It’s time for higher education to talk serious SEO

More than 50% of students said that the web influenced their decision in picking a school and more than half of all students have viewed videos about a college. Considering that more than half of all potential students out there, are no longer waiting around to get a flyer in the mail…Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an essential tool for colleges that want to make it.
A website without SEO is like sending a flyer that hasn’t been proofread, something a college should never do.
Alt Tags, Meta descriptions, keywords, linking strategies, and analytics aren’t spicy phrases frequently expressed in higher education circles, but maybe it’s time they are. Search Engine Optimization offers many benefits to higher education professionals and admissions staff.
Students are learning about your school online, and it’s about time colleges got serious about tracking their website results. SEO helps you be found, and also tells you whom to follow next. Students are looking for answers.
Most college age students in the search claim that they find most their information from a web search, not from social media: 52% of future students look up academic programs via web search, only 35% try for social media.Which does make social media a tool for SEO and 100% of colleges are using at least one form of social media, however… Only 34 percent of four-year public colleges, 42 percent of four-year private colleges, and 21 percent of two-year colleges are participating in an SEO program, according to the 2012 E-Expectations Report.
And yes, we understand that having a Search Engine Optimization program can be costly, but the benefits outweigh the costs. Many colleges use Google Analytics; many of them are also not familiar with it enough, to use it properly. It’s a great tool, only if used optimally. Life as we know it on the Internet is changing. Most online marketers have figured that out, as 69% of them are using SEO tactics to drive traffic to content.
Go where your students go. They are online. 85% of Admissions staff go online and use some form of social media too.  And yes, it is important to keep social media in the mix; after all…it plays a part in SEO. According to, Searchmetrics, Facebook shares have the greatest influence on Google search ratings in the US! But bear in mind, your students play on Facebook, and they look for the answers they need in order to pick a school on your website.

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