When parents are searching online for a private school in your area, your school needs to show up on the first page of the Google Search Results Page (SERP) if you want them to contact your school. As you know, parents have many options when it comes to their students’ educational choices so, as a school marketer, you want your school to show up at the same time they are searching. This rarely happens by accident.
What Does SEO for a School Website Mean?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO for a school website is the practice of optimizing your website to increase the quantity and quality of inbound traffic. SEO is the conduit that links people searching for schools like yours to your website.
If you are doing SEO right, prospective families who are a good fit for your school will be linked to your website based on how well their search queries are in alignment with the keywords on your website.
How to Improve SEO for a School Website
Here 6 things you can do to improve the SEO for a school website.
Conduct an SEO audit
An SEO audit is an analysis of how well your website measures up to SEO best practices. An SEO audit will provide feedback on key SEO strategies such as:
- Keyword performance
- On-page SEO (i.e. title tags, header tags, meta descriptions, broken internal links)
- Duplicate content
- Images with missing titles and alt text
- Page speed
Create a master keyword list
Conduct keyword research to create a master list of relevant keywords (or keyword phrases) of keywords people might search for as they relate to your website. Your master keyword list should include three sub-lists:
- How you would search for your school
- How a prospective family would search for your school
- How prospective families search for your competitor schools
From these lists, you should have between 50-100 keywords you should use to optimize your SEO efforts.
Want help conducting your keyword research? Check out SEO Coach for Schools
Determine the questions your prospective parents are asking
Parents have questions about private school and the education of their children. In today’s search environment, people are increasingly using voice search to submit queries to search engines. For this reason, algorithms are using natural language processing (NLP). School marketers need to understand how to optimize their website for voice search and NLP so that search engines rank your content higher than other sites.
There are many ways to find questions prospective parents are asking.
- Talk with your admissions staff
- Talk with faculty members
- Use online tools like Answer the Public, Quora and Answers
Once you’ve conducted research, put together a FAQ that addresses all the questions your parents might be searching for online. From there, work on creating content that answers those questions. Follow best practices for SEO when writing your content and selecting your topics and keywords.
Geotagging is the process of optimizing your website using location-specific tags to help search engines make the connection between your site and your location. This is important for schools who target families who live in the area of your school.
People are getting more specific and sophisticated in their web searches. For this reason, you need to use competitive SEO techniques to help parents find your school in your area. Geotagging can help you gain a competitive advantage for local SEO.
Keep in mind different search engines use different algorithms, but all use metadata (such as geotagging) as part of their “recipe”.
Geotagging can include:
- Image titles or file names
- Image alt-text
- Captions and words adjacent to the photo
- Geotagging data (often added automatically)
Geotagging can be fairly complex. For example, Google has stated they do not use meta location tags due to inaccurate geotags (such as if a web developer copies code and does not remove or change the geotag information).
Use Google Trends to gain a deeper understanding of search terms
It’s important to have a deep understanding of the keywords you are selecting for your website (and blog, of course).
Google Trends will help you:
- Understand keyword search volume
- Identify seasonal trends
- Avoid popular trends that are only temporary
- Predict relevant trends
- Find related queries to gain a competitive edge
- Optimize your local SEO strategy
- Enhance your video SEO strategy
Use SEO Coach to optimize your website
SEO Coach is a unique service designed for private schools. It will help you:
- Conduct an SEO audit
- Build an SEO strategy
- Make the correct changes to your website
- Gain insights from your competitors
- Learn SEO through the SEO Academy
- Track your results
There are Do-It-Yourself (DIY) as well as a Done-For-You (DFY) options depending on the level of support you need.
Google is constantly making updates to its algorithm. For this reason, SEO for a school website can feel like a moving target. But don’t worry – there are many resources to help you. Start with the simple tips listed above and you’ll see your efforts pay off over time.
If you have any questions about SEO for a school website, don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation call. I’d love to hear from you!