This particular university provides distance learning courses online, through which students can gain degrees. This flexible way of studying means that the students are able to learn from home with the support of advisors and access to learning materials on the web. The distance learners are able to apply and begin a new course when it suits them, rather than having to wait for a certain time of the year, as they start every 4-5 weeks. This way of undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate courses often works out cheaper than attending a traditional university full time. Flexible studying, like eLearning and distance learning, means that the studies can fit any lifestyle and the work can be done in the student’s own time.
4Ps started helping this university over a year ago with its PPC & SEO. The University has since invested in digital PR on an ad hoc basis, as and when it feels it will help to reach its objectives, and therefore it has a very flexible setup to reach out during peak times.
- To drive traffic to the site
- Increase the number of leads
- Downloading prospectus
- Applying online
- Set targets of numbers to achieve (goal completions)
Part of the strategy to help with the onsite SEO for the University was to recommend the best practises while looking at the navigation restructure and the URL structure. There were also recommendations towards the meta data and the onsite optimisation of the content. YouTube optimisation of transcripts for the videos was a clear example of this, as it allows search engines to crawl the videos and understand what they are showing.
Due to the nature of the unique offering of the University, the keywords need had to be assessed from a totally online perspective and consequentially there was no need for geographically targeted keywords, unlike traditional universities. There was also no need to target certain age groups as the courses for the distance learning are open to anyone – including mature, international and traditional students. Therefore, the strategy for the keyword research meant that the different pages on the site were the focus for prioritising and subject course-based keywords offered more relevancy.
In order to achieve the objectives, it was important to analyse the conversion rate optimisation, such as seeing where the drop offs were in the lead up to the online application forms being filled out. These point of conversions and the final bit in the conversion funnels need to be analysed in order to see how they are performing in order to convert more. Analytics, Tag Manager and the use of bespoke dashboards helped with this analysis to identify areas of improvement to increase the conversion rate and decrease the cost per acquisition (CPA).
The University used PPC campaigns targeting course types, as well as branded searches for awareness at the beginning of the purchase funnel, such as deciding what degree to study and what the distance learning provider has to offer.
Remarketing has proven to be successful, targeting users with creative in order to remind them of the University as a key provider of high quality and convenient courses. The campaigns also target international students, mainly from the UAE and Nigeria, as they had a lot of interest in the courses provided.
The aim of the PPC campaigns is to drive conversions and to assist with brand awareness.
Digital PR has helped to achieve online brand awareness through the production of effective content distribution. High quality content that focuses on the MBA has been the most successful area to concentrate, as well as addressing the benefits from the low cost aspect of online learning. These are areas that users want to read about, and therefore through building relationships with influencers and industry bloggers, the content can help to achieve brand awareness for the University’s online brand.
Since working with the University on its SEO and PPC we have seen some impressive results. We have had a 210% increase in traffic to the website year on year since September 2012. The average time on site has improved and has risen by approximately a minute.
From paid search campaigns we saw a 234% increase in goal completions year on year when comparing September 2013 with September 2012. This result was achieved having had fewer clicks, showing the results of a well-optimised account with high quality traffic. The conversion rate for PPC is strong and now up to 5%.
4Ps isn’t just another performance marketing agency. To discuss how integrated SEO and PPC work can boost your bottom line, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels. What could a 4Ps search marketing consultant do for your business?