When searching on Google, how often do you venture beyond the first page of results? Do you click on the top-ranking website? Statistics show that 27.6% of people click on the first result they see on Google. So, the burning question is: How can you position your school in that coveted #1 spot?
The answer lies in implementing effective search engine optimization (SEO) techniques for your school to rank highly on specific keywords. SEO involves tailoring your website to meet the criteria that Google considers when ranking websites. SEO is one of the most powerful tools for boosting your school’s enrollment marketing strategy.
First, what is a keyword? A keyword is anything a user searches on Google. When parents search “private school in Los Angeles,” you want to ensure you rank well on that keyword.
You might wonder if you need to be an SEO expert to improve your website's visibility and increase your keyword ranking. Fortunately, the answer is no! A significant portion of SEO can be accomplished organically by having a well-designed website and understanding the basics of what to do and what not to do.
Here are some top SEO to-dos and not to-dos to help reach that coveted #1 spot for school marketers.
Content Is SO Important
This cannot be understated. If your site hasn't been updated recently and lacks substantial written content, your first step is to (re) write fresh and engaging content. Google cares about whether your website has what a user wants. How can it know you’re a private school if it doesn’t say that on your page?
Don’t leave your front page content dry. Google heavily weighs your first page, and if you leave it with only a single “Welcome to our school!” paragraph, you are missing out on great web space. Look at FlexSchool, one of Google’s highest-ranking twice-exceptional schools in New Jersey and New York, and see just how much content can be put on your front page!.
When creating your web page, you can create a page title and a meta description for each page. While not displayed on the page itself, they are flags that tell Google exactly what is on the page.
Avoid using just the school's name for page titles. Instead, incorporate relevant keywords within a 50 to 60 character limit. Why tell Google that it is just your homepage, when it could be The Best Private Middle School in Los Angeles’ homepage?
Create Compelling Meta Descriptions
Each page should have a meta description of up to 160 characters. This description should not only summarize the web page's content but also include targeted keywords. It may seem easy to leave these empty or copy and paste content from the page, but having original descriptions gives Google an even clearer picture of what your page is about.
Utilize Effective Heading Tags
Ensure that each page has only one H1 tag, which captures the essence of the page, and is not longer than 60 characters. It is an easy mistake to have multiple H1 tags, too long of an H1 tag, or no H1 tag at all. Ensuring you have one is important, as Google could consider pages without H1 tags to be incomplete. Having duplicates can signal to Google that the page is disorganized, or it might not give Google an accurate picture of that page.
Optimize Image Alt Text
Every image on your website has alt text, or a description of the image that is not shown to the user. These are in place to let Google know exactly what the image is. Don't underestimate the significance of alt text for images. Instead of leaving them blank or using generic labels like "school logo," you could utilize alt text to describe the image and incorporate relevant keywords. This step provides valuable information to Google about the image's content.
So instead of the basic “school logo” alt text, you could spruce it up to be:
The Best Middle School in Los Angeles | Independent School in LA | Logo
Notice that this contains relevant keywords while also giving a description of the image. (To note: alt texts are also important for visually impaired users that use a text-to-speech feature to browse the internet)
Even if you're not a school SEO expert, following these basic practices can significantly enhance your website's visibility. By simply filling out the aforementioned elements, you're already one step ahead of the competition.
Keep in mind that SEO is an ongoing process and an important part of your school marketing, so staying up to date with industry trends and algorithm changes is crucial. Regularly monitoring and adjusting your SEO strategies will help maintain your school's strong online presence.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to provide valuable and relevant content to your target audience. By optimizing your website for search engines, you increase the chances of reaching prospective parents and students who are actively seeking the educational opportunities your school offers.
Would you like to learn more about optimizing your school's digital marketing? Boarding School Review has partnered with Truth Tree, an award-winning digital marketing agency specializing in private schools and boarding schools, to help schools with their online presence.
To learn more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team is eager to provide you with further information and discuss how Truth Tree can tailor their services to meet your specific needs. Don't miss out on this opportunity to elevate your school's digital marketing game and achieve remarkable results.