What Every Private School Needs to Know About SEO


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Are you afraid of the big, bad, SEO monster? Fear not! In our "What is SEO?" webinar we'll discuss the basic SEO principles—from creating keywords to analyzing statistics—that every school webmaster should know.

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What Every Private School Needs to Know About SEO

  1. 1. What Every Private School Needs to Know About SEO? Presented by Daren Worcester Tuesday, November 19, 13
  2. 2. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  3. 3. Why is SEO important? Ranking on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) drops significantly with each position. SEO best practices are also key to building an organization’s online brand presence. Source: Source: http://connect.relevance.com/a-tale-of-two-studies-establishing-google-bing-click_through-rates Tuesday, November 19, 13
  4. 4. “Every month, roughly 117 million searches are made for “Google” in Bing. ...4 million searches are made for ‘Bing’ in Google.” — Slingshot SEO Source: http://www.webpagefx.com/united-states-of-search/ Tuesday, November 19, 13
  5. 5. The Mozcast Google makes 300 - 400 algorithm changes a year! Source: http://mozcast.com/ Takeaways: 1. SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it action 2. Don’t get caught with all of your SEO eggs in one basket Tuesday, November 19, 13
  6. 6. Influential SEO Factors Tuesday, November 19, 13
  7. 7. On Site: Content Step 1: Determine the keywords you want to optimize. Google Adwords is a good (free) resource for pinpointing the best terms. Most people find schools on SERPs via “branded” or “longtail” searches. Tuesday, November 19, 13 Source: https://adwords.google.com
  8. 8. On Site: Content Content Keywords within Google Webmaster Tools is a good resource for understanding how Google views your site’s content. Source: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en Tuesday, November 19, 13
  9. 9. On Site: Content Search Queries in Google’s Webmaster Tools is an important resource for identifying the right keywords to target. Source: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en Tuesday, November 19, 13
  10. 10. On Site: Content • Reviewing Search Queries data with that of Adwords helps prioritize your school’s content optimization efforts. • Here, trying to get better results for “onMessage” is an easy win because it’s just off the main page. • “School software” will take more work, but considering the search numbers, it’s probably worth the effort. • Tuesday, November 19, 13 Source: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en
  11. 11. On Site: Content/Technical Step 2: Create unique, authentic, engaging content and sprinkle the content with keywords. Ideally variations of keywords appear in page titles; URLs; headers; body text; internal links; media titles, alt tags and captions. Source: Rand Fishkin, http://moz.com/blog/perfecting-keyword-targeting-on-page-optimization Tuesday, November 19, 13
  12. 12. On Site: Technical In addition to the actual page content, don’t forget to populate the meta description, which is what typically displays on the SERP. The meta description has no direct impact on search standings; however, a well written description can affect the click-through rate. Meta keywords aren’t necessary. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  13. 13. On Site: Technical Try to get keywords into page titles as often as possible, especially since onMessage uses the titles to create the page URLs. The recommended max is the real character number to stay under for meta descriptions and keywords. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  14. 14. On Site: Technical Page load time can have a significant impact on SEO. One easy way webmasters can help the cause here is by saving photos for Web. The image quality difference is barely noticeable. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  15. 15. On Site: Structural Google looks at navigation from the top down, assuming the most important pages are at the beginning. As webmasters we should approach the navigation in the same way. Duplicate content should be avoided whenever possible. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  16. 16. On Site: Structural A good, clean navigation structure is also key to page URLs. Avoid “stuffing” URLs with repetitive keywords. Also, try to keep navigation to 4 levels or less — ideally no more than 3. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  17. 17. On Site: Structural Links in body text are known to help site optimization. The closer to the top of the page the links appear, the better. Moreover, the text, and the links, should be written in a way to enhance the user experience. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  18. 18. On Site: User Metrics Google is looking for engagement. How long are visitors on the site? What do they click on? And do they come back? “Bounce Rate” is good to look at but it can be misleading. Factor in “Avg. Time on Page” for the full picture. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  19. 19. On Site: User Metrics Under Audience > Behavior > Frequency & Recency, Google Analytics has a variety of reports to track user engagement. The report here shows the amount of days between visits. This can be customized to specific pages such as those in the admissions section during application season. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  20. 20. On Site: User Metrics Another helpful engagement report, Page Depth shows the average amount of pages viewed per visit. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  21. 21. Off Site: Links Google highly values inbound links as they are seen as votes of approval for a site. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  22. 22. Off Site: Links Google created a link analysis algorithm called Page Rank to assign a numerical weight to the authority of a site. Page Rank works on a scale of 1-10. When one site links to another, the linking site transfers some of its Page Rank value (commonly referred to as “link juice”) to the linked site. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  23. 23. Off Site: Links The SEO goal of link building is to get as many quality links as possible. Start by reviewing the existing sites linking to your site—are there sites similar to those shown that could link to yours? What about organizations the school belongs to? Link building can be tedious and time consuming work. It’s important to create a strategy for naturally cultivating links. For example, in media relations, ask for a “citation” linking back to the school’s site. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  24. 24. Off Site: Links Reviewing the site content that receives the most links will help you determine what content to create more of to garner the most links. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  25. 25. Off Site: Links It’s also important to protect existing links by putting in a redirect whenever you delete or move a popular page. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  26. 26. Off Site: Social Social Media shares, followers, likes, pins, RTs, etc., all bear weight on SEO. Similar to link building, it’s important to develop a strategy and engage in activity and content population that fosters social media growth. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  27. 27. Off Site: Social Make sure your school’s site has links leading to its various social profiles, and conversely there are links leading from the profiles to the school site. This helps Google establish authorship. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  28. 28. Off Site: Social Don’t forget Google+!!! Widely dismissed as a failure upon its release, Google’s methodological business strategy has turned Google+ into one of the fastest growing social media networks today. What’s more, Google+ has staying power, leading some to predict it will overtake Facebook. Source: http://blog.searchmetrics.com/us/2013/06/20/social-media-growth-forecast-google-to-overtake-facebook/ Tuesday, November 19, 13
  29. 29. Off Site: Local Google takes user location into account when returning search results. To ensure your school is appearing in localized searches, display the address in plain text on the site, and make sure its listing is correct in directories such as Yelp and Google Local. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  30. 30. Off Site: Brand Recognition Brand recognition, or trust, is highly influential on SERP listings, which is to say there’s still a place for good, old-fashioned advertising and marketing in your Web site’s strategic planning. Brand recognition can be measured for search by the site’s direct traffic and “branded” search results. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  31. 31. Branded Keywords It’s important for schools to “own” branded keyword results. Social media accounts are a great way to fill branded search results with online properties controlled by the school. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  32. 32. So...what is SEO? Tuesday, November 19, 13
  33. 33. SEO is part of everything you do. Tuesday, November 19, 13
  34. 34. WhippleHill’s SEO Services SEO Foundation Training Eight one-hour sessions covering: 1. Introduction to SEO 2. Page Optimization 3. Keyword Research 4. Content Strategy 5. Link Building 6. Local SEO 7. Using Google Analytics 8. Social Media & SEO Tuesday, November 19, 13
  35. 35. WhippleHill’s SEO Services SEO Foundation Training & Initial Site Optimization • 8 training sessions • Perform keyword research • Optimize browser page titles & meta descriptions for 25 pages • Content editorial recommendations • Create a list of backlink prospects • Setup custom google analytics reports •Provide WhippleHill’s Independent School Guide toSEO with additional documentation Tuesday, November 19, 13
  36. 36. Additional Resources Google: How Search Works http://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/index.html Google: Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en/us/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimizationstarter-guide.pdf Moz: The Beginners Guide to SEO http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo Search Engine Land: The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors http://searchengineland.com/ The Short Cutts http://www.theshortcutts.com/ Tuesday, November 19, 13