Do You Need SEO for Your School Website?

As a school marketer, you’ve probably heard search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral digital marketing tool. But do you really know how SEO works?

Even if you have a basic understanding of what is involved, you may not have a solid grasp on all of the aspects of SEO. SEO involves many elements; knowing what they are and how they work is key to understanding why SEO is crucial for schools.

In short, SEO is an essential part of your marketing toolkit because it improves the visibility of your website, attracting more traffic and more opportunities to collect inquiries from prospective families.

To demonstrate why you need SEO for your school website, let’s review sixteen reasons you should be optimizing your website for search engines.

  1. SEO can yield a high return on your investment

SEO is not a cost – it’s an investment. Working to rank certain keywords on your website on the first page of search engine results (SERP) can provide a massive return on a modest investment in SEO. Some people have even suggested investing in SEO is like investing in real estate – when you get it right, the returns can be truly impressive.

  1. SEO turns the spotlight on your website

Your website is the best sales tool your school has. It’s open 24/7, never calls in sick or reports late to work. It pulls in visitors, leads and inquiries. SEO is how people find your school on the internet and, if designed well, will compel prospective families to reach out to learn more.

  1. SEO is a key element in your marketing mix

While SEO is crucial for inbound traffic, but it’s not the only game in town. SEO should be used in conjunction with other marketing channels, such as public relations, digital advertising, social media, content marketing, email marketing, printed materials, TV, radio and other media.

Your challenge as a school marketer is how to best integrate SEO into your marketing mix to achieve your marketing goals. SEO isn’t a battle between each marketing branch, but rather is an opportunity for all members of your marketing team to work together to bring the greatest benefit to your school.

  1. SEO impacts the research/inquiry cycle

SEO will increase your inquiries without proportionately increasing your marketing costs, thereby growing enrollment over time. SEO can help you achieve your marketing goals at a better ROI than most other forms of online marketing.

In economic challenging times, parents tend to be more cost conscious because they are spending their money more cautiously.

SEO plays an important role in the research and enrollment journey. It’s like a prospect magnet, attracting potential families to your website through high-ranking keywords and phrases your target families are searching for. SEO is the link between the queries your target families are typing into the search bar and your school’s website.

  1. SEO is an important dimension of your website

Google needs help understanding your website. SEO that’s effectively woven into your site can help Google recognize its purpose and showcase it in the best light possible.

It is crucial you take SEO into consideration when planning your website structure, content strategy, URL syntax and design. SEO can help you map old URLs to new ones, design your landing pages to suit user intent, lead prospective parents along their enrollment journey and preserve old rankings that took years to attain.

  1. SEO is free advertising for your website

If you don’t take control of your SEO, it’s like leaving “lorem ipsum” text on your printed materials. SEO lets you decide how your school will be featured on search results.

If your prospects are viewing whatever is randomly generated or, worse yet, blank SEO elements, you’re not going to attract the traffic you need to get the number of inquiries you need. You’re letting a wonderful chance to get free advertising slip by.

The good news is that, once you are aware of this, you can easily fix it.

  1. SEO leverages social sharing

Does your school have social profiles like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Google Business Profile? SEO plays an important role leveraging your social networks. For example, Google recognizes if you have social accounts and whether you are publishing fresh content on them. Also, the content shared on your social channels directly relate to SEO specific parameters, like your categories, title tags and meta descriptions. Through SEO you are able to influence what people read, think and do on social media sites.

  1. SEO will help people find your website

Your website is a primary contact for prospective families online. Your website can attract potential new families, community partners and board members. It also can generate inquiries.

But if people can’t find your website, it doesn’t do any good. SEO plays an invaluable role in getting found online.

No longer is SEO just about getting your site ranked in search results, getting more clicks and views, or keeping bounce rates low. That’s a misconception. Modern, effective SEO should be rooted in your school’s mission, goals and strategies and focuses on the needs of your target families.

SEO gets your school found, understood and valued.

  1. SEO goes to the heart of your school

Effective SEO requires more than coding skills and a search-friendly content management strategy. It’s no longer something you can hand off to an intern. Professional SEO is serious business.

Organic search has the potential to drive at least half of the traffic to your website. Without a trained SEO, your inbound marketing could be affected. Whoever is responsible for the SEO at your school needs to understand marketing and communication, and understanding of economics, strategic thought and the ability to think outside the box, all the while keeping in mind your school’s mission, overall goals and marketing targets.

Not everyone can do this. You need to hire the most qualified person or outsource agency you can find. Even though many web developers and designers are learning more about SEO, it is a mistake to make SEO a low priority.

Sure, you may want to limit your costs for a SEO professional. But hiring someone not as qualified as possible lowers your potential to gain inquiries and enrollment.

  1. SEO builds trust and credibility

SEO can make your school brand stronger and better recognized. Your long-term goal should be  easily found at the top of search results when people search for your keywords. Your website’s title and meta description can send out a powerful statement can communicate a marketing message that’s in line with your school’s mission.

These days, almost everyone searches for information by “Googling it”. If you’re at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), potential families interested in what your school offers can find you! And once they find you, your content will speak to them and present them with the solution to their child’s education they’ve been searching for. And when you do, your credibility as a school will skyrocket.

  1. SEO makes your school look like a champion

People assume your school is the best if you rank #1 on the SERP. The number one spot on Google garners 36.4% of all clicks, the #2 spot gets 12.5% and the #3 spot gets 9.5%. After that, clicks dwindle away. If your content doesn’t rank on the first page, it is likely no one will find it at all.

Remember, if you’re not on the first page of the SERP, your competition is likely to be, so you need SEO to make sure you receive the visibility your school needs to stay competitive.

  1. SEO is a long-term strategy

SEO can be effective in the short term. But SEO has a serious advantage over other marketing tactics – it delivers ongoing ROI over the long term also.

Done correctly, SEO performance can improve over time. With proper SEO analysis up front, you can stay on the first page of SERP without spending additional budget.

Remember, SEO is an investment, not an expense. A quick and simple calculation will show you how quickly you’ll earn back your investment by way of increased inquiries and resulting enrollments.

  1. SEO drives offline inquiries

Good SEO starts with smart decisions. People will come in and visit your school after researching your school online. This is why private schools cannot afford to ignore online marketing, and why SEO forms a cornerstone of your school’s digital marketing strategy. Your website acts like a never-resting admissions officer, working day and night to deliver inquiries to your school.

There are families actively seeking a private school with the programs, curriculum and services you offer, with your mission. SEO can bring many more of them to your virtual front door, for your school to welcome, educate and be appreciated by.

  1. SEO attracts relevant traffic

When SEO is done correctly, it is exceptional at attracting a highly-targeted audience. Keyword analysis can identify the best keywords to use to identify the intent behind keyword searches.

It’s not at all obvious, and is very tedious, detailed work. That’s why having a professional SEO consultant can generate huge returns on your SEO investment.

Web traffic from a good SEO campaign has a high potential to generate inquiries.

  1. Outsourcing your SEO means it’s off your plate

An SEO agency will give you a competitive advantage. They are up-to-date with the newest algorithm changes, negative and positive ranking factors, and know what’s needed right now while being proficient at forecasting what will be needed in the future.

Also, an SEO company with get the work done faster because they have dedicated teams executing your plan. Just remember – in SEO there is a pretty good correlation between investment and results.

  1. SEO provides endless opportunities

SEO is an ongoing process. It will need constant tweaks, reviews and refinement to keep moving in the right direction and so it delivers stellar results.

Good SEO is like a fine-tuned engine. Unless you take good care, it will break down and stop working. When you embark on a SEO strategy, be prepared to be diligent and hunker down for the long haul. You’ll take some hits along the way, but you’ll also score more wins. In the end, that’s what matters.

Hopefully, these compelling reasons have convinced you of the value of an integrated SEO strategy in your school marketing plan. Your goal as a school marketer should be to explore how to successfully integrate SEO into your marketing mix and leverage it to the fullest potential for achieving your marketing goals.

Here at SchneiderB Media, we offer SEO for private schools. We have two plans – a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Plan and a DIFY (Do-It-For-You) Plan. Either way, we’ll help you optimize your school’s website and Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). Learn more about our SEO services here and reap the rich rewards of a successful SEO strategy for your school website!

Has your school had a successful SEO campaign? Please share your experience with the rest of the school marketing community here…

Training and Community for K12 School Marketing and Communications Professionals

In The MarCom Society, we train your team to be better school marketers so you can stand out from other schools, earn more inquiries from prospective families, and understand get the most bang from your marketing dollars
.

The MarCom Society

MarCom Society