Top SEO Tips In 2020 For Schools, Daycares And Colleges – 7 Marketing Professionals Weigh In

The education sector is a highly competitive space. With regards to schools, colleges, and even daycares, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is perhaps the most crucial component to increase enrolment. In addition, local SEO is something these institutions must focus on to increase visibility and drive local search rankings to the top of a decidedly crowded space. In this article, 7 marketing professionals discuss the top SEO tips in 2020 for schools, daycares, and colleges.

Know What You Want To Rank For, Backlinks, Blog Article Cross Features Or Case Studies

“Schools, Daycares and Colleges are in a great position to boost their SEO with a little effort. These are all institutions that people care about and can generate content that will get links. 

My first tip is to know what you want to rank for. Schools, daycares and colleges have specific targets for donors and prospective students. Interview current students and partners to figure out what information they were looking for when they are looking for educational services. This will be more helpful than using Google Trends or search volume tools, because it will be what your target customers are looking for. 

Partner with your local newspaper and reporting outlets. Figure out what information your school has that they would want. Classics include honor rolls and graduation, but does your school give out fun awards or have unique celebrations? These are unique stories that could be featured in the paper. Since every paper has an online addition now, that means backlinks to your website which means better SEO. 

Another tip for backlinks is to work with your vendors. Schools, daycares and colleges often have strong relationships with their suppliers. Talk to the account managers at these organizations and see if they would be willing to do co-marketing with your school. Examples of this could be blog article cross features or case studies. These could mean great backlinks to your site raising your SEO by leveraging the relationships.”

Paul Bromen, CEO, HelpfulHabitat.com, UponaMattress.com

The Five Points To Remember

“Here are five tips for getting better organic search results for schools, daycare, colleges or most anything else. 

1) Do a little research. What you’re looking for is a term that has about the right level of organic search competition, with the right level of searcher intent for your purpose and, finally a pay-off in search volume. Fail at any of these three requirements, and you either won’t rank or will rank for something that won’t help you. 

2) Google favors deeper content. If it all possible, while keeping it worthwhile for the reader, try to make deeper content. Really, the deeper the better, but figure at least 1000 words. 

3) Google favors fast-loading content. Use any of many online tools to determine how fast your page loads and how to get it to load faster. Speed is a huge advantage in ranking and a huge fail if you get it wrong. I like Pingdom page speed tools but there are many. 

4) Google favors well-linked content. By “well-linked,” I mean both internally (in your navigation and/or from your other pages on your site to this page) and externally… links from other sites pointing to the page you’re trying to get to rank. Links increase the authority of your page/site and are important to ranking. As part of this, make sure you have local citations (such as a Google My Business page, a Yelp listing, maybe business group listings (chamber of commerce, Rotary, etc) linking to your site. 

5) Be smart about lead gen. It does you no good to land visitors on your site and have them leave without leaving their contact info. The best way to do this is to offer a valuable asset in exchange for some basic visitor information. This could be a white paper, case study, recorded webinar, check list, spreadsheet… almost anything that your target market might want. It should not appear to be a salesy… just straight info. Name and email address are the minimum. Include an opt-in box for future mailing. This will help you build a list of MQLs… Marketing Qualified Leads. Done correctly, it will also lower the bounce rate and improve the user signals on the page you’re trying to get to rank… a double win!”

Michael Johnson, Freelance Organic Search Consultant

Local SEO, Focus On Build Citations And Links, Build Relationships With Companies That Offer Complementary Services To Your Own

“One tactic that has worked well with schools and daycares that I have worked with in the past and will continue to work in 2020 is all around Local SEO. Location plays a huge role in where a prospective student applies, so it’s important to consider optimising your website for location based searches. 

If the school is located in a big city, try including that city into your website content, page titles etc. This will help improve your chances of ranking at the top of the results when someone searches something like when someone searches “colleges in insert-your-location-here. 

I would also recommend that you focus some time on building citations and links, as both will help boost your rankings for both organic and the local search results. There are plenty of free directories that you can be listed on, but link building can be a little more tricky. 

My advice would be to build relationships with companies that offer complementary services to your own, such as museums, libraries, and local kids’ sports teams. It’s also worth checking where your competitors’ links are coming from, which can be done using tools such as the Moz Link Explorer. This will give you an idea as to how they are earning links.”

Ryan Scollon, SEO and PPC Consultant

The Majority Of The Effort Should Be Focused On Being Optimized For The Location And Brand

“In my experience, most educational institutions are searched for in two manners: by proximity and by brand search (i.e. knowing the name of the institution in advance). 

For search engine optimization purposes, this means that the majority of the effort should be focused on being optimized for the location and brand. In short – it means that you should work on your Google My Business listing, claiming and adding pictures and information to your listing on Google Maps, making sure that your social network presence has your correct location details and is up to date. 

Content-based SEO will come in handy if your school, daycare or college offers unique accommodations, features, services programs and so on. If that is the situation, you will need to list and explain what makes you stand out. 

If acquiring new business is your game, and you’re looking to outperform local competitors – you will need to dig into actual search engine optimization based on competitor-research, identify where you can shine, or at least level the playing field when it comes to code, content, guerrilla marketing or paid promotion. 

Ron Zed, Mobile Marketing Manager

Schools And Colleges Must Take Proactive Measures To Build A Positive Brand Identity

“Google and other Search Engines have made it easy to search for anything online. The viability of your career opportunities or business depends on its online reputation. The emergence of social media allows negative comments to be shared and circulated among large numbers of internet users. Consumer confidence depends on positive press. Schools and colleges must take proactive measures to build a positive brand identity; they must also prevent and address negative or defamatory content. 

Online Reputation Management includes everything a business or an entity can do to enhance its image and build a positive brand reputation online. Recent data shows that about 80-90% of people check online reviews prior to making a buying decision. 

The more you get your name seen online in a positive light, the more protected your reputation should someone ever begin an attack. 

Getting reviews, recommendations, positive comments and ratings on social media is a piece of cake when you a) provide exceptional service, b) ask for feedback and c) make it easy for people to accommodate your request. 

A negative comment can harm your business, or build it up, all depending on how it’s handled. Responding to a bad comment can turn a disgruntled customer into a raving fan according to the brand’s response. Where you may have lost a customer/student due to poor service, what you do in your response may actually build your business further, because now your previously upset client has been wowed and when “wowed” happens, that person is bound to tell others. 

Depending on the severity of the reputation damage through negative reviews you can choose to hire reputation experts or handle it yourself. When handling it yourself, key advice is to create strategic and optimized content. An investment in quality content optimized for search engine goes long way in helping you dominate search engines results with positive information 

Trust is key when you’re trying to sell online, and positive reviews are a powerful method of building credibility. 

Don’t think that what goes online stays online: poor reviews on the Internet are likely to also damage your reputation offline. The best way to protect your online reputation is by preparing for negativity even if it never happens; be tenacious about building your online presence. 

Some digital assets that can be considered for proactive reputation management include: 

– Active social media presence and coordinated approach for sharing content on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram 

– Profile listings and several positive reviews on reputable business directories and portals as Google Reviews, Yelp, Hoovers Glass Door, Wikipedia, etc. 

– Organic earned assets such as feature stories, interviews, quotes, news and blogs about you, a specific case, or your practice. 

– Paid digital advertising or PR.”

Sameer Somal, CEO and Co-Founder, Blue Ocean Global Technology 

Consistent Relevant Content Using A Tool Like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Or Ubersuggest For Keywords And Topics

“Schools should be creating consistent relevant content. By creating content that is not just relevant to the school, but also with trending topics it will direct traffic to there site. Not only that but ‘.edu’ and school domains rank high and are trusted so its easier for them to get backlinks to their content. They should be using a tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Ubersuggest for keywords and topics. Ultimately, this will not just improve their rankings in Google, but also show that the school is proactive in understanding current topics and are aspiring to be a great educational institution. This is especially good for daycares if they are creating content on child psychology and development then people will see that they are being proactive and will be able to give their child the best experience. 

Another suggestion is for daycares is to optimize their sites for voice search, and specifically near me search queries. They can do this by having Google My Busines account updated and including what neighborhood they are in or any notable landmarks nearby in their title tags, meta descriptions, and other content on their page. It is really important that all institutions and businesses are because, by 2020, 50% of all searches will be through voice assistants.”

Max Falb, Digital Marketing Strategist, Fueled

Focus on the UX, Conduct Thorough Keyword Research, and Website Formatting 

“So, here are some tips to help marketers who work for schools, daycares, and colleges improve their online presence and drive in relevant traffic through SEO. 

1) Conduct Thorough Keyword Research 

One common mistake that many educational marketers make is only going for the top-listed, general keywords related to education. These keywords are incredibly competitive – and the chances of your site receiving a top-ranking for them is typically quite low. 

Instead, switch your focus to more specific, long-tail searches (keywords of 3-5+ words long) that are related to your educational center. Also, focus heavily on location-based keywords, as this will help to differentiate you and line up with local searches. 

Say that you run a daycare that offers half-day and full-day programs with an emphasis on hands-on learning activities. This is obviously a more specific niche than just daycare services. Therefore, you will want to narrow in on long-tail searches that are related to this specialty. This will help you to stand out from other daycares that are just trying to rank for basic keywords. 

For example, let’s look at some keyword search volumes: 

– “daycare near me” = 450,000 searches/month. 
– “half day daycare” = 390 searches/month. 
– “full day daycare” = 50 searches/month. 

Your chances of ranking for the bottom two terms will be much better than the top one. 

These searches are often phrased differently than traditional searches via mobile device or desktop – since they are often phrased as a specific question. Further, Google relies on rich snippets to answer these questions through voice search devices (like Alexa and Google Home). 

Therefore, you will want to be creating content that answers trending questions and is optimized for rich snippets. Be sure to do thorough research on question keywords and build your content around them – in the keyword research tools listed above, you can easily see what people are asking Google. 

2) Don’t Forget About Website Formatting 

Make sure that you take control over the metadata of your site to give search engines the most context clues possible. 

Start with title tags – which is the specific title for individual pages and are displayed as the hyperlinked headline on the SERPs. Keep things brief – but be strategic with your words by including important keywords – like location and type of school (private, public, community college, daycare). 

Next is the meta description, which is the small blurb of text that appears under the title tag on the SERPs. If you do not create a specific meta description, Google will just pull text that matches up to the query. It is typically better to specify your own, so you can control the keywords Google picks up on. 

3) Focus on the UX 

Although the user experience is not always bundled in with SEO, it plays a major part in rank-ability. Search engines want to direct their users to high-quality sites, so if your website is missing elements of a good UX, it could get knocked down in the rankings. 

Unfortunately, many educational centers do not realize just how important it is to create a well-structured site. Little issues like slow loading times, difficult navigation, or a lack of mobile optimization will most likely increase bounce rates as users quickly exit.”

Jaykishan Panchal, SEO and Content Marketing Manager, E2M Solutions Inc.

Within the educational sector, the competition for schools, colleges, and daycares to appear on page one of a search is fierce. Despite the fact that it may seem daunting to rank on the coveted first page, utilizing proper SEO techniques will create sustainable, long-term results. Implementing the SEO tips and tactics that these marketing experts have discussed, can greatly influence the search engine rankings for like schools, colleges, and daycares.

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