SEO strategies to drive increased enrolments for higher education and universities.


4 min read

Words by Wonderful Digital

The impact of the global pandemic has been significant for higher education providers and universities. While these institutions offer education as a service and may have unique events such as orientation week, it is important to note that they are also businesses that rely heavily on student fees, particularly from international students.

This year, many EDU providers will be in reset mode after the sound of crickets replaced that of international student enrolling. So there’s never been a better time to revise and improve on SEO strategies and practices across the websites that are specific to this sector.

Most EDU websites are URL-heavy. Between course descriptions, faculty details and campus, staff and requirements information, there’s plenty of ground to cover and some do it better than others.  


On-page SEO is what could keep you ahead of the competition. Start with conversion-driving pages, typically ones that feature the course descriptions as they are often the first point of call for audiences. Home Pages (landing pages) are usually kept light in terms of copy and navigation as a way to ease us in, however course pages are where most punters land after performing a Google search with specific keywords.


Nobody enjoys seeing keyword saturation littered across a page and a ‘course page’ is no exception. In fact Google hates keyword saturation enough to punish you with poor ranking for this SEO mortal sin. With that said, ensuring your keyword relating to the course – let’s say ‘Philosophy’ – features a few times in the copy and most certainly in your H2 is essential. As always, make sure your copy is based on helpful information that answers questions the reader may have – that’s just good SEO Practice 101 after all. 


Showing the reader exactly where they are on their site journey via ‘breadcrumbs’ is helpful in terms of navigation and effective in creating better SEO. Breadcrumbs allow keywords to feature in the URL (in between all those backslashes) and once again creates something for Google to latch on to. Keep those breadcrumbs as destination-specific as possible rather than an ‘umbrella’ approach, which shouldn’t be difficult with page-heavy sites that EDU websites tend to be.


Internal Links are not only user-friendly but super beneficial when it comes to SEO. URL heavy sites in particular should take advantage of internal links, not only for navigational purposes, but as a transparent way to improve ranking. Avoid cutting and pasting a generic CTA in the link such as ‘Find Out More’, and instead create a more functional and specific link anchor text that relates to the page you're pointing to. Two thumbs up to sites that include a table of content with jump links – handy, helpful and rankin’-lovin’.


Almost all EDU sites will contain structured data – a format for delivering information about a page and catagorising the page content. But not every site does it right. Structured data should feature key information such as the Course Code, Provider, Location etc. However a detailed course description is where the real SEO money’s at. This field is an opportunity to feature keywords while answering basic questions a reader might have via a short, sharp and concise course descriptor.


Performing an audit that informs which pages rank highest will help you priorotise which pages to tackle in order of importance, rather than stabbing in the dark. This will give you an overview to work from and a way to delegate updates or changes to said teams. Similarly, dedicate some time in researching the current search trends around specific courses and use those insights to inform strategies moving forward.

While most EDU sites contain authoritative domains (ending in .edu for example), relying on this alone for SEO and ranking won’t cut the mustard. The tips we’ve covered will make the difference between successful or ‘meh’ SEO - especially in a competitive marketplace such as the education provider space. 

Talk to us at Wonderful if you’d like us to assist with a deep dive into your website to unearth SEO best practices today.