Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a vital part of developing any school website or creating a marketing strategy. But, how does search engine optimization really affect your institution? It is not just another technical marketing term that we throw about in meetings, it’s a new technique that can transform the visibility of your school online.
Think of search engine optimization as the process of doing the right things on (and off) of your school website so that the search engines decide that your content is the best match for what a person is searching for.
In simple terms, SEO for schools helps your school be found in search results by people who are actually looking for you and what you offer.
It removes the guesswork of building a website, creating content, and sending it out into the world in the hopes of being found by someone, somewhere.
Search engines use automated bots or crawlers to gather information about all the content they find on the internet – starting on a known page and following internal links and external links to and from those pages to move through the website and beyond.
These links help the search engine bots to understand what each page on your school website is about and how they are connected to all the other pages within the search engine’s database.
When someone searches for something online, search engines use an algorithm to show the content that it believes will best answer these questions – these results include blogs, articles, web pages, and specific content about the education sector.
At Digithrive for Schools, our approach to an SEO strategy is in-depth and multifaceted.
We ensure that your website is fully optimised to appear at the top of search results for the keywords that make sense for your school and that you are meeting all the search engine optimization requirements outside of creating top-notch blog and video content.
We use the following SEO strategies for schools to improve search engine results, Google ranking, and generate relevant and valuable leads and web traffic:
On-page SEO optimises the content that is already on your website. This includes using keywords to improve your page title options, the meta descriptions of pages (effectively creating clear signposts for the bots to understand the page), using internal links (links between your own website pages) and external links out to relevant and high-quality websites, and creating a page URL structure that uses your targeted keywords.
Digithrive’s expert SEO team performs keyword research to find the terms used in relevant searches across all search engines and search results, and from this data, we craft a keyword strategy specifically for your school.
All meta description wording, page content, internal and external links, and blog post content are carefully created to avoid keyword stuffing and to ensure your website appears in relevant searches for relevant queries from your target audience.
By using a bespoke keyword strategy on your school website, SEO for schools can help your school rank higher in search results against your competitors, which in turn will bring more qualified potential parents to your site.
Off-page SEO also uses keyword research, but it is different from its on-page counterpart. Think of it as all search activity that takes place off of your website. This could be on review websites, forums, other educational websites, social media and more.
It helps you to create exposure and brand awareness about your school with organic content, leading to you becoming an authority in your field and gaining the trust of your audience.
Digithrive uses this optimization process to drive organic traffic with links from reputable websites back to your school website, in the form of a guest blog post or two, an article on relevant education websites in your area, and pitching press releases and thought-pieces to journalists and magazines.
Technical SEO may sound quite similar to on-page SEO – both deal with the search performance of your website, but technical SEO focuses on the actions performed to assist search engines to crawl your website and on helping people search and use your website.
Digithrive looks at aspects that are vital to search engines, including website speed, mobile-friendliness, and site structure to improve both the crawlability of your website as well as the user experience for those browsing it.
A faster website is indexed better by Google and other search engines and having a simple structure, menu, and limited redirects and 404 pages will help with this.
Mobile-friendliness is vital – both parents and students of today use a mobile device to browse for information, and your users should be able to easily navigate your school website on their device. Google operates on a mobile-first basis, therefore optimising for mobile is essential.
Your site structure should have a security certificate (HTTPS hypertext), user-friendly page titles and URLs, should always avoid duplicate content, and should have consistent internal links.
Local SEO is a variation of SEO that focuses on a specific geographic area in order to increase your online presence within your online community, rather than internationally or nationally.
This relates to your Google My Business (GMB) Profile and is where you include your school address, telephone number, business hours, description, reviews and photos. We also urge you not to dismiss posting on GMB as another form of social media visibility.
Google will look at proximity, relevance, and prominence based on the searcher’s query, as well as the search volume for keywords relating to your area, how many users have searched for “near me” phrases, and so forth.
Local SEO can help any prospective parent, student, or teacher find exactly what they are looking for in their area, providing helpful content for when they are choosing which school best fits their needs.
With search engines being a major consideration for any strategy we create for our clients, we know which option to focus on for each client’s different needs, and we are education sector specialists.
Maida Vale is a new co-educational school that approached Digithrive in need of a full marketing strategy, for the launch of their new senior school. The goal was to promote the school and increase brand awareness around their launch while receiving admissions.
We created an integrated strategy using paid advertising to generate a large volume of enquiries and leads for their launch events and upcoming open days.
And, to generate awareness of the school in their local community, we used local SEO with relevant key phrases and contact information. By adding images of the school and events to the Google My Business page, prospective students and parents were able to see what daily life would look like for them at Maida Vale – this helped to boost interest in the school and the planned open days.
As part of the SEO strategy, reputation management was used to improve their standing in the private schools market. We looked at how both positive and negative reviews impacted the ability of Maida Vale to rank highly on Google and in the eyes of the audience.
Reviews are an important part of any SEO and content strategy, as we can leverage them to increase engagement and to create relevant and useful content that is not only educational but uses phrases that your audience actually uses, improving your search visibility.
Thanks to our efforts, Maida Vale achieved 115 open day sign-ups, 79 open day attendees, and 12 confirmed admissions.
Let Digithrive for Schools help you get the visibility you need. Set up a free consultation today.