It’s no surprise that if higher education marketers had a better understanding of their prospective and current students, they’d be able to prepare better recruitment and retention strategies. For those of us facing SEO for higher education, gaining that understanding doesn’t have to be a fantasy – or require a large time investment.
How is this possible? By unlocking the power of dashboards in Google Analytics. After the initial 20-minute set-up process, you get access to snapshots of your college’s most important data (filtered to any timeframe). Gain powerful insights into student digital body language – and even your site’s weaknesses – by strategically customizing your dashboard.
Take a few minutes to set up the top widgets for colleges and universities:
Application Submissions by Day of the Week
Are Fridays more valuable to your university than Sundays? If you see days with a high number of application submissions, engage with your audience on social media outlets to use the natural momentum. Conversely, if you see a day that’s struggling, send out a targeted email message to get in front of your students.
Visits with Site Search
Are you losing potential applicants with a convoluted site structure? Students should be able to easily accomplish your defined goals once they reach your homepage. If you see a high percentage of your users relying on site search, it’s time to look at your navigation for conversion rate optimization opportunities.
With mobile internet usage projected to overtake desktop in 2014, you need to know how users are accessing your site. If you see an increase in mobile and tablet traffic, be sure your site is optimized for mobile to capture those potential students.
Average Bounce Rate by Program
Create a filter for your priority programs and look at their individual and collective bounce rates. Are they higher than your site average? Using this data, you can hone in on pages that lose engagement – and potential students. Reduce user friction by editing the page’s content or highlighting the call to action to boost your conversion rate.
What metrics do you use to gauge your university’s performance? Share them in the comments below.
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