Online competition from other schools, job boards, pay-per-lead directory sites and more, are forcing educational institutions to take a look at how they can increase their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) through easy and effective ways. It’s no secret that being at the top of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is where you want your school to land. An October 2012 study by Compete.com looked at “tens of millions” of consumer-generated SERPs and found that 53% of all clicks go to the first listing on a search results page, dropping to 15% for the second listing, 6% for the third and 4% for the forth. So how can your school compete with a national job listing site or directory? One-way is to build your school’s website domain authority.
Domain Authority is based on three factors: age of your school’s site, the popularity of the site, and its size. This article tackles the last two and details ways you can increase your website’s popularity and size to help build domain authority and trust.
The goal of a search engine is to provide users with the most relevant information from the most trusted sites. The popularity of a site is measured in many ways including the number of inbound links from quality sites to your site. The search engines take inbound links as a signal that your site has information worth sharing among different website surfers. The size of your site is important because as you add content, the search engines note that the possibility of more inbound links to your site exist.
Having recently sat down with a school’s marketing department, we were able to devise a plan for one of their upcoming on-campus events that would help increase their domain authority and trust.
The school was holding a ‘better resume writing’ event that was open to their students and the community at large. The success of the event would be based on how many students and non-students participated and ultimately how many of the community members inquired about attending the school.
The school approached the marketing plan for this event with a cursory level of online marketing strategy. They understood that things like blog posts and incoming links could lead to better search engine rankings and started to put these into motion. To accomplish this, a single blog post was written announcing the event, social media posts were written and a free (but low-quality) press release service to generate incoming links was used.
These strategic initiatives are the first steps in the right direction but they do not fully take advantage of the event and using it to build domain authority and trust. The challenge stemmed from the existing broad global exposure created by incoming links. Since the school’s target was exclusively local, the goal for incoming links had to shift towards a focus on relevant information that could connect with real people who might attend the event. In addition, a new press release distribution method was required, one that offered a much higher domain authority than the existing press release service.
In order to increase the opportunities to raise the school’s domain authority and trust, links with greater local relevance were needed — more effective sources had to be determined based on domain authority. In addition, a new event posting strategy would need to be launched for on-site events, one that focuses on local sites featuring calendars.
By establishing relationships with other local businesses that feature an online calendar on their site for such events, the school would be able to garner a description and link back to their site. These local businesses can include:
- The Chamber of Commerce
- The city’s Tourist Bureau
- Local weekly newspapers
- Broadcast media with like targeted demographic profiles
In addition, national high domain authority sites such as Yelp and Eventbrite will list local events at no charge and allow a greater degree of information for the school to provide to users about their event.
By posting the event to free online calendars, the school would receive the following benefits:
1) Create practical event exposure to targeted local audiences that may not have known about the event.
2) Generate incoming links from relevant source sites featuring a strong domain authority.
In addition, by using a leading press release distribution service, such as PRWeb or 24-7 Press Release, both recognized around the world as leading distribution sources for their significant web traffic and reputation, any press release issued comes with a strong domain authority.
Finally, using the school’s existing resources – blog and social media outlets — the school would be able to extend the life of the event after its conclusion by posting a recap and photos. While this might seem like overkill for “just” a resume-writing event, the increased posting frequency would invite search engine spiders back for more updates while also broadening the keyword search footprint. From a practical perspective, the posts (before and after the event) would provide readers with reminders and background on the event, along with a wrap-up in case they missed it.
By increasing the quality and frequency of content while focusing on stronger link sources and a more practical local target, you will be able to demonstrate the power of the right kind of SEO — the kind that fits a specific need rather than gets rankings for invalid targets. With a combination of local outreach and intelligent execution, your school will be positioned to increase your own domain authority and trust.