POSITION ZERO IS DEAD, SHOULD WE DE-OPTIMIZE CONTENT?: Two weeks ago, Google announced: “If a webpage is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer include it in the first page of results.” The announcement removes the heralded “position 0” and has some SEO experts trying to de-optimize content. The top 10 SERPs now include the featured snippet and 9 other organic listings. Experts claim that though the featured snippet is often read by the user, the user rarely clicks the URL in the snippet. Instead, the user tends to click on the first organic listing below the featured snippet, making position 2 more desirable to some.
Why you should care: De-optimizing content is counterintuitive; it requires you to purposefully take a click-through-rate hit to avoid taking a perceived click-through-rate dip from being listed as the featured snippet. The likelihood of de-optimizing your content so precisely that you still end up in Position 2 is slim to none, so it’s best not to risk tanking your hard-won SEO credibility. For enrollment managers, obtaining the featured snippet spot is still the ultimate goal. You’ll get more eyes on your content, more name recognition, and smart speakers like Alexa will read your snippet from a voice search. You’ll still be the first to provide prospective students with answers to their questions.
MINE REDDIT FOR CONTENT IDEAS: Ever wondered what prospective students are actually searching for or what questions they have? There’s a good chance they’re directly asking those questions on Reddit. Find a subreddit dedicated to a particular topic on the GRE, the ROI of graduate school, or even on your specific program.These subreddits have upvoted or downvoted content. Content with a high number of upvotes helps marketers verify topics that are resonating with the audience, providing inspiration for your next Tweet, eBook, or video..
Why you should care: Prospective students are asking questions on Reddit, and chances are they’re asking the same ones on Google, too. Mining subreddits, like r/GraduateSchool, r/GRE, or even r/MBA can help inspire your next video, content, or re-optimize a program page to answer questions you might not even know they had.
WHAT YOUR SIS CAN AND CAN’T DO: A SIS (Student Information System) is an internal-facing system that houses student data, student records, transcripts, and GPA information. It should play no role in outward student recruitment or engagement activities. On the other hand, a CRM (customer relationship management) tool contains some student information, but integrates with marketing platforms like social media, websites, email, and more, with the goal of nurturing prospective students to the point that they enroll and their data becomes stored in the SIS.
Why you should care: Your SIS is not external-facing. It won’t provide a clean mobile experience for students, it won’t integrate with third party marketing apps, and it won’t provide enrollment marketers with the type of reporting they’re looking for. And while all institutions need a SIS to manage student data, they also all need a CRM built with marketing automation in mind for student engagement and recruitment.