What Is SEO and How Can Your School Use It?
The term SEO gets thrown around a lot. But what really is SEO? And why do you need it?
The first thing to know, is that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It relates to search engines like Google, who crawl your site and in doing so, have the potential to increase traffic (visitors) by ranking your school website higher on search engine results.
The aim of SEO is to make your website search engine friendly through supporting content, which as a result, will put your site on the first page of a search engine like Google. This is hugely beneficial as less than 10% of people actually proceed to the second page when searching for something. It is also great for: brand awareness and credibility, quality and organic traffic (commonly referred to as white hat SEO), ROI and the best part – it’s completely free!
Where Do I Start?
Grade Your Site
Using a site like Website Grader, you can see what areas of your site need improving. This will help you in your first steps to designing a plan to improve your school website. It will also provide instructions with each area you are graded on to help you with your first steps.
How Can I SEO My School Website:
The simplest way to SEO your site is by using the “alt text” when adding photos to your site. Alt tags provide better image context/descriptions to search engine crawlers, helping them to index an image properly. This improves your ranking through accessibility and image SEO.
Making sure you have good, relevant content is a must. It supplies demand and makes your site linkable. What we mean by this, is that people can share your site with others, which will create organic traffic to your page.
Keywords are a series of words you deem relevant to the page in question. You can use Google Adwords to help you find the best keywords for the topic you are writing content for. For example, if you are writing about “Enrollment for Schools in 2018-2019”, make sure you include those keywords, “enrollment for schools”, throughout your article, and other keywords related to that topic.
Take note: When doing this, make sure you don’t over-stuff your content. This is when you have added in too many keywords and disregarded your human audience. It stops your content from providing user-friendly reading and is referred to as black hat SEO. Make sure your keywords are placed throughout your text in a natural manner of speech that make sense grammatically. Otherwise, you will be penalized and your site could be black listed from search engines.
H1 headings help indicate the important topics of your page to search engines. While less important than good meta-titles and descriptions, H1 headings may still help define the topic of your page to search engines.
You should always link to pages in the body of your text. For example, you could link your blog article to an informative page on your website and vice versa. This helps users navigate your site, establish hierarchy and spread link equity.
Advanced SEO for Your School Website:
A title tag specifies the title of a web page and can be found in the page’s code. You should always have a unique title that gives a description of the content on your page and contains your primary keyword.
A meta-description is again found in a page’s code. It is the snippet of information that describes the contents of the page to the searcher on a search engine, just below its title. Your goal is to convince the searcher, with your description, to click through to your site. Make sure you keep your description engaging, include your primary keyword and keep it under 155 characters. Above is an example using the Scholantis website.
Make sure your website has a sitemap. If you are not sure how to write a sitemap, you can use sites like XML Sitemap to generate one for you, or use a sitemap plugin.
Analytics is a more advanced way to SEO your site. You can use Google Analytics to monitor your audience (the who) and see how many people are visiting your site. For example, if you created a recent blog post, you can see how many visits it received per month. You can watch an introductory video to using Google Analytics here.
We wish you luck on your SEO journey. For more help, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.