Academic Programs and Search Optimization: Key Steps to Help People Find You


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What do potential students want to know about you first? The academic programs you offer. And many students will do an online search for the particular program or programs that interest them.

This presentation covers the basic steps that any content creator can take to improve the visibility of individual academic programs when potential students search for them.

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Academic Programs and Search Optimization: Key Steps to Help People Find You

  1. 1. Academic Programs & Search Optimization: Key Steps to Help People Find You Carol Aslanian – Education Dynamics October 20-21, 2011 Chicago, IL Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  2. 2. Search Engine Optimization <ul><li>Most important: content that people want </li></ul><ul><li>“ Organic search”… fix your website first </li></ul><ul><li>Content stewards: high impact possible </li></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  3. 3. 4 steps to success… <ul><li>“ Eternal” SEO success points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good title tags on your pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good body copy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Great content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No barriers on your website to block the search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No broken links </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Links lead to the expected content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Danny Sullivan, editor, </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  4. 4. 4 top elements you can impact… Internet Business Promoter: <ul><li>“ Essential” SEO elements… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword in page title tag </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>External link popularity of your website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link text of in bound links… press releases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword use in body text </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Very important” SEO elements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Age of your website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword use in primary (H1) headline </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  5. 5. You can impact these 8 elements… <ul><li>Keywords in H2 – H6 headline text (important) </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords in ALT text for images (important) </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords in bold body text (important) </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword use in links within your site (moderate) </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords use in outbound link text (moderate) </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords in the meta description (moderate) </li></ul><ul><li>Readability level of the web page (slight) </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword in first sentence of body text (slight) </li></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  6. 6. Can you impact these elements? <ul><li>Keyword use in the page URL (important) </li></ul><ul><li>Links from social networks (important) </li></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  7. 7. Thriving in the “online MBA” jungle… <ul><li>Penn State </li></ul><ul><li>Drexel University </li></ul><ul><li>Northeastern University </li></ul><ul><li>Marylhurst University </li></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  8. 8. Start with Google Adwords… online MBA, online MBA degree, online MBA programs Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  9. 9. Search for “online MBA” <ul><li>Organic search results… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Northeastern #3 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penn State #6 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marylhurst #10 </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  10. 10. Search for “online MBA degree” <ul><li>Organic search results… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Penn State #2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drexel #4 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marylhurst #5 </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  11. 11. Search for “online MBA programs” <ul><li>Organic search results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Northeastern #3 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penn State #5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drexel #10 </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  12. 12. Top performing organic page… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  13. 13. Checking the pieces… URL <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Other URLs… </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  14. 14. Checking the pieces… title tag <ul><li>Penn State – Online MBA Degree Program – Overview </li></ul><ul><li>Other title tags… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online MBA Degree Programs – Northeastern University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AACSB Accredited Online MBA Programs at Drexel University Online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online MBA, Online Business Degrees – Online Business Degree Programs / Marylhurst University </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  15. 15. Checking the pieces… subheads <ul><li>1 st two subheads: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Put a Renowned MBA on Your Resume” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ What Makes the Penn State Online MBA Program Different?” </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  16. 16. Checking the pieces: Link deeper into your site… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  17. 17. Visual style is not a factor… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  18. 18. The social media element… Social media impact is growing… Goal: network of links that include the primary website Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  19. 19. Social media impact for links… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  20. 20. YouTube is 2 nd in Social Media… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  21. 21. Multiple LinkedIn groups… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  22. 22. The impact of “Panda”… <ul><li>New importance for the quality of website pages </li></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  23. 23. Important Google change in 2011… <ul><li>“ Panda” raised the value of web content editors everywhere… </li></ul><ul><li>For example… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Removing low quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content.” ( </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  24. 24. 23 “high quality” questions to ask… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  25. 25. Especially for content stewards… <ul><li>“ Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Would users complain when they see pages from this site?” </li></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  26. 26. Key metrics for “quality” content… <ul><li>SEO specialists are watching two measures of “quality” content… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time spent on website pages by individual visitors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of pages visited on a site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recommendation for high education sites: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check & compare “bounce rate” from entry page to academic program content </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  27. 27. Find the “Top Landing Pages”… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  28. 28. Compare results for academic program pages… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  29. 29. Find the least visited web pages you control… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  30. 30. Write for the humans visiting the site, not for search robots… <ul><li>Use keyword words that real people use… </li></ul><ul><li>Add content “Carewords” that people want to read </li></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  31. 31. Don’t “stuff” keywords… <ul><li>The page title and description, primary headline, one subhead, twice in the text… </li></ul><ul><li>More and the page won’t seem well written </li></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  32. 32. Tips for success… page headings <ul><li>Title tag: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>8 to 10 words – 50 to 80 characters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Main key word at or close to the start </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Different title tag on every page </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If not, Google may think content is the same </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Meta tag: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write for the person visiting the page, not for search </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Primary heading (H1)… one per page </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write a “Carewords” headline for the visitor first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Then try to work in a primary keyword </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  33. 33. Tips for success… page content <ul><li>Keyword word or phrase </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the first sentence if you can </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Links </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the first paragraph if possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write a link using key words rather than “click here” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But “click here” might be best for highest response </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In ideal world, link words will be words in primary heading on the following page </li></ul></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  34. 34. Final notes… <ul><li>SEO isn’t a mystery… be careful of gurus, ninjas, and evangelists </li></ul><ul><li>Content is the most critical element in SEO performance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web editors should leverage this point </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keywords, content presentation, links are still important </li></ul>Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  35. 35. Buy this book… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  36. 36. Read “Search Engine Land”… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  37. 37. Learn the Periodic Table… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  38. 38. Read Matt Cutts’ blog… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
  39. 39. Thank You! Bob Johnson, Ph.D. President Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 226 Chauncey Court Marshall, MI 49068 248.766.6425 [email_address] Customer Carewords Research for Online Marketing Success: Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC