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8 SEO Tips for Universities to Attract Students

Universities are institutions for high learning, cultural exchange, and provide wonderful opportunities to their student and faculty body. However, a university is also a business competing in a saturated marketplace. Universities are often more concerned with improving the quality of their personnel over their marketing methods, and sometimes rightly so, but if you want to attract the best talent and potential to discover what great opportunities your university has to offer, then you need SEO strategies to be discovered yourself.

Optimum 7 has experience implementing SEO and other digital marketing strategies catered specifically for your needs and helping Universities get students through your doors. Contact Optimum7 online or with a call to 866-848-6072.

SEO for Higher-Education Institutions

There are a number of important elements that go into running an SEO campaign for universities effectively.

These include…

  • Topic Research
  • Content Strategy that is targeted and measurable
  • Domain Authority and Page Authority
  • Backlinks
  • Site Structure that is SEO-friendly
  • and more…

Ranking on search engines within this industry is highly competitive. Without the proper resources and experience, you risk wasting thousands of dollars of your marketing budget on an SEO campaign that won’t bring you the results you need.

8 Search Engine Optimization Tips for Universities

Done right, these 8 tips will help your audience find you and guide them directly to what they need. Our experts know how to apply these processes to any situation with successful, measurable results.

1. Create a Blog

Blogs are not just for bloggers. A blog is the simplest way to create regular content for SEO purposes. Blogs are written out conversations between you and your audience. You can use them to highlight your services, feature programs, or answer FAQ. As places all around the web have a reputable source of information on whatever you offer or speak about at length, they will link back to your blog which also boosts your organic searchability on Google. Keep your blog updated and relevant as Google knows this based on things like timestamps and traffic to your site. When you have valuable information to share that is then shared, you are seen as providing authority and valuable information which builds trust with your audience. If you write quality content, visitors will also stay on the page to read it, and the longer they do the better your score with Google as an authority.

2. Optimize Your Site for Mobile

Mobile is the future and the future is here. Over 53% of website visits last year were on mobile and that number is only expected to grow, play a big part for Google’s rankings. A difficult task to do on your own if not an expert is to make a website responsive. This means that the user will have the same experience whether they are accessing it on mobile, tablet, or desktop. For example, is your text is large enough to read on mobile devices, or do have to pinch the screen? Also, are buttons large enough to click with your thumb? To optimize for mobile, keep your design simple and content short.

3. Write for humans, not search engines

Our robot overlords are not here just yet. Although Google’s search algorithm has grown increasingly sophisticated as AI technology improves, you’ll want to write content that is high-quality, informative, and user-friendly, not just one that is playing the keywords or web spiders (which crawl websites for various data). Catering solely to the AI puts you at risk of being penalized in the next Google update. So if you thought that you could just repeat the best keywords and leave your site open in a tab all day long, think again. Create content that is actually engaging, useful, and worthy of being shared and referenced. If AI can tell the difference, so can your users.

4. Avoid Duplicate Content

As a rule of thumb, your content needs to be unique across the site. Another way, Google penalizes if you duplicate content. So even if you did create an amazing blog post, don’t post it on the description page, the blog post, the program page, etc. Duplicate content also applies to meta-titles and meta-descriptions as this weighs heavily in their ranking factors. Do you have duplicate content right now? Check by using Google Webmaster tools. Go to Search Appearance>HTML Improvements.

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5. Optimize your URLs

Have you ever looked at a URL for reference about where you are on a website? Google does too – and counts them towards SEO. If consumers have a hard time understanding what a page is about, search engines will have trouble as well. For example, if your URL is university.com/f8hk, make it to something that is readable and relevant to your webpage but without underscores – use hyphens instead. Also, being more specific in this instance does not help, therefore it’s better to keep your URLs short and simple.

6. Make sure your site loads quickly

How often do you leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load? Be honest! If that’s you, you’re one of 40% who do. Page speed matters to Google too and is a critical factor for SEO. In 2010, Google revealed that site speed was one of the most important ranking factors in its secret algorithm. Complicated code and javascript slow down a site considerably so consider removing excessive elements that may slow your site down like tables, videos, images, and keep it streamlined to just what you need.

7. Set Up Your Analytics Goals as Early as Possible

As we said, you might hire one or two developers or bloggers thinking that will be the end of your digital strategy, but you’ll be wasting your time and money. Outsourcing your Internet Marketing to experts at a digital agency like Optimum 7 means a whole team will be producing content, implementing, and tracking it all at the highest level. For real conversions, you’ll need:

  • Leads
  • Email newsletter signups
  • Purchases
  • Whitepaper downloads

Digital marketing strategies allow you to make conversion optimizations where it matters – pages where users are leaving your purchase funnel. We can help you define which goals are relevant to your business and track them.

8. Get High-Quality Backlinks as much as possible

After the content, backlinks are considered one of the most important factors in SEO. Remember, we said that if you create valuable content that is relevant, it will be shared on other websites which of course, then reach your site. Encourage your content to be shared. Make it inevitable by making it engaging and a good resource. Use tools like Moz’s Link Explorer to find where your competition is getting its backlinks. Never buy backlinks as they are usually low-quality and you risk being penalized by Google for this as well.