Organic traffic makes up the largest source of visits for an institution’s website and will typically have a higher conversion rate than any other type of traffic source.
With this in mind, a dynamic, smart and effective SEO strategy needs to be at the forefront of your mind. The more traffic you bring to your website, to landing pages that are relevant to the search, the more likely you are of generating enquiries and converting these into those quality enrolments.
Clearing is more vital than ever, with so much search traffic and research behaviours occurring earlier each year. So, what’s the plan? How are you are going boost your organic traffic figures on those all-important Clearing pages, and do you know the behaviours of the 2018 Clearing student?
Catch up with our SEO webinar: How to increase organic site traffic and conversions, in time for Clearing.
We hosted a live webinar which provided valuable insight, industry knowledge and solutions for implementing the best SEO strategy, in time for Clearing period.
Here’s a little tease of the type of content we covered in the webinar, as well as a few things you can begin thinking about now (no time like the present, right guys?).
1) Remember, Clearing is no longer just one day
As the National Clearing Survey demonstrates, Clearing isn’t just about students who don’t get the results they want on A Level Results Day. Therefore, you want your core and main course pages ranking on Google months before the actual Clearing deadline in August. The National Clearing Survey has meaningful data on the different audience profiles, which provides insight into when specific messaging should be targeted at each group. For example, did you know that the Direct Applicant is now considered as an active choice? Conduct research and ensure you optimise those important course pages with the right information, so Google can rank it appropriately when it indexes the page. Remember folks, don’t overdo the keyword density, it has to look natural. Natives Global Consulting can help you conduct keyword research to establish which courses should be prioritised, based on which would be the most profitable. Get in touch for more information.
2) Build a permanent landing page
If you’re running large advertising campaigns in the run-up to Clearing, then you’re going to have numerous landing pages, which are only live at crucial times and sitting separately from your main site. For organic search purposes, you must have a permanent Clearing page present on your main site. This way, you will be giving Google plenty of time to index this page and display it to prospective students at the most critical times. Work with your development team to make sure that the load speed is kept to a minimum, countless canonical tags are not going to do you any favours when wanting to maximise the speed of your landing page.
3) How does your current content measure up?
If your content isn’t up to scratch, it will not work. Ensure you are using specific messaging, which is going to suit the needs and wants of a prospective Clearing student. You’ll want to make sure that this student visits a useful Clearing page on your site; instead of a generic holding page, which tells them nothing about how Clearing could work for them. Although the page will need to be carefully optimised for Google indexing, the user experience is even more important.
Ask yourself these questions when writing your content:
- Does it answer the key questions, which may be on the prospective student’s mind, such as: ‘what is clearing?’ and ‘when can I apply through Clearing?’
- Does it follow a simple and easy to digest page structure, which will keep the reader engaged?
- Does it state clearly when the Clearing helpline will open?
- Does it use real student stories to show prospective students that Clearing is a positive thing?
- Is the page is fully integrated and consistent with the main site’s layout so prospective students can easily explore your institution’s offering?
4) Be aware that mobile first is coming
Google has indicated that their ‘Mobile First’ index will be with us shortly. This would mean that the search engine giant would index the mobile version of your site first, before going to the desktop version. Make sure your current website is responsive and optimised for mobile searches. For example, the National Clearing Survey demonstrated that almost two-thirds of students used mobiles to search for a Clearing institution; with mobile-only usage accounting for 20% of searches, an increase of 3% on 2016.
5) Give Voice Search some real thought
This is becoming more and more popular, with 20% of mobile searches being made via the voice search option. Voice searches tend to be a lot a longer, compared to those keyed in; which makes them more conversational and informal. Make sure that your keywords are more casual, to complement these types of searches (especially on your mobile device). Spend time researching the types of questions students will be asking Google, and identify how you can incorporate these naturally into your website’s content.
For more information on how we think 2018 will pan out ‘SEO wise’ then check out our blog post on the top trends to watch for in 2018, and if you’d like to speak to one of our SEO experts, get in touch.