Ideas, insights and inspirations.

In the past 30 years, Elliance has deployed SEO strategies for more than 100 colleges, universities and higher education institutions in service of growing their enrollment, endowment and reputation. Why have we insisted on recommending SEO to our higher education marketing clients? For two reasons. First, because Google/Bing page 1 is destiny. Trusted page one organic rankings and high visibility for your social media content equate to owning the world’s hottest real estate. 90% of users never go beyond page 1 of search results. Organic rankings (i.e. the top 10 natural search results) are clicked 9-folds more, trusted more, and convert three-folds better than paid ads.  Second, being found on page 1 is the best means for finding, getting, keeping and growing right-fit students, faculty, and staff as well as nurturing relationships with alumni, foundations corporate partners and media. We recommend our clients begin the SEO journey by crafting an intentional plan powered by a Keyword Lexicon that contains clusters … Continue reading

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Elliance, a higher education website design and SEO marketing agency, helps universities with redesign and SEO projects. Here is a glimpse of our recent work for UNC Charlotte which resulted in top rankings in North Carolina.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website and creating fresh content to improve your website rankings on Google, Bing and other search engines. Search engine algorithms today use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to understand and interpret user queries and serve up search results. Google has introduced some famous algorithm updates like RankBrain, Bert and MUM which use AI principles to improve search functionality. With the introduction of ChatGPT, AI has gone mainstream and now everyone is talking about it. However, in the world of Search algorithms & SEO, AI has been playing a part for a much longer time. Here are some of the ways these AI principles are being used to serve up results that users are looking for: 1. Natural language processing (NLP) AI-powered NLP enables search engines to understand the context, intent, and semantics of search queries and website content. The Google Hummingbird update that launched in August 2013 represented a fundamental change in … Continue reading

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Google page one is destiny. Colleges and universities that pursue and achieve top organic Google rankings using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques prosper and thrive. The best prospective students prefer to “discover” the college of their choice through “accidental finds” on Google page one and via word-of-mouth on social media and influencers. They out-convert paid advertising leads three-fold (which, in turn, out-convert purchased names three-fold). The following strategies have proven to grow undergraduate, graduate, online, adult and international student enrollment: 1. Define Your Qualitative and Quantifiable Enrollment Goals and Objectives Recruiting Students: Find, attract and motivate prospective right-fit undergraduate, graduate, online and adult students so they can learn more, request information, visit and apply. Reassuring Parents: Inform them about student safety, support and outcomes. Engaging Lifelong Learners: Find, attract and motivate prospective right-fit lifelong learners to engage with the college and its programs. Up-skilling Working Professionals: Find, attract and motivate prospective right-fit professionals so they can learn more, request information … Continue reading

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Because people can only buy your products and services if they can find them, a website should be easy to use and have a fighting chance at securing the highest possible ranking on search engines. As one of Pittsburgh’s longest standing website design agencies, Elliance has been delivering prosperity with SEO-friendly websites for regional, national and global clients for the past 30 years. Here are six ways we infuse SEO into every stage of website design: 1. Strategy + Keyword Guide At the very start of your website redesign project, ensure that you not only declare your SEO goals in the website strategy document, but also craft a Keyword Guide that contains clusters of keywords and phrases spanning your products/services and areas of thought leadership, innovation and intellectual capital. Laying claim to the keywords begins with an intentional plan. 2. Information Architecture After completion of your sitemap, build wireframes with a balanced mix of digital assets to increase user engagement and … Continue reading

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This is the third of a four part series on website design best practices we have used as one of Pittsburgh’s longest standing website design and SEO agencies. These practices have consistently delivered prosperity to regional, national and global clients for the past 30 years. Because Google page one is destiny-creating, our second crucial web development best practice is to apply this search engine optimization (SEO) checklist. The key elements are: 1. Write Distinct, SEO-Friendly Page Titles Arguably the most important on-page ranking factor, these titles are served up on search results pages. They should make a promise to users, motivate users to click to explore further, differentiate you from competitors, and guide search engine bots on what to expect on the page. 2. Compose Proper Meta-Tags Though partially invisible to human beings, they provide content and ranking guidance to search engine bots. Parts of the meta-tag are served up on search results pages and social media post news streams. … Continue reading

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Featured Snippets are the highlighted results at the top of a Google Search Results page. Also known as position “zero”, they appear above the first organic result. Google displays these results when they determine that this format will help the user more easily discover what they’re looking for. Featured Snippets can show up as a list, a paragraph, a table and a video. At Elliance, a higher education SEO and digital marketing agency, we have been helping clients get top rankings for over 20 years. As we work to boost rankings for our higher education marketing clients, we aim our efforts to get strong featured snippet rankings for our clients. There have been some remarkable results that we’ve noticed in cases where we’ve achieved featured snippet rankings. Benefits of Ranking on Featured Snippet Results Higher clickthrough rates: Research shows that people click more on featured snippet results. According to Search Engine Watch featured snippets account for 35% of all clicks. FirstPageSage.com … Continue reading

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As Pittsburgh’s longest standing SEO/Inbound agency, Elliance has been delivering prosperity to regional, national and multinational clients for the past 28 years. Before I share our best practices, let me define two terms with a little history lesson. SEO or “search engine optimization” is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility on Google, Microsoft Bing, and other search engines. In the early days, the first search engines trusted marketer’s claims and the quantity of claims. Marketers naturally began to game website content by jamming boatloads of content on their websites. Google came into the picture and changed the game: instead of ranking websites based on marketers claims, it started ranking them based on conversations and inbound links to the marketer’s website from other websites. In turn, marketers started buying inbound links from content farms that were created to game Google’s algorithm. Google got smarter yet again. It started penalizing websites for content stuffing and buying links from … Continue reading

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Second in a three-part blog series on a concept that author R. Todd Erkel calls “the battle for meaning.” We will look at the evolution of cause marketing and its relationship to code, content, Google’s algorithm, and page one organic search results. Organizations and companies once believed that possessing knowledge was enough to win hearts and minds. Later, they believed that communicating knowledge – through traditional media and conventional cause marketing methods – would suffice. More recently, causes and companies have acknowledged the need for deep and sustained digital content campaigns – blogs, microsites, video – to engage customers and advance a cause. The next frontier requires even more intentionality so that all content efforts converge to produce a renewable source of organic traffic and an ever-expanding, loyal and engaged audience. Three cause campaigns expanding into wider “battles” for meaning. Air BNB: “We Accept” A few years back, Airbnb faced backlash when customers raised concerns about hosts discriminating when accepting guest … Continue reading

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First in a three-part blog series on a concept that author R. Todd Erkel calls “the battle for meaning.” We will look at the evolution of cause marketing and its relationship to code, content, Google’s algorithm, and page one organic search results. Organizations and companies once believed that possessing knowledge was enough to win hearts and minds. Later, they believed that communicating knowledge – through traditional media and conventional cause marketing methods – would suffice. More recently, causes and companies have acknowledged the need for deep and sustained digital content campaigns – blogs, microsites, video – to engage customers and advance a cause. The next frontier requires even more intentionality so that all content efforts converge to produce a renewable source of organic traffic and an ever-expanding, loyal and engaged audience. The battle for meaning around a pandemic virus and the human response traces back more than two centuries, long before we associated a phrase like “vaccine confidence” to a … Continue reading

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