Browsers / Education / Search Engines / Uncategorized

Yes, being easily found by search engines is important (even for education!)

A Google sign with a stormtrooper action figure

"The Stormtrooper is Googling" by K Alexander (CC Licensed)

How easily can you be found?

These days it’s pretty easy for us to spread the word about our websites and/or blogs.  We can attract visitors with unique content, links to other popular websites, and posts via any of the major social media tools.  What about visitors that may be interested in your content but don’t know about you yet?  Cleaning up your website to make it more search(able) on Google and other search engines is not only free, but easy to do.

This is important for people who author content on all sorts of websites.  Businesses are very interested in driving traffic to their sites, but search engine optimization is important for anyone who wants to be noticed on the web.

Luckily, there are a number of free tools out there to see how well you are doing with SEO.

A close friend of mine works on the business side of search engine optimization.  Companies pay in upwards of $400/hr to have their websites reviewed and improved, made more searchable on the web.  When a review starts, one of his first steps is to use Woorank.

A quick hop over to Woorank.com will get your started.  Simply type in the web address (url) of your website, and hit the “Woorank Report” button.  In just under a minute, you’ll have a quality report outlining all aspects of your site that Google looks at when determining how your site will appear in search results.  Most people do, in fact, want their site to be found.  Right?

Here’s what you’ll get in a report:

Woorank results

Where to start?  Fixing up your site to be better search engine optimized is a task that is rather extensive, but starts with better content.  Anyone can re-blog articles from other websites, but writing original content that other people are interested in will make your site more easily found.

Next, look at your use of heading tags.  It’s a good idea to use heading 1, heading 2, and heading 3 tags on your pages.  Most WYSIWYG (visual) editors will have a dropdown menu to let you choose the heading style of content either on a certain page or in an individual blog post.  If you’re using WordPress, it’ll look similar to the figure on the left.

Another simple way to improve your site’s ranking is to fill in “alt attribute” tags when you insert a picture into a page or post.  Alt tags are referenced when the image cannot be rendered or when your site is being browsed by someone using a screen-reading software, often used by visually-impaired persons.  For those of you using WordPress.com, you can enter the alt text when you insert a new image, seen in the image below.

Fields to enter alt image tags in WordPress blog

Don’t have time to improve your SEO practices right now?  Don’t worry.

Most blogs (WordPress.com included) already come optimized.  The people who worked on the back end of your website or blog (coding professionals) have had SEO in mind when they designed the blog theme or structure of your site.  If you built your site from scratch or aren’t sure if you can change the SEO ranking of your site, it wouldn’t hurt to poke around a little and see for yourself.

What about education blogs and sites?

It’s still a good idea to know where your site stands with search engines.  If you are at all interested in attracting new students, an SEO report can help your chances of being found.  What about other schools or classes that are interested in a partnership or collaborative effort?  They won’t find you if you can’t be found.  From K-12 to Higher Ed, most educational websites would benefit from a little SEO help.  And Woorank is a quick way to get a start understanding how easily you’ll be found.

What other practices do you use to help visitors find your site or blog?  Comments and suggestions are appreciated!

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2 thoughts on “Yes, being easily found by search engines is important (even for education!)

  1. Pingback: Favorite links, 17th January 2012 « Arnab Roy Chowdhury

  2. I sure agree with you about education blogs and sites for an SEO help. I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. This article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to take a note of your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

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