Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an essential part of how we implement our online marketing activities. We often tend to associate SEO with technical activities that IT personnel would carry out. In fact, only about half of SEO focuses on the technical aspect; the other half is the creative aspect, and this includes a plan of action to consistently put out high quality content. Read on to know what SEO can do for your site and how to rank higher in three easy steps:
Step 1 – Create regular content
A blog greatly increases the likelihood of your website being picked up by a search engine.
On a practical level, this makes sense. When you blog regularly, you are actively competing for keywords, which means that there are more options for your content to match a search term that someone is looking for.
How soon you start your blog and how often you blog will have a big effect on how search engines prioritise your content.
The longer you maintain a blog, the more domain authority you will likely have. Google uses a domain authority score to determine where you will rank in the results page. It is determined by how popular your website is, how much readers trust you and how long your website has been active. To benefit from this, start a blog as soon as possible and blog more often.
Step 2 – Targeting keywords
Keyword research is important because it identifies the terms that your ideal reader, parent or prospective parent will likely type into a search bar. Search engines scan your page for relevant keywords to see if they match with what the user typed in the search bar. You want to choose keywords that are relevant to your school and also match what your prospective parents are looking for. Keyword research is a good place to start – you will get information about how popular a keyword is and whether it will be worth competing for it.
Our top picks of keyword research tools are the following:
- Google Auto Suggest (the Google search bar)
- Uber suggest
- Google Keyword Planner
- MOZ Keyword Explorer
- App Annie (for app searches)
Long tail keywords
Long tail keywords are shown to convert better than singular keywords. Long tail keywords are terms that are three to five words in length. They are highly specific terms that are more likely to catch searchers in the conversion stage of the buyers’ journey – people are ready and confident to make purchases at this stage. Make sure that your long tail keyword is inserted in your blog in the most natural and logical way possible so that it reads smoothly.
Step 3 – Measure
Web analytics, metrics, conversion rates, KPI’s – all of these can be daunting when you first start out in SEO. They all relate to measurement. In SEO, measurement is the most crucial step. It enables schools to track how they are performing in the market and how effectively they attract prospective parents.
Measurement also helps to test your ideas and form projections about how new programs or courses will be received by your parents and prospective parents. The most popular free web analytics tool is Google Analytics. You can set up an account with Google and start getting user data immediately.
Other web analytics tools include:
What do we do with the data?
This is the fun part. Once you have the data you can expand on current ideas or develop new ideas to reach more people. Think about the old adage “actions speak louder than words.” The metric data that you receive is a transcript of all the actions your prospective parents took when they were on your website. It tells you where they spent most of their time, what features they liked, when they left your site and much more. This is really valuable information that lets you target user behaviour instead of aimlessly throwing things at your prospective parents and seeing what sticks.
What does good SEO look like?
The purpose of SEO is to give searchers the best results in the quickest time. A good tactic is to look at what some successful companies have done to generate higher rankings. What do they have in common?
- They answer the searcher’s question.
- They have a good user experience.
- They provide insight and thought leadership on a topic.
- They have been cited (linked to) by a lot of other sources on the web.
- Their website domains have been around for a long time.
These three steps will get you started on your SEO journey. From content creation, to strategising keywords and finally measuring the results, it is important to realise that SEO takes time. You need to stick to the process, constantly measuring and testing. Good luck!