Does it feel like search engine optimization (SEO) is constantly advancing at light speed?
If so, you’re not alone. Truthfully, Google is getting smarter and more powerful all the time, especially when it comes to the user experience. Even though search engine optimization (SEO) has changed dramatically in the last decade, it doesn’t mean it’s dead. As a matter of fact, SEO is even more crucial than ever because it helps people find your website and attracts more organic traffic to your site.
Schools now have to take a new and unique approach to win the never-ending race to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). The SERPs are changing, making it more difficult for most of us. For example, here are the 16 main features that come up in Google’s SERPs that we have to compete with:
- Carousel results
- Featured snippets
- Image pack
- Knowledge cards
- Knowledge panels
- Local Pack
- Local Teaser Pack
- People to ask
- Scholarly articles
- Shopping results
- Site links
- Top stories
Google continues to change these features by disguising ads, making knowledge panels more prominent and using them more frequently and displaying image and video packs. These changes continue to push organic listings further down in the SERPs, resulting in fewer organic clicks and an increased need for brands to invest in paid ads.
So what should school marketers do? We have to work smarter.
In today’s post, I’ve broken down the 7 best SEO techniques for 2022 to help you retain and increase your organic search presence.
Test your website’s performance in search
Before we dive into the details of improving your SEO, take the time to test your current page ranking in the search results. Using a page ranking tool like the SmallSEOTools Keyword Rank Checker, check to see your page ranking based on keyword searches. The goal here is to get your website to the top of the list. But if your website doesn’t rank as high as you would like, don’t despair. Here are X SEO tactics you can use to help your site improve in SERPs in 2022.
Identify non-performing content
Content that doesn’t help your website with organic traffic or conversions is not doing your school any favors and may even be hindering your ability to attract search traffic.
Did you know search engines will only crawl a certain number of pages? Yes, it’s true. So if you have a lot of non-performing content, search engines may not crawl your better pages because they spend your “crawl budget” on ineffective content.
Take the time to identify non-performing content by running a content audit.
Once you’ve identified low- or non-performing content pages, it’s time to decide what to do about them. You can:
- Refresh on-page SEO. Usually, the best posts for this tactic are ones with high-quality content but are not performing well. On-page SEO includes updating your meta tags, headers and image alt tags to help your page rank higher on SERPs.
- Redirect organic traffic from low-performing pages to higher-performing ones.
- Use canonical redirects on similar pages so the search engines know which page to prioritize.
Discover new keyword opportunities
Even the strongest keyword plan probably has gaps in it. That’s natural because new, relevant keywords emerge all the time. Plus, as changes take place in your school new keyword opportunities may open up.
Optimize for a higher click-through rate (CTR)
Ranking high on the search engine results page one is only half the battle; you also need to entice searchers to click on your result snippet.
Optimizing your search result to increase your click-through rate helps in two ways. First of all, you will convince people to click on your link. Secondly, more clicks send positive signals to search engines. The more clicks you receive, the more likely search engines will show your link in the results.
While there is no one single tactic you can use to boost your CTR. Instead, try taking a comprehensive approach with these steps.
- Using Google Search Console, identify which pages have a low CTR. Download it as a .CSV spreadsheet and sort it by CTR. The best pages to optimize are those with low CTR but high performance (engagement and conversion).
- Based on the priorities you’ve just identified, optimize the meta titles to be more SEO-friendly. Here’s an insider trick – look at successful Google Ad headline template examples for inspiration.
- Meta descriptions are a major influence on clicks, so make sure you optimize them to improve your CTR. Optimize by including the exact keyword phrase you want to rank for as well as a call-to-action.
- Continue to track and monitor changes you’ve made and determine whether your changes have impacted the performance of the page.
Increase ranking keywords by blogging
Blogging is one of the best – and fastest – way to increase the number of keywords your site ranks for. But blog content will only attract organic traffic if it answers relevant questions searchers have. A blogging strategy focused on school offerings alone will fail to resonate with parents.
Understandably, blogging is a marketing activity that can eat up a lot of time and resources. Taking time to think about SEO as it relates to your blogging strategy is a good investment. Once you have identified your keyword opportunities and topics, create an editorial calendar to help you stay on track with your blogging strategy.
Leverage site architecture to increase sitelinks
Site architecture plays a major role in how web bots crawl your website as well as how people find it. Web crawlers will get confused if the information architecture is not laid out clearly. Furthermore, users tend to get confused and so they just bounce off your page. This in turn will lower your rank in SERPs. Good architecture boosts organic traffic by positioning your site higher in results and increases your chance of having sitelinks in the SERPs.
Dominate SERP featured snippets
Google introduced featured snippets in 2016. Featured snippets answer search queries right on the search engine results page so searchers don’t have to leave Google to get their question answered.
While it may seem that people would be less inclined to click through from a featured snippet, in fact, organic traffic actually increases if your snippet is featured because Google will prioritize a featured snippet at the top of the page.
Here are some tips for appearing in the snippet.
- Identify pages your keyword is already ranking on page one for. Sites not on page one won’t be featured.
- Snippets answer a what, how or why question. The content you produce must answer the question early on.
- Structure your content so the web crawlers can relate your content to the question. The best formula is to state the question in a H2 subheading and then answer the question directly below the heading in a paragraph <p> format.
- Use a high-quality image. Featured snippets usually display an image so make sure crawlers can find them easily.
- Drive clicks to your website by formatting the content as a series, like steps or bullet points.
- Even if you don’t win a featured snippet spot, these tips will help make your content more crawlable so it’s not wasted effort.
Implementing these seven SEO tactics will help your website rank higher in search engine results. Want to improve the SEO for your school? Learn more about DIY SEO Coach Software, an easy-to-use and understand SEO platform designed especially for schools. Build an SEO strategy, find the right keywords, discover content topics, analyze your competition, improve your content and develop a local SEO strategy. SEO Coach also helps you make a to-do list, make changes to your existing SEO strategy and learn with SEO academy. Learn more about SEO Coach here.