You know your school has excellent programs. You continually graduate students who step into the workforce ready and able to become successful in their careers. And yet your competitors—with less than stellar results and reputations—seem to always knock you out of the top search rankings.
What’s going on?
Google’s algorithm considers more than 200 factors to determine your school’s ranking so there isn’t one easy answer as to why you may not be where you want to be. But here are a few likely culprits:
Relevancy: Instead of focusing on what some algorithm deems important, focus on your future students! Provide them with high quality, relevant content and you’ll be rewarded by Google and other search engines. Offer up irrelevant info they don’t care about and you will not rise in the rankings.
Age: If your competitors’ websites have been around for a few years and yours is entirely new, you’re not going to have the content, links and traffic that they do. Build a robust and well-developed site, populated with quality content that you continually update and your ranking will improve.
Growth rate: Let’s say you’ve got a new site and you game the system to grow it—and all its links—with lightning speed. That may be a recipe for high rank in your webmaster’s eyes, but in Google’s eyes it could be a recipe for disaster. Sudden growth indicates to the Google algorithm that you might be buying links instead of earning them and you’ll be penalized instead of rewarded.
Links: You do want links, though. The more cross-links and back-links you have on your website, the better Google will like you. Cross links indicate that you’re spreading link juice throughout your whole website. Back-links are all about the company you keep. When authority sites are coming to your site for knowledge and information, Google labels you a relevant thought leader and rewards you accordingly.
Click-Through and Bounce Rates: If prospective students come to your site and don’t bounce to another page within it, Google notes the lack of interest and penalizes you. On the other hand, if a would-be student enters a relevant search query and is happily led to you, Google rewards you.
If you want to be at the top of the list when prospective students search for the programs you offer, you need to do a whole lot of things right. The Higher Ed Geeks at Effective Student Marketing can show you just where you could go be going wrong and help you make it right.