Five Essential SEO Strategies for Education Companies
There’s no “get rich quick” scheme when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies. The right plan requires a considerable time investment, and you can’t expect to see results overnight. However, you can expect certain tactics implemented today to pay off in the long run. To get started, here are five SEO strategies to put you on the road to success.
1. There’s More Than One Kind of SEO
SEO has become shorthand for various ways to increase your search engine ranking, but there is more than one kind of SEO. Particularly, there’s a difference between search-friendly SEO and in-depth SEO.
Search-friendly is more-so a strategic, one-time adjustment to the messaging on your website that implements “high visibility” keywords and phrases that will draw searchers to your site. Search-friendly SEO focuses on natural language and reading scores, favoring copy that is easy to read and not over-stuffed with keywords.
One way to determine your success in this area is by utilizing the Yoast SEO plug-in on WordPress. Yoast SEO provides a user-friendly way to track your readability and overall SEO per post. The image below shows our readability score from a blog we are drafting. Green is good!
In-depth SEO takes a deeper dive, as the name implies. After you’ve begun implementing search-friendly SEO strategies, it’s important to perform an in-depth SEO audit of every phrase on your website. The audit is an ongoing process that takes a customized approach to each targeted phrase and helps your site optimize for discoverability and credibility with Google. This process will build momentum for your website over time. As the ball gets rolling, creating new content will play a major role in developing authority in your industry.
Dale Bertrand, of Fire&Spark, shares his perspective: “The long-term strategy involves content. You want to be creating the best content; something that you can promote in your space and build links with. I’ve always liked the idea of building a community around your blog, website, product, service, etc. Communities are great for getting user-generated content and links.”
Expect to continue honing your keyword and content strategy as your campaign progresses. Knowing the distinction between these two categories is critical for having a well-rounded SEO strategy. Your short-term search-friendly SEO tactics should always feed into your long-term in-depth SEO strategy, which can be determined by a complete site audit.
2. Not All Leads Come Organically
Just as there are multiple kinds of SEO, there are multiple ways to discover your website. The two major visitor categories are searchers and browsers. Browsers find your site organically through social media and links on other websites, while searchers have intent; they’re looking for specific companies, goods or services.
You don’t need us to tell you that a “searcher” is the more qualified lead by the time they find your site. Your website should utilize language that anticipates the terms searchers will use to locate your products or services. This means paying particular attention to your top keywords. Furthermore, you need to be diligent about ensuring your keywords align with who’s actually searching for you, not who you think is searching for you. While this may seem like basic knowledge, a mismatch here is all too common.
3. It Doesn’t Happen Overnight
If you expect to secure the top spot in Google right away, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s just too much competition, and Google favors websites with authority. You can build that authority (and save a fortune in AdWords) by deploying search terms directed at more specialized audiences. These search terms should be determined during your SEO audit, mentioned earlier. As you rise in the PageRanks of those terms, you can employ more competitive keywords to increase your rank.
Of course, in order to rise through the rankings in the first place, your content must be top-notch. Without high-quality content, there is no chance to build the authority that will eventually propel you to Google’s top page.
According to CEO of Get Found Madison, Eagan Heath, “Google rewards you when you reward the user. If there is a phrase that you’re trying to show up at the top of Google for, you should make the best page on the internet about the topic.” Notice how Heath didn’t mince words when he set expectations for your content: it needs to be the best. Bertrand echoes this sentiment.
“Content has to be useful, so what we look at is content that is better than anything else out there on the topic in the market,” Bertrand said. “Better can mean it’s more thoroughly researched, it’s longer, it’s visually more appealing. We design a lot of our content to just look better. That’s what gets it linked and drives up engagement with the content.”
While algorithms will continually change, your SEO strategy and content marketing strategy will always go hand-in-hand. It’s critical to make sure these visions are aligned.
4. Utilize Top SEO Tools
It’s no secret that the meat of SEO work comes during the research stage, prior to any actionable steps. In order to set a strong foundation for the actionable work, your research should be aided by the top tools available.
K-12 SEO consultant Jenny Munn agrees with this sentiment. She shares, “When I was first learning, I tried to cobble along with free tools, which were really limited. With how busy life is, and how much is going on in SEO, it makes sense to get hooked up with a top tool so that you can get the data you need and get into the actionable parts faster.”
Munn recommends Google Search Console as a “must-have in order to understand how Google is interpreting your website from an SEO perspective.” She also spoke highly of Keywords Everywhere, stating it’s a very inexpensive tool for evaluating keywords and looking at all the options quickly.
One tool we use regularly is SEMrush. Often regarded as the best in the business, SEMrush is our hub for everything SEO. Useful for tracking, analyzing, and reporting, it’s helped our team leaps and bounds in being able to use SEO to our advantage. If you want to learn more about this tool, drop us a line.
5. SEO is Not a One-Time Tactic
SEO is a messy, complicated, strategic, ongoing process. Just because you reach your objectives at the end of a campaign doesn’t mean you stop pursuing your overall visibility goals. Google revises its algorithms regularly to prevent websites from “gaming” the ranking system. Stay on top of these changes through webinars, workshops, and blogs like ours. One resource we cannot recommend enough to grow your SEO expertise is The Moz Blog.
In the world of SEO, complete transparency and understanding is hard to find. Moz understands this problem and uses simple language while uncovering the top tips and tricks to build website authority, no matter any algorithm changes. Overall, it’s best to adjust your SEO strategies frequently to maintain, and build upon, your initial momentum.
What other SEO Strategies are you employing?
No one can game the system when it comes to SEO. Simply put, Google is always moving the goalposts. However, Google has essentially laid out the rule book on how to gain favor with its search engine rankings. It’s up to us to follow this rule book and watch our momentum build over time. Stay on top SEO strategies, build great content, do your keyword research, use tools, be consistent, and reap the rewards.
Looking for more education marketing insights? Check out these articles from our blog library:
- Public Relations for Education Brands – 4 Public Relations Trends for 2020
- Marketing for EdTech – Seven Marketing Tips to Elevate Your Brand in 2020
- Content Marketing in the Education Industry – Turn Every CTA into a Lead-generating tool
- Social Media Strategies for Reaching Educators, Administrators – Education Influencers: What and Who to Avoid Online