There is no doubt that doing SEO for universities is quite a challenge.
In addition to the actions that involve doing educational marketing -strategy, implementation of actions, measurement, goal setting, and more-, activities to improve the visibility of a university in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages or Search Engine Results Pages). ) require efforts and proper planning.
To improve that the contents of a university perform better in Google results, it is necessary to use a wide range of tools and knowledge:
Understanding of the audiences.
Knowledge of the competition.
Management of performance tools such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console.
Tools for competition analysis such as Semrush, Ahref or Mangools
In addition to these, software that allows you to simulate the Google bot: Screaming Frog, Deepcrawl, among others.
That is why universities or higher education institutes have been working on the optimization of their web pages from search engines, with greater authority, and with university names recognized locally and internationally.
To compete against this, SEO strategies must be implemented for websites of any institute or university, including:
Develop a correct information architecture.
Execute keyword research, which organizes the terms that generate the highest conversion in the institution according to their informational or commercial objectives.
Improve the indexing of the website, that is, that search engines such as Google find the information about the university easily.
Organize a more effective internal linking structure: how do I connect the pages of my undergraduate and graduate programs ?, for example, or how do I link from my blog posts to the teachers’ profiles?
You improve the contents of the website, both articles or informative material and informative content from academics so that they are optimized to improve their performance in search engines.
At Los Creativos, being an agency specialized in SEO, we organized a methodology that allowed us to help the Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar improve its performance in various aspects:
From having 6,465 monthly visits, a very important part coming from social networks and advertising on digital platforms, they went on to receive more than 17,000 monthly visits, with a 64% organic contribution. This meant a saving of $ 116,714,475 per year.
In terms of commercial and business goals, the university went from having 10 annual leads from organic to 1,066 for a year.
To achieve this, we will tell you how we did it:
Lines of incidence of the SEO strategy
The first aspect, as in any web positioning strategy, is to determine the areas of high impact within the web portal so that we can attack the specificity of each focus. In the case of the Technological University of Bolívar, there are three:
When talking about ‘ academy ‘, what is implemented from SEO is the support to make the different programs offered by the university more visible. For this, there are several necessary questions that the team had to ask itself internally:
What undergraduate programs are most relevant to college?
What graduate programs are key to the educational strategy?
What internal university portals do you want to make more visible on Google?
How can we improve the existing content on the site?
When we talk about ‘ research ‘, it is an essential aspect, since it refers to everything that the scientific dissemination of the university means and of its academics we proceed from the agency to increase visibility in Webometrics.
And to better understand how research is conducted, you need to understand what Webometrics is about; let’s look:
What is Webometrics?
Webometrics is an International Ranking of Universities; initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group that is part of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), considered the largest public research body in Spain.
What and how does Webometrics evaluate?
This international ranking is dedicated to the quantitative analysis of dissemination contents that are related to the generation of processes and scientific communication on the web.
Analyzes, through quantitative methods, indicators that allow you to measure scientific activity on the web, as complements to the results obtained with bibliometric methods on the Internet.
Webometrics has a few specific areas of research:
Development of indicators on resources in the Information Society
Visualization of indicators and social networks on the Web
Web indicator development
Quantitative studies on scientific communication in journals and digital repositories, and, above all, the impact of initiatives on Open Access
Design and evaluation of document analysis techniques of resources on the web
Development of cyber metrics techniques that are applied in the search engine positioning of domains on the Internet
Gender studies that are applied to academic activity on the Web
Analysis of the use of information through web data mining
Along these lines, it is desired to make university projects visible, including:
Social projects of economy, innovation, among others.
Postgraduate degrees and all kinds of professional training.
How do we do SEO in universities from Los Creativos?
We elaborate on general and specific objectives that consist of 3 stages:
Optimize Webometrics and SERPs parameters.
Generating content and improving the UX
And we establish processes, consisting of 2 stages:
Training of audiences
Listening generation: reading contexts
Measurement and monitoring
Step 1: understand Webometrics
Webometrics is a ranking of world universities. That is, they study how the scientific and academic content of the university and its researchers are disseminated on the web. This ranking is visible worldwide and can also be segmented regionally. In this ranking, academic production and the importance of a university are measured.
These are the percentages that Webometrics uses to rate the universities and place them in a position within the ranking:
Step 2: optimize Webometrics and SERP’s parameters
For this step, we have developed a scheme divided into the 3 groups that impact the positions in the ranking, which implies developing SEO strategies based on these three pillars:
50% Link-building strategy: we establish a starting point and action plan to generate quality backlinks that help impact domain authority.5% SEO on-page, crawled budget, and structured data: we crawl the website and review the behavior of TOP URLs that best convertor target; then we do Keyword Research to improve URL behavior.
We also identify which content and technical recommendations need to be addressed.45% Excellence and openness: we unify profiles in Google Scholar, we articulate an informative blog and with the National CDT System, (this content must be indexed in Google from the university portal).
Step 3: content generation and UX improvement
This step means 20% missing from the second step.
Along these lines, a variety of tactical actions are developed to achieve a consolidation strategy. Among the activities are:
Events that can be disclosed with inbound links from the university.
Congresses, which can be reported with a character similar to that of events.
Preparation of a content calendar, in which they stipulate topics, general search intentions of users on Google, as well as the following activities:
Know the intention of the question you are trying to answer (does the user want to know what, how, when, or where a specific event happened?).
Determine the keyword you want to attack to drive traffic to the website.
The correct organization of the headings or headings.
Propose meta titles and meta descriptions organized based on the keyword established for each text.
Competitor analysis to find out who is the number 1 competitor in Google search results.
In addition to that, we get to a specific level of detail, where we talk with different teams at the university about how they can optimize their content, based on research from the competition, related keywords.
All this allows the content writer to develop an investigation and production of the article that is based on a previous study.
This segment is divided into 4 stages:
New content: based on KWR and based on keywords that also generate a conversion opportunity for the business (keywords for academic offer).
UX and SEO improvement on Page: title, meta description, URLs.
Linkbuilding: technical link, opportunity link, organic link, and paid link.
Internal linking: to provide greater page authority for selected URLs, such as high impact or URLs with which you want to also impact the positions of the SERPs in Google.
Step 4: a review of results
In this step, the position of the web page in the SERPs is reviewed, for different keywords, previously selected in the previous steps.
Step 5- Bonus track: let’s understand link building
Within the strategies and techniques used for SEO positioning for universities, link building has a notable leadership, this is given as a very important complement for SEO optimization, which, along with other tools and methods, achieves the increase of the authority of a web page through backlinks.
Link building can help in marketing strategies for universities and higher education institutions to get links (it is recommended that they be quality links as far as possible) to the website, of course, as long as a good strategy is developed, such as creating communication channels of the same IES.
It should only be taken into account that an excellent link-building strategy has an extremely positive effect on the positioning of a website; however, a poorly implemented strategy can cause adverse effects and, most likely, result in a penalty from Google. How do we do it?
We must first have a starting point
After auditing the website and knowing the popularity behavior, that is, the list of referral links and all the backlinks that the site currently perceives.
It is essential to know what types of links should be kept and which ones should be disavowed through Google Search Console.
Know what the competition does
From the list of universities found in Colombia, it is necessary to identify those domains that have the greatest relevance on the popularity or the Impact Rank of Webometrics.
After having the list, it will be essential to know the most relevant links that the competition presents, from the hand of Semrush
For this exercise, we make use of the “backlink gap” function and add those URLs of the competitors to know the status of referring domains and select from there which we can consider as an opportunity. “A nice way to take your competition’s links”
Build the structure of the Linkbuilding strategy
In this stage, creativity, university resources, and data are mixed to generate an efficient and solid link-building strategy, which helps not only to impact the popularity and authority of the domain but also to impact the 50% that it measures. Webometrics. For this structure, we thought about links of type: -Guest post -Manuals (forums, profiles, comments, blogs) -Payment (selected with great criteria and all oriented to the same strategy as those URLs that already present actions on the page, interlinking and content) -University partner opportunities
It is very important to keep track of each of the links that have been managed, and thus have a better performance in terms of resources and time. After implementing each of the opportunities that may be generated in the construction of backlinks, it will be essential to measure each impact if a fall is noticed, or on the contrary, an improvement, and to relate hypotheses that can lead to the construction of solid actions in favor of the objectives.
How much did the impact of the action in 2020?
Since the beginning of 2020, a domain authority of 30/100 was registered, but at the beginning of 2021, an authority of 44/100 can be registered. A too gratifying result for a site that at a business level not only wanted to impact web conversions, but also webometrics ranking. Hand in hand with metrics such as domain authority, positive impacts were also noted in referring domains and backlinks (with a lot of emphasis on achieving quality links of large amounts)
Referring domains won Backlink behavior
And how much did the business earn, apart from improving its ranking in Webometrics? From the behavior of those URLs that generate conversions for the website, events are implemented to measure the number of form submissions presented in those selected URLs. In most urls of academic programs. Of the 1,554 from submissions, 656 submissions came from organic visits.
Our success story: the Technological University of Bolívar
A dynamic example of success in Webometrics has been with one of our clients, UTB ( Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar ).This case is exceptional, as it grew in just 6 months, where the domain authority went from 32 to 44; referring domains went from 119 to 466 and went from 327,000 links to 45,400.
The most impressive thing about this case in Webometrics is that the UTB went from being in position 81 to position 58, increasing 23 levels of visibility and prestige, (the closer to position 1, the more prestige the institution of higher education collects ).
With all this, now you know that SEO for universities is a strategy that you must implement in your Institution of Higher Education to optimize your content, achieve better positions in search engines, and a perfect tool to attract new students and make your university visible.
If you want to know more about the world of SEO and how from Los Creativos we implement this and other digital strategies, we invite you to read our article on what SEO is and why you need it.