When it comes to SEO for schools, private schools and higher education, knowing where to start is challenging. But by focusing on the right elements, you will be able to drive droves of organic traffic to your institution’s website.

We live in an age where students and parents are way more tech-savvy than ever before. What’s more, in today’s world, cheap SEO tactics will not work — and they’re likely to get you penalised too. There are simple yet effective ways to boost your search engine rankings organically, earning a higher spot on Google while meeting the needs of your target audience. And I’m going to tell you about them.

These organic approaches to search engine optimisation will help to improve the feel and visibility of your institution’s website & provide an SEO plan to rank higher in 2020.

Here my 16 top tips on boosting your visibility on search engines:

Download for later

#1 Page Title Optimisation

For every page on your website, include your target keyword. Each page should have a unique keyword, and you have a maximum of 70 characters per page title. To help you select the right SEO keywords for your website, Google’s Keyword Planner or Ahrefs make useful tools.

#2 URL Optimisation

Again, for each website URL, you should add your most valuable keywords. You can do so through the HTML file, or if you’re using a platform like WordPress, there will be an option to do so in the webpage editor.

#3 Meta Descriptions

It’s true that in terms of keyword power, meta descriptions aren’t as vital as they once were, but they still matter. Make sure you add your target keyword in your meta description while writing copy that is snappy and informative to increase click-through rates (CTR). You get 150 characters, so make it count.

#4 Header Text Keywords

Your webpage header (title), or H1 tag, is important as it will tell the likes of Google what your page is about. As such, you should add your main target keyword here while making your title as compelling as you can.

#5 Body Content Key Terms

When it comes to writing the main body content of your webpage, you should make sure that you weave your main target keyword and a secondary keyword into the text naturally. 

If it doesn’t fit into a sentence, don’t add it; quality matters more than keyword stuffing. Just add your keywords into the text organically and sparingly. This is essential for SEO for schools.

#6 Targeted Content (Know Your Students)

When it comes to SEO, producing inspiring content that meets the needs of your potential parents and students is essential, and it will help to boost your organic search rankings. That said, you should take time to research your target audience and create marketing personas to help shape your copywriting efforts. You can download Ambleglow’s Customer Persona Templates here.

#7 Brand Storytelling

In addition to understanding your target audience and speaking to them directly, you should inspire prospective students and parents by telling them a story. Humans respond to narratives (search engine bots like them too), so give your webpage copy a clearcut beginning, middle and end. Tell your tale.

Sign up for mailers

#8 Local SEO

As an educational institution, focusing on local SEO makes a lot of sense. With many prospective students either living close by or searching using relevant queries plus your particular town or city. Optimising your website for local SEO factors and keywords focused on your location will help you rank better. You will also increase your chances of appearing in Google’s 3-pack map listings and search results.

#9 Inbound Links

Share your content through social media and any other relevant touchpoints to encourage other high-ranking webpage owners to link to your content. Inbound links like this are great for SEO, so get out there and make it happen.

#10 Internal Links

If you’re producing your webpage copy and have a relevant internal webpage to link to as anchor text, do it! This is good for user experience, which is great for SEO. For example, if your landing page’s primary keyword is ‘forest school in Wokingham’, and you have a relevant post on the subject, go ahead and link to it. You get the picture.

#11 Blogging

By setting up a school blog, you will be able to produce and publish relevant, engaging and inspiring content on a regular basis. Not only will this build trust and boost awareness about your school, but it’s also likely to increase your search rankings. Start a blog, consider your target audience and start creating content that will offer real value.

#12 Guest Blogging

Also, guest blogging is a powerful tool when it comes to SEO for schools. By producing compelling articles on relevant industry blogs, you will expand your reach while raising your authority with search engines. Start engaging with the sites you would like to guest blog for and when the time is right, start pitching your ideas.

#13 Video

Due to the digestible nature of videos, people consume them in their droves. The average online video is worth 1.8 million words per minute. Producing videos is a sure-fire way to drive student and parent engagement which, in turn,  should increase branded searches & boost your organic rankings. Set up a Vimeo or YouTube channel and embed videos on your website – it’ll work wonders.

#14 FAQs

Prospective students and their parents, regardless of their background, will naturally have a host of questions when choosing a school — it’s a big decision. By creating an FAQ page answering common questions relevant to your school, not only will you offer a great deal of value, but you will increase your chances of ranking for specific search terms in a big way.

Read more

#15 Design

By making your website scannable and easy to browse, you will improve engagement levels which will result in improved SEO rankings. Make it clean and simple, break your copy up into digestible chunks, use eye-catching images and graphics and make browsing your site as logical as humanly possible. A poorly designed website is very bad for SEO – it’s that simple.

#16 Call to Actions (CTA)

Last but certainly not least, you should sign every webpage on your school’s website with a clearcut CTA. Not only will this help your users navigate their way through your site, but they will increase your site’s user experience significantly (great for SEO). CTAs come in many shapes and sizes, but ultimately, you are showing your visitors what to do next (download a prospectus, book an open day spot, call us…the choice is yours).

I hope these tips help you to earn the search engine success your school deserves. If you’d like to know more about SEO for schools, please get in touch.

You can also download Ambleglow’s SEO Checklist to get your school on the right track.

Thanks so much to Matt Cayless, Co-Founder of SEO Consultancy, Bubblegum Search, for contributing to the Ambleglow blog. We hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this as much as we have.

Nic – Discovery Call

ambleglow expert


Discuss your challenges and goals with us on a free, 30 minute Discovery Call!