5 SEO Tips To Improve Your School’s Search Engine Rankings





Search Engine Optimization (SEO), according to Wikipedia, “is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” In other words, search engine optimization (SEO) attempts to get your website to show up higher on a Google search engine results pages (SERP) for a particular search phrase. SEO is a concept that is easy to explain, harder to implement, and impossible to predict – but follow these 5 SEO tips, and your school’s website will begin to show up higher in search engine results.


Search Engine Optimization is a function of relevance and authority as it relates to a search phrase. A search phrase are the words that you type into the Google search box. Relevance is determined by how much the returned website is a good match for the search phrase. Search engines determine this through a number of factors including keywords on the page. Finally, authority is determined by how many inbound links there are to the website. The idea here is that the better the content, the more people will link to it.

In all honesty, this is a simplification of how search engine rankings are determined, but if you understand these basic concepts, it will help you with search engine optimization.

On-Site vs. Off-Site SEO

There is one more differentiation that you should be aware of when optimizing for search engines: on-site vs. off-site search engine optimization.  Off-site SEO occurs when other people link back to you thus increasing your authority. The authority of the site linking back to you also matters, e.g., if you were talking about sports a link from ESPN to your site would weigh more heavily than a link from your sister’s blog about football. Overall, there isn’t much you can do to earn links other than creating great content which will force people to link to you because of your great content.

On-site SEO occurs on your website, and there are actionable steps you can take to improve your search engine rankings. Follow these 5 steps to improve your school’s search engine rankings:

1. Page Titles

Update your page titles to include the search engine phrases, or keywords, that you would like to rank higher for, paying attention to the page content. For example, don’t change the title of the page to “New York City Middle School Athletics” if the content of your page talks about the elementary school academic program.

2. Limit Page Titles

You should limit all of your page titles to 72 characters which are the maximum number of characters that Google displays on their search engine results page (SERP). You want to do this so that your entire page title is seen on the SERP as well as ensuring that the keywords you are focusing on will be included there as well.

3. Limit Page Description

You should limit all of your page descriptions to 165 characters which are the maximum number of characters that Google displays on their search engine results page (SERP). You want to do this so that your entire page description is seen on the SERP. Although it is thought that the page description doesn’t factor into Google’s search algorithm, it does play an important role for the person reading it to determine if the content on your page is what they are searching for.

4. Use Heading1 Tag on Page

You should try to use at least one H1 tag on each page of your website and make sure that the heading includes the keywords which you are focusing on that page.

5. Page Content Includes Keywords

As you optimize individual webpages pay close attention that the keywords, and their variations, are included in the text on the page. For example, if your page is about “New York City Middle School Athletics” make sure that those keywords, phrases, and their variations are included in the text. You could also say “NYC Middle School” or “Athletics – New York School.” Warning: There is a fine line here with regard to putting keywords in your text, and you don’t won’t to cross it. Please don’t “stuff” your text with keywords that are irrelevant or make the text illegible – doing either of these things will hurt your search results in the long run.

Finally, I realize that most of our school websites have hundreds of pages and the thought of completing these five steps on every page can seem daunting. I would recommend that you consult your web analytics program and begin updating 5-10 of the least visited pages on your site each day until your process is complete. This won’t be the quickest way to optimize your site, but it will make the process seem more manageable.

  • as i’m a beginner The very difficult part of seo is the off one , it’s hard to get links for externel sites , but i try harder to do that efficiently .

  • Hi Brendan, the explanation about SEO enlighten me a lot. At first, I think it on the other way far from your thoughts but right now I understand it clearly. Continue to share your post.

  • Hi there, wonderfull post and tips.

    I would like to add something also to point 5 regarding keywords.
    Lately, at least on my small furniture market here in Slovenia, I also find it very useful to add not only main and targeting keyword, but also synonims and related to main keyword, words.

    I find them also with Keyword planner and after getting a list of them from a Planner, I reduce them to those which has a great search volume. Then I put them also near to main keywords in the post.

    Also, first subtitle includes targeted keywords. If post has many subtitles, then I use synonims in other subtitles.

    Works for me pretty well – hope it will also for others.

    Matija from Slovenia

  • Apart from this, I would like to suggest a few points – Make sure website URL optimized as SEO friendly – Need to focus on website loading time – Content should be relevant and unique

  • Excellent article for beginners in seo . It would be interesting to also talk about the Knowledge graph.I think this is one of the parameters of the future of search

  • This is an awesome starting tips for those who are just new to SEO. Optimizing not only your content but the website url, as well, will also be a great help to improve your search engine ranking. Thanks for sharing Brendan!

  • Brilliant post! Very simple and easy to understand specially for SEO beginners. I agree with your 5 tips here! Page content that includes keywords really helps a lot in boosting your ranking in search engine. Quality content along with right keyword is the key to SEO success.

  • Hey Brendan, good article. It’s important for organizations to understand the importance of SEO. So any articles like this are worth a read, and also worth implementing your recommendations.
    The thing is, for non-technical people this can be hard to do. A super easy thing that any non-technical person can do, that is SEO related, is create social profiles.
    A bunch of social profiles, signal to the search engines that this is a legitimate business or organization, because that’s what businesses do. It looks natural to the search engines.
    A person can go to the website knowem.com and perform a search for their school (or brand name). Knowem will then show them all the social profiles that are available to create. The organization can go create these, and help the brand online, while also creating strong links to their website. This is something anyone can do.

  • Title is king for on page but don’t forget about your url. To end it all, off page anchors also plays an important ranking signal for SEO.

    We think that SEO is great for schools because it gives students and teachers a chance to experiment and learn about how to optimize, discuss and explore new avenues for improving traffic.

    Thanks for the writeup

  • Some very elementary stuff, but definitely some basics that a lot of companies forget about when creating their websites, then get confused why their sites aren’t ranking. Bruce makes a fantastic point about socials as well. Good stuff.

  • Is it worth it to rely creating high quality content and using facebook ads to create brand awareness and get sites to quote you and link to your site?

  • I really appreciate the insight here in this post and confident it’s going to be helpful to me and many others. Thanks for sharing all the information and useful tips.

  • I know when I try to explain SEO to business owners they usually look puzzled, SEO can be daunting for the people who don’t do SEO, so I try to keep it simple, three main components even though we know it’s a lot more than that.

    I agree with Bruce adding social signals is important, Google loves link diversity!

    Thanks for the article!

  • I really appreciate the insight here in this post and confident it’s going to be helpful to me and many others. I’m wondering if you or anyone else has additional sources for me to read further and to be able to dig a little deeper?

  • Great post, google is changing so much lately its hard to keep up. I think relevancy is huge right now along with alot of the stuff you listed above .

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