SEO For Massage Schools: Case Study Cortiva Institute in Chicago

Cortiva Institute is a community of massage therapy schools that deliver high quality of health and wellness education with a focus on humanity. They take a holistic and integrated approach to ensure that their graduates are prepared to work in clinics, hospitals, health clubs, spas, resorts, sports therapy clinics, or start their own private practices.

They have 12 locations throughout the US; Scottsdale and Tucson AZ, Tampa/St. Pete, FL, Chicago, Crystal Lake, and Woodridge IL, Boston, MA, Hoboken and Wall NJ, King of Prussia, PA, and finally Seattle and Federal Way WA.

cortiva institute locations

Technical Audit of Cortiva.com: Outline and Concerns


Images: It looks as though Cortiva.com has upwards of 250 images (gif, jpg, png and bmp files) across its website. The key is to utilize these images to influence the on-page SEO.

  • Make sure all images have alt text attributes (which has shown to correlate with rankings)
  • Add title attributes for accessibility
  • Ensure the image name is optimized to represent the image (instead of image.jpg for a picture of a massage table, use massage-table.jpg)

HTML Pages: the following is a breakdown of the pages on Cortiva.com and the HTML header code they return.

  • Approximately 665 pages that return a 200 header. This means that the search engines see it as a live page as this is the standard response for successful HTTP requests.
  • Approximately 60 pages have a 301 header (which still have links to them throughout the website). This means the page has been permanently moved to a new URL.
  • Approximately 1 page returns a 302 header which is for account security. Normally we would recommend fixing this, but we assume that its due to account security settings.
  • Approximately 530 pages return a 404 error. This is an issue from both an SEO standpoint and a user standpoint. One SEO issue is the missed opportunity to capture the ranking metrics that those pages have gained from external links or social metrics. This can be done by creating a mapping of pages that 404 and 301 redirecting them to similar pages. Another SEO issues is the internal link structure of the website is wasting internal link metrics through links that just 404. These links should be fixed on the internal link structure, along with a 301 redirect put in place to capture any offsite metrics.

Title Tags: Title tags are a primary factor (in the onsite variables group) that Google focuses on to gain insight into the content of a page.

  • There are multiple instances throughout Cortiva.com including their primary website and their blog in which there are duplicate title tags. This can cause Google to filter those pages from the search results, which can cause an opportunity loss for ranking for keywords associated with those pages.
  • There are close to 110 pages that have long title tags (over 70 characters). This can look spammy to Google and should be fixed.
  • The title tags have the opportunity to be optimized to better focus on head, mid, and tail terms. This will help Cortiva Institute capture more targeted traffic around their primary keyword set.

I would suggest optimizing the title tag structure of most pages such as (primary keyword: secondary keyword | Cortiva [location])

Description Tags: Description Tags help click through rate (CTR) from the search results. They also are a signal that Google uses to distinguish between pages that could have duplicate content issues.

  • Cortiva.com has large chunks of duplicate Description Tags across its website.
  • A majority of the Description Tags are flagged as being to long for the search engines, which can look spammy and adds no value in the SERPS for users.

I would suggest working with the person who handles PPC, as they are familiar with and make a living from optimizing CTR.

Meta Keywords Tag: Where as Google does not use the Meta Keywords tag, Bing recently announced (August 2011) that they have gone back to utilizing it as a minor signal to help them understand the page.

  • The majority of the Meta Keywords tags on Cortiva.com are duplicated across multiple pages.
  • Over 500 Meta Keywords tags are longer than they need to be and have the opportunity to be seen as spammy by the search engines.
  • I would suggest going through the site and optimizing them, starting with the highest converting pages first.

Don’t overdo it as it can actually hurt the page if it looks to spammy. I would suggest taking the keywords in the title tag and adding those that are in the Description Tag, which should total approximately 10-20 words at most.

Header Tags (H1, H2, H3): Header tags are like the chapter titles in a book and need to be unique on each page.

  • H1 Tags: Currently most of the H1 tags throughout the website simply are duplicated, saying “Cortiva Institute”, and the pages that don’t have this H1 duplicated, don’t have an H1 at all.
  • H2 Tags: The H2 tags actually are more descriptive of the page content then the H1 tag. There are still duplication issues with the H2 tags, so that should be fixed as well to eliminate the duplicates.
  • I would suggest optimizing the header tags and also relabel the H2 tags H1, and the H1 tag that was defined as “Cortiva Institute” should be removed (since it does not add value to the page).

Canonical Tag: This is a great way to minimize duplicate content caused by vanity URLs, poor site structure, or internal tracking perimeters added to the URL string for click tracking. Not all search engines honor this tag, but it is still a best practice. Cortiva.com does not currently utilize this tag, but should to control duplicate content issues.

Link Analysis of Cortiva.com


Basic Domain Link Metrics: Currently Cortiva.com has over 320,000 links coming from about 700 linking root domains.

  • mRank: 5.07/10
  • mTrust: 5.45/10
  • External Followed Links: 2,122
  • Total External Links: 2,249
  • Total Links: 323,452
  • Followed Linking Root Domains: 635
  • Total Linking Root domains: 688
  • Linking C Blocks: 448

Top 10 Anchor Texts: Anchor text is a primary factor Google and the other search engines use to determine what a page should be ranked for. Below are the top 10 anchor text phrases that are being used to link to Cortiva.com.

top 10 anchor text Cortiva.com

Top 5 Pages: Below you will find the top 5 pages on Cortiva.com based on metrics such as; page authority, linking root domains, inbound links, Facebook Shares, Tweets, and Google +1’s.

top 5 pages Cortiva.com

Competitive Analysis for Cortiva.com


Our assumption is that Cortiva.com’s top keyword is Massage Therapy School. Below you will find a basic competitive analysis of that keyword and what it will take Coritva.com to rank for that keyword. The data is for the entire US, and not localized. At first I thought this might be an issue, but after thinking more about it, it probably benefits Cortiva to try and rank nationally to drive new student enrollment outside of their primary local locations. This is one of their primary keywords and can be done across a much larger set of keywords to understand Cortiva.com’s true online competition and market share in the search engines.

ranking analysis cortiva massage therapy school

Social Outline of Cortiva.com


Cortiva has multiple Facebook pages broken out for each of their local locations. They also have a primary Facebook page featured below. Social marketing is one of the primary distribution channels that Cortiva could use for recruitment and link building.

cortiva facebook page