SEO For Schools: A Beginner’s Guide

Would you organise a buffet, blow up some balloons and make a cake then invite nobody to the party? Well, if you took the smart decision to outsource your school website design to a group of website-building experts but then failed to optimise your website – you may be doing just that!

Getting a sleek and well-designed website is the first step in attracting visitors to you organically, but it does not end there. There are other specific actions that need to be completed to get eyeballs on your website’s content. These techniques need to be introduced and maintained regularly. What we are talking about here is, of course, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

So, What Exactly Is Search Engine Optimisation?
Search Engine Optimisation, most often shortened to just SEO, involves multiple techniques that are applied to a website and its content. With these methods, the website is able to rank higher on search engines and feature closer to the top of the search engine results. Featuring on page one is an important goal for anybody or any organisation owning a website because it is extremely rare that web surfers look at results any lower down than the first page.

What Does SEO include?
SEO is an umbrella term for an array of actions. Each one contributes to a school website’s ranking on a search engine. Yet, it is important to target all areas rather than focusing on a couple and neglecting the rest. A holistic approach should be taken when optimising a website. The most found websites are found because they have been optimised in all areas. Here is a crash course on each aspect of SEO that needs to be considered:

SEO keywords – to get people looking at your website, you need to speak just like your market does when online. This means the content within your website must use phrases and keywords that people search for. For example, if you are a school in Shrewsbury, your future pupil’s parents may be searching for “best schools Shrewsbury”. Your content has to also use phrases like these to appear to your market. Audits are often required to find the most effective SEO keywords for your site. There are SEO phrases in this blog post too – can you spot them?

Meta tags and title tags – those SEO keywords should also be used in the right areas of your content. One of those areas is in page titles and meta descriptions. Meta descriptions give a short and snappy summary of the web page’s content. Having meta descriptions improves your website’s ranking and features on search engine results as a page description.

Links – another way to get your school’s website ranking better is to include multiple links. These links should be internal between the various web pages on your site and made externally to relevant higher-authority sites. It is important that these external links do not send site visitors to your competitors, i.e. other schools nearby.

Alt tags – the best school websites use many images. Unfortunately, search engines are not good at understanding images in the same way we do – by looking at them. Search engines need to read a tag to determine whether your images are relevant to your content. This means your site needs to add alt tags to their images which search engines can read. Having relevant images will help your website rank better in the eyes of search engines.

URLs – one of the simplest, but often neglected, ways of enhancing organic traffic is by creating effective URL structures. To do this they need to be friendly to search engines so they can index your school website’s pages.

Is There Anything Else to SEO?
SEO may look as though it can be neatly categorised into the above techniques, but it can get a little more complicated. SEO is never really completed but is an ongoing process that needs to be audited and maintained. Links may be added that helped your website rank high, but those links could soon become broken and people may start using different phrases within searches. For this reason, it is best to continually review your website and make necessary SEO-friendly edits.

Why Do School Websites Need SEO?
Schools need their websites to be optimised for search engines. They need this for the same reasons that any other business or organisation wants an optimised site. Enabling your school website to be found easier by web users is exceptionally beneficial.

Having a high-ranking website may allow your school to attract more local parents and increase pupil enrolments when required. This will save money for the school by not having to use other forms of advertising when there are school places up for grabs.

It can also help the school advertise any current teaching vacancies to a wider audience. By advertising jobs to more people, the school is more likely to get a bigger pool of talent within applications and find a better teacher for the job. These are just a snapshot of the benefits for a school website when being optimised for search engines.

Affordable Bespoke School Website Design
The building blocks of an effective search-engine optimised website is having it made the right way. We at My School Website have over 20 years’ experience in providing private and state schools with affordable and effective websites.

With us, your school website design comes with a choice of templates and schools will always have access to the website’s Content Management System (CMS). This means you can browse and edit written content, links and images to make sure you are always generating organic web traffic. We offer school website design to comply with OFSTED regulations, helping your school pass its next inspection! Do not hesitate to contact us to request a demo or find out more about our services.

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