Open your books because school is in session, and we’re discussing search engine optimization (SEO) principles your school needs to use to stand out from the crowd.
What is SEO?
According to SEO software company Moz, SEO is a set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results. Meaning, the better your SEO, the higher you appear on a search engine’s list of non-paid results when someone searches for a term that can relate to your school.
Why SEO Matters
According to a study by SEO Inc., organic traffic made up 53% of website traffic in 2022. Your school needs to capture this traffic to stand out from competitors and ensure the proper parties find your website and related pages.
Regarding search engine traffic, you want your school to be the first organic result when people search for your school or keywords that are relevant to your school. Where you place in organic search matters, and your school needs to manage its SEO actively in order to place high. According to SEO Inc., if a school or organization is the first organic listing, it gets 20.5% of the organic traffic with decreasing returns as potential parents scroll down the results page.
So how does SEO work?
According to Moz, search engines use crawlers to index or “read” your page and rate its quality against competing pages for the same keywords. The crawler will grade the quality of internal and external links, the content on pages, and the content on the pages your website links to. Crawlers work to understand how the page connects to other pages and how relevant its scope is to what users search for. When a user searches for a term, the search engine uses an algorithm to pull up relevant results from when it indexed the page.
Optimizing your page for SEO is a complex but necessary undertaking to stand out from other schools and relay why your school is the best option.
While managing SEO is a continual process, here are three things your school can do today to influence its SEO practices:
- Make sure all contact information listed is consistent
Name, address, and phone number information must be consistent on every online page for which your school has a profile. Start with your website, and then go a step further to explore wherever else your school has an online presence, like social media, review sites, Google business listing, or associations you may belong to that list your contact information online.Your school needs the same information on all these channels because search engines crawl all your associated school pages online to verify the information. If it’s inconsistent, the crawler will downgrade your website in search results and may even exclude your school from local searchers.
- Actively collect Google reviews
Collecting Google reviews will positively impact your local search rankings, as the rating and the number of reviews impact how Google rates your site. It also helps your school tell its story in organic search.Like how you read reviews of restaurants and other items you’re interested in, parents are reading reviews of your school. Encourage families to leave reviews by sharing a direct link to your Google Listing page.
Once a family leaves a review of your school, be sure to respond and thank the reviewer, so it shows you’re actively managing your school’s online presence.
- Use keywords
Keywords are one of your most important SEO tools and one of the hardest nuts to crack. Keywords tell the crawlers what your webpage is and directly influence how the algorithm pulls search results. HubSpot has created a helpful Keyword Research Worksheet to help your school figure out words to be targeting and including on your website. Keywords also play into Google Reviews. Although you can’t control what’s written in a review, you can naturally mention associated keywords in your response to help Google understand further what your business listing is about.
Moz has also created a Beginners Guide to SEO that features a more robust, defined strategy. Remember: while SEO is cumbersome, helping parents and potential students find your page and make a great first impression is worth the effort it takes to stand out.
Let us help. ParentApps can be that added piece to help you build an SEO-optimized site from scratch or give it a clean overhaul. Reach out today for a demo.