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Marketing & Recruitment, Content Management

(More) SEO for College and University Websites

optimize SEO concept13 Ways to Optimize Your Site Now

Increasing your college or university’s search rankings can have profound effects on enrollment, and one of the most immediate and accessible ways to do this is by practicing smart SEO. You don’t have to be a technologist, and you don’t have to be an SEO expert. You do, however, need to employ a few basic principles to boost your content’s rankings.

Following are 13 ways you can optimize your content right now:

  1. Know where to focus your attention. Search to see what terms are being googled the most in reference to your topic and then use these consistently throughout in your article. The goal is to have your web page focus on a specific subject matter and rank for a specific keyword.
  2. Consistently tag and label all content. Titles should be labeled H1. Subheads should be labeled H2. If you are only using boldface, these parts of your content won’t be tagged as important.
  3. Write short meta descriptions. Be short and to the point. Longer descriptions get cut off by Google.
  4. Use specific keywords in the title. Make it easy for search engine crawlers to know what your content is about.
  5. Number lists. People love lists, and the format helps in search rankings. FYI: Lists with odd numbers are more popular.
  6. Incorporate longtail keywords. These more specific versions of a generic keyword put your topic into a specific context and therefore make it easier to find in rankings. For example, “midwest universities in Ohio” is more specific than “midwest universities.”
  7. Understand that good accessibility is good SEO. If you are practicing good accessibility, your rankings will naturally increase.
  8. Be liberal with ALT text. ALT text is “alternative text,” and it’s essential for accessibility purposes. Visually challenged users read this text to understand what’s going on in an image. If the image won’t load, ALT text describes what’s happening in the image, providing context so that search engine crawlers can index the image properly.
  9. Sprinkle keywords into ALT text and avoid writing salesy copy.
  10. Download tools to help you optimize your website. For example, when you publish a page, Moz will evaluate the page elements and other aspects for SEO. It even highlights hyperlinks for internal and external links on the site.
  11. Include 3 relevant links in body copy. These should link to both internal and external content.
  12. Understand how people find your website. See what search terms people use to find your site. Look at old blog posts to see what keywords they are using to find you.
  13. Consider growth editing. Promoting older posts by upgrading existing content and changing old titles increases their relevance. You can also use growth editing to create a closer brand relationship between your school and the topic or keyword.

About the Blogger

Caroline Roberts is a content strategist at iFactory, a digital agency in Boston that serves nonprofits and institutions of higher education. Outside of work, you can find her reading mystery novels, playing bar trivia, and drinking Diet Mountain Dew.

Caroline Roberts

To learn more more about optimizing your website, watch our webcast on SEO Building Blocks: Getting the Basics Right.

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