How to increase GOOGLE search rankings (for private schools)


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Google changes their algorithm daily. Learn about important updates and how to best incorporate search engine optimization in your marketing strategy and website rebuild.

Increase your google search rankings and grow traffic to your website. Determine how to analyze current data and traffic and focus on the keywords that drive revenue for your business.

Presented by Agnes Stawicki (@AgnesStawicki) at the The Association of Boarding Schools 2011 conference in Boston, but general enough for any small business.

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How to increase GOOGLE search rankings (for private schools)

  1. 1. Search Engine Optimization The basics to being found on Google 1
  2. 2. The Online Population Do you know what’s happening?North America’s online population ishighest in the world (78%). Google is the #1 search engine 80% of online activity begins with a search engine Everything begins with a keyword 156 million Facebook users in USA 70 million aged 35 to 55 40 million aged 16 or under SOURCES:, November 2011 Facebook, November 2011
  3. 3. The Online Population Do you know what’s happening? Google it Look for third party comments and referrals“  I  can’t  explain  it—it’s  just  a  funny   feeling  that  I’m  being  Googled.” Research teachers, staff, owners, partners...etc.
  4. 4. Internet Marketing Strategy SEO is only a part of the larger network1. Listen2. Keyword strategy3. Optimize your website4. Promote content via social media5. Convert site traffic into leads6. Nurture leads with email marketing7. Be mobile friendly8. Analyze and refine
  5. 5. Before you Visitor types locations top pages viewed converting pages referral sites referral quality
  6. 6. Search Engine Optimization What to expect today1. Google is always changing2. Google Places3. Keyword opportunities4. On-page SEO5. Off-page or link building SEO6. Analytics7. 5 Point SEO Checklist
  7. 7. Google is always changing Do you know what’s happening?Website previews prior to clickingPersonalized results...there is no ‘norm’Real time results and priority for new contentMore prominent ‘Google Places’ resultsMultiple results for individual domains
  8. 8. Google is always changing Social comment Preview
  9. 9. multiple resultsGoogle Places
  10. 10. Google Places Local business listingPriority placement in search results for locationbased searchesCustom places page with description andphotosOption for users to comment on orrecommend your ‘places page’
  11. 11. Google Places Google Places 9
  12. 12. Identify Keywords Think like a consumerKnow what your target market ‘searches’ forQualify keywords based on volume, relevance andcompetitionConsider return on investment associatedwith each keyword
  13. 13. Identify Keywords TOOLS - annual trends - competition - monthly searches - related phrases
  14. 14. Identify KeywordsLook atyouranalyticsInvest inkeywords thathave proven toconvert
  15. 15. Identify Keywords Long tail vs short tailIn the USA, there are ??? searches everymonth on Google for the terms: 823,000 Private Schools 450,000 Independent Schools 301,000 Boarding Schools 22,200 Girls Boarding Schools >10 Girls Boarding Schools MA
  16. 16. Identify Keywords Long tail vs short tail
  17. 17. Identify Keywords Content brainstormingRoot words (boarding, prep, private schools...)Study competitor websitesAdd geographic locations (city, region, state...)Add program variations (IB, hockey, best...)Answer your most popular questions (blog) What is boarding school?
  18. 18. Identify Keywords Sample keywords to get you startedWhat is a boarding school? (anyone)How to apply to boarding school? (admissions)What is boarding school really like? (student)School A verses School B - Hockey Rivals (coach)School A ranks #1 in Math (academic head) Involve your entire school community
  19. 19. On-Page SEO Build your relevanceThe URLUnique Page TitleMeta description Look atH1 headings your analyticsKeyword dense contentRelated keywords You’ll see a pattern of sub- keywords
  20. 20. On-Page SEO Where do your keywords go?URL: add keywords specific to that pagePage Title: include keywords, 66 charactersDescription: keyword heavy, 160 charactersABC Private School is an independent private school in Boston, Massachusetts (MA). OfferingUniversity Preparatory, boarding, AB and IP it is regarded as one of the best elementary andhigh schools in the New England Area.Keywords: 1 to 5 keywords per page separatedby commasContent: Useful and original content is King!
  21. 21. On-Page SEO Conversion OptimizationSEO is not only about traffic.You wanttargeted visitors that convert into qualityleads on your website. Check what pages have the highest new visitors How can you increase leads from that particular page? Add calls to action and direct conversion focused links Tell people what you want them to do 400 at 25% = 1000 at 10%
  22. 22. Off-Page SEO Build your authorityThe number of quality links pointing to yoursite is the most important element of SEO Number of backlinks Quality of backlinks Anchor text
  23. 23. Off-Page SEO Build your authorityLinks to your site tell Google that your site isimportantGrow your SEO rank and your website trafficUse your network to grow your backlinks
  24. 24. Off-Page SEO Where to find backlinksList your school with high rank directory websitesResearch your partners / competitorsConnect with your current network - Personal and work websites - Blogs and community portals - Free and paid directories - Business and advertising partners
  25. 25. Off-Page SEO Where to find backlinksProvide giveaways, donations and contestsGuest blog as an expertBuild great sharable content (link bait) - How to’s - Reports or guides - Checklists - EX: The Truth About Boarding Schools
  26. 26. Off-Page SEO Backlinks and link baitLink Bait:Content that entertains, informs andattracts inbound links (blogs, photos, videos)
  27. 27. Off-Page SEO How to best add a backlink Anchor Text: Use descriptive text rather than just your website. (ABC Private School is an independent school offering grades 5 through 12. Visit our website to learn more about ABC Private School in Lake Wales, Florida.)Hyperlinks: Point to a specific page ofyour site whenever possible.(applying, tuition fees, international students) Broken links: Negative effect on SEO. Fix them!(
  28. 28. Off-Page SEO Tools for backlink research
  29. 29. Off-Page SEO Tools for backlink research OpenSiteExplorer.orgTools for link research
  30. 30. Track your success Quality | Quantity | ConversionKnow how your site is performingGetting people to your website is only step #1Expand on your best pages, and work onimproving underachieving pages - Traffic (or visitors) - Source (search, direct, referral) - Visitor type (new, returning) - Pages/visit - Time on site - Popular keywords x - Location How  do  visitors  find,  navigate  &  convert? - Bounce Rate
  31. 31. High bounce rates mean Track your successthat page does not deliver Track your successthe information usersanticipate
  32. 32. 5 Quick SEO Takeaways SEO Cheat Sheet1. Review your website analytics2. Add your school to Google Places3. Check that every page of your website has a unique page title, description, tags and varied keyword content4. Seek out new quality backlinks from relevant and highly ranked websites (partners, blog sites, free or paid directories)5. Answer your customers questions and produce keyword content and link bait. Inbound marketing.
  33. 33. Search Engine Optimization The Basics@OurKidsNet 1.877.272.1845 x31