When it comes to your website, what is most important? That it's engaging? That it represents your school's mission? That it looks good? All of these are great, but they are useless if your website isn't getting seen.
How do you ensure that your website doesn't get lost in the countless number of results that pop up on search engines like Google? Enter: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO is the process of focusing on increasing your website's visibility and ranking in search engine results — the higher the rank, the greater the chance of your website being seen. But how do you know how your website will stack up? There are multiple ways of increasing your website's visibility and ranking. Let's break it down into three key areas of SEO: on-page, off-page, and technical.
On-page SEO has to do with your site's content—the words on the pages. Is your site relevant to what users are searching for? What keywords does it contain that visitors to your site are using in their searches? According to a recent eBook published by Converge Consulting titled, Trends in Inbound Marketing for Higher Education, keyword search and on-page SEO (content optimization) were the most commonly practiced SEO efforts used by two- and four-year institutions in 2015. When it comes to keywords, keep in mind that spelling is important. Misspellings can affect search engines finding your site's keywords. Fortunately, the built-in Spell Check tool in OU Campus helps prevent your CMS content contributors from publishing spelling errors.
Off-page SEO is all about inbound link building. It considers how authoritative your site is. In other words, how many people are referencing your site? You can strengthen your off-page SEO by getting links to your site on other websites or shared on social media. This increases traffic to your site and increases your site's ranking.
Lastly, we have the next wave of SEO innovation: technical SEO. This area of optimization consists of the pieces that make up a site's semantic markup such as code, links, images… you know, all the behind-the-scenes stuff.
Of the institutions surveyed in the Converge Consulting eBook study, only 34% were taking advantage of technical SEO, and 38% didn't even know if they were using it! If you're not taking advantage of technical SEO, you should be.
High impact factors that lead to efficient technical SEO include having clean URLs, pinpointing and fixing 404 pages, having only one H1 (heading tag) on each page, and adding ALT attributes to all of your images. OU Campus helps facilitate technical SEO with features like search engine friendly URLs, easy access to edit page titles and meta tags, validating proper use of H1 and other heading tags, Link Check, and enforcing image ALT tags.
And to take it a step further, OU Campus' new module OU Insights allows you to maximize appeal to your website visitors by monitoring your site's health in key areas, including SEO, accessibility, spelling, and links. Your CMS administrators and marketing team can easily identify and improve areas of concern that have a critical impact on your site visitors' user experience, and on your website actually being seen.
All three areas of SEO are important and are most effective when used in conjunction with each other. They work together to help your site climb its way up the search engine results page.
Don't miss out on this Thursday's webcast on OU Insights. Register now!