Did you know that over 90 percent of online searches begin with a search engine? In fact, the average person conducts about three to four searches a day. If someone is looking for an answer to a question or a certain piece of information, it is almost certain they will turn to a search engine first. These statistics prove the importance of aligning and optimizing your school website or blog content for SEO, so your website is performing well in search rankings and is visible to searchers.
These aren’t the only facts about search engines and SEO that are significant to your website’s success— in this blog post, we’ll dive into five important statistics about search engines and how you can shape your school website and blogging strategy around those principles. Knowing the facts is nothing without understanding how to implement your strategy; we’ll give you insight on how to attract site visitors to your website and school blog and keep fresh eyes on your content.
The proof is in the pudding: internet searchers will check out your website and try to answer their own questions before they engage and reach out to your team. As a small school, your students’ parents and families expect you to have a website that answers all of their questions prior to making contact with you. The fact is, people want concise answers, and they want them fast. If a potential school parent struggles with researching your school, they may move on to their next option.
What You Can Do: Update your web presence to reflect the answers people are looking for. The first step to achieving this goal is updating your Google Business Profile. If you need assistance with this, reach out to the Design TLC team. Your Google Business Profile is a Google profile your small school can create that allows you to connect with your school communities and directly track online performance and appearance through Google metrics. You can update your Google Business profile to answer simple parent questions like your business hours, contact information, location, services, etc.
Google Business Profile is a great asset to any website’s SEO strategy; however, there are ways to tend to your school parents’ needs outside of Google. For more complex issues, like tuition information, curriculum updates, faculty and staff highlights and more, beefing up your school blog with helpful information will help both your school community and your SEO.
Backlinks are links in website content that send a user to your website. For example, if another school or organization links to your school website for something, that is a backlink. Backlinks are the opposite of outbound links— outbound links are links within your own content that link to an external site. If your school blog references another website and you link to that website, that is an outbound link. While backlinks are a popular way to gain better off-page SEO, the majority of websites don’t utilize them.
What You Can Do: Did you know that almost 80% of Google’s ranking algorithm relies on off-page factors? Off-page factors, including backlinks, are generally out of our own control. Success in backlinking to improve SEO, for example, depends completely on the number of times other creators are willing to plug your links into their own content.
Backlinks are great because readers can explore related content, search engines can locate new content to rank and enhance their results, and in turn organizations and businesses can boost their SEO. This is especially helpful with newer websites and school blogs that aren’t ranking well yet; the truth is, without backlinks, it is going to be much harder for search engines to know your content exists.
There are several ways to get other websites to backlink to your school blog and other content. One method includes linking to someone else’s content first. If you post content to your school blog that links to another site, an outbound link, they may notice and return the favor. Another tactic is reaching out to external sites. Contact websites that are looking for contributions from industry experts and see if they are willing to link to your content. Additionally, if you see a website mentioning your school name or another piece of content without a link, reach out and ask if they would be willing to link to your website.
Believe it or not, many internet searches use phrases to make their search queries instead of one or two keywords. Internet searches are thinking in phrases and putting their full questions into the search bar to find their answers.
What You Can Do: To build content for your school blog that tends to the needs of your audiences, tailor your key phrases to match top searches and plug those key phrases into your school website content. The key is to build your content around phrases and questions your school families are asking, not just simple keywords. The first step is to identify your audience’s biggest questions, then analyze your content and determine if your school blog and website are answering these questions.
This process can be very specific. For example, if you notice that a popular Google search right now is “How do I prepare my child for private school?” you can develop a blog post titled “Preparing your child for the first day of private school,” and drop the full key phrase into your content to help you rank.
The grand majority of internet searchers will give up on the content they are looking for if they cannot find it on the first page of results. In fact, only about 6% of internet searchers will scroll to pages two and three for search results. This fact proves the importance of making sure your website content is optimized for SEO and is developed to perform well in rankings. Ranking well in search results, while a tried and true science, takes time to show results— this is especially true for newer websites with less content to crawl and index. On the other hand, for websites with a surplus of content, it may seem outrageous to continue developing work that adds to the pile if it is not ranking well.
What You Can Do: To keep your content fresh in the top of the search rankings, you can refurbish older posts to always remain fresh and updated. Building a stockpile of recurring, relevant content that supports your mission is one of the many benefits of blogging!
How do you do this? The first step is to establish which published blog posts of yours perform the highest, and which perform the lowest. After discovering weak spots in your content, develop a list of keywords that will help you rank higher in search results, and then plug them into applicable blog posts and other relevant content. You can also tweak the content and update it to match relevant events. For example, if your school blog published a post in 2018 about executing a virtual webinar for a small school, you could adjust the language and republish to match the needs schools are facing during virtual learning in the pandemic.
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