GOOGLE INTRODUCES Q&A CAROUSEL: A new SERP feature was recently introduced by Google. Along with featured snippets, People Also Ask, the knowledge panel, and others, a new Q&A carousel will include, you guessed it, questions related to the search query and top-ranked organic pages that provide the best answers. Technical SEO, in the form of FAQ structured data markup, can help signal to Google that your content is Q&A in nature and improve that chance your content appears in this new SERP feature.
Why you should care: Schools have plenty of Q&A content on their websites about application deadlines, financial aid, and admissions requirements. Organizing content in a question and answer format can increase the chance that your content appears in this new feature and in turn, increase organic traffic and click through rates to your program pages.
KEYWORD SEARCHING COMING TO INSTAGRAM: It used to be that Instagram users could only search for content by hashtags, location tags, usernames, and profile names. But now, users can search for content by keywords/queries, just like they would on search engines. Photo and video posts with captions that match or are related to the query would then be shown in the results by Instagram. So, does this open the door for Instagram SEO?
Why you should care: It’s not clear how Instagram ranks and shows content without the use of hashtags, but there is machine learning at play that determines what an Instagram post is about. What we do know is that post type, captions, and post date are just a few of the “ranking factors.” It’ll take a few months to see how Instagram users apply this new feature, but nonetheless, Instagram optimization and SEO could become a large part of your social media strategy moving forward. It’s not far-fetched that ranking on Instagram for “MBA programs” (for example) could be a reality in 2021.
YEAR IN SEARCH 2020: Google’s year in search 2020 report uncovered the most common searches and trends this year. While it’s no surprise that COVID-19 and the presidential election topped the search trends report, it is a reminder that search trends ebb and flow over time. More importantly, the Google Trends tool can be a valuable resource for schools looking to tailor content, like social media posts for example, to the latest search trends.
Why you should care: Google Trends allows enrollment marketers to explore topics and keywords by typing in queries and looking at interest in that query over time. Trends will also show enrollment marketers related queries and keywords, and compare different keywords to one another. This tool can help serve as the basis for content strategy in social media, video, or even podcasts by covering topics that are trending, highly searched, and relevant to your programs.
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