What is an SEO Strategy?
Let’s first look at what an SEO strategy is specifically. It refers to the way you organize the content on your school’s website. The goal is to make your site easily indexable by the search engines’ web crawlers or spiders, as they are sometimes referred to. Once the site has been indexed, you are more likely to show up on the search results pages (SERPs).
Having a plan to answer parent and student questions with your content is the best way to rank on the SERPs. This is the key to executing an effective content marketing strategy. Your On-page, Off-page, and Technical SEO will only support those efforts.
On-page SEO refers to optimizing individual web pages on your private school website. All the efforts done here are to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in the SERPs.
It focuses more on optimizing elements and content on the website for the keywords and phrases being targeted.
Off-page SEO refers to the optimization efforts that are done outside of the website to improve its search engine rankings and visibility and is mainly associated with backlinks. The steps here are designed to increase the website’s authority and trust, which in turn can lead to better search engine rankings.
Technical SEO is optimizing a website’s technical components to boost its exposure and search engine rankings. You want to ensure that the spiders can quickly crawl and index your school website pages.
Some examples of technical SEO include:
- Website Structure and Navigation
- Mobile-friendliness or Responsive
- Ensuring the website loads quickly for users
- Schema Markup
- Ensuring the site uses HTTPS and has no security vulnerabilities
- Proper use of title tags and meta descriptions
- Proper use of header tags (H1, H2, H3) to organize content on the page
- Optimizing images for both size and with alt tags
10 Steps to Creating an Effective SEO Marketing Strategy
Here are the ten steps we at Cube Creative Design take to ensure our private school client’s SEO strategy is successful.
Step 1: Conduct Keyword Research
No matter what, the first step in creating an SEO strategy is to perform keyword research. This involves identifying the keywords and phrases parents or caregivers of potential students use to find information about private education.
Step 2. Develop a List of Topic Categories
Taking your research, you will want to make a list of somewhere around ten keywords, and phrases you know are relevant to your target audience. These should be broad categories, as they will become what we refer to as “pillar pages” and become higher-level topics your website and blog are built around.
Step 3: Make a List of Long-Tailed Keywords Based on Your Content Pillars
Once you’ve identified your pillar page content, spend some time identifying at least 10-20 long-tail keywords for each one. These will be specific topics on which content can be developed and further fleshed out. These will ultimately be the subtopics grouped under the main headings of your pillar pages. You will then want to build these pages out.
If you want to learn more about keywords, check out this blog post.
Step 4: Optimize Your Website’s Existing Content and Link to the Pillar Pages
Once you’ve identified the keywords and phrases your target audience uses to find information about private school education, the next step is to optimize your website’s existing content to match. You will need to include your keywords throughout it, including in the content, meta tags, and alt tags. Your content also needs to be relevant, informative, and engaging.
Step 5: Set Up a Blog
If your private school’s site doesn’t have a blog, you need to set one up. A blog is a great place to answer people’s questions. Your prospective parents and students will want to learn more about you when your blogs are written on topics they care about. Not to mention this is a great place to include the keywords from step 1, and it’s a great way to rank for keywords.
Step 6: Set up a Consistent Blogging Schedule
Google loves content, and it loves consistency as well. Therefore you need to be blogging at least monthly. The more you can, the better off you will be. But a word of caution, don’t set out to blog once a week if you can’t sustain it. In other words, start with one a month and ramp up as you can.
Step 7: Optimize Your Images Before Uploading
While many websites can automate the process of optimizing your images, nothing is better than utilizing the human brain combined with cutting-edge technology to have the best image at the smallest download size.
Step 8: Build Quality Backlinks
Another important aspect is to build quality backlinks. Essentially backlinks are “votes” for your private school website by other websites. The more backlinks a website has, the more popular it is and the higher it will appear in SERPs.
In order to build quality backlinks, you should focus on creating valuable content that other relevant websites will want to link to.
Step 9: Use Social Media
Social media can also play a big role in your private school’s SEO strategy. By creating profiles on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, you can increase your school’s visibility and reach prospective students and/or their parents. Additionally, by regularly sharing relevant and engaging content on these platforms, you can drive more traffic to your website.
Step 10: Measure and Monitor Your Results
The final step is to measure and monitor your results. By monitoring your site’s rankings, traffic, and conversions, you can get a good feel for how your efforts are working. There are lots of tools out there; Google Analytics is an excellent place to start.
An effective SEO strategy can be challenging to create and execute. However, finding a partner to help with the strategy can help your school achieve your marketing goals and will be well worth your efforts. If you are a private school looking for help, then reach out to me today. I would be happy to talk with you and see how we can help increase your school’s enrollment and grow.