We often encounter private school administrators who do not even want to discuss SEO with us because they just don’t understand it.
But private school SEO doesn’t have to be a debacle if you take the time to understand the fundamentals. By getting a handle on the basics of search engine optimization, your school will be able to invest resources into a digital marketing strategy that not only fulfills your business goals, but protects your budget as well.
Here are four search engine optimization tips for private schools:
1. Private School Marketing is Not Tricky
There are SEO firms out there marketing to private schools by convincing them how complex and tricky search engine optimization is, and these firms can be dangerous. If you’ve not done your research, you could be bullied into paying exorbitant amounts for gimmicks that don’t accomplish much.
The really dangerous part is that it is very easy for a private school to get caught up in an endless cycle of damage-control from SEO agencies that take shortcuts and employ unethical tactics.
What Works and What Doesn’t for Private School SEO
“Black-hat” tactics like these not only fail to get new students online, they may harm the digital reputation of your private school.
Search engine optimization for private schools does not have to be daunting, and learning the basics will really help you in the process. The bulk of any successful SEO campaign consists of a well-planned and student-focused content strategy. Producing high-value content that potential students and their families can learn from will add authority to your private schools website, in addition to attracting the right candidates to your facility.
Understanding These Key Points can Save Your Marketing Budget
Once administrators understand the digital marketing basics for private schools we outline below, they will be better equipped to make the best decisions for how to market a private school:
- How a search engine finds, evaluates, and ranks website content
- How a future student or parent initiates searches for online information
- Why producing high-quality content for your private school’s website is extremely important
It becomes so much easier to use your marketing budget effectively once you have mastered the basic concepts of SEO and digital marketing for private schools.
Knowledge is Power for Private School Marketing
Your school administrator won’t have to worry about wasting time or funds on methods that don’t yield results, because he or she will have a much better understanding of how these processes actually work, and the benefits they can have on the success of your private school. Instead, they can focus their attention on trying to write content that will enhance their visibility digitally, bringing them closer to prospective students and parents.
2. Utilize Private School Directory Listings Appropriately
They are more directory listing sites than we can count, Google My Business (GMB) and Yelp among the top performers. Potential students and their families will be turning to these popular sites for specific information about your educational facility. Locating and claiming your facility’s profiles on these platforms is a great way to help amplify the message and values of your private school. You even have the opportunity to personalize the profiles, and use them to create consistency in your private school’s brand.
Don’t Pay Somebody For Claiming a Local Private School Directory Listing
In general, it takes no more than ten minutes to complete a profile on one of these directory platforms. In some cases, GMB (Google my Business) and similar directories mail you a postcard or letter to confirm the physical address of your private school. Since this is such an minor detail, but carries a lot of impact, we suggest you handle it for yourself instead of hiring out the task.
3. Capitalize on Social Media to Amplify Your Private School’s Digital Presence
Increase Visibility in Searches
Another effective way to get new private school students is by consistently engaging on social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook supplement your private school’s brand and messaging online. Many times, these profiles are displayed in the SERPs (search engine results pages) where referral sources and potential students and parents find information regarding your private school.
Broadcast Your School’s Message and Values
Social media can help amplify your private school’s website and blog content, while allowing for conversation and engagement between interested followers and your school. Social channels can broaden the reach of your digital message, and attract new students, staff, and donors to your private school’s website.
Remember that Content is King
While social media can certainly give your other digital marketing efforts a boost, it should not be the sole focus of them. When used appropriately, social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook act as a podium to broadcast your content, it is important that social media never distracts you from writing top-quality content for your private school’s website and blogs.
4. Too Good to be True Usually is Exactly That
There are many marketing companies that promise private schools and educational facilities the moon, but never deliver. The one we hear all the time is that someone will “get your school to the top of Google overnight.”
Avoid Common Private School Marketing Scams
There actually is no such thing as a “top” of Google. It does not exist, so someone promising that results for your private school’s online marketing isn’t being honest. Search engine rankings can never be guaranteed because there are too many variables, including time of day, location, device type, and so many more. For any single search run on Google, it is possible to acquire a “top result” but there is no one “top” of Google.
Search Engine Optimization for Private Schools is a Process
By now you are probably realizing that regularly publishing high-quality content is a huge part of a successful private school’s SEO campaign. This takes time to accomplish, but fortunately the secret to effective digital marketing is time – it is impossible to build trust with you prospective students or parents and the search engine itself without consistent quality content over time.
A marketing agency may promise they private schools light speed SEO successes. Or administrators of private schools might believe that there is a way to “game” Google into artificially increasing the ranks of their website in the SERPs.
Attempts to “Trick” Search Engines are Risky and Ineffective
Right now, the Google algorithm is too clever for deceptions like that to have positive results, and if they do have any, they certainly won’t last long. Tactics meant to trick Google into elevating website rankings violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines, and in some cases, these violations can have consequences that are more severe than diminished rankings.
We Help Private Schools Grow
The most reliable and effective approach to developing a strong foundation for your private school’s digital presence is by consistently publishing high quality content that will address the needs of future students, parents, staff, and donors. Consistent content writing develops a bond of trust between the potential students or parents and your school’s website, leading to increased search engine visibility, and growth of your private school.