How to convert more Applicants into enrolled Students

    Three SEO strategy tips for higher education

    Three ways your university can improve its SEO strategy, from ensuring your website is mobile-friendly to catering for voice search
    Last updated:
    February 14, 2024

    Google and other popular search engines are constantly updating and modifying their algorithms and the way they rank websites. As a result, it’s necessary for university marketing teams to frequently refine and adjust its SEO strategy to ensure that lead generation and visibility remains high.

    As part of our series of weekly tips, here are three ways you can fine-tune your university’s SEO strategy.

    1. Make your website mobile friendly

    In the last two years, two big changes have affected the way Google ranks search hits. The mobilegeddon algorithm update of 2015 was followed by Google’s announcement in May 2016 that it would be boosting its mobile-friendly algorithm.

    Roughly 40% of all websites are affected by these two changes. As a result, it’s vital for your university to invest in a mobile version of your website. Simple errors can make your website less user-friendly on mobile and can severely affect your SEO. Examples include fonts that are too small, and including video content hosted on a platform that’s no supported on mobile, such as Flash.

    Google offers a useful list of the most common mobile design mistakes and you can also use the mobile-friendly test to run a scan of your site within minutes.

    2. Pay attention to voice search

    Recent figures from Global Web Index show that one in every five users aged between 16-64 regularly use voice search on their mobiles. The percentages of 16-24 year-olds are even higher.

    This has the potential to be a huge game-changer for SEO. The shift away from typed queries to speech fundamentally alters the language people use when searching. At a very basic level, university recruitment staff may need to look to adopt a more conversational tone.


    The University of Nottingham’s FAQs section is not only detailed but extremely well laid out. It covers common general queries but also has dedicated subsections for undergraduates, postgraduates and students at specific campuses.

    When optimised using SEO best practices, this sort of layout makes it easier for mobile users to read and understand.

    Universities should also consider what voice-based services potential applicants are using because each has its own set of rules regarding SEO. Be sure that your team member in charge of SEO looks into the rules and guidelines for Siri, Cortana and Google Now.

    3. Switch to HTTPS

    Google has announced that websites using HTTPS rather than HTTP will have a more favourable ranking since HTTPS assures users that the website is secure. Even if a website has excellent content and loads quickly, the lack of HTTPS will place your website lower in organic rankings.


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    Justin Pace

    I work for ISM and contribute to FULL FABRIC as a guest blogger. I am a digital marketing and communications professional focusing on higher education. My passion is for data and entrepreneurship. I am originally from the United States and have recently relocated to London after living in France for six years. I enjoy travelling, baseball, social enterprises, and cold weather.

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