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SEO & Access Equality, Financial Statements, and the Monthly Traffic Rankings

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) & Equality of Access

Search Engines (Google's market share is 95%) set every website some straightforward tests. They do this to best meet their customers' requirement for accurate, peer hyperlinked (inbound links from a, and specialist/expert content. These algorithms are continuously updated but, in the main, test website operators' for our user consideration, allocated resources and technical awareness.

Our latest review of 448 College's website operations present the results of 5 tests. These mix together the overlapping operational disciplines of SEO and equality of access. All five demand some basic digital skills; tweaking CSS, using an HTML editor, and basic file administration.

1) HTML Title Tag, 2) HTML First Paragraph Tag, 3) CSS Body Font Size, 4) The File Naming Convention, and 5) HTML Image Alt Text. The optimised and equality policy compliant results are:

  1. h1h2 or h3
  2. h4h5 or h6
  3. 16px or bigger
  4. A description with uppercase characters and hyphens.
    e.g. img src="/news/Engineering-Career-College-Students.jpg" ...
  5. This then automatically populates the Alt Text.
    e.g. ... alt="Engineering Career College Students" style="border: 5px solid #e41f19;"

There are only two Colleges that meet this standard for good digital operations: Accrington & Rossendale College and Nottingham College. (NB Do visit Nottingham College's website and open up Developer Tools (F12/Cmd-Shift-C) for an impressive example of white rabbit marketing). With 2,000,000 people in the UK with impaired vision, and all Colleges having an E&D policy, achieving the minimum font size really should be the sectorwide priority.

2017/18 Financial Statements

There's no way to sugercoat this; only 76% of ESFA funded Colleges, over a week after the Department for Education's unambiguous deadline, are presenting their 2017/18 Financial Statements. In clear contrast, 100% of Northern Ireland Colleges present theirs despite not even being required to do so by their funding Department for the Economy. One Clerk to the Corporation did get in contact to write that their Board had yet to meet to agree the finalised Financial Statement, but then again the Treasury's 2020 allocation decision is based, in part, on tests of compliance/competency, which is especially so for sectors with delegated responsibility to do likewise to their students.

February 2019 Alexa Website Traffic Rankings

  1. City of Glasgow College + 1,150 Referring Domains
  2. Edinburgh College + 805 Referring Domains
  3. Glasgow Clyde College + 660 Referring Domains
  4. Exeter College + 601 Referring Domains
  5. Peter Symonds College + 338 Referring Domains
  6. Heart of Worcestershire College + 538 Referring Domains
  7. Barnet & Southgate College + 957 Referring Domains
  8. Southern Regional College + 340 Referring Domains
  9. Solihull College + 539 Referring Domains
  10. South Devon College + 578 Referring Domains

Here's positive news; 131 College websites made it into the top 50,000 Alexa traffic rankings. All Colleges should be in the top 50,000 but reports on student retention/progression and College's choices of VLE are for another time.

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