SEO for Universities: 5 Important Focus Areas to Consider8 min read

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The Internet has become the go-to source of choosing the right, and the top-ranked universities, as the search for the best quality education has gone digital. Students usually go through numerous web pages and try to get informed about the colleges and universities’ backgrounds before deciding which university or course they should attend or enroll.

This makes it mandatory for colleges or universities to maintain a robust online presence, alongside keeping up with the updated SEO practices.
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What Is SEO After All? Understanding it Beyond Definition

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which helps users qualify their content and boost up the traffic to their website. SEO helps its users get in touch with the clients interested in the services they provide through quality traffic that converts more often than not.

It considers all the essential factors, including social metrics, domain level, domain age, keyword-agnostic features, and page-level link features, and gives ranking accordingly. This ranking helps you get your website displayed on the first page, which increases the online viewers’ count. And when it comes to universities or colleges, one needs to know about the SEO techniques to get the website viewed by all the viewers.

Tips to Follow for University Website SEO Purpose

  • Go for a Complete Website SEO Evaluation

Before you focus on increasing your online ranking, try to understand the areas that need improvement. You can perform an SEO audit and find out which keywords are ranked well and which keywords you want to get high ranking but are not getting.

The users also need to prioritize the tactics, especially those requiring technical advancements for which the user can get a complete SEO evaluation of the website done. The user can also prefer using the online tools to inquire about his website’s SEO health and know about all the rankings factors.

  • Keyword Analysis

SEO for any educational institution will need to have some particular keywords to make profiling more attractive and accurate. These keywords are hyperlinked to make students explore more about the university/college. The institutes will require highlighting their different programs and making the information more engaging rather than making it look like marketing.

The users can search for long-term searches and queries to combine them with their existing keywords to make new keyword clusters. This can help them target specific audiences. And once the keywords are listed down, the writer can use it to create quality content that will get a higher ranking on google search. Only 0.16% of keywords are responsible for more than 60% of searches.

  • Focus on Content Strategy

The said authorities must focus on the keyword installation and organize the content appropriately, referring to a logical approach. The students don’t need to open various links to get the information they want.

This will quantify the traffic on the educational institute’s website. The websites should use the content that keeps the viewer engaged, as the more they will stay active on the site, the more they will get convinced to join a particular university or college.

Most importantly, the websites should keep updating the website’s content, which is the primary indicator of its relevance to quality education. 68% of content marketers prepare one content per day. That’s how important creating content is. Also, 57% of marketers place content marketing at the top of their priorities.

  • Emphasize on Local SEO

The primary reason for preferring local SEO is the advancement of technology and demographic importance. The students worldwide search for the university’s programs even before visiting the college or university. Also, local SEO helps the institute turn online rankings into admission without further marketing investments.

The universities should rank for local keywords like the best MBA college for HR specialization. And further, they need to optimize the localized web content by dedicating each web page for each sector. Nearly 46% of Google searches get information about local objects like ‘colleges near me.’ Also. 67% of mobile searches are made to find out more about local businesses.

  • Design an Interactive Website

Millions of students will visit an educational institute’s website in a single year from the world’s different corners. And not everyone would be able to see the campus personally, so the institutes should make the website’s layout interactive to make the journey as real as possible.

The website should also be informative enough to get all the details online and start filling up the application form on the Internet itself. The universities must include the map, yearly schedule of programs, and a highly responsive live chat option for the students’ convenience.

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  • Dwell on the Technicalities of SEO

Going forward and implementing SEO strategies for a certain industry demands domain experts in the relevant industry. However, you need the support of an SEO expert who knows the technicalities’ in and outs beyond the jargon.

Hosting: Due to an increased number of hosting websites with low costs, the website owners are tempted to go for a cheaper option. But it is only after rounds of discussion with the IT and SEO team that they realize cheap hosting can derail the growth. So, a well thought expensive website needs to be covered with a premium hosting site.

  • Website Optimization

Website optimization essentially is a mix of placement of user interface components in such a way that it fosters functionality and, at the same time, increases the value of the website. For instance, you can have a notification section on the top of the right-hand corner. Every time a student logins into their account, they can see new notifications from the college. There are various other such examples that you can follow.

As a rule of thumb, an institution’s web portal must ooze out perfection and classic simplicity. You cannot have a mix of loud colors; go for two-color themes that’s more on the classic side and is less flamboyant. 

  • Optimize URL for Better SEO

Certain set norms should be adhered to while framing URL structures, right from the URL to the subsidiary page path. First and foremost, the domain name that you pick must portray a complete picture of what the website is all about.

You also should make sure to choose a domain name that’s not too fancy. As for, you cannot go with a tweaked version like Playing with words, numbers, and characters must be minimal. 

For URLs, that leads to a subsidiary page going to the subdirectory (more on this later), which has the domain name. Also, for specific pages, you must include focus keywords in the URL, with which Google can index your website.

  • Sub-domains or Sub Directories: The Way to Go

Subdomain vs. Subdirectory, the choice is a tricky one if you are under the pretense of practices that are normally followed. Generally, having a subdomain is considered to be a logical step, which in some cases can be true. But when you grasp the fact that having a subdomain essentially means you have a new website for content on the sub-domain page. So you have to separately rank for those as well.

In the case of a subdirectory represented as www.XYZ/ as opposed to for sub-domain acts as a natural extension of the website. For these pages, you do not have to rank separately. However, search crawlers on identifying a subdomain link treat it as a new website.

  • Go for a Performance Audit

You can implement all the changes to suit the devised SEO plans, but if these changes bring an alteration to key Google ranking metrics, all efforts go into vain. This is why it is said that whenever a change is introduced into a website, analyze the website’s performance.

Record key metrics like load time, bounce rate before and after the change, look for the extent of the deviation. If the change in numbers is significant, then you are better going back to the basics.

  • Redundant Pages

As the website grows old, say after five to ten years. Some of the old pages cease to exist; they add to the load burden of the website when it is called with an HTTPS request. Also, these pages are not indexed, and they affect both the usability factor of the website and, at the same time, hampers the SEO activity.

Now, with members from the IT team and the SEO team collaborating, such defunct pages’ adverse effects can be put under check. Once the SEO team carries out the page audit, they can communicate the problem of defunct pages to the IT team. After this, the technical team will redirect those pages back to the homepage or other relevant pages.

  • Go for Mobile-friendliness

Colleges must have a highly responsive mobile website. Logically, the target users are mostly on the phone. It is estimated that in the US, normally college-going folks spend eight to ten on smartphones. That’s more than a third of the day. The usage of mobile sites has increased manifold.

Also, the guardians of the students now look to find as much information possible about the college from their mobile website and read about the reviews of the courses through several channels on the go.

  • Backlinking Strategy

As stated, some stakeholders can be either a guardian or a student who read about the course reviews from third-party websites. Now, you must try to draw in from the authority of the third party pages and improve your website’s reputation. The more links you have with higher authority domains, the better are the chances of increased organic traffic.


More than half of the search engine users prefer getting information from the first page of search results. So, ideally, it should display your college or university’s website. This will happen only if search engine optimization is done periodically. Leaving you with a last piece of stat that sums it all: More than 50% of students use the famous search engine to find the list of top colleges.