Navigation North partners with organizations and agencies to bring technology into classrooms, helping teachers and students alike. One of the big hurdles we help our clients leap over is getting found online. Your organization may have a great tool for aiding teachers, but what does it help if they can’t find you?
Here are 12 free ways to boost search engine optimization for your online property and get in educators’ search results.
1. Emphasize The Keywords Teachers Are Looking For
Align your copy with phrases teachers are searching for. Google Trends and Google’s Keyword Tool in AdWords are free tools available to help. Reviewing your Google Analytics will also give you a good idea of what content you’re currently sharing that is getting traction.
This article is also a great resource for finding long-tail keywords for your SEO campaign.
Be cautious not to overload your writing with keywords not relevant to your content. Not only does Google not like this, but humans won’t appreciate finding your content if it’s not actually helpful.
2. Incorporate Education Specific Metadata
Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) makes it easier to publish, discover, and deliver quality educational resources on the web. The LRMI was spurred by the announcement in 2011 of Schema.org, a project by Bing, Google, and Yahoo! to create a standard way of tagging online content.
When your learning resources are described or “tagged” in a standard machine-readable manner, educators are more likely to find and use your content!
3. Leverage The Power Of OER Repositories
Open Educational Resource Repositories include curriculum-sharing websites, sources for lesson plans and activities, and open alternatives to textbooks. If you provide content licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License, there are many websites to feature your content including OER Commons, OpenED and Edmodo Spotlight. For larger publishers, consider adding resources directly to the Learning Registry here.
4. Fix Those 404 Errors
Clicking on a Google search result only to find there’s nothing there is like hitting a brick wall. No one likes hitting a brick wall! Use Google Search Console for help, and establish 301 redirects to bring visitors to a helpful place.
5. Create A Unique Title Tag For Each Page
Use tools such as Yoast SEO to create different titles for every page on your website. Differentiate pages on your site by describing the content and using relevant key words.
6. Meta Descriptions Matter
Every page should also have a meta description, capped at 160 characters. These can also be implemented using tools such as Yoast SEO. The largest benefit in meta descriptions is Google uses them as the text display which happens right below your search listing. While this doesn’t necessarily effect your page rankings, it will definitely make a difference in click-through rates.
7. Add To Your Blog Often
Most recent releases of the Google search algorithm favors new and refreshed content. The best way to provide this is by posting regularly to your blog and updating older posts.
Create an editorial calendar and stick to it. There is no hard and fast rule to how often any organization should publish new posts. For most non-news organizations, once a week could be a good start. Remember to keep your content relevant, so over-posting useless information will actually work against you.
8. Optimize Images
First, name your images with logical convention. For example, “screenshot.3.4.2014.35932882882.jpg” doesn’t mean much to Google or anyone else. If you’re image involves Education SEO, such as the photo we used in this article above, name it education-seo.jpg. Pretty simple.
Also, provide a relevant image title and alt text. This is an option generally found while adding a photo in any standard CMS or website management system. Using our image above as an example, we used “Education SEO” as the title and “Teacher Searching Google” as the alt text.
9. Implement A Proper Website & URL Structure
Use titles and words from your title in URL structures. For example, “www.yoursite.com/page8/” doesn’t really describe anything. Using something like “www.yoursite.com/contact/” provides useful information to Google and visitors alike. Avoid using strings of numbers or letters that don’t clarify anything.
A proper site structure will also help clarify things for Google. Check out search results for “Navigation North” to see how our website is indexed. Keep your blog posts in a structure which identifies them as such. Two examples would be “www.yoursite.com/blog/this-exmple-post/” or “www.yoursite.com/news/this-exmple-post/” – ensure all new posts fall under this same structure.
Add a dash “-” between words: “/this-url-slug/” is much easier on Google and end users than “/thisurlslug/” is.
10. Cite & Link To High Authority References
Domain authority is a score predicting how well a website will rank on search engines. If you work for the Office of Education Technology in the US Department of Education (shameless client plug), you’re experiencing a very high domain authority. Inherently, federal government websites are considered highly reputable.
If you’re not so lucky, link to a high-authority website featuring an interview with your staff or a review of your product or solution. If you’re not aware of such a reference, seek out ways to be featured. Volunteer for an interview or feature with Education Week or Education World. Our work was recently featured on EdSurge News.
11. Share Your Information On Social Media
After posting relevant and timely information regularly on your blog, be sure to immediately share these articles on social media. The more helpful your posts, the more likely educators (or your target audience) will follow you.
When using Twitter, use #hashtags to be found when users are search for a particular topic. Keep in mind hashtags such as #whenwetalkaboutthissomeoneneedstolisten is very unlikely to help you. Rather, something like #education or #educationpolicy is far more likely to spark a conversation or get you found.
12. Be Mobile Friendly, Always
More than 50% of Google searches now happen on mobile devices. In the education field, it’s more likely teachers are using computers to research for their curriculum, professional development, or other problems you could be solving. But Google favors mobile responsive content. And if a teacher happens to be searching on their phone or tablet, your listing may not show up in their results if not mobile-friendly.
We help clients improve search engine results by providing an SEO audit of their current website and content, providing recommendations for improvement, and implementing those solutions. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to discuss how we can help you get found by more teachers!