On average, Higher Education organisations achieve 61% of their website traffic from organic search. Although this sounds like an impressive figure, the majority of this traffic is from searches using the University’s brand name.
What if your prospective students haven’t heard of you?
Ensuring your University is being found by the search terms your prospective students are typing into Google is pivotal to an effective digital marketing and recruitment strategy.
We understand Higher Education websites face their own set of unique challenges for SEO. They are often large websites that are segmented by department, school or course with hundreds of internal pages which can make it difficult to optimise for search and results in many key stakeholders being involved in the SEO process, often without a singular roadmap to follow across the institute. Plus, many Universities have internal IT departments that are commonly responsible for the technical updates to the website. This can cause a backlog of important SEO updates waiting to be implemented.
To help you provide a priority list of technical SEO updates for your IT department, optimise your website site for student searches and to ensure your internal processes with your key stakeholders are handled effectively - we’ve created a list of 8 SEO tips just for you!
Perform an SEO audit
The first step to any effective SEO strategy is working out where you are now and what tasks need to be completed. There are many free SEO tools that are available for you to create an audit for on-page / off-page SEO and technical SEO issues. Here are a few of our favourites: Google page insights, Google Search Console, SiteCheckerPro and Nibbler.
Mobiles are an integral part of 18-24-year-olds daily lives. Therefore, it is now, more than ever, vital that your marketing strategy involves mobile optimisation.
Understanding the search phrases your prospective students use to search for University courses and then optimising your website content with these phrases, will positivity affect your SEO strategy.
It’s not uncommon for colleges and universities to name a degree or program with a brand name that might not match the search keywords a prospective student will use in a search query. And while Google is getting better at semantics, it’s not perfect. Help Google learn the connection by integrating keywords and brand terms.
Optimise site load speed
No one likes to wait. Did you know that nearly half of all web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less? If a site hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds visitors tend to abandon a site completely! Don’t worry, there are many quick fixes to help improve your website speed such as, optimising your website images, and minifying the site code.
Fix broken links
If it breaks – fix it! This saying also applies to your website links! Your prospective students (as well as Google) do not like broken links. An SEO audit will provide you with a list of broken links that you should be able to fix within your CMS.
Measure, access and understand the value of SEO
Like anything worth doing, it takes time and energy to do it right. The same applies to your SEO strategy. Set expectations within your organisation, unfortunately, it is not a one-time quick fix. Measuring, accessing and implementing fixes is a monthly exercise, that if it isn’t right now, should be added to your end of month marketing meeting.
Make sure you have Google Analytics set up on your website and review and run tests on the website (using the free tools listed above) and prioritise these updates for your IT department or agency to fix the issues on a regular basis. Just be aware: you may not see immediate effects on your website rankings as it takes time to propagate.
Optimise for voice search
A new trend alert! Voice search now accounts for 20 percent of all mobile searches. Get ahead of the game and optimise your website for voice search this year.
Get in touch to see how we can help align your Organic SEO and PPC advertising to ensure you’re making the most out of your marketing recruitment strategy.