Advice, SEO

7 Ways Colleges and Universities Can Improve SEO for Higher Search Rankings

Good SEO helps your institution’s website rank higher in searches. Let’s look at how Optimizing for SEO can work for you.

Ranking high on internet searches is important if the right students, and their parents, are going to find your website, and hence your school. That takes good SEO, or “search engine optimization.” With the proper SEO strategy guiding the development and content of your website, your college or university will rank higher in searches and be seen by more people. 


Good SEO creates a higher possibility the right people will make their way down your marketing funnel. This means optimizing your website for SEO keywords is important. 



Here are seven top tips to get that job done:


1. Check out the competition and dig deeper into your SEO keywords

Feel free to use the website SEO equivalent of cheating off your neighbor’s paper! Look at your biggest competitors’ websites and find out which keywords they are using. This is even better than using a keyword generator because you will be looking at SEO keywords that are already working for someone else. Look at websites of your competition that consistently rank high for the categories or programs where you want your website to rank better. 

While looking at your competition is a great starting point, in order to do the best job, dig deeper. Mine your keyword analytics. There are quite a few keyword tools out there to help you do this. This will help you better understand which keywords are truly driving traffic to your website and students to your college or university.

2. Create effective title tags

Put those keywords in your title tags. Using these title tags properly can move your website up quickly in search rankings. Do not duplicate keywords in your title tags, however, as doubling up will actually decrease your rankings. 

Instead, think of how you could add another keyword to make the title tag even stronger in a way that will help you rank. Google will truncate your title tag at 70 characters, so use them wisely. Experiment with title tag formulas to see what brings more traffic through higher ratings, then apply that formula site-wide.

3. Include SEO keywords throughout your pages

Phrase swapping and keyword stemming are both good ways to increase SEO keywords and phrases within your on-page content. For instance, “Business Degree” and “Degree in Business” are basically the same term, but they count as different keywords from a search point of view. Swapping phrasing between pages allows you to integrate more keywords and helps your website rank better. 

Keyword stemming (using various tenses, plurals, and other variations) also provides better SEO while maintaining good readability. Remember, your website needs to rank well with the bots, but it is human beings that will be interacting with your content and your pages.

4. Start strong

Use your strongest keywords first to improve your SEO. Leave no question that your site talks about the topics that are top-of-mind for your website visitors, and that will also improve your rankings. 

Start with what is important: The name of the degree program on a program page, for example. If pertinent, include a geo-tag early in your content as well. 

5. Improve SEO with keywords in headlines and subheads

Craft your headlines so they include your keywords. Create subheads that not only support your headline but also contain keywords that will improve your SEO. This can create repetition, and that is perfectly fine. In fact, that is what you want for your website. 

Include your keywords in your subheads, but they also need to make sense and be relevant. Keyword stuffing will not make friends with search engines.

6. A picture is worth a thousand words

SEO can also be improved with pictures. Experiment with using keywords in alt-tags for photographs and graphics on your website pages. Keywords in photo file names as well as in captions each improve SEO. While, in this case, a picture may not be worth a thousand words, it is definitely a good place to add a few for the search engines.

7. Get links from websites that are authorities on the topic

Inbound links to your website and pages are important. Quality links have proven to be better than simple quantity, and that is important to keep in mind as well. More good-quality links will mean better rankings.

Your website is the first contact most students, and even their parents, have with your college or university. But if you are not ranked highly by search engines, they may never find you. With competition stiff in the higher education space, using SEO throughout your website to get your site seen will let you make those first contacts and fill your marketing funnel much more efficiently. 

When you are looking to improve your SEO, do not go it alone. Let KWALL help you rise to the top of internet searches in all the areas you want to succeed. Contact KWALL today to see how we can help you.