Higher Education Marketing

Avoiding Common SEO Mistakes

Date posted: January 4, 2011

If your school is not ranking well on search engine results, you are not making the most of your website and Web marketing strategies. Search Engine Optimization is a necessity. However, SEO strategies should only be implemented properly and efficiently; doing something badly is just as inefficient as not doing it at all.

Some of the biggest SEO mistakes we’ve encountered at Higher Education Marketing are related to confusion over what schools wants to accomplish. Simply put, if you do not know what you are trying to achieve, no amount of SEO will help. The first step, then, should be in determining the goals of the SEO campaign. Ask and answer the question, “What are you trying to achieve with your website?” In order to measure the success of your website, you need to define clear cut goals that can be tracked and measured. This is a mistake many schools make.

Another common mistake is for schools to overlook the importance of research. This is a cardinal sin in any SEO campaign. With Google Analytics, Higher Education Marketing can determine what keywords are bringing traffic to your site, what keywords are bringing completed goals to your website, the popularity and the competition of a keyword, and the best combination of keywords you can use to optimize your website. Essentially, research is everything in SEO.

A similar mistake is to overlook the fact that the SEO process has to be focused. In order to achieve a high ranking in search engine results pages, your school’s website has to focus 2 or 3 keywords per page. Keywords, keep in mind, do not have to be just one word. In fact, they should often be 3-4 words long.

Consider the following example: an accounting school in Toronto is using the keyword “accounting” and they are not ranking well. Why? This school is competing with accounting firms like KPMG, Ernst Young, Deloite. No matter how hard they try, that is going to be challenging process. However, if that school optimizes its website with 2-4 word keyword phrases, like “Accounting Courses Toronto,” “Accounting Courses Newmarket”, or “Online Accounting Courses Canada”, that school will most likely rank very well for those terms.

To sum up, here are some tips to avoid common and easily avoided mistakes when starting the SEO process:

  • Determine and define your goals. What are you trying to achieve with your website?
  • Never overlook research. Research is everything!
  • Focus 2-3 keywords per page.
  • Don’t be limited by one-word keywords. 2-4 word keyword phrases can help you rank well.

As a certified Digital Analyst, Philippe Taza founded and created Higher Education Marketing, providing Internet marketing solutions for education institutions, such as K-12 schools, universities, and community colleges. In all, he has been working in the education market since 2001, specializing in Google Analytics, Education Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Pay Per Click Marketing, among many other education marketing tactics and tools.

3 thoughts on “Avoiding Common SEO Mistakes

  1. Researching longtail keywords can be a bit tricky. I have found that most keyword tools use keyword phrases that are not entirely what someone would normally type into a search engine. Sometimes regular longtail keywords are anywhere from 5 to 7 or 8 keywords which is too many words. I like longtail keywords that are about 3 to 5 keywords long.
    I really enjoyed reading your blog about longtail keywords!

    • Thanks for the comment Holly. I agree with you regarding the length of longtail keywords. Like you said, I think keeping them 3-5 words long is the best tactic.

  2. Pingback: HEM | Pearltrees

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