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Running a nursing program, finding students can be one of your top priorities. In today’s ever-changing digital world, this 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’s web presence stand out? Use SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s about optimizing your online presence to be more visible to your future 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 these rules, your chances of being one of the listed websites increase significantly.
Keywords are the key to being seen
Keywords are the 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 can’t find your website, they won’t visit it!
Keywords should be included in specific places on your website, such as content, subtitles, images, etc. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it seems.
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 figure out which ones 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 included lists of keywords on their web pages without context. Google search has become much more sophisticated now and ignores obvious tricks like that. Instead, Google expects keywords in logical places, like specific titles, for example.
One of the most important places to use keywords logically is in your content.
The importance of content
Once you have potential students on your website, how do you convince them that your program is worth their time? By a 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 should provide immediate value through quality content. Quality content is well-written, easy to read, and tailored to the needs of your prospects. Consider what students are looking for in a nursing program and what your program has to offer them. Keep it specific, useful 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 studies. COVID has likely also limited your recruiting events and campus visits. Focusing your marketing strategy on local topics can increase your visibility with 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 great for local content.
Backlinks are essential
One of the most difficult aspects of SEO marketing is link building. Search engines like to see other legitimate websites linking to yours. The quality and authority of sites linking to you influence how Google perceives your quality and authority – and that’s essential if you want Google to list your website high on the search page.
Think of backlinks as a type of recommendation. If authoritative and relevant organizations link to your site, it confirms your legitimacy and Google takes note of it.
Increase your social media presence
While likes and mentions don’t “count” for any price, a strong social media presence helps your visibility and 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 should be posted regularly and with the aim of building your brand recognition. It should also link to your website.
Your Website Has Visitors – Now What?
It’s not enough to bring prospects to your nursing program website – you want them to take action while they’re there. Although it is unrealistic to expect every visitor to immediately apply for admission, a information request allows them to learn more about you (without obligation) while providing you with their contact details. You can offer a newsletter, downloadable resources or program materials.
Audit, optimize, repeat
Like other types of marketing, SEO is not a one-time job. Regular SEO audits on your website can identify any technical issues and show you what can be more secure, faster, and mobile-friendly.
Regular keyword audits can ensure that you continue to reach your target audience. Popular keywords can become useless. And, from a technical standpoint, Google regularly analyzes and updates the algorithm used to rank websites. Your site must keep up with changes to stay relevant.
Springer Publishing shares your message
SEO research, an optimized website, a strong social media presence, and quality content can keep your nursing program front and center for prospective students.
If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. It’s a full time job. And you have enough on your plate to run 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 site for a consultation.