Ezines

Optimize Your Website, Increase Your Enrollments

Liz Kistner - Monday, October 27, 2014

Get found, increase conversions.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) not only helps your school rank high in the organic search but also can help you build a strategic recruiting strategy around "pay-per-click".  While little research has been conducted on the relative effectiveness of Internet marketing tactics in Higher Education according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the web is a perfect place to search in order to compete effectively in a competitive marketplace.  


JUST THE FACTS:

  • 81% of website visits are initiated from search engines (Forrester Research)
  • Americans spend more time on the Internet than watching television (Forrester Research)
  • One billion Internet searches daily (Jupiter)
  • ROI of Internet marketing is eight times greater than traditional advertising methods (SEMPO)
SEO is influenced by:
  • Design & site architecture
  • Page titles and meta tags
  • Keywords & phrase selection
  • Keyword rich copy
  • Link popularity
Search engine optimization can help your school:
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase its applicant pool
  • Improve customer service
  • Generate enrollments
  • Save time and money
  • Create demand, value, and visibility through rich content, stories/testimonials, video, or pictures
Reports that are generated through SEO can answer the following questions:
  • Which marketing initiatives are the most effective for your site?
  • Why and at what point are visitors leaving your website?
  • Is your website design driving people away?
  • Where are your site visitors coming from?
  • What do people do while visiting your site?
  • What keywords do people use to find your site?
  • How do I drive prospective students to our website?
  • What keywords are students looking for?
  • How does your school evaluate competitors?
  • How does your school measure the results and refine online strategy for higher enrollment performance?
  • How do you understand web analytics as it relates to lead generation?
 Trends and how SEO is executed:
  1. Search 3.0 - Blended search which may include blogs, news, videos, and pictures.
  2. Social Media- Universities are starting to realize the benefits of interacting with their students.
  3. Real-Time Search- Real- time search results are indexed from news sites.
  4. Mobile Search- Cell phone technology has allowed users to search via mobile devises.
  5. Reputation Management- Universities are using SEO techniques that manage and control information.
  6. Vertical Search- This allows schools to target the right audience more precisely; provides highly qualified traffic through search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

While search engines are constantly refining their algorithms as part of their efforts to provide the best results for their visitors, algorithms do not change 100%.  They are only refined.  Continually monitoring and refining results on a regular basis is the key to site traffic for your prospective students.  When one practices (white hat) recommendations and persistently optimized the site the results will come. 

Search usage is exploding and the ability to drive visitors to your Web site is a critical marketing element that can't be ignored.  Search marketing allows your school to raise your sites visibility to attract and acquire more students.

Resources
  • "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug 
  • "Marketing, the For-Profit Way" by Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 1, 2006
  • "Search Engine Marketing, Inc: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company's Web Site" by Mike Moran and Bill Hunt
  • "In Search of a Better Search Engine" by Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 20, 2009 
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