Have you ever heard the saying “the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google”?No one knows for sure where this saying originated, but we do know that only 0.78 percent of searchers click on results shown on the second page of Google. Since not very many people are even looking at search results beyond the first page, it is important that your school website rank on page one, and the higher the better.
There are many factors that influence your search engine ranking. Your online presence and reputation can impact every aspect of your digital marketing strategy. This is why it is essential to prioritize your SEO strategy and dominate first page rankings on Google and other search engines.
SEO is a tough endeavor, especially for many independent schools. Dominating the first page of Google search results requires an understanding of what Google looks for when displaying results, as well as how to leverage changing algorithms and trends. SEO has the capacity to impact every aspect of your website’s online presence, including your Google rankings.
Many schools I talk with express their frustration trying to keep up with Google’s constantly changing algorithm. In reality, there’s no magic wand to boost your Google ranking, but there are steps you can take to climb to the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
Before we get started, it’s important to note that, in order to get the most out of today’s blog article, your website and content should meet a certain level of quality.
Generally speaking, your site should:
- Be mobile-friendly
- Load quickly (ideal load time is between 2 and 5 seconds)
- Have clear navigation and UX
- Be free of other glaring technical issues
- Your content should be written well
Not only are these quality elements Google ranking factors, but you will produce much better results if your website meets these standards.
Here are 6 steps you can take to help your site improve your search engine results rankings.
1. Assess the strength of your competition
Since Google is ranking you against your competition, you need to know how your competition is doing when it comes to SEO. In general, your competition are the top 10 results for a competing keyword. Start by determining whether your site is even in the league of these competitors.
For example, if you’re wanting to rank for “primary school” type the keyword in the search bar. Look to see if you think you can compete for your preferred keyword. Sometimes, you might have to look for long-tail keywords in order to compete, such as “primary school near me” or “primary school learning”.
If you’re not sure how to check your competition, consider signing up for SEO Coach. It will show you what traffic your competition receives, where it comes from, top SEO keywords and more. Check it out!
2. Assess the authority or rank of your domain
Domain authority, or domain ranking, represents the overall strength of a website, specifically how strong it is from an SEO perspective, including backlinks. SEO Coach offers a backlink tracking tool to help you assess the strength of your domain.
3. Make sure your page aligns with search intent
The reason behind a searcher’s query is what search intent is all about. For example, if you search for “how to create a website” you’ll see that almost all the ranking sites contain a step by-step guide.
To determine search intent, do a Google search for your keyword and identify the three C’s of search intent:
- Content type (are top pages categories, products, landing pages, etc?)
- Content format (mainly for informational content, such as how-to guides, step-by-step tutorials, list posts, opinion pieces, reviews, comparisons)
- Content angle – (the main unique selling proposition. For example, when searching for “primary school” you will notice the word “elementary” comes up in every search result. You will want to include the word “elementary” in your listing as well because Google has determined the word “elementary” matches the searchers’ intent in this
In general, the better you can match the searcher’s query, the better your chances of ranking
If your page doesn’t match searcher intent, you will want to take the time to edit it. But, if it does
match intent, you can move on to the next step.
4. Ensure your content covers the topic in full
The way humans look at topics might be different from how Google looks at them. Google is focused on presenting comprehensive information on a topic as opposed to promoting one brand or item. Using your desired keyword or keyword phrase, see if you can determine how Google sees the content it ranked the highest and what elements you should be sure to include in your content.
If your page doesn’t present comprehensive information about your topic, you will want to edit it. Once you’re certain you’ve included the information you think Google will be looking for, move on to the next step.
5. Estimate the number of backlinks you’ll need and then build them
Backlinks are an important ranking factor from Google’s perspective. Not only has Google admitted this is true, but almost every industry study I’ve seen has found a positive relationship between organic search traffic and backlinks.
Of course, there’s no way to know how many backlinks are required, because not all backlinks are created equal but you can get an idea of the backlinks you’ll need through SEO Coach are created equal, but you can get an idea of the backlinks you ll need through SEO Coach. SEO Coach will gather information from Majestic (the planet’s largest link index database) and offer new backlink opportunities.
6. Add internal links to your page
While backlinks can help build the authority of your page, but internal links can also help tremendously. One way to find pages you should add links from, just go to Google and search for site:yourdomain.com and then a keyword relevant to the page you are trying to rank “keyword”. You’ll then see all indexed pages from your site that have keywords somewhere on the page. Visit the pages and add internal links where relevant.
In general, the more authority you’ve built into the linking pages, the more authority they can pass to the linked pages.
After you’ve completed these six steps, it’s just a waiting game. How long? Well, that depends, but in general, most top-ranked webpages are at least a year old.
Now I know you don’t want to sit around, twiddling your thumbs for a year, so your best course of action is to repeat this process for multiple keywords and webpages.
One thing to keep in mind is that most click-throughs from page one of Google are from the top three listings. Getting into the top three listings will often come down to matching search intent, creating thorough content and building more links.
SEO can be confusing and time-consuming, but SEO Coach will clarify what you need to do to get to the top of Google search results. It’s designed specifically for school marketing. There’s a DIY (Do It Yourself) or DIFY (Do It For You) SEO solution, depending on how much time and inclination you have to learn and implement SEO. This is a wonderful opportunity for schools to increase their inbound marketing and online presence, as well as get to the top of Google
search engine results! Be sure to check it out today!
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