It's the time of year when promoting your college or university's programs is incredibly important. To hit the right audiences with the programs for which you're most in need of filling slots for upcoming semesters, you'll need to make sure you use your website wisely and engage in positive SEO practices on your university website.

Here are a few good starting points for promoting your majors and departments digitally.

Do Your Research

How are people looking for information about your majors—or, for that matter, about college majors in general? Do some background research on how people are searching before you get too far down the pipeline on your digital strategy. This research can help you determine what you write about in blogs and press-room pages, as well as informs copy across your entire website. Keyword research and search traffic investigation gives you more insight into your target audience of high school recruits and improves your majors' ability to show up in relevant search results. (This should also inform your paid search strategy.)

Make Your Pages User-Centric

Once visitors navigate to your academic pages, how are you serving them the content they're looking for? Ensure everyone who lands on your key pages knows exactly what action you want them to take. Put a logical order on the page to improve the content flow, and simplify and cut down on bulk copy and unnecessary steps and red tape. You want to make sure that pages you're putting advertising spend behind will have a positive conversion rate once high-schoolers land there.

Improve the Flow

Speaking of flow, some of the best tools at your disposal for promoting your most critical programs, departments and majors is to make sure your college or university website gives the right opportunities to site visitors at the right times—from "schedule a visit" and information request calls to action (CTAs) to a well-time "apply now" button. CTAs are your best friend when it comes to gathering new potential recruit leads. And don't rest on your laurels—try out page order and various CTAs, analyze your results and make changes to optimize your page content. A/B testing is key to successful CTA usage and flow.

Earn Some Link Love

There's nothing quite like a third-party link to really gain you some authority in search rankings with your target audience. Google prizes an inbound link, particularly when the referencing site itself has some authority. This makes it all the easier for your potential recruits to find your major information pages. (Pro tip—find your way onto blogs and news hubs where high-schoolers frequent, such as BuzzFeed and YouTube, and you'll have double the benefit.

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