What Should Universities And Colleges Focus On When It Comes To SEO?

universities and colleges SEO
May 29, 2018

A new fiscal year for universities and colleges means developing new marketing plans and goals for the new educational year. In today’s digital age, it is pertinent that you fit SEO right at the top of your higher education marketing plan. Recent research has shown that a large number of students do research on universities via online searches. Here’s what you need to know to up your education marketing game:

SEO Audits

Performing an SEO audit helps to improve on your organic rankings. The process allows you to identify and prioritize effective tactics as well. You may need to involve your educational institution’s IT department with certain technical site changes. Oftentimes, the IT department of universities and colleges have a backlog of requests and site changes.

Eliminating Duplicate Content

Website owners inadvertently create duplicate content over time. You need to inform Google which version of the content should be displayed in organic search results. Is your website using a secure protocol? If so, you need to redirect the non-secure version to the secure version, i.e. HTTP to HTTPS. Next, always check if any of your blog posts have been copied and reused on multiple blogs on the site.

Link Optimization

Inbound links can hold great value but are pretty challenging to attain. Unfortunately, when a university or college redesigns its website, its programs or degrees are removed or changed in the process. This results in broken links. If an external link that once pointed to a live page is now broken, you may risk losing those inbound links. So, do your part to facilitate link reclamation procedures. It allows you to regain valuable inbound links by just fixing the broken links.

Improving Page Load Speed

For many years, page load speed is a major ranking factor for Google. The images you feature on your site can affect page speed. It is important to optimize those images by resizing them. Fortunately, there are many tools out there that allow you to resize images without sacrificing image quality. Once you are done with these tasks, proceed to check your page load speeds via Google’s Test My Mobile Site tool. This ensures that your site also complies to the requirements of Google’s mobile-first approach.

Integrating and Reviewing Keyword Usage in Website Content

It’s true that there may be certain areas of the university website that are out of one’s control. However, it is almost certain that you have control over the site’s content. It is a common practice for universities and colleges to name a program or degree under a certain brand name. However, these terms might not match the search keywords a prospective applicant will use in his or her search query.

While Google is improving in terms of semantics, it is not 100% perfect yet. Hence, you should help search engines learn about the connection by integrating more concise brand terms and keywords. Let’s say that you know an older friend that possesses a degree in human communications (actually refers to journalism) from ABC University. It happens to be your interest and passion, thus you decided to pursue it. However, you only get search results that lead to ABC University. What you were looking for was more universities that offered the same undergraduate program.

The reason behind that problem might be ABC University wanting to distinguish their program from other forms of communication, such as alternative dispute resolution, public relations, etc. Put yourself in that student’s shoes. Think about how Google would know that “human communications” and journalism degrees were the same.

So, start considering the terms you are using on your pages. Write content that incorporates the most relevant keywords that define the degree. Instead of just writing B.S. in Human Communications, expand it into “Journalism is one the specialization tracks of this degree – the Bachelor of Science in Human Communications.” Make sure you review the keywords regularly as well. Terminology tends to change over time.