Universities form an integral part of education, so much that nearly 25% of the university grads determine where to study by using search engine. It is hence important to be visible in the cyberspace. This is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes into picture.
SEO for universities involve a lot of planning. Plus, one has to extra careful to not oversell, since education is a special area and a sensitive one at that. Students generally go from generics to the specifics when it comes to looking up courses or universities. Hence it is crucial to keep this in mind when designing an appropriate SEO strategy.
Why do universities need SEO policy?
- SEOs help in putting the university on the cyber map. It gives the website of the university an online identity and popularity.
- Correctly adopted SEO drives traffic to the website.
- Helps maintain the website up-to-date.
- Helps ensure good user experience.
SEO is not rocket science, at least not the basic steps of an effective SEO policy.
HOW CAN AN EFFECTIVE SEO BENEFIT A UNIVERSITY WEBSITE?
- SEO helps in generating organic traffic which saves cost and ensures footfalls.
- Showing up high on search engine results might help in a few conversions to genuine business.
- The website will naturally be smooth, since that is an unsaid rule in having a robust SEO.
- SEO ensures quality in the website, which goes a long way in establishing the credibility and professionalism of the institution.
Now that this is on record, let us focus on some to-do while deciding on an SEO strategy for the website.
- Get an SEO audit done for the existing website. Improvement will happen only if we know our current status. Hence SEO audit helps to find the status quo of the website.
- Content comes first. No matter what the website says, populate it with content. The homepage must have content in it and so must other pages. Please note that the content must be fresh, simple and in style.
- Do not duplicate content. Make sure every page has original content and that it is not repeated elsewhere in the website.
- Make your webpage mobile-friendly. Student community depend on mobile phones for almost everything to do with internet. Hence understand your audience and make your website compatible. Also, Google ranks mobile compatible pages higher than the ones that don’t work on gadgets other than computers or laptops.
- Declutter your page. Trash the heavy files and add-ons and keep the page minimalistic. This helps the page load faster and keep the viewer in good spirits.
- Fix the broken links. Nobody likes to land on invisible or moved pages and not know where to go. Hence be watchful and fix the links immediately.
- Be thorough with keywords. Keywords help in locating your page in the heavy google stream and show it up higher on the search results.
- Focus on localising your page. Students generally search for universities close-by to where they live. Hence understand that criteria and customise your particulars that way.
- Give second priority to your brand name. We know that students move from generics to specifics and very rarely do people search for specific brands unless you are well established in the field. Leverage that concept and make sure that your page pops up in the search results of general terms.
- Be consistent with the information provided in the page. The addresses, phone numbers, emails etc. – make sure that they spell the same all through the website.
- Update the contents. Universities generally like to display their achievements in the gallery space and make sure it is up-to-date. Nobody cares about what the university has achieved three years ago. Hence have a dedicated person to do all the updating work and make the website attractive.