Webinar Recap: Mastering SEO for Higher Education Websites

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By Chris Rapozo — Aug 17, 2023 11:00 AM

SEO Webinar Recap Blog Post


Three simple letters, yet they hold so much power in determining the visibility and success of your higher education institution's online presence. These letters represent an ever-evolving field that's just as exciting as it is challenging.

In a recent webinar, higher-ed experts from Hannon Hill and VisionPoint Marketing shared valuable insights and actionable strategies on how to conquer the SEO realm for colleges and universities.

Charlie Holder, Hannon Hill's Head of Customer Success, and Matt Herzberger, VP of Digital Experience and Analytics at VisionPoint Marketing, guided attendees through the essentials of SEO, highlighting effective tactics to enhance a website's visibility and organic traffic.

Beyond discussing theory, Charlie and Matt showcased real-world examples, taking participants on a tour inside Cascade CMS and demonstrating how to apply SEO techniques, providing a step-by-step walkthrough of optimizing website content, meta tags, and URLs.

This webinar recap post summarizes valuable insights designed to empower digital marketers, web admins, and aspiring SEO professionals to optimize their websites effectively.

SEO: A Dual-Lane Highway

Optimizing for SEO is to find the perfect balance between creativity and technique.

Think of it like this: In the vast library of the internet, a college or university website is a book. How easily it gets discovered and read depends equally on its content quality and the "librarians," as Herzberger referred to the search engine algorithms recommending it.

To ensure a "book" gets picked up, higher-ed marketing and web professionals need a seamless blend of on-page content optimization and technical SEO. 

On-page content focuses on the quality and relevance of the content, and technical SEO ensures that a site is friendly to both humans and search engine crawlers.

Technical SEO: Ensuring Smooth Operation

You might be wondering, "what exactly is technical SEO?"

Let's break it down:

  • It involves fixing broken links
  • Using canonical links to prevent duplication
  • Ensuring mobile optimization

These elements help make a university website more accessible and attractive to search engines, leading to higher rankings.

For more information on technical SEO, read our blog post: The Importance of Technical SEO.

On the topic of broken links, remember the frustration when clicking a link leads you to a "404 Error - Page Not Found"?

It's essential to proactively manage these broken links and metadata, especially during site overhauls or domain changes. 

Cascade CMS' "Broken Link Checker" and "Broken Links Report" helps institutions identify issues and maintain visibility and prevent interruptions in their search rankings.

Cascade CMS also provides various tools like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to enhance the user experience across browsers and devices. It helps manage URL link rewriting, ensuring your sitemap is in the root directory and accessible to search engines.

Mobile Responsiveness and Security

85% of all Americans own smartphones. It's, therefore, crucial to have a mobile-responsive website.

Not only does this help reach a broader audience, but it also contributes to SEO. 

Google's algorithms prioritize mobile-friendly websites, thus influencing your site's ranking.

Cascade CMS helps create human-readable and robot-readable versions of sitemaps, contributing to better SEO performance.

Also, considering the rising importance of security, our CMS system is decoupled from the live website.

This provides better security, ensuring that your CMS will be up and running even in the unfortunate event of a server issue, ensuring no applications or donations are missed.

The Key to User Engagement

On the other side of the SEO coin is on-page content optimization, which refers to the practices that make your content more engaging and relevant to key stakeholders.

Optimizing elements like page URLs, image alt text, page-headings, and providing meaningful, updated content are some keys to a great on-page SEO strategy.

Your page titles and meta descriptions play a significant role here.

A relevant and compelling title and description can dramatically increase click-through rates, attracting more users to your website.

Consistency is Key

SEO requires consistent efforts and adjustments to keep up with the evolving digital content landscape.

It's all about ongoing measurement, iteration, and improvement.

And remember the importance of off-page SEO strategies such as social media and backlink building from other trusted websites.

These strategies complement your on-page efforts, creating a holistic approach to SEO.

The path to mastering SEO doesn't have to be a treacherous journey.

While it's essential to stay aware of Google's algorithm updates, Herzberger suggests focusing on understanding and implementing evergreen SEO practices. 

Ultimately, it's about creating high-quality, engaging content and ensuring your website is structured in a way that's friendly to both search engine bots and your audience.


Mastering SEO for higher education institutions is a dynamic and complex process that involves an in-depth understanding of both on-page content optimization and technical SEO.

These elements, combined with a consistent and evolving strategy, create a pathway to increased visibility, organic traffic, and, ultimately, success.

The webinar and insights that Charlie Holder and Matt Herzberger shared underscore the importance of leveraging SEO techniques and tools, such as those offered by Cascade CMS.

Remember, at its core, SEO is about marrying high-quality content with technical efficiency, consistently monitored and updated, to ensure your website remains appealing to both search engines and site visitors.

Equipped with the knowledge shared in this blog post and the webinar, web admins, digital marketers, and aspiring SEO professionals can confidently navigate the SEO landscape, propelling their higher education institution's online presence forward.

At Hannon Hill, we're committed to helping higher education institutions optimize their online presence and attract more prospective students. Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding your website by completing the form below.

We're always here to help. Remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. So let's lace up and get ready to run!

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Chris Rapozo
Marketing Specialist


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