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The most effective college enrollment marketing strategy is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a set of techniques college marketers employ to secure page one rankings on Google, Bing, and other search engines. Choosing the right set of keywords and creating content infused with those keywords is how college marketers achieve coveted page one rankings for their programs and schools. Elliance works with higher education marketers to not only map the right set of keywords across the prospective student journey, but also to optimize their website and social media to secure Google page one rankings for those keywords. We undertake this task regardless of whether the objective is to increase enrollment for undergraduate, graduate, online, adult, or international students. To make a college decision, prospective students and their families move through a logical set of steps. At each stage of their journey, students and families use a unique set of keywords on Google and Bing to search for information. AWARENESS … Continue reading

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is the greatest equalizer amongst higher education marketing tactics. Using smarts, underdogs become wonder dogs and Davids defeat Goliaths. All our college and university clients have ambitions for increasing and growing their undergraduate, graduate, adult, online and international students. Following are seven success stories of our SEO clients: 1. Underdog Wins: William Woods University Located in mid-Missouri, two hours from Saint Louis and three from Kansas City, William Woods boasts a combination of me-too and distinctive programs. Just by dominating Google page one in all four corners of Missouri for its commodity programs, we doubled their online enrollment and grew their graduate enrollment by 25 percent over a 3-year period. For its distinctive equestrian science and ASL programs, we secured national Google page one rankings which began attracting students from across the US. They never looked back. 2. Small Giant Leaps: St. Edward’s University Located in eclectic Austin, Texas, surrounded by big publics, this little gem … Continue reading

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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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As a leading SEO Agency for colleges, universities and higher education institutions, we are frequently asked to share our best practices. This is part of a series of posts to explain how SEO audit can serve their interests. SEO or “search engine optimization” is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility on Google, Bing and other international search engines. Institutions that pursue and achieve top organic or natural Google and Bing rankings prosper and thrive. There are good reasons for this. Organic rankings are more trusted, more clicked and out-convert paid advertising leads three-fold. 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. When serving higher education institutions, we begin their SEO journey by conducting a twelve-point SEO audit to assess the following: 1. Website Performance Metrics AuditWe begin by testing site load speed, … Continue reading

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This SEO guide was written to help under-resourced, small to medium colleges, universities and higher education institutions who can’t compete in the marketing arms race and therefore need to out-wit and out-smart the deep-pocketed Goliaths. We call them small giants. As one of the leading higher education marketing SEO agencies, we learned the strategies and tactics presented here from serving numerous small giants of higher education. We salute them. What is SEO? SEO or “search engine optimization” is a set of techniques higher education marketers deploy to improve their institutions’s natural or organic website rankings on Google, Bing and other international search engines. Why Colleges and Universities Embrace Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Colleges and universities that pursue and achieve top organic or natural Google rankings prosper and thrive. There are many reasons for this. A few are listed below: Prospective audiences trust organic rankings more and click on them more. Leads generated from organic rankings out-convert paid advertising leads three-fold. … 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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Organic rankings are trusted more, clicked more and convert three-folds better than paid ads. This is precisely why smart colleges and universities take the long view. They develop a plan that goes after the lowest hanging fruit first (local rankings), then harder-to-achieve rankings (regional), and finally the hardest-to-achieve national, international and reputation rankings. They follow the age-old wisdom: slow and steady wins the race.Organic rankings are trusted more, clicked more and convert three-folds better than paid ads. This is precisely why smart colleges and universities take the long view. They develop a plan that goes after the lowest hanging fruit first (local rankings), then harder-to-achieve rankings (regional), and finally the hardest-to-achieve national, international and reputation rankings. They follow the age-old wisdom: slow and steady wins the race.

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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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Google page 1 is destiny. 90% of users never go beyond page 1. Organic rankings are trusted more, and convert 3X better than paid ads. 10-Step SEO plan for colleges, universities and higher education institutions to secure coveted Google page 1 rankings.

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Colleges and universities can take the following SEO steps to grow their undergraduate, graduate, online and international enrollment. 1. Make your website responsive, secure and fast Google rewards responsive websites – the ones that auto-adjust gracefully on smartphones, tablets or desktops. Google also ranks higher those websites that load fast and are running in secure mode. 2. Use .edu Instead of Using .com, .org and Other Domains Since each college and university can be awarded only one (and occasionally two) .edu domains, search engines generally rank .edu websites higher than other domain extensions. Use .edu domains for websites, landing pages and microsites. 3. Create a Keyword Lexicon, and Claim Top Search Engine Rankings Develop a Keyword Lexicon for your college. The lexicon is comprised of keywords and key phrases the college should claim. Categories in the lexicon include program keywords, brand positioning keywords, reputation keywords, decisioning keywords, and location keywords. Prospective students use different clusters of keywords at each phase … Continue reading

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