HigherEdMorning.comBest college Web sites named

Best college Web sites named

September 6, 2009 by Geneva Reid
Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views, Tech News

Your school’s Web site may look terrific – but if it’s not coming up high in a list of search results, it’s not doing its job. Take a look at this list of colleges that are doing it right.

For any organization – higher ed or otherwise – the name of the game when it comes to Web sites is reaching the target market. And to do that, you need to be visible in the search engines.

Wordstream, Inc.,  ranked colleges according to search engine optimization, which they based on three factors: Root keywords, relevant modifiers and hostname frequency.

To view all the results from the study, click here.

The top 15 schools (some of which offer only online degrees) are:

  • Drexel University
  • University of Phoenix
  • Capella University
  • Ferris State University
  • Western Governors University
  • Penn State University
  • Northcentral University
  • Oregon State University
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • University of Texas
  • Canyon College
  • Gonzaga University
  • American Sentinel University
  • University of Illinois
  • Grand Canyon University

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • Sheila

    The title of this article is FAR from accurate. Just because a college offers degrees online does not mean it has the best website. You elminated all colleges that do not have online degrees that probably have way better websites than most of the “colleges” on your list. The title should be Best College Websites that Offer Online Degrees named.

    Editor’s response: As explained in the article, the term “best” in this case refers to search engine optimization, a function that is becoming increasingly relevant for all colleges.

  • bob

    Would be interesting to rerun your study dropping the use of “online” as a modifier. As Sheila points out, you might generate a different list of best SEO college websites for traditional degree programs.

  • http://www.wordstream.com/keyword-tools ken lyons


    i’m the author of the original post and conducted the study. in the spirit of fairness, i intentionally used the modifier “online” for only half the search queries for testing, so that colleges without distance learning programs would have an equal chance of ranking. regardless, online universities or schools with a strong online program still dominated the results.


  • Liz

    I didn’t know the Grand Canyon had a university. I was there not too long ago, but I don’t remember it. Where do they hide it?

  • http://www.tamut.edu Sheryl

    I ran a Google Search on Universities and negating the paid sites UT, and MIT are in the top ten, also a list of colleges in my area which our site is listed fifth down the page. I do believe your data is skewed. I realize Google is not the only search engine, but it is widly used. We offer on-line classes, but they are minimal. Our main campus offers many on-line classes. I would be the first to say that our web site needs some work, but so does your article.

  • http://www.brazosportcollege.edu Karen

    OK, people. The title and whether or not the schools only offer online courses are not tied together. The title is referring to how many hits a school gets from ADVERTISING and word-of-mouth traffic plus any keywords the home site uses that a search engine picks up. Having online courses will naturally make a school show up more because people are SEARCHING for them and they gain in popularity. As school names show up and get more hits, they move up the rank. If a schoold does not offer online courses, there are keywords they can add to their home info pages that can increase their hit count. Make sense? The author said “search engine optimization” — that’s all it is — how well a site is “loaded” with searched words/phrases that captures them for results of a search.

  • http://classifiedadfinder.org/ Margert Coverstone

    lolol where is a light beer when you want one


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