YOUR ABOUT PAGE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK: More times than not, your about page ranks on Google for branded keywords or search queries about your school. These branded search queries signal high-intent traffic to your website because the visitor already knows about your school or program. So when visitors hit your about page, you need to make a lasting impression on these high intent visitors. Read Moz’s 3 tips for crafting a better About page.
Why you should care: Moz suggests that you “Treat your About page as a business card: People should be willing to learn more as soon as they see it.” On top of making this page eye-popping and attention grabbing, you should also link to other entities, professional awards, program accolades, and even featured articles about your school. For example, if your school is classified as a Research 1 university, link to the Carnegie classifications page on your about page. This helps Google identify your school’s place in the context of the rest of the internet.
FAVORABLE UX ADDED TO GOOGLE’S ALGORITHM: Google will start factoring favorable user experience into its search results. In addition to keywords, domain authority, backlinking, and numerous other factors, a pleasant, friendly user experience will now rank some websites higher than others. According to FastCompany, “The new ranking factor will combine quantifiable metrics related to speed, responsiveness, and visual stability with other criteria like mobile friendliness, safe browsing, https, and no intrusive pop-up windows...” as variables to measuring the UX of any given webpage.
Why you should care: This is a pretty big development for Google. We’ve all come across pages with annoying popups, intrusive sidebar ads, and slow page load times. And while Google has always favored sites with mobile-first design and fast page load speeds, users also prefer intuitive and user-friendly web design, and Google has taken notice. If you’ve observed UX bugs on your school’s website, now is a great time to address those in order to improve SEO for Google and reduce overall friction in the prospective student journey.
TIPS FOR TEXTING PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS: Texting prospective, accepted, and enrolled students has become commonplace in higher education, especially due to COVID-19. Mongoose, a conversational software company, suggests that before you hit send on a text, you should have a team ready to respond to any student replies. Developing trust with students is tough and the last thing you want is to violate that trust by disappearing after sending the initial text. Also, address students by first name. It shows them that they aren’t just a number in a larger group. If you’re sharing good news with prospective students over text, don’t hesitate to use emotion or emojis.
Why you should care: COVID-19 has many enrollment teams modifying the way they communicate to prospective students — why not connect with them through SMS? And since 80% of students want to receive texts from colleges, building a text message communications channel makes sense. Read Mongooses’ list of texting tips and best practices before hitting send.
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