Matt Payne

2 months ago

SEO Score is the latest feature to be added to Edurank, to help Universities measure their digital activity, and benchmark their performance against the sector and their competitors.

SEO Score is an education-specific algorithm focusing on the most important ranking factors required for a successful organic search strategy.

What does good SEO look like?

Currently, the University of Manchester has the highest SEO Score in the education sector. We spoke to Neil Condron, Content Manager at the University, to find out more about their success.

How does it feel to be crowned an Edurank Award winner?

It was a very proud moment! We pay close attention to our movements in Edurank’s social media table and so were very pleased to be placed so highly in this new ranking. It’s always a boost for the great team we have at The University of Manchester to receive recognition such as this, particularly in such a competitive market where there’s a lot of great and inspiring work happening.

Why do you think your institution has the highest SEO score?

I think that at The University of Manchester, one of the things we’ve done well is embedding good SEO practice. When we launched the new University website back in 2014, we worked with a number of agencies to ensure we got certain things right, including SEO. We received some excellent, in-depth training for writers and editors working across our websites, and have since made SEO principles core to the training and guidance we offer our whole University on writing for the web.

What are your biggest challenges when planning and delivering your SEO strategy?

The size and scale of our institution gives us benefits in terms of authority and footprint, but it’s a constant challenge too. We’ve literally hundreds of websites, with the potential for content appearing in more than one place. Rationalisation of content is therefore always front of mind. It’s also fair to say that HE is a very homogenous sector, so we must always be thinking of ways to exploit our points of distinctiveness while balancing this with what users are looking for. I’m sure these will be familiar themes to many of our fellow universities!

What does a strong SEO strategy look like to you?

The specifics vary massively depending on which sector you’re looking at, but ultimately – and this is a bit of a cliché – it’s about putting users at the heart of all that you offer. If I think back to years ago when I started working as an SEO copywriter, we were still in the world of ‘keyword stuffing’ where it often felt as though it was just a case of getting people from search to your site – quality seemed sometimes to be secondary. These were the days before mobile, local, snippets, backlinks – wow, I suddenly feel very old! There’s so much more to get right these days – knowing who your users are, how they behave, what they’re looking for and how/where they’ll look for it – and this gives us far greater opportunities. Ultimately, any strategy that places users at the heart is starting on the right footing.

Is there anything we can expect from you and your team in 2019?

We’ve got quite a lot of exciting work going on in the digital sphere stretching beyond 2019, but the main things we’re looking to do differently this year will be around the delivery of certain new and existing flagship campaigns. Through greater analysis, we’re constantly seeking to better understand the user journey, and we’ll be providing ever-more personalised content supported by the overarching campaign activity. I can’t give too much away about what my colleagues are cooking up, but let’s just say we’ll be doing plenty to try and win this award again next year!

What are you waiting for? Click here to see how your SEO activity measures up.