Studies have found that online searches are the top method used by college applicants to discover colleges and degree programs.
With 75% of Google searches not going past the first page, ranking among the top search results for colleges and universities is highly competitive and profitable.
An aggressive SEO strategy should be a part of any digital marketing plan for colleges.
SEO for colleges faces a unique set of challenges. Besides being a highly competitive niche, college websites are often segmented by department or program.
With so many departments contributing content, it can be difficult to execute an organized data driven SEO strategy.
Custom SEO Solutions for Your College
Addressing Institution-Specific Challenges
No digital marketing solution is one-size-fits-all. Every college faces different challenges each semester. Some need to attract new students.
Some need to retain students and decrease dropout rates. Other colleges are rolling out a new degree program or struggling with state legislation about funding.
Custom digital marketing solutions can help target each of these situations, and drive action and attention where you need it.
5 SEO Strategies for Colleges
Here are five strategies to keep in mind when forming a search engine optimization plan for colleges.
1. Local SEO for Colleges
Many colleges draw a significant portion of their student body from local high school students. This matters because they need consistently updated local SEO targeting in order to maintain effective outreach methods.
SEO takes a technical understanding of the priorities and algorithms of Google and other search giants. You need to gather data on the keywords people use when they are researching colleges.
Because many students target their college choice by location, so you’ll need expert guidance on the right way to optimize your search engine results.
2. Content Marketing
Graduating high school seniors have endless questions about their future, and the things college can offer them.
The key to attracting them to your school is to provide answers to the questions they search for most often.
These answers need to be thorough, engaging, informative and written to function within the algorithms of search engines.
Generating reliable content is one of the biggest challenges higher education facilities face. While any college can answer these questions, they may not know the most effective way to answer them.
That’s where SEO expertise comes in.
3. Developing Analytics Goals
Digital marketing always involves establishing a series of goals for your potential recruits and new students.
Mapping the new student’s journey means using analytics to see what content on your website is attracting traffic. Then it means testing solutions for turning your web traffic into students.
4. Website Speed Optimization
Google has named site speed as one of the ranking factors it takes into account.
Expert guidance can alert you to mistakes you might be making that are bogging down your site speed while offering solutions that will deliver speedier results.
For example, if your website has been created with cumbersome unnecessary code, you may be able to get the same result using far fewer data.
Some studies show that 40% of people will leave a website when it takes more than three seconds to load.
5. Mobile Optimization
People are only on their desktops some of the time, but their phones are in their pockets or nearby at all times. Statistics show that the younger your target audience is, the more often they will be on their mobile devices.
It’s not just about the amount of time your future students spend on their phones. It’s what they expect to be able to do. Many websites fail to make their mobile experience just as easy as their desktop. This will only be more important in the future.