Helping Students Find You: SEO for Smaller Colleges

Websites play a huge role in how today’s teens research higher education. Smaller institutions can get a lot of mileage out of an optimized website. AMG Higher Education’s survey of high school students shows many ways in which websites are crucial to being discovered and provide further information for prospective students. You can download our complete survey results in the coming weeks.

Be Where Students Can Find You

An institution’s website is central to any admissions recruiting effort, so taking the time and care to make it accessible, accurate, and appealing is paramount to successfully reaching the perfect students for your school. Complete information about the programs you offer, application requirements, and the school’s activities are fundamental elements to keep up-to-date.

Online is where students of all ages can find you. At least 95% of teens own a smartphone, and 45% report being online almost constantly. All age groups report high internet usage, with 99% of 18-29 year-olds online, 98% of those 30-49, and 96% of those from 50-64 years old. A school’s website is an important place for students to discover your school, get more information, and begin to engage with the application process.


How to “SEO” your College’s Website

SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization,” which is the process of making your website appear in the first few search results for strategic words and phrases. When you improve your SEO, you increase organic traffic to your website and make it easier for students to find you online for the programs and activities you offer. There are many ways to improve your website’s SEO, but the first step is to get an SEO audit, which an outside professional or agency can perform. With SEO audit results, you can effectively plan the steps to improve your website. Next, let’s explore how your website content can help your enrollment efforts.

When someone types “XYZ University” into the search bar, you hope that XYZ University’s site is the first thing that pops up. But there are other relevant terms that you may want to rank well for in search. Consider investigating phrases that will highlight the programs you offer, like “associate degree in computer science” or “Executive MBA in Supply Chain Management.”

You may have activities and qualities that you define your institution, such as particular sports, thriving arts activities, self-paced online courses, or strong support for students with learning disabilities. Your institution’s specific characteristics can help distinguish it from other schools. If you include content that highlights these features, your school will appear higher in search results so that students will more easily find you.

By identifying the most likely search terms that would help the right students find your school, you can create website content like blogs, news posts, articles, and other resources. These will help the search engines to identify your site as a valuable and trustworthy source of information on these topics. Creating solid and relevant content for readers and in metadata is the quickest way to improve the SEO on your college or university website. Improved SEO means you come up in more search results, which in turn means more prospective students can find your website, your programs, and can begin to gather information about your institution to decide if it is the right college to suit their needs.


For more information on how professional SEO services can help your organic website traffic, contact us today.


If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you adapt to the evolving education marketing landscape and ramp up your efforts, please contact us today.


The Prospective Student Journey:

Reaching Traditional College Students

We have identified four specific points in the journey where schools can make small changes that can increase the number of incoming students. Learn how to implement these changes and optimize these opportunities.

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