6 SEO strategies for universities to attract international students
By Fernando BiZ
International students are very demanded by the UK universities, they pay up to for times as much in tuition fees and are good for the university itself.
For a university to attract and spike interest from international students, SEO is probably the most efficient way of doing so.
Students that want international exposure are highly proactive about it, they spend time researching the country, opportunities and general information. Of course there is information from within their current universities, but there’s always follow-up research done on Google.
In this article we look at 6 strategies UK universities can implement to attract international students from the search engines by utilizing SEO.
1. Promote the location
Many international students find it more rational to apply for universities in Australia or Canada – this is as they don’t have as strict visa policies and the fees might be less as well.
Some students however, especially in London, will be looking at having the experience of that city. Use this in the universities online marketing campaign – write about the expected London experience and promote that.
2. Set-up language specific landing pages and target countries
There are many students from Asia coming to the UK for their studies, it’s a very desired place for them, especially the commonwealth countries such as India.
Other Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea see a lot of student coming for a semester or more to study English. Often times these are women sometimes even in their 30’s, indicating that they’re here for the perceived experience of studying in London.
Creating a landing page in Mandarin providing information on studying in England and then optimizing for it, can provide a very cost efficient pipeline of student applications from China.
3. Off-page for the existing guideline information
Most university pages have information already on their sites about how to apply, information on visas, student accommodation etc. What’s often missing is the off-page optimization of that.
Investing in creating some backlinks to these articles will rank them at the top spots for various keywords, generating a passive pipeline of students applying.
4. Optimize for keywords that address the problems international students face
International students face many problems, from Visas to increased tuition fees. They’re looking for information on these problems – a great opportunity to make them land on your universities website when they do a Google search on the problem.
One of the most pressing problem, that’s also perceived as the biggest opportunity, is securing a job in the UK for a Tier-2 Visa. Graduates now have only 6 months to secure a position, the pressure is there and some graduates look for information and guidelines on this well in advance – before even applying.
5. Promote the university itself
Does the university you wish to rank at the top results has a strong name? Well known history? Use it in the blog contents.
Be sure to have an article on the top for common phrases like “[university name] history”. Using web technologies you can track the country the visitor comes from and if it’s from abroad – display an ad banner calling them to apply as international students.
6. Promote the student life
The reality of the modern education is to have the perceived experience of the student life. Because of the media and culture, studying in the West in an university is especially perceived as prestigious and more fun than the common university back home.
The international student associations are also a great way to attract visitors to the site – people look for information or representations within a county/university. This as always provides opportunity for content and visitors to the site.