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DIY: Basic SEO Tips for the Everyday Website Manager
Mia Major

Keeping up with Google Algorithms and planning keywords is a job in itself. So, it's no wonder why most schools drop SEO to the bottom of their to-do list. It's not a matter of importance; it's a matter of making time to do it — and do it right.

But what if we told you that you do have time to make some basic SEO improvements?

Put down the white flag, and get our your laptop because Hummingbird has nothing on you.

Managing your search engine strategy is easier than you think. In fact, we think you can knock out in just about one week using these three tips. Take note that these SEO tips are geared to helping you get started on your own, and that this is only the beginning to help to build a successful SEO campaign over the next several weeks, months, and years.

1. Think Outside the Box

You've worked hard to develop a brand and online presence for your school, so of course, you're first inclination is to use the same words you use to describe your school for your SEO strategy. Easy, right?

Wrong.

Discard your assumptions about the terms people use in searches for schools like yours. Rather, do the research using the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. This tool will help you see how certain keywords will perform, and give you a better idea of what works and what doesn't for your school in search engines.

For example, people search for kindergartens. "No one searches for lower schools, upper schools, character building schools or schools with honor codes," according to Finalsite Strategic Consultant Red Abbott. Think of it simply, if you were a robot reading every word on your site, how easy would it be to understand that you have a kindergarten? If the answer is "not that easy," it's time to re-work your website content.


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2. Give Every Page a Title Tag

Once you've re-worked your website content to contain a little less fluff and stronger keywords, adding a title tag to every page will help those pages get noticed even more. Title tags are often used on search engine results pages to display a preview of the content on a given page. (It's also important for social sharing!)

Add a page title tag that is unique, descriptive of that particular page's content, compelling to someone seeing it as the headline of a search result, and has 55 characters or fewer.

3. Use a Meta Description on Your Homepage (And Other Landing Pages)

Meta description tags are vital to getting click throughs in search engine results. They are your opportunity to advertise content to searchers and to let them know exactly whether the page contains the information they're looking for. So, while this doesn't help with your SEO in terms of where you rank, it's going to help get you the website visits you need.

The Meta description should use your school's chosen the keywords, but also contain a captivating description that a searcher makes the searcher want to learn more.

Your meta description should: be descriptive of the school in ways that will line up with search behavior, compelling to someone seeing it as the body of a search result, and contain 155 characters or fewer. Be sure to avoid using the same Meta description over and over.


Beginner's Search Engine Optimization Worksheet
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