Despite your school being an educational institution, it has no given right to rank well in the search engines.
Like all websites, your website has to earn its place in the search engines. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to give yourself a leg up.
In this article, we’ll provide 5 SEO tips for schools and colleges to help you rank in Google and show up for the keywords you want to target.
- Make your pages load rapidly
Google doesn’t care what your website looks like. What they want is a fast website that loads rapidly. We know this because Google themselves announced that speed is a landing page ranking factor for Google Search and Ads.
Google measures website speed using a series of metrics that you can test your own website against using the free tool PageSpeed Insights. This will analyse your web pages and provide speed recommendations to make them fast.
- Perform keyword research
The main keyword you will want your school or college to rank for will be its name. Ranking for your name is easy. All you need is:
- A page title that says the name of your school
- A domain name that says your name (an abbreviation is fine)
But how do you find out what other keywords you should target? How can you increase the volume and quality of traffic to your website?
This is where keyword research comes in. Keyword research isn’t something you do manually. You use software to help you. The good tools you have to pay for. The tools we use professionally include Mangools and ahrefs.
You can also pay an SEO agency to do keyword research for you. You should expect to pay circa £400 for in-depth keyword research and analysis.
- Optimise your website’s metadata
If you don’t optimise your school/college website’s metadata you will NEVER show up in Google for the keywords you want.
Your website’s metadata includes the following data:
- Page titles
- Meta descriptions
You can see how these translate to search results here:
The page title is the big blue text and the meta description is the text directly below it.
Page titles are a Google ranking factor. They should target your focus keywords.
Meta descriptions are not a Google ranking factor, but they are the only opportunity you have to sell your listings and get people to click them.
- Target Google’s People Also Ask section
Google’s People Also Ask search results are question-answer-based search queries that can drive significant volumes of traffic to your school/college website.
Here’s what they look like:
The beauty of these results is anyone can rank for them.
You can perform keyword research into People Also Ask with a tool called AlsoAsked. This beats spending time searching Google manually.
You can get started with this by creating blog posts and pages that target questions and answer them in-depth. We recommend a word count of 500-words per page/post. Further tips can be found in this excellent SEMrush article.
- Utilise the power of Google Images
As a school/college, you probably have archives of photos of your campus, grounds, students, activities and events. The beauty of these photos is you can easily use them to drive high-quality traffic to your website.
To do this, you need to upload your images to your website, make them discoverable, and optimise them for high-traffic keywords.
There are three aspects to optimising an image upload:
- Filename (name it your target keyword when you save it to your desktop)
- Alt text (name it the same as your file name)
- Description (describe what the image is, but also include your target keyword)
Note: The alt text and description are edited after uploading the image to your website.
We also recommend optimising the size of your images – and the smaller the better. You can reduce the size of your images in several ways:
- Crop your photo/reduce the image size
- Use Compress JPEG and Compress PNG to crunch your file size by 50% or more
- If your website is built on WordPress, download it plugin to compress your images automatically
School and college SEO can go much further than ranking for your name. You could dominate your geographical area, show up for popular courses, and drive significant, high-quality traffic to your website with a good SEO strategy.