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Running a nursing program, finding students may be one of your top priorities. In today’s constantly evolving digital world, it can be harder than you think. More information is available than ever before, making it harder to rise above the digital crowd.
To attract students, you need a digital presence. But more than that, you need to stand out among the millions of web pages out there.
How do you make your nursing program web presence stand out? Using SEO.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s about optimizing your online presence to be more visible to your prospective students. Search engines follow certain rules when determining which websites to list when a student types in a search term. If your online presence also follows those rules, your chances of being one of the listed websites rise dramatically.
Keywords Are the Key to Getting Seen
Keywords are those search terms that people use to search for a nursing program online. Keywords are the backbone of SEO and content marketing. Why? Because if potential students don’t find your website, they’re not going to visit it!
Keywords need to be included in specific places in your website, like the content, subheadings, images, and more. Unfortunately, that isn’t as simple as it sounds.
First, you need to know what keywords or phrases potential students are using. There are several tools on the market that analyze and rank keywords for you, so you can determine which to incorporate into your marketing plan.
Next, it’s essential to understand where search engines expect to find your keywords. In the early days of SEO, some organizations would include lists of keywords on their web pages without context. Google search has become much more sophisticated now and disregards obvious tricks like that. Instead, Google expects keywords in logical places, like specific headings, for example.
One of the most important places to logically use keywords is in your content.
The Importance of Content
Once you’ve got potential students on your website, how do you convince them that your program is worth their time? By one report, the average time spent on a web page before clicking elsewhere is less than a minute. If your website doesn’t give students a reason to stay, they’ll move on to the next school on their list.
Your website needs to provide value immediately through quality content. Quality content is well-written, easy to read, and tailored to your prospects’ needs. Think about what students are looking for in a nursing program and what your program has to offer them. Keep it specific, helpful, and up-to-date. And, of course, use SEO keywords.
COVID and the student loan crisis have made it even more likely that students will stay closer to home for their education. COVID has probably also limited your recruiting events and campus visits. Focusing your marketing strategy on local topics can increase your visibility to local students. Boost your local visibility by creating content about your city, local attractions, and partnerships with local organizations, for example. Social media and online directories are perfect for locally-focused content.
Backlinks are Essential
One of the most difficult aspects of SEO marketing is link building. Search engines like to see that other legitimate websites link back to yours. The quality and authority of the sites linking back to you influence how Google perceives your quality and authority — and that’s essential if you want Google to list your website in a top position on the search page.
Think of backlinks as a type of recommendation. If authoritative, relevant organizations link back to your site, it supports your legitimacy, and Google takes notice.
Increase Your Social Media Presence
While likes and mentions don’t “count” towards any prize, a robust social media presence contributes to your visibility and your search results. Not only do search engines notice social signals, but an active social media presence can boost your reputation and lead to more word-of-mouth referrals. Social media needs to be posted regularly and with the intent to further your brand recognition. It should also link back to your website.
Your Website Has Visitors — Now What?
Bringing prospects to your nursing program’s website isn’t enough — you want them to take action while they’re there. While it’s not realistic to expect every visitor to immediately apply for admissions, a request for information form gives them a chance to learn more about you (without commitment) while providing you with their contact information. You might offer a newsletter, downloadable resources, or program materials.
Audit, Optimize, Repeat
Like other types of marketing, SEO isn’t a one-and-done task. Regular SEO audits on your website can pinpoint any technical issues and show you what can be more secure, faster, and mobile-friendly.
Regular keyword audits can ensure you’re continuing to reach your intended audience. Popular keywords can become irrelevant. And, from a technical perspective, Google regularly analyzes and updates the algorithm used to rank websites. Your site needs to keep up with the changes to remain relevant.
Springer Publishing Shares Your Message
SEO research, an optimized website, a robust social media presence, and quality content can keep your nursing program front and center for future students.
If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. It’s a full-time job. And you’ve got enough on your plate managing your nursing program.
Springer Publishing’s digital experts can reach your audience with our expert content, sharing your message with the students you want to attract.
Call us at (646) 838-1427 or contact us on our website for a consultation.