• Boost web leads and enrollments with this tried-and-true SEO tactic

    by Jacqueline Richtman

    Hand holding a laptop computer

    Search engine optimization (SEO) may sound intimidating, but good SEO practices can increase web traffic, boosting leads, and helping you tell your story to a wider audience. And when you get your brand in front of more potential students, without adding significantly to your already stretched budget, those leads have a better chance of turning into enrollments. To do this, SEO analysts implement innovative strategies to optimize websites to rank higher than their competitors. One of these strategies is called the hub and spoke strategy.

    What is the hub and spoke strategy?

    The hub and spoke strategy, most often referred to as the silo architecture strategy, leverages site structure to increase keyword rankings to important pages on your website.

    Most sites contain a blog with highly relevant content for their target users. These blog posts tend to rank well for multiple keywords with large search volumes, leading to significant organic traffic.

    By implementing the hub and spoke strategy, high-traffic blog posts relocate to live under the specific pages desired to increase keyword rankings. The specific pages typically are where users convert, such as degree pages, product pages, etc. These main pages are considered the “hub,” and once the blog posts are moved under the “hub,” they are referred to as “spoke” pages or child pages.

    An example of the hub and spoke strategy

    For example, imagine a user searches for a new car. They would start with the brand they would like. Then, they’d decide what type of car. Their decision would then be narrowed down even further to what color, how many miles, etc. But they start at the top of the funnel with the brand. With the Hub and spoke strategy, the site structure starts with the main page or “hub” and then adds “spoke” or child pages beneath to provide even more specific information.

    Essentially, this SEO strategy alters the site structure by placing high-traffic “spoke” pages directly beneath the “hub” pages within the site map. This transition allows positive signals/domain authority to transfer from the spoke pages to the higher-converting hub pages.

    Benefits of the hub and spoke strategy

    The hub and spoke strategy provides a variety of benefits to a site.

    1. Transfers positive signals to hub pages
      This SEO strategy leverages high-traffic blog posts’ authority and sends it up to the “hub” pages which ultimately encourages Google or another search engine to rank this page higher.
    2. Surfaces relevant content with easy navigation
      Most users find content directly from the search engines. By relocating these relevant pieces of content beneath the “hub” pages, users can navigate to the information they want more quickly.
    3. Higher conversion rates on site
      Due to the nature of the hub and spoke strategy, these high-traffic blog posts are closer to the higher-converting, higher-intent pages of the site. This tends to increase lead capture through a website.

    With these benefits in mind, your university could implement the hub and spoke strategy by featuring standout alumni stories as spoke pages under the hub page for the program they graduated from. Or you could highlight innovative research stories under the related program. These examples show how spoke content drives traffic back to the main hub pages that are designed to convert leads into enrolled students.

    While this strategy requires planning and technical input from SEO and web development teams, you should see a return on your efforts in the form of more traffic and leads. At Pearson Online Learning Services, our team is always learning and attempting innovative solutions to stay up-to-date with Google. Explore enrollment solutions.

     

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  • The student as consumer, and the burden of choice

    by Joe Morgan, Vice President, University Partnership Development, Pearson

    Woman looking at a computer with a smile on her face

    If we’ve spoken or crossed paths in a webinar recently, you may recognize a recurring theme (perhaps obsession) of mine: the student as a consumer. My preoccupation is a reaction to a common assumption that higher education purchases are somehow different than other high-stakes purchases. While the benefits of education arguably outweigh those of other purchases, the learner is first a consumer, and consumer psychology is unequivocally at play.

    To more intimately understand the student-consumer’s expectations for digital or online learning, Pearson (the global learning company) partnered with Accenture (the global management consultancy). We believed Accenture’s consumer behavior insights could be applied to the student-consumer journey, to benefit learners, providers of learning, and employers. This series provides a few observations about what we learned together. This post focuses on the beginning of the student journey: the purchase.

    The burden of choice

    Accenture observed that businesses struggle to create personalized experiences that don’t drown their customers in too many options. Overwhelmed by choices, consumers are likelier to make poor decisions, be less satisfied, and abandon a website or brand altogether. To paraphrase Accenture, the endless aisle sounds great until you have to walk down it.1

    That burden of choice also applies to a student’s education decision, with profound implications. Making the best choice in higher education is methodical, often taking four months or longer. It is high stakes — particularly given its cost, and it is nearly impossible to do effectively today. Learners faced with information overload and limited processing abilities will narrow their decisions to known institutions, or those that rank on page one of search.

    As a simplistic thought experiment, I searched for “online MBA.” In .46 seconds, I received 332 million results. Valuable information… no doubt. Finding insight of value to me as a prospect… dubious. We know from our own research that nearly 3 in 10 learners are so overwhelmed by education search that they abandon the process without ever enrolling.2

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