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How to Get Started With SEO Spending 2 Hours Per Week
[00:00:00] Jaime Gleason: Have you ever wondered if there is a different, maybe even a better way to tackle an enrollment or marketing issue? Are there processes or practices in your institution that you wonder why does this exist and why has no one bothered to disrupt it? Or
[00:00:19] Tony Fraga: what about a hot new enrollment marketing trend that you've been asked to jump on?
[00:00:25] But you're not really sure how to do it the right way, or even if it's worth doing at all,
[00:00:30] Jaime Gleason: believe me, we get it. I'm Jamie Gleason, a 20 year veteran of higher ed, who has worked both inside and outside the institution and on the vendor side of enrollment
[00:00:42] Tony Fraga: marketing. And I'm Tony Fraga, an 18 year recovering higher ed market.
[00:00:46] Who has seen just about every enrollment marketing model in the industry, and we've teamed up to launch the Pivot podcast to take an issue, a hurdle, or an outdated process, and suggest ways to [00:01:00] pivot into a new direction or launch into a better process as much as possible. We'll use actual example. But we'll try to keep all the takeaways as fresh as possible.
[00:01:12] Jaime Gleason: You'll laugh, heck, you might even cry, but we promise this is a podcast that you won't want to miss. The Pivot is proud to be a part of the Enroll five Podcast Network, and you can subscribe to this firstname.lastname@example.org or wherever you get your podcasts.
[00:01:34] Shane Kehl: Hello and welcome to episode three of The Pivot. I'm here with Tony and Jamie Jenz. How we. ,
[00:01:41] Tony Fraga: great. This is gonna be the best episode to date, I promise to date. I have a
[00:01:46] Jaime Gleason: feeling that's a low, I mean, that's a low bar. We've got two out in the wild, so sh
[00:01:50] Shane Kehl: shoe, great. Third time's a charm, right? Great. This one's gonna be awesome though.
[00:01:53] Jaime Gleason: I'm excited about this
[00:01:54] Shane Kehl: topic. All right, then let's not waste any time so we can dive in. I know we got all
[00:01:58] Jaime Gleason: those compliments for getting right into it, [00:02:00] right? Yeah. Like get right into the meat.
[00:02:01] Shane Kehl: So we're gonna get into this one. If we don't get into it, it'll be a two hour podcast that people will tune out after an hour.
[00:02:06] So we gotta get started. So topic. Your university wants to grow SEO in 2023. I think pretty much everybody can relate to that. I don't think there's a single school that's like, Nope, SEO's not a priority for us, or, we're doing so well that we don't need to focus on it. So you need to grow seo. Obviously that comes with limitations.
[00:02:23] So a person can spend part of their time. Let's cap it at five-ish hours, uh, per week to dedicate. Let's call to,
[00:02:31] Jaime Gleason: let's call her Jenny. Jenny. Let's call her Jenny. Let's call her Jenny. Jenny, the writer. We
[00:02:36] Shane Kehl: didn't wanna go. Sally, the SEO something. All right, Jenny's fine. All right, so Jenny has five hours a week to dedicate to seo.
[00:02:44] That can look like a variety of things. Jenny is wildly talented. She understands seo. She can write, she can go in and change meta descriptions and all those things.
[00:02:54] Tony Fraga: She knows the CMS and can change
[00:02:55] Shane Kehl: the website, right? She's game changer. She's your, your all star. So you have [00:03:00] five hours of her time a week, and then you have about 25 K in.
[00:03:04] Potential. You know, money that you could spend on services, you could invest in just more freelance writing, whatever it might be to help your SEO game. You have 25 K to spend. It's the end of March.
[00:03:15] Jaime Gleason: Go. Go. Well, I mean, 25 K is perfect because everyone's like, well, I'm thinking about how do I spend the rest of my budget before someone takes it away for the next fiscal.
[00:03:28] Go. Jenny. Jenny is a rising star in the SEO world, and I think, yeah, you're absolutely right, Shane. Every school needs to be thinking about this. Uh, every school, uh, has, should have this as a bigger priority than they already do. Um, my my gut says, let's start with what we have, right? So let's start with what we have and those, um, What you have entails, like existing content resources that are available, whether they're on your website [00:04:00] already or not.
[00:04:01] Like let's figure out like what's the pitch? You could say, oh, let's figure out what we wanna like lean into for seo. But I don't think most schools have the know-how to do that. Right. So that's where the 25 K comes in.
[00:04:14] Tony Fraga: But Jen, here's the problem, Jamie. Okay. And Shane, I know you said Jenny's got five hours.
[00:04:20] I. that five hours in reality is probably two. Yeah, maybe one. I think Jenny's super busy with all the other things. She's gotta edit and write and all the other. Um, requests that are coming into marketing. And so you gotta really think, this is a, this is on a really important one. How do you, how do you spend that 25 k and how do you direct Jenny's time the writer, to, to what is the work?
[00:04:46] Yeah. That's actually gonna happen, that actually done the results. Because if you get this right, I want to throw out this is worth 10 times in savings on your budget. [00:05:00] in one or two years. So you spend 25 K and Jenny's five hours a week. Well, you save yourself as a university, $250,000 worth of advertising in a year or two.
[00:05:12] Wow, that's a big statement. This is worth 10 times. Wow. In budget. That's huge.
[00:05:17] Jaime Gleason: I'm not sure I would go with say that we would, you would save $250,000, but you might augment your revenue by 250,000 by doing more in seo, but maybe it's tomato. Tomato. So anyway, we'll let the audience decide.
[00:05:30] Tony Fraga: This is a great little topic on SEO and it.
[00:05:32] Sounds small, but I really want to emphasize, I think this pivot is crucial cuz if you get it wrong yeah it does nothing for you. Right? And you basically don't really grow your rankings, you don't get much more traffic from the right prospects. And someone's gonna look back in year and be like, yeah, we did that and it didn't really work.
[00:05:49] Mm-hmm. this, if you get it right though, is it worth just double, it's worth 10 times in because if you don't, you gotta pay for that traffic and those leads and the [00:06:00] cost to do that. Via advertising and paid efforts and combined with the likelihood of them to apply Yeah. Is where the math gets doubled.
[00:06:10] Like that's where you got exponential difference. Mm-hmm. . It's not just that you can't buy that same traffic, you can, but we know from our research that we've done this so many times when you do it with paid, they're less likely than the ones coming in with organic. Yeah. And so, um, That's where I'm getting the double power there.
[00:06:28] Sure. And I feel very confident, but what do you do? What do you do with her time? What do you do at 25 K?
[00:06:32] Shane Kehl: That's the really important question because if you have, let's even say Tony, pessimistic Tony over here with one to two hours a week instead of five super pessimistic. Um, which is probably much more, yeah, as you're saying, everybody's reality.
[00:06:44] You don't wanna spend the first 10 weeks figuring out what you should even be doing. Um, I think that's the hardest part. Somebody says, get into seo, and as excited as you might be about seo, and as much as you may even know, knowing a bunch, but then actually turning that into like, where do I start? How am [00:07:00] I gonna have the biggest bang for my buck with my time is probably the hardest thing.
[00:07:03] So what is your, you know, kind of rough thought there and, you know, how does that relate to some of the money that you wanna spend? Is that gonna help you kick it off? Do you want Jenny to just spend the first three months just doing a deep dive so she has a full grasp of everything that they currently rank for and, um, you know, what, what they may wanna move the needle on?
[00:07:20] Where does, where does kind of Jenny initially start spending that time?
[00:07:23] Jaime Gleason: Jenny doesn't have that time, and probably if she's like most institutions, okay, so let's just, let's call it out here. Jenny is just now getting the SEO assignment, so most likely Jenny doesn't know a ton, right? Maybe she has a little bit of information about seo, but where that information might be because she's a writer, more related to content and how we get keywords into seo.
[00:07:45] So I think the big start for me, , let's take that 25,000, or let's take a portion of that 25,000. Let's take 15,000 of that and let's figure out where we want to go. Like what are the key words? What are the topics? Where are the [00:08:00] problems on the, in the cms with the tech on the technical side? And how do we like, solve for those?
[00:08:05] Or at least create a, uh, not even solve, maybe how do we create a runway for a solution for those? Because this stuff, as, as everyone knows who knows anything about seo, it's like, it's not something that happens. Immediately. Yeah. So when we first have to identify it like here are the pathways to improvement, the content pathways and the technical, and there's a part of me that says, okay, Jenny's the writer and she has a certain amount of hours.
[00:08:30] But if you get that technical and content assessment done early, then you actually might be able to farm out some of the technical changes to maybe your markcom team or something like that. Mm-hmm. . So you can like double
[00:08:41] Tony Fraga: your in depth or your web. The it exactly. For some schools it's their web and just get the IT guys to make a bunch of those.
[00:08:47] Exactly. Tedious but technical things. Mm-hmm. so that your writer can focus more on the content. I would add to that too. The purpose of spending that 15 k that you're saying out of the 25 mm-hmm. was something like an [00:09:00] SEO audit that gives you direction is you're directing Jenny's time. Yeah. The place to start is not her time.
[00:09:05] The place to start is you need to have a plan of attack cuz SEO's too big and there's way too many things you could change. And you have to give her direction on where you want to start. Yep. I think categories I would, I would want to figure out with that money is I would have questions to go out if I outsource that money.
[00:09:22] With vendor services, I would say, this is what we want to know. We didn't wanna know what are our on-brand opportunities, what are our off-brand opportunities related to program Like if you're a school or a program, obviously it's related to your area, but they could be general brand things and. , what are, what are the most important keywords that we already ranked for, but might not rank on the first page?
[00:09:44] Yeah, so if you just knew where your technical issues were, where your content SEO issues were on brand and off brand, and which keywords you exi have any existing traction on. Mm-hmm. , if you work on those first, you're [00:10:00] using Jenny's time in the area, that's gonna make impact quicker then. Hey, we would always love to rank for this topic.
[00:10:07] We don't rank at all. Yep. And we need Jenny to get started on that. That's good too. But it's gonna take six months to a year to get anything on that. Yeah. Whereas you could have results in two or three months. If you pick something you're on like page two or three on mm-hmm. . Yeah. You're close, but you're not on the first page of Google.
[00:10:24] Yeah. Jenny's work to edit content on your. Could make changes that you experience next month.
[00:10:32] Zach Busekrus: Alrighty. We're gonna play a game, guys. Okay. So first and foremost, get a pen, get a paper, pull out your notes, app on your phone, whatever it might be. Okay? Got it. Great. Alright. What keyword does your website currently rank for?
[00:10:47] Take a couple seconds, right? 1, 2, 3, 4. I gave you a few, not just a couple. What doesn't it rank for that you think it should rank for? Okay. 1, 2, 3, 4. Now, what are a few keyword [00:11:00] opportunities that you could be winning on if you just simply tweaked some of your existing website? Copy. Got it. Okay. How'd you do?
[00:11:08] Ooh. Not so hot. Not sure what you can, what you're currently ranking for or not sure what you could be ranking for. Well, that's okay because our friends at DD Agency want to help you answer all of these questions. DD Agency is a higher ed specific marketing technology agency that has conducted countless SEO audits for colleges and universities across the country.
[00:11:29] In these audits, they detail where you currently rank what you could be ranking for, exactly how copies should be tweaked on a website, pages, and so much more. If this sounds like something that you could benefit from, give the guys a dag agency a ping and be sure to mention that in Rolly sent you to claim a 10% discount on any of their SEO offering.
[00:11:50] So head on over to enroll fify.org/dda seo. That's DDA as in DD Agency seo. Or simply follow the link in the show notes below [00:12:00] that will guarantee you get a 10% discount off of your audit. Alright, right, head on over to enroll fify.org/dd s e o or simply Google Didi Agency. Find Didi Agency's website and be sure to mention that you heard about them through reify when you request your audit.
[00:12:16] All right, folks, back to the show.
[00:12:21] Jaime Gleason: I think in order to understand the pivot, we also understand we have to understand what we're pivoting from. So I think the temptation, if we're looking at the cycle timeline right now, then temptation that many enrollment leaders are looking at right now, as do I take, uh, I have $10,000 that I like, I feel like I can wiggle around in my budget and my gut says, because I've historically done it this way, I'm gonna throw it at digital ads.
[00:12:47] Okay. So the pivot could be here. , how do you take that? Let's say you got 25,000 earmarked for SEO work, but you have this 10,000 wiggle room. How do you take that 10,000 and using what Tony just [00:13:00] said, figuring out like those kind of low hanging fruit keywords that you can maximize on? How can you double down on that work?
[00:13:07] So you might, I mean, let's be honest, like when you throw digital money at something late cycle like this, the results. Are, they're, they're gonna be probably even less than they would be if you started this in January. So like, yeah. Um, so you might be just throwing away 10,000. Maybe you take that extra 10,000 and figure out a way to hire a freelance writer or something on top of Jenny's work.
[00:13:33] Maybe Jenny becomes the director of the, of the, of the work. And then you have someone who's specifically focused on taking those opportunities that are low hanging fruit and making them even more so that. Next year, you're seeing not only like that two to six month, you know, fruit that you could see with Jenny's work, but you're also seeing that maybe compounded by three or four times because you put more manpower into it and the results are gonna pay off in, you know, huge dividends later on.[00:14:00]
[00:14:00] Mm-hmm. . So I think that the, the hard part is like we have to pivot away from this historical mindset. , let's just put more money into digital ads. Let's just buy one more GRE list. Let's just do one. You know, X, y, z. It's blast again. Blast again. Yeah, exactly. Like, let's stop the email. You know, the email cycle?
[00:14:16] Yeah. Stop the cycle. People stop the
[00:14:18] Shane Kehl: cycle on the , on the, uh, Google Ads front too, right? You're bidding on keywords. What are the keywords you're bidding on? Where do you currently rank for those? And can you just move up so that you can stop bidding on them? Look at how much your, you know, your average bid for that keyword over whatever period of time you've been running that ad set.
[00:14:35] Okay, there you go. There's a couple thousand bucks right back in your pocket. That 10 K is now really 12 K because you just saved two grand on, on words that you don't have to spend on anymore. And so I think one of the big things I'm thinking about, again, a little micro pivot here is, okay, great, I got, I'm gonna get this audit.
[00:14:49] That also takes time. So now I have a month. Yeah, yeah. Which, let's say again, average of two, three hours a week max of five. Mm-hmm. , you know, A handful of hours here that you're [00:15:00] getting to kind of spend prior to getting this audit. What are some maybe low hanging fruit things that you can do immediately, or even just like general tips that somebody can take to start improving their seo, even if it's not the most efficient.
[00:15:13] Um, at least they're making some progress. Small example, maybe. taking that, you know, PDF program brochure and just
[00:15:20] Tony Fraga: slapping down, Shane's answering his question. I know you're
[00:15:22] Shane Kehl: answering the question. I, that question. I love it getting you started here. Like what are, what are some low hanging fruit easy things anybody can kind of do to get some momentum, even if it's not, you know, the most, again, efficient, where they're writing a blog post packed with keywords.
[00:15:37] Tony Fraga: So I'm just gonna repeat for the listeners, cuz I think you just said two really good things, but the first thing you said, you just did a micro pivot, is like a shortcut. So that was brilliant. I actually love that. I, I didn't even think about that. I love that for you. The answer to Shane's question and Shane, great question.
[00:15:52] Shane, what can we do right now? There's a little secret tip he just threw out there and I wanna repeat it for those who might not have understood what he. , [00:16:00] go look. You said, correct me if I'm wrong, Shane, you said go look at the keywords you're literally buying search ads on, and ask yourself if any of those keywords you would like to also rank for organically, which if you did really well, you wouldn't need to buy the ads, but even if you kept buying the ads, , you could immediately just take the same exact keywords you're buying and if you think those are good organic terms as well.
[00:16:23] Mm-hmm. , start optimizing your website pages for those exact words. That's like anybody could do that right now. Jenny could get started on that today, and you're literally taking from something that's already been identified. Now, not all digital ads, keywords are great SEO keywords, but many of them are.
[00:16:40] And so that's brilliant. Like Shane, that's, that is absolutely number one. Number two, I would, I would add to that, my answer to that would be I would just go immediately use any of the free tools out there. I would go like, you could go to Moz, you go to S SCM Rush or SE Rush or whatever you call it. You there's, there's hfs and I would go look out there and [00:17:00] just like take your school's website.
[00:17:03] The, the full url, like it's just normally a sub-domain or a sub directory set of pages. Don't do the whole institution cause it's too broad, but take that subset of pages and put that subset, have 'em, analyze just that subset and find, I would just make a list of your top 10 ranking pages. I don't care how bad they rank, I just, what are the top 10 pages that you rank for and what are the keywords that those pages rank for?
[00:17:27] If they just, if you just immediately spent one week and worked on that. The value of knowing that will will inform the money you're gonna spend. It will inform Jenny's time in the following weeks. I think that is, is immediately, if you don't know where you're at, you shouldn't do anything yet.
[00:17:45] Jaime Gleason: Yeah, that's a good point.
[00:17:46] But, okay, so let me play devil's advocate there. What if you are, what if you're pages that you're ranking for are just really crappy? Like they all go to your online writing lab or they all go to like something that's like, oh my word that has [00:18:00] nothing to do with. Bringing enrollment, you know, students into the pipeline or anything like that.
[00:18:06] I mean that, that would be a depressing exercise for me. I'd just want to cry.
[00:18:10] Tony Fraga: So then that's why I said 10. Yeah, so 10 pages, the top 10. My hope is odds are page at least. Yeah, one maybe, and that's probably for on-brand words, but my hope is that odds are you have a high chance, I would say a 75 to 85% higher or higher chance that at least two or three of those 10.
[00:18:30] are not what you said, but if, if, if that happened, and I would argue even knowing that man, I just looked at our domain and I looked at where we rank and like the top 10 pages are all pages that have nothing to do with enrollment, marketing or student recruitment or prospect pages. Like they're this lab that ranks really well.
[00:18:49] It's this teacher, there's faculty's research and it's. Then you have even more work to do. And unfortunately if that was you, you just have to do a lot of ground up from scratch SEO work. And there's just, [00:19:00] that's just your situation. But I would say for most schools, you're gonna at least find two or three pages, maybe five, that are worth investing in.
[00:19:10] And the hope here people, is that this saves time, it directs the money you're gonna spend in whatever services you do. Um, cuz if it was. And someone came to us, that's one of our first questions we ask, right? Like we just say, but where do you want to grow in? And if you don't even know what you want to do, how are you directing the funds you're getting an audit on or, or getting copywriting help with?
[00:19:31] So that's, that's what I'd say. But yeah, it, that could happen. And. That's, that's means you have, if that's the
[00:19:36] Shane Kehl: traction means too. Yeah. Where you're not getting any traction on, let's say your, your core program pages that you think typically that's where schools are getting, you know, at least something if, but if, even if you're not, if you as Tony's saying, use these free tools, go over to, you know, the Google keyword planner or something and just start typing in like terms about your program.
[00:19:54] It'll prompt you with a bunch of others. You can see, you know, monthly search volume. You can use the Google search trends to see like how much [00:20:00] people are searching for certain things and the increase in that, and then just start using those like, That's kind of like your, I don't know, like minimal amount of keyword research that you need to like start doing something that again, is free, takes very minimal effort and time and really you don't even need seo.
[00:20:16] Not like you can type in the name of your program and just kind of take that and run with it and start making changes that at least do something. It might not be, you know, the most effective and it's not gonna get you on page one maybe, but, um, you know, progress is progress.
[00:20:28] Jaime Gleason: Yeah, yeah. No, I totally get that.
[00:20:29] And I, I think, you know, there's a lot to be learned too, just like, Generally speaking. Okay. So, uh, there are so many awesome Google Chrome extensions that you can add to your browser. Yeah. Just to like, understand a little bit more about, you know, SEO and meta descriptions. You know, one thing you could do is like, Pick a school that, you know is like maybe a little bit more proactive in seo and like, use those tools and go to their website and like see what the, like, see what their meta descriptions look like.
[00:20:57] See what their alt text looks like on their photos. And [00:21:00] then just copy, not exactly copy their words, but copy the model. Uh, and then do the same thing using, using your page. I think that's some easy stuff that you can get started on right away. Yeah.
[00:21:10] Shane Kehl: Okay, so let's say we get the audit back. We're a month in, we've kind of done some basic things.
[00:21:16] We get the audit back. We're like, okay, things are, you know, just maybe as bad as you thought they were. Um, but you have a pretty clear outline now of like, well, here's how to start making progress. What do you think are next best steps? Again, let's say that took 15 K outta the budget, so you have roughly 10 K left.
[00:21:34] You have a couple hours a week to write you, you know, you can't write everything in two weeks. You don't have the time. Right. Yeah. So what do you kind of, how do you prioritize once you get, uh, a lot of that information back? .
[00:21:46] Tony Fraga: Yeah. Yeah. I would, I would pick one. I would pick one and start there. This is what, pick one
[00:21:52] Shane Kehl: up.
[00:21:52] Pick a program, pick a, a theme a topic.
[00:21:54] Tony Fraga: Pick a topic. I would pick one core topic. Uh, and, and by core topic [00:22:00] you have, it has subtopics. So let's just agree that there's a core topic and then there's subtopics. Mm-hmm. . Um, I would pick one, maybe two, and immediately just start attacking that. Yeah. This is what I think holds up so many schools is they even get some of stuff, or they start doing that initial research that we've just shared earlier and they get overwhelmed.
[00:22:20] Yeah. And they're, I don't know how to do this. Yeah. I don't even really know seo, you know? And I, I think, I think we need to overcome that fear. And I would, I would pick one with that. Like we're a month in and that scenario you just said Shane, I would say great. If you're armed of that knowledge, likely that's gonna still be a lot.
[00:22:36] That still is overwhelming. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Like in my experience, It's overwhelming to even get that data. Sure. Internally or externally. And so I'll just because you get a full report does not mean you need to do all of it right away. Yeah. I would pick the one area or topic. So for some schools, for instance, it's like stem.
[00:22:55] STEM education programs, like maybe this is a smaller liberal arts [00:23:00] university that isn't known for engineering programs and they're now launching more like engineering and computer science and they're really doing a big push for stem and they're not known for that and they want to come up more, um, and be known for that.
[00:23:12] And that's aligns with an SEO goal. That's like an example of what I mean, of a topic of stem. And if that was identified as a, as like a area to attack, there's a whole bunch of things you could do under that. and just do STEM versus like other specific programs or even like a brand thing or even an on-brand seo.
[00:23:30] Mm-hmm. . Um, so I just would pick one area and I would attack and I'd I'd so rather than, cuz there's two approaches. I think there's a diversified spread thin and you're moving everything forward a little bit. Or there's like, put all your forces on one, I'm thinking like risk when you play risk and it's like, I'm gonna.
[00:23:48] Shane Kehl: know, Germany and I am
[00:23:49] Tony Fraga: going to move all my forces in there. Yeah. It's like your odds
[00:23:52] Shane Kehl: are better. Yeah. It's kind of like that. Yeah. You gotta dominate
[00:23:55] Jaime Gleason: Germany or another country. I was thinking about settlers of QAN instead of [00:24:00] risk, but whatever. Oh, that's good. . The, uh, I, I totally agree. I would definitely say pick one.
[00:24:05] I wouldn't even pick two. I'd say pick one. And then I would also go one step further of like really trying to pick a topic. one fits with like where your motivations and your passions are as an institution and what, what works well. Mm-hmm. and then potentially as much as possible try to leverage any content that you already have that fits even, even kind of sideways into that category.
[00:24:29] What stuff can hook to that bigger topic, that bigger, you know, core topic And how do we, you know, if I have two hours a week, how can I like lean into like two or three blogs or. Pages already and optimize those and hook them in to this topic so that way I can create this like environment of, uh, of, you know, kind of SEO greatness and keywords that really are really helpful.
[00:24:54] Yeah, I think, I think, Tony, you're absolutely right. I think that there's so much temptation to get like [00:25:00] overwhelmed and try to think you have to do it all at once. It's like mm-hmm. . Nope. And in fact, I think seo, it's, it's not a thing, it's not a, it's not pun tiller, right? It is enduring and it has to like,
[00:25:12] Yeah. Um, it has to keep going. It's ongoing.
[00:25:15] Tony Fraga: Ongoing. Yeah. I'm gonna translate for the commoners out there. Yeah. Yeah. It's ongoing. That's right. Ongoing. Evergreen. Evergreen. Okay. For the 15 K, 10 K, I think that 10 k essentially, to answer this more succinctly, and I, I like what you're saying, Jamie. I think that money has to go towards making stuff that's gonna move the needle Yeah.
[00:25:33] On one of those topics. Yeah. . But the problem is, I think for the larger schools that are doing something broader, that all that 25 K could go to a much broader audit and they might not have a lot left over. It really is gonna vary based on how big or how many topics you're wanting. Yeah. In the audit and the resources, that's what takes up the time.
[00:25:50] Mm-hmm. . But regardless, I would invest in like, it could be even a video, like maybe they take that 10 k Yeah. And they make a video that's gonna rank on Google really well and in [00:26:00] YouTube. Mm-hmm. , um, and um, become an organic winner. Yeah on that. Like I somehow it's gonna come down to content, I promise you.
[00:26:09] Yeah. Even after you make all those technical changes. Yeah, that's a good point
[00:26:12] Shane Kehl: too about thinking about your 25 K, right? We're saying in this scenario, Jenny's awesome at writing. Um, and there's a little bit about seo, but you know, flip it, you have somebody awesome at seo, you don't have any writing time.
[00:26:23] maybe they're kind of doing their own audit and then they're outsourcing the 25 ish K to to writing that. Totally. And it's really, you know, where are your skillsets on your team? Where do you not have the time? And then outsourcing to kind of fill those needs. But I wanna go back to something you said earlier about picking a topic and I think Jamie, you had mentioned, you know, aligning it with your institution's goals and where you want to grow.
[00:26:42] I guess maybe that's the sticky point for certain people of, do I pick this topic, the area I want to grow is the one that like seems to. moving the least, uh, you know, of the, of the audit that I did. And so do I do that anyway because. Core to who we are, or do I take the one that's, you know, doing the [00:27:00] best and kind of just needs to be like, pushed over the hump a little bit.
[00:27:02] Sure. Um, so that I can get those, couple of those quick wins, like what are maybe some of the things schools should think about when picking the topics beyond just in like, I think there's a lot of factors at play and maybe what are some of the other ones and then what kind of takes final precedent there, do you think?
[00:27:16] Yeah, that's
[00:27:17] Jaime Gleason: a good one because I think. I agree. And I, I think this is where my actual, my institutional mindset comes back to me from my days of being in the, like on the desk. Cuz I always think, okay, who are we and how do we, like, how do we do a better job of explaining who we are? And I think we have to invert that, right?
[00:27:35] We have to think like, What are the questions that people have about X? And how do we fit into answering that question? And I think that that's the foundational, like kind of like when you're playing basketball, the defensive stance that you have to take. It's like that's the stance you have to take when you're starting to think about seo.
[00:27:52] It's not like, how do I proliferate my message? How do I proliferate? You know who I am necessarily directly, [00:28:00] but more, how can I answer questions that people have about X topic? that we talk about all the time, that we talk about programmatically. It's not you giving the, it's not you talking about yourself.
[00:28:11] It's you giving an answer. Mm-hmm. . Um, I
[00:28:13] Tony Fraga: think, I think that's what makes it hard though, what you're bringing up. I mean, that's, that is going to lead to some tough decisions at the leadership level of, hey, you might really want to promote that, but the, there is not a lot of market demand for that program or that topic, and you aren't that yet.
[00:28:27] These are this where I think market research informs SEO strategy. Hey, this is what's popular right now. This is what people are asking for. We need to lead with where you're strong here as an institution and try and win on that. And hey, you have to take that. You're weak here, right? Um, like in my earlier analogy, maybe that liberal arts school isn't, doesn't really have a good shot at being, they only have one real engineering program and pushing stem is really not gonna work so well.
[00:28:56] Uh, and the rest is like mathematics and something else. So it. [00:29:00] You could do that, but you're unlikely to convince you're stronger over here with some of these, more, these other, other areas or kind of under, under this topic. I think there are some hard decisions that you have to make in this pivot. Uh, I would want, I would recommend that the school lead with its winner, whether it's winners versus using a pivot like this to try and go after a dying program that's hurting.
[00:29:24] Those can be turned around. I'm not saying you can't market that. I just think you need more than $25,000, frankly, and I think you need more time. And I don't know that you'll win that on seo. Yeah. And
[00:29:33] Jaime Gleason: you're also gonna have an easier time winning the topic once you have Yeah. Authority. And you've already started making momentum.
[00:29:39] So if you have momentum, One of my favorite slogans, right? America's favorite vehicle. The bandwagon. So if you have momentum, jump on the bandwagon of Momentum and just go with that. Go with the winners, and then work on the work on the not so winners later on. Yeah, and I
[00:29:54] Shane Kehl: think what, but doing the winners too is it gives you a, a, again, you're gonna, as you're saying, rank quicker, [00:30:00] gives you a nice like, oh, that.
[00:30:02] Right. And then it's kind of like momentum to do the other ones because you're like, it's work. I'm not gonna stop. Right. If you do it, you get three months in and you're like, I've gone, I've moved up zero positions. You're kind of gonna be like, was this, I had just wasted 25 k. This sucked. I don't think that would happen for anyone unless you're doing it completely wrong.
[00:30:17] But um, getting those quick winners really gives you the like, oh wow, if we keep doing this, you can justify to leadership. Hey look, I spent this amount of time, I spent 15 k on this audit. I. 20 hours total of my time crafting some content and we've made these massive jumps, give me more money. Like there, there should be, there should be a lot of openness to that, um, from leadership to the justify budget.
[00:30:41] Justify more of your time or again, be like, Hey, I know you're saying stems, stems the way here for us, but it's, but it's
[00:30:47] Jaime Gleason: not. Yeah. And if you can really key into those words that your leadership likes to use and they have any keyword like ranking, you know, potential, it's like that's when you can really make a hero outta yourself.
[00:30:59] Tony Fraga: A [00:31:00] hundred percent. I think a story I have that, that, that like exemplifies this. Um, a couple years ago we worked with a school that had a D P T program, a physical therapy program, and they were doing well in it, but you know, they knew that there was, if you know much about these programs, they're highly competitive.
[00:31:17] Um, and. , they didn't have a lot of content out there, so like SEO wise, they were doing okay, not great. And so we worked on content and put out a ton of content around that after doing SEO research, and guess what, sure enough, they started ranking, they put out resources that got conversions and we traced a story of, of an example, uh, prospect who came.
[00:31:41] Of organic search, looking for information about physical therapy programs. This is a grad example, but it, but it works. And they downloaded that guide and then started their journey and then engaged in more content. Then they went to an event. Then they viewed a lot of website pages. Then this person, um, inquired.
[00:31:59] Then they applied. [00:32:00] Mm-hmm. , then they got accepted. , then they went back and read more content, downloaded more things, some of which they came in through organic, by the way, just being lazy and going through organic to do it. But it was on brand at that point. Yep. Um, and it was about admissions and financial, you know, uh, tuition information.
[00:32:17] And then they enrolled. And it all started with organic. And it all started with identifying an area that this school was pretty strong, had a good program, but wasn't ranking well. Right. And when you put that content out, like this school, it actually worked and we traced it. And so, That's, I think what we're talking about with this pivot, it has the opportunity to literally do that story mm-hmm.
[00:32:37] pretty quickly.
[00:32:38] Shane Kehl: Yeah. And I think that that kind of puts a nice bow on it of, again, when you're doing all these things, you wanna make sure that you're able to measure it. Um, yeah. You wanna make sure that you're able to track the performance of the keywords individually, and you can do a lot of that through free tools.
[00:32:50] But, um, you know, one of the things that 25 K is like, if you don't have a tool, go, they're not, you know, for a basic level, depending on how massive your institution is, and you might have access to a tool and just not know [00:33:00] how to use it. investing some of that money potentially in a, you know, small, you know, single use user seat for, you know, some rush or something.
[00:33:08] Just to really make sure that you're tracking all this in the beginning and again, get that kind of proof and then be able to justify to leadership a higher investment. , um, to get more people in there and more people involved. Mm-hmm. , um, I think is a, is a great way. Cuz again, if you do all these things and then it's just like, yeah, I think it's working.
[00:33:25] I don't know, it's, you're never gonna justify doing it again. And so really making sure that you kind of have those systems in place to track, I think is, is super important. Huge. Yeah.
[00:33:34] Tony Fraga: Love it. A hundred percent agree.
[00:33:35] Shane Kehl: Awesome. All right. Final segment here. What are you folks working on this week, this month?
[00:33:42] What's kind of on your mind, things you're seeing
[00:33:44] Jaime Gleason: across the. . You know, I don't know if it's, uh, the time of the year or what I've been working on a lot of like, uh, website ideation and proposals, and I feel like we've gotten a lot of institutions that are coming our way and it's almost like, you know how [00:34:00] like CRMs went through the cycle of like, everyone's like grabbing a crm.
[00:34:03] I feel like websites might be like on the block now of like, Hey, how do we make our website better? Or how do we like tie our website more into. Yeah, what you just said, actually, how do we tie our website more into the ROI so we can really do some measurement? Um, that's what I'm working on. A lot of super cool things that we have on our plate that, uh, that we're kind of digging through a, but that's on my mind.
[00:34:28] Tony Fraga: Yeah. I'd say real quick, um, on mine, there's so many things happening right now. There's a lot of rethinking, so I'm like trying to figure out like how. What's super fresh? Um, I would say right now, um, I, it is super related to what we're talking about. So I'm seeing a lot of schools revamp sections or entire websites, but they're forgetting something really critical and they lose their rankings because the people involved in this, mm-hmm.
[00:34:57] don't realize what they already had. [00:35:00] And so there's literally like three examples in the last 90 days. where I've watched rankings drop. Now that sections or whole websites have gone live and they don't know what they had and they didn't realize that. And a lot of their outsourcing this to an agency is revamping the website and they're walking 'em through it.
[00:35:18] And there's phases and I get it. But if you don't really pay attention to where you ranked before, you could be killing pages that are actually contribu. , even though there's good reason to kill that page as it's like offbrand or we don't want that. We want to consolidate. I think it's in the consolidation of pages, you really gotta make sure you don't cut off any things that were really doing pretty well for you.
[00:35:38] And that takes really advanced level SEO analysis and research, which the company doing your website should be providing. But not all of them are qualified in that, so it's just hard. That's kind of fresh on my mind.
[00:35:52] Shane Kehl: Yeah. Have my finger on the bleep button just in case you dropped any names there. Um, yeah.
[00:35:57] Awesome. Do
[00:35:58] Jaime Gleason: you think we should get some, like we should get some like, [00:36:00] sounds like story time. A little
[00:36:01] Shane Kehl: soundboard. Oh, I thought you were gonna say a soundboard. Yeah. That makes a little sound effects. Well, thank you all for listening again. Hopefully you found something helpful here as far as seo. If you have more time, more resources, hopefully it only gets easier for you.
[00:36:15] Tune in in two weeks. We'll be discussing how you can kind of distinguish your university, um, from others despite maybe not having top rankings and other kind of flashy features that others may have.
[00:36:39] Zach Busekrus: Hey yall Zack here from Enrollify. If you like this podcast, chances are you'll like other enrollify shows too. Our podcast network is growing by the month, and we've got a plethora of marketing admissions and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks that are all designed to empower you to become a better higher ed Profess.
[00:36:58] Our shows feature a selection [00:37:00] of the industry's best as your host. Learn from Mickey Baines, Jeremy Tiers, Jaime Hunt, Jamie Gleason, and many, many more. You can learn more about the Enrollify Podcast network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea.
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About the Episode
The what's what...
SEO is obviously a focal point for institutions in 2023 and beyond, but knowing how to get started can be tricky.
In this episode of The Pivot, Tony, Jamie, and Shane walk through how they would get started with SEO if they only had a few hours per week. From understanding your rankings to creating content to improve them, this is an episode that’s full of easy-to-implement takeaways.
The Pivot is a part of the Enrollify Podcast Network. If you like this podcast, chances are you’ll like other Enrollify shows too!
Our podcast network is growing by the month and we’ve got a plethora of marketing, admissions, and higher ed technology shows that are jam-packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks all designed to empower you to be a better higher ed professional. Our shows feature a selection of the industry’s best as your hosts. Learn from Jeremy Tiers, Zach Busekrus, Jaime Hunt, Corynn Myers, Jamie Gleason, and many more.
Learn more about The Enrollify Podcast Network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea — come and find yours!
About the Podcast
Tony is the CEO and a marketing strategist at DD — an enrollment marketing technology agency that specializes in implementing inbound, content-based methodologies. He leads a team of fast-paced marketing innovators, who handle everything from content creation to marketing automation, and thrives at the intersection of strategy and technology. Tony speaks regularly at higher education and non-profit marketing conferences on the topics of content marketing, SEO, and the latest trends in digital media.
Shane is the Chief Edutainment Officer for Enrollify. He takes any opportunity to make marketing fun and enjoyable while maintaining a healthy level of helpfulness and data-backed information. When he’s not being sarcastic or irritating Zach, he’s enjoying a sports game or nice brunch – mimosa, hold the OJ. His goal is to make higher ed even more fun and lively by injecting new ideas wherever he can.
Jamie Gleason is the Vice President Of Enrollment Strategy at Direct Development. He brings over 15 years of higher education experience to the team; almost a decade of which was spent on campus(es) and nearly six years was in edtech. A self-proclaimed "farmer + fixer," Enrollment has always provided the perfect challenge for him! He's happiest when mining through spreadsheets, results, and (generally) any type of data!
We partner with the best, to provide the best information.
A full-service marketing technology agency
DD Agency is a digital marketing agency for higher education with a propensity for marketing technology. They're the only HubSpot Platinum Partner Agency that exclusively serves the enrollment marketing space. Living out their mission statement "We help Davids beat Goliaths" means DD helps clients develop inbound marketing strategies that use content and marketing automation to achieve their enrollment goals. Whether you're looking for a full-fledged, 12-month strategic marketing plan, or just a fresh approach to a blitz campaign, they're the marketing partner you want in your corner! The DD team is guided by 6 core values: treat clients like family, be ridiculously helpful, challenge conventional thinking, treasure transparency, adapt and improve, and "make it fridge-worthy."learn more
The Pivot is a bi-weekly podcast that addresses real-time enrollment marketing challenges and meets them head-on with strategic insights and tactics. Join Tony Fraga, Jamie Gleason, and Shane Kehl to get inspired, build a game plan, and find your next great pivot.
This show is hosted and brought to you by the giant slayers at DD Agency —an enrollment marketing technology agency that helps colleges and universities recruit right-fit students through SEO, content marketing, and marketing automation. Learn more about DD Agency here.
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