Recharge Your Institution's SEO

Pete Schauer

Marketing Director

Is your higher institution’s SEO strategy in need of some attention? Before you think that a new strategy is too costly, too time consuming, or too difficult, remember that SEO content is vital to your institution. Prospective students spend their time researching colleges and universities, and the way they find valuable content is through search engine optimization. The stronger your SEO strategy is, the more success you will see.

Below are a few of the most effective ways to revamp your school’s SEO strategy.

Start with Your Objective

Always start at the top. Building a successful keyword strategy is not something that needs to be overthought. Your objective is to attract students to your school and nurture them through the enrollment funnel. Your audience is pretty clear, too, though it’s important to be specific. You’re not reaching out to all college students, but a certain group. Are they older students returning to college? First generation students? Engineering students? Be specific.

Move Beyond Branded Keywords

It’s often recommended to use long-tail keywords because they have less competition. However, the average high school student isn’t going to search for your school name specifically. Instead, they'll search for keywords related to the programs they want to study. Rather than focusing on keywords that pertain only to your programs, think about the questions that students are asking.

Think Like a Student

As you recharge your SEO strategy, put yourself in a prospect’s shoes. What types of things would he or she want to know? Your programs are important, but don’t forget about other key aspects, such as your campus environment, extracurricular opportunities, and things to do in the surrounding community. Programs tend to look the same to students, so these extra details can distinguish your institution.

Talk to Current Students

When you need insight, your best source is current students. They’re not far removed from the college search and selection process, so they can offer a unique perspective that your admissions department might not have. Some things to ask students specifically include:

  • How did you find our website?

  • What made you want to click ‘apply?’

  • How did our school stand out?

  • What could we have done better?

Look for consistencies in your responses. If the majority of students felt comfortable filling out an application but had a difficult time finding your programs online, you know that you need to improve your visibility in the search engines.

Update Your Keywords List

A keyword research tool is an effective way to better understand what your prospects are searching for. Even if you find competitive keywords, this doesn’t mean they will continue to be effective. Your keyword list needs to be adjusted regularly due to competition, current trends, and the needs of your prospects. Keeping an eye on your list allows you to take advantage of new variations of keywords and outsmart your competition.

Students in the enrollment funnel are looking for as much information as possible. Help them find your content so that your institution can be put on the radar and hopefully be a top choice for the right candidates!

 

About the Author: Pete Schauer

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Pete Schauer is the Marketing Director at SEMGeeks. He holds a M.A. in Digital Communications from William Paterson University and has 8+ years in the digital space with companies such as Bleacher Report and Social Media Today in addition to SEMGeeks. His background includes creative and professional writing as well as strategic digital marketing communications and management.

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