We had a great audience for yesterday’s webinar on creating a search engine marketing (SEM) plan. We had over 150 professional and continuing education enrollment marketers.
It was the first time that I’ve presented online where we spent almost one hour after the actual presentation addressing questions! Here are a couple of questions (and answers) that stood out:
Do you have specific tips on how to optimize my college website for natural search?
Sure. What are the actions or tactics that lead to natural search results? To be highly visible in natural search results, your website must do two things:
- Get crawled by the search engines
- Optimize content and links to increase relevance to search engines.
This is why planning and research is so important when considering search engine marketing as a strategy. You can’t optimize and get crawled unless you understand how to package your content. You can’t determine if your efforts are producing results unless you start with goals.
From an execution standpoint, putting keywords terms and phrases in bullets and web page headlines is one of many actions that can help search engines index your properly.
Any recommendations on keywords I should use for enrollment marketing?
The answer is it depends. Personas are a great place to start to answer that question. Knowing who your prospective students or constituents are helps you identify the keywords that best represent their intent when searching for you.
Here are a few other ideas that you may want to consider. Track the words that currently bring traﬃc to you and your competitors’ sites via natural search. Pay attention to how current students, program managers, or faculty describe your educational offerings. Use keyword suggestion tools available through Google, Wordtracker, and Yahoo! And consider variations on a selected keyword —gerunds, plurals, misspellings, or hyphens.
How much should I budget for search as part of my enrollment marketing mix?
It depends. And what does it depend on? The online participation profile of your prospective students and constituents. The channels they prefer to learn about things they are interested in.
Start by understanding your prospects: how they make enrollment decisions, what motivates them, when and how they research purchases.
Rather than thinking about budget spend, start with your funnel. How many students are you trying to enroll? How many custom education contracts do you want to sign? Once you have that number, project where the inquiries will come from. Hopefully, you have historical data to give you a baseline. If not make an educated guess.
Search Engine Marketing and Professional and Continuing Education
Given the uniqueness of many professional and continuing education offerings, search engine marketing provides an excellent opportunity to uncover demand. If you would you like to learn more, please contact us.
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