You’ve probably heard the term SEO before, but exactly what the heck is it? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. And to put it in simple terms, it’s the process of optimizing your web pages so that they are visible in search engines such as Google.
What else should you know about SEO? It’s one of the most powerful tools in graduate recruitment—but one of the most overlooked digital strategies in higher education marketing.
I’m sure you send out email blasts, and mailers, and hopefully have incorporated some other digital tactics to complement all these strategies. Do you know what most prospects do after interacting with these campaigns? They go to Google! Graduate prospects begin their initial search for a program by doing a Google search. In fact, “online master’s programs” and “master’s programs” each have tens of thousands of monthly searches on Google. If you think that’s a lot, consider “MBA,” which has hundreds of thousands. If you’re not optimizing your web pages so they are visible for a variety of popular search terms, then you are missing out on prospective students finding you.
SEO is not an overnight magic pill solution. The benefits of SEO are longer term but will absolutely help drive traffic to your website and help improve the chances of your programs appearing when prospective graduate students are searching. What are a few things to consider as you begin the SEO journey?
- Keywords, keywords, keywords! Perform keyword research to understand how prospective students are searching for your programs. You may be surprised to learn it’s different than what you expected.
- Page content on your program pages is also crucial. Are you incorporating your keywords into the text on these pages? Is the content easy to consume and well written? Watch for grammatical errors!
- Title tags and meta descriptions provide users and search engines with contextual clues as to what the page is about. These are the title and description that you see in the Google search results page, and they should always include your #1 keyword.
- Social media networks are search engines too! That’s why it’s so important to share your content on all your social networks. This gives you better visibility on these platforms and also drives more traffic to your website.
Get started by doing a web crawl of your graduate website, which will reveal issues that are affecting how you’re being ranked in search engines and help you identify opportunities for improvement.
SEO is a very powerful strategy that is often overlooked, but it should be considered just as important as any other marketing strategy that you are implementing. Take a second and think about all the hard work you put into promoting your graduate programs. Take another moment and think how much easier your job would be if students could find you—how beneficial it would be if a student was actively searching for a program you offer, you could have a presence in front of them. It would certainly help, right?
Prospective graduate students are looking for degrees online, in search engines right now, so make sure you’re a part of the conversation with SEO.
If you want to talk further about SEO for your graduate website, we have a team of experts that would be more than happy speak with you!