Improving your university’s SEO (search engine optimization) results requires good content and effective links — and we don’t need to tell you how important it is for your institution to be found in Google search results! The trick to SEO is in intentional strategy execution.
Do not reuse content.
Each page of your site should feature original content and not repeat content found elsewhere. Don’t copy and paste paragraphs from the Admissions page over to the Academics page, for example. The more original your content, the more Google has to scan through and add to its database.
Shine above the fold.
Put the most important content towards the top of your page, above the fold. The term “above the fold” simply means what a user sees when they land on your page without having to scroll. The intro text is typically what’s displayed next to Google search results so be sure it’s relevant and intentional.
Content is king.
Do not make your pages too short. But don’t overload them with content either. According to Sprout Social, “The average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words.”
Provide links to the rest of your site on your homepage. A good navigation bar makes all the difference. A site map is essential too. This allows Google to better crawl your entire site and compile more relevant keywords for your pages.
Optimize titles and URLs.
Use meaningful page titles that utilize keywords. For example, if you’re linking to the athletic department page, don’t use something arbitrary such as youruniversity.edu/1184552#ZS.html. You’re wasting a perfectly good optimization opportunity! Instead, use something like youruniversity.edu/athletics. Athletics is a keyword that can be indexed by Google and is relevant to things that prospective parents may be searching for. People should be able to guess the topic of a page just by looking at the URL.
Increase website speed.
Given the choice between two similar websites, a user will pick to visit and interact with the site that loads faster. The faster your website loads, the higher your search engine ranking. To improve the speed at which your website loads, consider removing large images or moving to a responsive template. Test how quickly your site loads here.
Optimize for mobile.
It’s more important than ever that your university’s website is fully responsive. Google is focusing heavily on mobile-optimization (read more about that here). You need to provide the best mobile experience for prospective students and their families.
While it can seem overwhelming, there are lots of resources available to learn more about improving SEO. Keep abreast of the latest and greatest in SEO at Search Engine Land. Broken Link Finder helps you find and get rid of any broken links on your site. If you’re just starting to research SEO, check out Quick Sprout’s Guide to SEO – it’s a lengthy, infographic-style guide to SEO. Last, Keyword Suggestion Tool helps you learn the number of searches for a specific keyword and gives suggestions too.
This article was originally published here by our sister company, FACTS.