Google Adwords policy updates

In 2014 Google launched a new and improved Adwords Policy Centre. With several policy updates to date, Google has been cracking down on content quality on the paid side in the way their organic search team did with Panda. Additonally, in February 2016 Google rolled out a dramatic change that removes ads from the right side of its desktop search results, and places ads only at the top and/or bottom of the page.

In their most recent announcement, the content of the ad cannot be related to the following topics:

  • Personal hardships related to relationships (example: bereavement products or services)
  • Personal hardships related to abuse and trauma (examples: domestic abuse shelters or victim advocate services)
  • User identity related to marginalised groups (examples: immigration services or legal services for refugees)
  • User identity related to transgender identification (examples: information about gender transitioning or transgender discrimination lawyers)

More information about prohibited content https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6008942?hl=en

Social media for lead generation

CTR (click through rate) is one of Googles many rankings factors, educational institutions and organisations should pay attention to what makes students click on a link and why. There has been a lot of discussion on the importance of a good title, description and keywords. Trust is definitely one of the factors that trigger user actions – the right combination of SEO friendly blog copy and student stories can massively contribute to your college’s visit numbers and leads, see the example below. One of my blogging projects for an international college in the UK has generated over 126000 additonal visits to the website and over 12000 conversions including enquiries, applications and prospectus downloads over the course of three years.

Ho to do it?

Blog content can be sourced externally. The most important part of your relationship with your content agency is the briefing process. If you know what you want and provide the agency with clear direction (I would go as afar as specyfyng the blog title that would rank highly in search engines!) you can ensure long term success.Engage students in content writing whenever possible. Post frequency – start from 2-3 posts a week, after 6 – 12 months you can measure your results.

What are the quick win social media techniques that will do the trick if If I am not willing to spend 6 months optimising my website and blog?

Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Linkedin are the tools that will help you to generate leads depending on your budget.

Facebook

Lead generation on Facebook can be very powerful. All depends who you are targeting and how. Facebook offers the option of targeting users by using your CRM email lists. This is a highly powerful tactic but it does not end here. You can now extend your reach to target highly relevant users based on your original email list.

Youtube

Two most important things to remember about Youtube:

1) YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine after Google.

2) there has been a steady increase in students searching school information on Youtube.

Optimising your videos for search can brig very good results. SEO is a leading force in making sure your videos land in front of your prospective students. It is no longer enough to film your teachers or alumni, in the hope that prospective students will want to enroll onto your courses. These days, It is all about how you optimise your videos to include search friendly titles, descriptions, annotations and keywords.

Also, youtube offers paid advertising – With TrueView YouTube advertising, which is done via AdWords, you can ensure you only pay when your ads are clicked or when a certain amount of an ad is watched by a user (cost per view). This creates the opportunity for free brand awareness. Generally YouTube adverts are also far cheaper then the AdWords Search Network when bidding on the same terms.

Instagram

Instagram is frequently used by the 18 – 29 age group. It’s no secret that the social photo sharing trend has exploded into a revolution. Remember, you can  sync your Instagram feed with other popular social networks, like Twitter and Facebook. How to use Instagram as a lead generation tool?

Prospective students are visual and want to see what you’re talking about.This is where Instagram comes into play. Not only are you sharing photos with them, but you’re sharing a personal, visual element of your school in real time and create community. You can share photos of teaching staff and school events. You can also showcase student awards and social events. Try to leverage Instagram as a platform for showcasing course launches. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of personalized Instagram hashtags. If you do go down the hashtag road, it’s important to understand the nature of hashtags. They’re only there to make your brand or profile more visible through search. Do not use arbitrary phrases just because they are humorous or entertaining. Unless they are built around searchable keywords, they will not help your lead generation strategy at all. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to post any links!