Articles

Give your continuing education website a SEO overhaul

Tue, Jul 30,2013 @ 11:45 AM
by Kathryn Lynch-Morin |

Give your continuing education website an SEO overhaulYou want potential students and partners to easily find your continuing education website, right? So why not give your program's website a SEO overhaul even Google will like.

First, you need to ask yourself if you are creating new, meaningful content for your website. Blog posts are a great way to start, even if they focus around new course or event offerings, but you could easily expand your free content collection

Now you can go through your site's page titles, URL's and links. If your site is small, meaning it doesn't have a lot of internal pages, you can do this manually. Look at your site with the eyes of someone who has never visited before. Do the page titles make sense and use relevant keywords? Or, do they use insider jargon or ultra-specific phrases people unfamiliar with your program would never know to search? 

To make your site Google friendly, your page titles should be no longer than 70 characters, and page descriptions should be 150 characters or less. 

If you're going the manual route, do an outsiders' search to try to land at some of your most important pages. 

If the mere thought of going through your website with a fine-tooth comb gives you anxiety, use this free crawler, Xenu's Link Sleuth, to give you an overview of your site pages, page titles, page descriptions and links. 

Google recommends accurately describing the page's content by choosing a title that effectively communicates the topic of the page. Don't use the same title on multiple pages, and avoid using vague titles that include words like 'New' or 'Page.' If you're using images, don't name them Image24.jpeg when you upload them to your site. Give them an SEO-friendly name that makes sense, and don't forget to describe the image in the alt text box. 

Similar practices should be applied to writing descriptions or meta tags. Though they should also be kept brief, making these descriptions relevant and keyword rich is always a good practice. Think of this as the 'teaser' that will get people to click through to your course offerings or another part of your website.

LERN also recommends to all of its members that they use memorable words in all of their URl's, rather than initials or parts of words. If your program name is Awesome Continuing Education Inc., but your URL is www.acei.net, searchers might have a difficult time finding you.

It's also important to use directory names that relate to the content on your pages. If your courses, events or other offerings appear on multiple pages, using Page 2, Page 3, and so on isn't going to cut it. The best practice would be to list each page as Summer Courses, Winter Courses, Online Courses, or by another similar title that clearly explains what is on the page.

An often overlooked (but very important) step in upping your website's SEO, is making sure that every single link on it is in working order. Delete old and irrelevant links and update those that still matter. Search engines do not like broken links.

Yes, there is a lot to think about when it comes to SEO on your website. The more people who find you, the more potential registrations. But it's also important to remember that if you focus on the user and making their visit to your website easy and fluid, search engines will respond accordingly.

When it comes to SEO, new, meaningful content, descriptive titles and URL's with real words will go a long way. 

Download the final  2013 LERN Annual Conference brochure

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