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A Guide to Optimizing Your University’s Site Content for Search Engines

Learn how to optimize your University's website so prospective students, alumni and donors can easily find your content.

SEO for University Websites
SEO for University Websites

SEO (search engine optimization) is not only for websites belonging to lawyers and dentists, it can help University websites as well. Today’s students use long-tail search phrases and increasingly specific terms to find information online. It’s important to optimize your school’s website for relevant search terms so prospective students can easily find your content.


Optimizing your website for search can improve your results.

Create Unique Page Descriptions

Run a quick Google search for your school. Do each of the results display the same page description (also called meta description) underneath the page title? If so, your University site pages have not been optimized for search.

Each page, from those that describe degree programs to your blog posts, should have a unique page description. It should provide an enticing, engaging introduction to the content in 165 characters or less. Otherwise, prospects might ignore your content even if they see it in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

Better meta descriptions will increase click-through rates if you inspire curiosity. Ask a compelling question that you’ll answer in the content or deliver a surprising fact that makes the reader want to know more.

Write Relevant, Keyword-Rich Page Titles

Page titles are just as important as meta descriptions. You want to write them accurately, but also incorporate relevant keywords that will drive traffic. Don’t just pick the page name as the title and run with it. Instead, think about how prospective students might search for that content.

For instance, would students search for “medical school” or “med school”? Are they interested in “university athletics” or “college sports.” Researching different keywords and phrases will help you drill down on the page titles that will perform best in the search engines and get clicks from prospects.

Publish Authoritative Content

Universities and colleges are uniquely positioned to create authoritative content. Your staff conducts original research, for instance, that can provide illuminating statistics and figures. If you use that research to create compelling content, you’ll generate links from other publications.

High-quality inbound links can vastly improve your SEO efforts. If publications like Forbes and news outlets like the Huffington Post link to your content, Google and other search engines will view your website as more authoritative and rank it higher in the SERPs.

Optimize Your Images

When you’re optimizing your school’s site content, don’t neglect images as assets for aesthetics and SEO alike. Images create emotional connections with viewers, but they also help search engines find and display your content more accurately.

When you insert an image, add an image title and alt tag that reflects on-page keywords. Search engines will know what the image contains and how it relates to your content. You can also use this strategy for videos, infographics, and other visual content that doesn’t otherwise include text-based information.

Optimizing your school’s site content will help increase the chances of your prospective students finding your school.

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