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5 Cold, Hard Truths About SEO for Schools
Connor Gleason

Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital to your school’s digital marketing, but it's often misunderstood. There aren’t shortcuts, quick fixes, workarounds, or cheats for improving SEO for your school. Sorry to burst your bubble...

Rather, it’s a long-term commitment, but once you understand its importance and how SEO can support your work, you’ll recognize its benefits for driving organic traffic to your school's website.

Here are five hard truths about SEO that every school pro should know:

1. It’s Not About "Beating" Google

Many people think SEO is about tricking or outsmarting Google to get your school's website to the top of search results. You won't win...The truth is that SEO is about working with, not against, search engines.

Google's main goal is to provide users with the best and most relevant information. Your goal should be to make your site valuable, informative, and user-friendly. This means creating quality content that answers your audience's questions, using keywords naturally, and ensuring your website and web pages are easy to navigate.

2. You Can’t Hack SEO

There are no shortcuts or secret tricks to instantly boost your SEO ranking. Some strategies claim to "hack" SEO, but these often involve unethical practices, like keyword stuffing, that can actually harm your website's reputation with search engines in the long run.

Good SEO is about building credibility and trust with both your audience and search engines. Focus on creating original content, appropriately using relevant and targeted keywords, and building quality backlinks from reputable sites.

Keep Reading: 5 Reasons AI Won't Kill Your School's SEO (And 5 Ways It Might)

3. You Can’t Rush Good SEO

SEO is not a one-time task; it's an ongoing process, so settle in and get comfortable. Improving your school's search engine ranking takes time and consistent effort. It involves regularly updating your website with fresh, relevant content, following the latest SEO best practices, and analyzing your website’s performance to see where you can improve.

The takeaway? Patience is key. Just like school marketing, don't expect immediate results, but trust that your efforts will pay off over time.

SEO & Digital Advertising Fundamentals for Schools

4. You’re Never Finished with SEO

The world of SEO is constantly changing. Search engines frequently update their algorithms, and what works today might not work as well tomorrow. This means you can't just do SEO once and be done with it.

You need to stay informed about the latest trends and updates in local SEO and be ready to adjust your strategies accordingly— there were at least nine known updates in 2023! Regularly review and update your website’s content, write blog posts, monitor your search engine rankings, tap into Google Analytics, and keep learning about new SEO techniques.

Keep Reading: How to Become Your School's SEO Expert (7 Steps)

5. SEO is Just a Part of the Answer

While SEO is crucial, it's only one part of your school's overall digital marketing strategy. Relying solely on optimizing your website is not enough, and you must also consider other aspects like social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising.

These elements work together with SEO to create a comprehensive online presence for your school. Your ultimate goal should be to connect with and engage your target audience, not just to rank high in search results.

Key Takeaway

Remember, SEO is a long-term investment in your school's online presence and reputation. Rather than looking for quick fixes or shortcuts, be patient, stay informed, and focus on creating a valuable and user-friendly experience for your audience. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts!

SEO in the Age of AI CTA

Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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