5 Ways To Optimise Your School Website
Published on 15/06/16
Search engine optimisation is “the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the ‘natural’ or un-paid (‘organic’ or ‘algorithmic’) search results”. It is essentially what determines your website’s rank within Google’s search engine results pages. The concept of SEO isn’t something that is easy to implement and at times, it can be almost impossible to predict.
SEO is important for schools when it comes to reaching potential parents and students for enrolment along with targeting teachers for recruitment opportunities. By following these 5 tips, your school website will begin to make it’s way up the Google SERPs (search engine results pages).
However, before we divulge this precious information, it’s important that you understand some of the key terminologies:
- Search phrase / term / query: the words you type into the Google search box
- Relevance: determined by whether the website returns as a good match to the specific search term - usually taking keywords and semantic keywords into consideration.
- Authority: determined by how many inbound links your website has; the better your content is, the more people will link to it elsewhere.
- Off-site SEO: When a site links back to you, your authority will increase. This link will weigh more heavily than a site linking to you with less authority and pass the ‘juice’ into your site.
- On-site SEO: What you do with your website, internally, in order to improve your search rankings.
1. Page Titles / Title Tags
By ensuring all of your pages have titles that include search engine phrases and keywords that relate to the page content - if your parents searched for “St Andrews School Events” they will be directed to the correct page with the content they are searching for. Many schools or brands choose to include their school name at the beginning of the title tag. (See example below).
2. Page Title Lengths
Keep the page title length to 50-60 characters or less. This is the maximum amount of characters that displays on the search engine results pages. If you exceed the character length your full title truncate and not be completely visible. (As displayed in the example below).
3. Page Description / Meta Description
Google displays the maximum of 165 characters in each page description. Although the description doesn’t factor into Google’s search algorithm, it helps to summarise what information the searcher can find on that page, in one sentence.
4. Header Tags / H1 Tags
Header tags are quite simply the main heading of each page. By creating a H1 tag you are telling search engines that this heading is the most important part of the text and to read it first. It’s important to know that headings within HTML go through from H1 - H6, the lower the number, the higher the rank. So for a sub-heading within your page would use a H2 or H3 tag to show that it’s still more important that body text, but not as important as the H1.
The general structure of a H1 tag usually follows:
- “Page Name” - “Company Name” - “Country or Location”
- E.g: About Us - E4education - Peterborough
5. Keyword Targeting
In order to optimise each of your webpages you must place close attention to the keywords used, and any variations, within the text on the page. For example: “City of London School For Girls” - you should include these keywords along with any variations; such as “London Girls School”, “Independent school London” etc. However; that being said, it’s also equally important that you don’t just stuff in as many keywords as possible that make the text irrelevant and illegible as this is something that will hurt your SEO in the long run.
We hope that this has been helpful in getting you started with optimising your school website. If you want to know more about search engine optimisation, download our Academy guide on The Importance of SEO for Your School Website. Or alternatively, call us on 0345 191 039.
Optimising Your School Website
In this short guide, we’ll hopefully help your school make use of SEO, in both your web pages and blog posts.