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Essence Of SEO Marketing For Educational Marketers

The future of SEO is in recognizing the user’s intent and the deeper layers of wants and desires that drive their behaviour.

With the advent of technology and social media, a consumer’s journey in indulging in online content has become very complicated. The overall process of marketing services to the designated target audience has undergone a massive transformation. Consumers can now easily discover new options and make comparisons before making the final decision. This has given rise to maintaining a gigantic balance of innovation, creativity and data during the planning and strategizing phase of a marketing plan. So, how can brands modify the marketing funnel to engage with this new digital-age consumer?  A full-funnel approach is one of the most significant aspects of every marketing strategy as this helps brands convert the potential customer into actual customers. This can be done on digital platforms by showcasing relevant messaging to the target audiences, and helping them move along the funnel from ‘Awareness’ to ‘Consideration’ and finally ‘Conversion’.   

With the rising usage of internet connectivity, it is virtually unfeasible to find anything on the web without utilizing a search engine. The search engine provides you with multiple options under that domain based on the rankings and the relevance of the keywords used. This type of marketing has gained massive popularity over the last couple of years. Education Institutes, Colleges and Universities have started making optimum use of this type of marketing in designing their campaigns, penetrating in the education sector and tapping the right set of target audiences. Optimizing your website pages results in actively being found by both your visitors and search engines. The future of SEO is in recognizing the user’s intent and the deeper layers of wants and desires that drive their behaviour. After all, once someone lands on a website, a great deal of intelligence is required to keep the users engaged.  

Online searches have been ranked as the top method used by prospective college applicants to discover universities and programs and the second most popular method used both during as well as after the admissions process. As per a recent study, 83% of students research online for their university choices while 50% of students use search engines when searching schools. This makes it essential for educators to prioritize their higher education marketing plan and the specific SEO tactics that need to be tackled. 

Below are a few specific areas that need to be focussed upon while planning an SEO centric campaign that will result in higher content optimization:   

Keywords

When we talk about SEO, keywords play the most significant role in getting your page to rank well. Hence, as an SEO expert one must ensure the usage of most relevant words to the courses that you offer and people would search for.   

There are two ways universities can maximise the usage of keywords 

  • Using abbreviations like MBA or PGDM along with the university name instead of using the entire course name 

Example: MBA (instead of Masters of Business Administration) | University Name 

MBA | ABC University 

  • Using branded course name instead of the common or generic course names 

Example: Institute Name (followed by) MBA | University Name 

ABC Institute MBA | ABC University  

Having said that, there are also certain limitations to SEO. One of them being that not all widely used keywords can be found in the Google database, and they need to be researched on other platforms as well.    

URLs

URLs are considered as the building blocks of an effective site hierarchy passing equity through domain and directing users to your website. This makes it important to use static URLs that contain keywords. 

An effective URL should contain the keywords from the title and the joining words like, “the”, “to”, “and” can be omitted. 

However, URLs should make sense in isolation, i.e. if someone is reading the URL, they should be able to understand what the website is about.   

As per a recent report by Backlinko, the URL length has been listed at #46 in Google’s top 200 rankings while the keywords in the URL is at #51. This is how significant it is to create appropriate URLs for your website.  

Example: An MBA in finance degree in an institute can have the following URL “www.yourinstitute.edu/mbafinance.”   

Page Titles

The first and the best way to grab a user’s attention is by using the appropriate headline. The meta title is the most important part of the page; it strongly impacts your ranking on the search engine. 

Meta Title is the blue clickable link that is shown on the search engine. Clicking on it directs you to the specific web page. The browser tab of the particular web page also shows the same title.  

A lot of search engines utilise the title to determine the main subject of the page for indexing purposes.  

Example: “University Name” MBA Program Guide: MBA Program: “University Name” Course Structure  

Visual Content

The popularity of images and videos is increasing rapidly and comprises a large chunk of internet traffic. They play an essential role in the storytelling process and are a means of communicating quickly and effectively with the consumers. The images and videos should consist of all the keywords relevant not only to the course but also the overall university culture, infrastructure, and should be able to give out all the vital information easily. According to MarketingSherpa, as much as 50% of website visitors determine whether to continue navigating a web page or abandon it within 8 seconds. This makes it essential to grab the user's attention towards your website, and the simplified accessibility makes them form a positive opinion about your brand. 

As students move from conventional research techniques like education magazines and brochures to conducting online research, colleges and universities are also evolving and bringing in new ways of marketing their courses to gain higher engagement. As per a recent survey, 97% of students will initiate contact with a university online in the upcoming year and it is absolutely critical not only to build and maintain a relevant digital presence, but also a “robust search functionality.” This will ensure that you do not miss out your potential customers. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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