Top SEO Tips For Schools, Daycares And Colleges In 2020 – 8 Marketing Experts Chime In
by Sarah Bauder
Suffice it to say, the education sector is an exceedingly competitive space. The sheer number of schools, colleges, and daycares across Canada is mindboggling. Moreover, over 90% of users never venture past page 1 of an online search. That said, it’s crucial for institutions like schools, daycares, and colleges to utilize search engine optimization (SEO) to increase search rankings, and therefore, the potential for enrolment. In this article, 8 marketing professionals discuss the top SEO tips for schools, daycares, and colleges in 2020.
Schools And Colleges Benefit From Having A High Domain Authority
“I recently undertook a pretty significant SEO project for Kabook. In November we started rolling out our newly developed content strategy and we are seeing encouraging early results. Given that we have a similar target audience as schools, daycares, and colleges, I figured my experience might be relevant to your post.
While keyword research and density are important, in our experience the quality of content is just as important as keywords. You must understand who your target persona is, then understand what that persona cares about. If you’re writing about topics that your core audience is interested in reading about, then you are winning the SEO battle. So while quality is traditionally a reference to good writing, in the SEO world it’s also a reference to picking topics that your target audience cares about.
Google is becoming increasingly adept at looking past keywords and recognizing whether the content is of good enough quality to warrant that content appearing in search results. After all, Google wants to serve results that people end up engaging with. So pick your topics carefully and start by assessing the needs and desires of your core persona.
Another impactful tactic for increasing engagement is breaking up articles with headers, images or charts. We’ve published articles varying in length from 300 words to 6,000 words and a theme across all of these has been that making the articles scannable increases engagement. This is time consuming (finding images, creating charts or graphics) but something that you’ll notice almost all successful content marketing professionals engage in. Every 200 to 500 words, consider inserting a header, an image or a graphic. Your engagement is guaranteed to increase if you follow this strategy.
Lastly, promoting content in social channels is a great way to build engagement. And if your content is truly on topic, then when you publish on social channels you will be delivering impactful and important content to your core persona (who you’ve hopefully researched to the extent that you understand what they care about). This often leads to sharing, which leads to engagement, which is good for SEO.
Schools and colleges benefit from having a high domain authority (viewed as credible in Google’s eyes). By combining this authority with relevant topics, easily scannable content and promotion in social channels, Google will take notice that content is being consumed in large volumes. Then, you’ll notice your search rankings begin to increase until you’re regularly on the first couple of pages of Google.”
John Washington, CEO, Kabook
Schools Should Think Like Local Businesses To improve SEO
“The first one is Voice search. It is becoming increasingly popular. These devices are trying to answer, even if they don’t know. This could be a relevant goal for our schools soon.
The next one is Featured Snippets this leads to higher click-through-rates. It is proven to drive traffic to the sites they feature.
The third one is long-tail keywords, as more websites arrive on the scene, it is becoming increasingly important to need longer search queries to find exactly what users are searching for. More than one-third of Google’s search queries now have a length of 4 + characters, which is likely to grow. The fourth one may not be a trend, but search ads are necessary. Ads bridge the gap between what you’re looking for and what you’re selling.
Schools should think like local businesses to improve SEO. Directories of online schools are important influencers. Branded search performance matters, replace Wikipedia content, optimize your social profiles for spots in SERP, contribute photos to the repertoire of Google Maps to compete with the photos of lesser quality that may have been added by random people. SEOs about managing your own content as well as other content posted about you on Google. You need to manage your reviews, update directories, and invest in search ads to keep up with Google. If you want your content to rank in 2020, it needs to be written by people that know their stuff. SEO is never silent, nor should you. By keeping track of trends, you’ll be better able to deliver a better user experience that will boost your SEO results in turn.”
Keely Closa, Online PR Specialist, Spiralytics
Add Geo Modifiers To School, College, And Daycare Page Title Tags
“Here are top SEO tips in 2020 for schools, daycares, and colleges.
1) Create content that is informational and trans-informational.
Useful content that is relevant for your users such as degrees, programs, faculty and staff, admission and application requirements, daycare activities etc are great to educate and build awareness about your services.
2.) Optimize for local SEO – Dominate Your Local Searches
If you can’t dominate for searches like “Best daycares near me”, “best engineering colleges near me”, “best schools near me”, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Setup a Google My Business account, add all your business information, optimize your content for local search terms.
3.) Add Geo Modifiers to School, College, and Daycare Page Title Tags.
If you have a page like ‘Bachelor of Science Program’, then add the geo modifier “Ohio” to this page title so that it looks like this: Bachelor of Science Program, Ohio.
Your updated page will now appear for searches like ‘Bachelor of Science Program in Ohio’.”
Anand Iyer, Digital Marketing Manager
Going Into 2020, Schools, Daycares And Colleges Should Audit The Mobile Version Of Their Websites
“During 2019, Google changed its indexing policy to mobile-first indexing. This means that the mobile version of a website will be indexed on Google rather than the desktop version. Going into 2020, schools, daycares and colleges should audit the mobile version of their websites.
This can be done by checking the Google Search Console account, where there is a mobile usability section. This section reports on any mobile issues that Google has found, such as text being too small to read, content being too wide on the screen or clickable elements (such as links and buttons) being too close together.
Auditing the site is important for larger institutions such as colleges, where more than one team or department could be uploading and managing the content.
It’s also a good idea to view the website from a mobile device, to check that the design and layout of the pages looks visually appealing and provides a positive user experience, especially for potential students looking to enrol.”
Natalie Alleblas, SEO Sleuth
Keywords Optimization, Voice Search, Positive Reviews And High-Quality Backlinks
“For any daycare or educational institute, SEO is the most crucial factor in increasing your number of enrolments. So the best tips for the coming year is to have your website completely optimized, leaving no factor ignored for the best impression on your prospects.
Keywords optimization is particularly important for getting useful traffic. Your clients are looking for you on search engines. The most practical way to appear in front of them is optimizing for the keywords that they’d probably use to find you. Keyword s optimization could be your most strong link that could increase your ROI manifolds.
Another factor equally important for SEO in any field is optimizing for voice searches. In the case of daycares, schools, and colleges, it drives predominantly good results when your prospects are young parents or college students who are into technology the most.
Besides, positive reviews and high-quality backlinks sell like hotcakes in the SEO world. Try ignoring one of them and watch all your efforts going down the drain with dropping results. The importance of both factors would only be on the rise in the coming years.
When your keywords and voice search optimization brought your prospects to your website, your technical and onsite SEO helped create a fantastic impression, the next your prospects are going to do is to check your reputation online. With high-quality backlinks and attractive reviews, they are highly likely to be your clients.”
Zarar Ameen, CEO, Canz Marketing
Google Is All about E.A.T (Expertise, Authority, And Trust) Right Now
“Google is all about E.A.T (expertise, authority, & trust) right now. Because colleges are institutions of higher learning, they are held to a higher standard than some other sites. It is especially important that these websites portray these qualities to Google. First and foremost, the sites need to be secure (https). Unsecure sites or a site with a copyright that is not up to date is the first signal to Google that the website is not up to standards. Beyond that, the site structure needs to be simple and make sense. Appropriate title tags should be in place and unique meta descriptions should be created for every page. Colleges should also make sure that their About page is filled out in full and that any and all accreditations are well noted on the site. Any content that goes on the site needs to not only be free of typos, but also factual, informative, and containing high-quality sources if applicable. When it comes to link acquisition, colleges and universities need to make sure that their link neighborhoods include sites with high domain authorities.
While daycares and high schools are not held to as high a standard as secondary educational institutions, they will still perform better in SERPs if their SEO efforts focus on promoting expertise, authority, and trust.”
Andrea Bailey, Organic Search Coordinator, Tandem Interactive
Double Down On Satisfying Searcher’s Intent
“For schools, colleges and even daycare centres, my SEO advice for 2020 is to double down on satisfying searcher’s intent. This begins with identifying the different audiences and their journey to choosing a school or daycare centre.
When your audience is very early in their research, they will perform searches such as ‘best school in (your area)’. So you should understand what they will find and make sure you are prominent. A search like this with local intent will trigger Google’s local pack being the map and three results. You want to be in those three first and foremost. From there you want to have a healthy combination of number of reviews and average rating to encourage the parent to click on your result first. Online reviews are not only influencing your position in this local pack, they have a significant impact on people’s decisions.
Once the audience has created their shortlist, they will be browsing your website to help them make a decision. You should understand what they are looking for and what are their make-or-break factors. I’d recommend you survey a range of parents with their children already enrolled to help you identify some of these. When you have a good understanding of the critical queries that parents are looking for then make sure that you have the content to fulfill them.”
Quentin Aisbett, Founder, OnQ Marketing
The Focus Needs To Be On Video, But With A Focus On Education-Themed Keywords
“Your focus needs to be on video, but with a focus on education-themed keywords: With video being so prolific for U18s social interaction globally, YouTube is where you should focus your efforts. Use a service such as TubeBuddy to identify high volume keywords in the education space, and work with a videographer to create videos that will rank well for those keywords. If your goal is applications, be sure to include call to actions on both the video and in the video description, encouraging viewers to sign up for more information.
Working with YouTube influencers in the education space with 50-250k subscribers to promote your school is also worth looking into. At 50-250k, the influencer and channel are big enough to give you meaningful exposure, but not big enough to command huge fees for partnerships, which accounts with 1million+ will do.”
Dale Johnson, Co-founder, Nomad Paradise
The SEO tips and tactics discussed in this article are all excellent ways for institutions like schools, daycares, and colleges to increase search rankings, and thus, the potential for increased enrolment. Be it keyword optimization, a secure “https” site, or voice search, all effective tactics for these institutions to employ. There are numerous SEO trends that every Canadian business should know. All are crucial things for those in the education sector to consider to increase enrolment in 2020.
December 10, 2019
December 9, 2019