Although many high school students researching colleges head to the web for information, most universities do a poor job of search engine optimization (SEO), according to research from WordStream.

The company says that 15 universities are "excelling at SEO," while the vast majority of other schools in the country are failing when it comes to using search engine optimization (SEO).

It might not be surprising that some of the top schools using search engine optimization (SEO) are online universities. According to WordStream, Philadelphia’s Drexel University is the top school for its use of SEO, but the online colleges of University of Phoenix, Capella University, Canyon College, Western Governors University American Sentinel University and Northcentral University all rank high.

With the exception of a few traditional schools like Pennsylvania State University and Gonzaga University, WordStream’s Ken Lyons says most schools are losing their online visibility to other websites.

"What I found to be completely bewildering is how the bulk of college websites are outranked by aggregate degree guides or list sites," Lyons writes on the WordStream blog. "As such, they have to resort to paid search to get listed in the SERPs because they’re inept at SEO. Seriously, college websites (because of their .edu status) are branded, trusted, authoritative, powerful domains and should be able to outrank sites like nursingdegreeguide.org with ease. Yet even with this clear advantage, they still come up short."

Colleges aren’t the only organizations that can use search engine optimization (SEO) to recruit people. A recent whitepaper from SharkStrike found that using SEO can help companies recruit better candidates for their job openings.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.