Search engine optimization helps in getting traffic and optimizing ranking if the website is not ranked properly, chances to get noticed by people searching for information is very rare. SEO is important in every field to get noticed, but it is critical to building marketing plans for colleges and universities.
There’s no defined or guided path or single roadmap to follow across organizations in case of university/college and therefore it faces its own set of unique challenges for SEO. Let’s understand specific SEO tactics that should be focused and challenges you may face in case of universities and colleges.
You are willing to make changes in your website to rank better, the first thing you have to understand is what changes you want. An SEO audit can help you in deciding and prioritizing strategies if any technical changes are involved, you will need the support and involvement of your IT team. For audit, you can either hire an SEO agency or a digital marketing agency that usually conduct audits for universities search engine.
You can also use freely available tools such as DeepCrawl, SEMrush, etc. If you are new to SEO then hiring an agency will streamline the process because you are interacting with experts directly. The process will become easier and efficient if you will find out the exact changes to be made.
Content and keywords are king in the world of SEO, the major ranking influencers for Google. Your website should not only focus on relevant content but also on keywords and phrases, it helps the website rank better while easily showing up in search results of prospective students.
While deciding the keywords, put yourself in the shoe of prospective students to get an understanding of the keywords they can use. Using their perspective definitely improves the ranking while giving you an edge over competitors.
University or college offers a variety of courses but doesn’t try to be unique in terms of keywords. Select the most popular and common course names, for example, if you offer a course with a unique name but it has a synonym name which is more common, uses the synonym.
Because when a student searches the course with title, your course will appear in the search result. It doesn’t mean that you have to change course name, rather you can accommodate alternate course name in your content several times so that it can be picked by search engines. To conduct keyword research, it will help you in finding popularly searched relevant keywords that can be included in your website.
Once you have researched and collected relevant keywords, it’s time to focus on content which should be unique and useful. Google prioritize good quality unique content over any other SEO factors. Because Google always strives to deliver the utmost valuable info to its users.
You should also focus on blogs along with the pages sharing information related to the university, academics, careers, courses offered in order to retain people on your website for longer. You can also go for e-mail marketing, which will help students and parents to know about events or anything related to academics.
Focus on the mobile-friendly website, phones are dominating the world because they made browsing easy, no matter where you are, you can easily access the internet and search for anything you want. There are chances that most of your prospective students and their parents prefer accessing the website from their phone. Going a step ahead, Google has also announced that in coming months, it will implement the concept “mobile-first”.
It means rather than the desktop version, the mobile version will be considered as the default version for Google to generate and rank its search listings. It can be a challenge for university’s websites because huge data or sites are involved, but they can make some part of their website mobile-ready, while others are not. If your desktop version isn’t compatible with smartphones, the website will not work properly, the user will exit increasing the bounce rate and affecting your ranking. That’s why you should focus on making your website run smoothly on smartphones too.
The loading speed of your page
An important aspect impacting Google ranking, a major reason that can affect the speed of your page is image size, because if the pixel size is large it will slow down the speed. For university websites, there are multiple people adding the content, including images and it’s not necessary that everyone who is adding will optimize them for the page before uploading.
Taking one extra step of resizing the image can help you a lot in the long run. Also, free online tools to resize images are easily available, they work swiftly and effortlessly without sacrificing image quality.
Relevant links from various high authority websites make the university or college search engine and courses more credible. This is known as inbound links, the most difficult type of link to get but can be of great value. You can ask for these inbound links from other university and college portals that provide info about numerous universities.
If any of the sites uses your name, ask them to link their content with your website. Inbound links contribute to improving your ranking. Keep tracking for broken links and fix them immediately, otherwise, it can challenge your position in Google search results
Optimization of local SEO
Location plays a vital role in SEO, especially if it’s about university and college. The young students joining college may want to explore and experience a new region or city, however, adults or a professional searching for part-time courses may prefer to attend classes close to home. Both the group’s search is based on their location preferences, so consider optimizing the website for location searches.
If a university is situated in a famous city, do include the name of the city in your web contents, e-mails, etc. There are instances when students from different towns or countries seek university or college in your city, that’s why it is a necessity to optimize your website for local searches known as local SEO.