Why Keyword Research is Critical for School Marketing SEO Success

Keyword research is still a requirement for conducting search engine optimization (SEO). While some SEO experts may minimize the importance of keyword research due to recent Google algorithm updates, disregarding the need to start an SEO strategy based on keyword research is an oversight.

Google updates have certainly been impactful; however, these changes don’t mean keywords aren’t important. We know that Google has altered its algorithm to focus more on relevant content, which means poor quality content and outdated SEO practices won’t have the same positive results they had in the past. Search engine algorithm changes also mean that keyword usage has evolved; keyword phrases may need to be used differently than in the past.

Here are six reasons keyword research is essential for school marketing SEO success.

Keyword research:

  1. Helps you understand your audience

An essential element of school marketing is understanding your audience. Keyword research will help you identify the questions your audience wants answers to and what information they’re most interested in.

One of my favorite places to start my keyword research is Answer The Public. Answer The Public is a great tool for discovering the queries your audience is asking. You can even download a CSV file to help with sorting the queries.

  1. Supports the optimization of your website

In order to increase the ranking of your website in search engine results, you need to know what search phrases your audience is using. Once you understand the specific language they’re using, you can then prioritize the keywords (or phrases) in your marketing efforts, including your website messaging.

  1. Provides insight that drives content management strategy

Content marketing is an essential element of school marketing. Keyword research offers rich data about the topics your audience is interested in. Your keyword research will help you drive your content strategy and develop your content calendar.

One big change that has occurred in the world of SEO is how search engines view content. In the past, you may have had success with basic or generic content, but in today’s SEO-driven world, general content will only get you so far. Relevant, engaging content with specific topics based on keyword phrases will help you match the intent of your user. This is called “rich-content”, which helps to improve engagement and increase inquiries. Longer, richer content can help you satisfy the needs of parents who are searching online for schools such as yours. Long-tail keywords especially will help answer the questions or address topics of interest of your potential families. Keyword research will help you better understand what content to focus on.

  1. Can Be Used to Optimize Social Channels

For some schools that are located in areas that are less competitive, having a well-optimized website might be enough to significantly impact your visibility and search ranking. However, most schools will need to implement other SEO-friendly strategies such as developing a strong social presence and generating backlinks to your website.

Your keyword research results can be applied to your social media sites, review sites (such as Yelp), and education-related directories. Rich content and the consistent use of target keywords will positively influence your optimization goals.

  1. Can Be Used to Leverage PPC ads

Certainly, organic search is desirable, but most schools will need to implement some sort of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads. The same keywords used for SEO purposed can be applied to your PPC advertising strategy. The same keyword ranking will apply to paid as well as organic links. If you are participating in online advertising, you should be able to leverage your keyword research for multiple purposes.

  1. Can Be Used to Measure Your Progress

Regardless of your digital marketing strategy, it’s always important to measure your progress. One way to measure the impact of your marketing efforts is to track where your website ranks for your targeted keywords.

While this can be a little harder if you’re tracking long-tail keywords, it can still be very useful. Once you recognize your outcomes you can make changes that will significantly impact your visibility, site traffic and inquiries.

One way to do this is to measure where your site ranks for specific keywords and then re-measure once you’ve updated your website messaging.

If you’re not sure how to measure where your site ranks in search results, check out this article that lists 50+ online SEO tools for link, keyword and rank tracking.

The internet is the most critical way to reach people in today’s online world. Keyword research is how we stay in tune with our target audience. Even though content marketing, big data, marketing automation, social media marketing and other marketing tactics are rated higher than search engine optimization in terms of popular internet marketing trends, keyword research is the foundation of all digital marketing practices.

When you check Google Analytics or other analytic tools, keywords demonstrate where your traffic is coming from. Keywords help people recognize what your school is known for. Using the right keywords helps your team understand what type of content to create. Keyword research is the blueprint for your online marketing efforts, driving every decision you make. I encourage you to maximize your keyword research to bring you the most qualified inquiries.

Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to conduct keyword research for your school.

How often do you conduct keyword research for your school marketing efforts? Please share your experience with the school marketing community by commenting below.

About the author 

Brendan Schneider

Hey, I’m Brendan, and this is my blog. After 28 years working in private, independent schools in mostly admissions, enrollment, marketing, communications, and fundraising roles, I decided to make SchneiderB Media my full-time job, where I help schools get more inquiries through my Fractional Digital Marketer program. I also started the MarCom Society, a membership created expressly to help, support, and train marketing and communications professionals at schools.


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