Managing a content calendar and writing compelling website blog posts and articles are time-intensive tasks—and that doesn’t factor in search engine optimization (SEO) considerations. Your main focus should always be on solid writing that is relevant to your audience. Only after you have a quality article in hand do you incorporate SEO best practices.
SEO addresses the small subtleties that you make to design and content to help search engines find and rank your college’s website. The better you pay attention to these small details, the higher your website will rank in searches.
Before you can fully optimize your website, you must make sure that it can actually be found. To do this, you will need to:
- Ensure that Google Analytics and Google Search Console are configured properly and working for your new website.
- Submit your website’s URL to Google for crawling.
- Submit (or resubmit) your sitemap files to Google and Bing; if resubmitting, it is helpful to completely remove the existing sitemap and add it again.
- Turn on search engine indexing with Request Indexing for all direct links option enabled.
OmniUpdate’s OU Campus content management system (CMS) provides tools that make it
easy to optimize your website for search engines. Contact an OmniUpdate expert to learn how your school can put higher ed’s top commercial CMS to work for you.
Mastering SEO has become a field of study unto itself, but even if you are not an SEO practitioner, you can use the following SEO best practices to jump-start optimization of your college or university website.
- Use strategically chosen keywords.
- Fewer well-targeted keywords are better.
- Do not include school name in keyword search.
- Incorporate keywords into beginning of URLs.
- Keep URLs to 59 characters or less.
(clickable headline in search results)
- Keep to 8 words (60 characters) or less, including spaces.
- Use top keywords: free, easy, new.
- Use a grabber: amazing, unbelievable, proven.
- Use numbers: “Increase Enrollment by 100%”.
- Put school/brand name last; answer questions first.
Calls to Action
- Link calls to action (CTAs) to a specific landing page.
- Use a content-relevant CTA for each page.
(highlighted text for links)
- Vary anchor text to say same thing differently.
- Use relevant concepts, words, or phrases.
- Use exact keywords sparingly (partial keywords rank best).
- Use exact URL in listings or to link to a CTA.
- Make links relevant to content.
- Use high-quality links (more important than quantity of links).
- Use compressed images to increase page speed (tinypng.com).
- Include image descriptions (captions and alt tags).
- Make videos no longer than 2 minutes.
- Make sure your search listing is accurate.
- Have share buttons on your site.
- Ask question in meta title and then answer on page somewhere to create snippet opportunities.
If you’re undergoing a website redesign and looking for more tips to optimize your new site, these resources may help:
- Launching Your Website: Boosting the Success of a Redesign
- Design with Purpose: Creating a Performance-Driven Website
- Serenity Now: Redesigning a Website in One Year or Less
Or, if you need to reinforce the foundation of your website before embarking on a major website redesign or marketing project, investigate how a content management system can help. Call 805.484.9400 to speak with an OmniUpdate expert or schedule a demo now.