternative pages. This helps with a number of reasons:
Preserves the ranking signals
Preserves the user experience of your website
Ensures that any backlinks to the old page still count for SEO purposes