Higher Education Digital Marketing

Solutions to Drive Top-Quality Admissions

Higher education requires advanced insights; providing an authentic, industry-driven, and comprehensive approach to digital marketing strategies for higher education organizations.

Let’s Strategize

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Let’s Strategize

By completing this form, you acknowledge and agree that Elevated may contact you at the information above.


Traditional College University

Traditional College/ University

Traditional colleges and universities typically offer four-year bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Students can choose from a variety of fields of study to specialize in. With the onset of COVID-19, many universities now offer online courses and degrees.

online School

Online Schools

Online degree programs are ideal for students looking for flexibility in higher education. Student’s have the option to take as many or as few classes to fit their lifestyle situations. Distance higher education learning as been pushed to the forefront of the industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Career Colleges

Career Colleges

Students looking to for specific education and training in a skill or trade set turn to career colleges. Accelerated certification programs can be completed in 12 to 18 months.

Graduate Schools

Graduate Schools

To pursue graduate school students will almost always require a completed undergraduate degree before applying. Grad schools are most commonly attend by students seeking a master’s or doctorate degree in their field of study.


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Increase Potential

Student Interest

The first goal of any marketing campaign is to increase interest in your product or service. In the case of higher education, this means increasing potential student interest and, in turn, raising enrollment rates. To do it, you’ll need to develop a digital marketing plan that’s based on airtight data, and personalized analytics.

We’re not just looking at how institutions successfully interact with students, we’re looking at the steps your institution needs to take. By understanding what draws in target crowds, we can create a marketing plan that’s tailored to your unique situation, proving more effective for your institution. Your unique traits will be what draws in students, and impactful digital marketing helps you capitalize on each.

Increase Potential Student Interest
Build Trust and Rapport With Students

Build Trust and Rapport

With Students

One of the biggest marketing focuses in any industry is building relationships with the target audience. In education, a young population is looking to spend a large sum on an educational experience. In order to make this critical decision, there must be an avenue to build trust, rapport, and establish support for potential students and their families.

The first stop is usually enhancing your website to establish authority and trust. Next, building a social media presence that reflects the university’s standards and integrity captures students where they spend the most time, building security in their decision to enroll. For existing students, this connection will be what they discuss with others when the topic of campus culture arises.



Utilizing your marketing budget wisely is essential to maximizing success and ROI for your digital marketing campaigns. In order to do this, we’ll start by leveraging your most critical offerings. We need to know not only what sets you apart, but which programs and services your parents and students are researching.

From here, we can implement SEO, PPC, CRO, and other marketing tactics to boost your most popular areas and ensure they have the reach that they deserve. Highlighting your strengths ensures that all students looking for institutions and programs like yours have you on their radar for application season.

Maximize Budget

Helping Grow Higher Education Businesses

Higher Education Marketing Statistics That Matter

As with any other foundation of our society, higher education has developed into a business. Each individual organization has the unique job of sharing the benefits of their particular institution with potential students, parents, faculty, investors, and other stakeholders. However, just because higher education is an in-demand commodity doesn’t mean that higher education institutions are exempt from the need for effective marketing strategies. Here are some important statistics to remember when considering marketing for your higher education institutions:

  • Video content is a major pull for prospective students. Using videos in your marketing can increase your appeal, with 81% of students expecting video-based instruction to grow in the next few years.
  • Gen Z, by far the largest age group looking to enroll in colleges, are nearly 15 times more likely to give up on a college simply because their website is not user friendly. This means that no matter how appealing a college’s programs are, its enrollment rate could depend on the efficacy of its website and the skill of its web designers.
  • 78% of millennials prioritize experience over material possessions. Using experiential-based marketing strategies can help push universities to the top of their lists. As this generation ages out of college, they will likely have children that will soon enroll based on similar criteria.
  • When searching for information, younger generations want to find answers quickly. If your website doesn’t provide the answer to their question within 8 seconds, they’re likely to find another website that can keep up with their queries. For higher education institutions, this can mean lost enrollment if website design is off.
  • Higher education websites can expect approximately 10% more conversions when using responsive ads vs traditional virtual ones. Engaging with your customers is key.
  • Google Analytics is your friend. Remember: the bottom line is that higher education sites need to engage in the same—or better—site optimization and marketing techniques as any other business website in order to stay competitive. Students have a world of options available, and a bad experience on your website gives them no reason to stay. Use Google Analytics to track how your website is performing, and adjust from there.
  • 44% of social media users are using their favorite platforms more often since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Take advantage of this jump in audience numbers by fine-tuning your social media marketing strategy to maximize impact and interaction.
  • 72% of Gen Z respects and follows the advice of influencers, so use them. There are likely influencers that already attend your institution, and working with them to create promotional campaigns can lead to a significant jump in interest and engagement.
  • Thanks to featured snippet boxes on Google, 50% of searches ended right on the search engine results page (SERP), rather than a user continuing to the website. This means that conducting research regarding the questions parents and students are asking, and providing answers that can link back to your website.
  • According to a 2019 survey, the most popular criteria for interest in a college is a graduate’s ability to get a good job. Highlighting the ways in which your institution meets this requirement helps to interest prospective students. Many colleges have opted to implement an entire page to career outcomes to help focus on this student desire.
  • Adult learning and returning education populations are projected to grow by 20% in the next two years. Don’t forget to pour attention and dedication into marketing your adult programs. This population is less likely to be impressed by flashy perks, and more interested in ease of class accessibility, the ability to change career paths, and the quality of offered educational programs.


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How a Strong SEO Strategy Can

Benefit Higher Education Institutions

Getting a college education is more common than ever. In fact, in a recent year over 62% of high school graduates were enrolled in college by the fall after their senior year. As education continues to be a necessity in the modern job market, higher education institutions have the unique responsibility of competing for graduates. In short, higher education can no longer survive on reputation alone.

You must get competitive in the virtual world, which means ensuring your institution appears prominently when prospective students are searching for options. To put it simply, you need to implement SEO.

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a series of tactics that help your website rank higher when users search for topics relevant to you. By highlighting relevant keywords and phrases within your website content and optimizing your website, you can ensure that Google matches you with people who are on the hunt for higher education topics.

Google and other search engines rely on algorithms and machine learning to determine if your site has the right information for the user. SEO techniques prove to the search engine’s crawlers that you can in fact meet the user’s needs, and that your website is high quality, informative, and authoritative.

Why Improve Your Institution’s Rankings?

SEO tactics built to improve your rankings ensures that more potential students searching for colleges come across your website. The reality is that 75% of people don’t scroll past the first page of search engine results when searching for entities or answers. Ranking higher ensures that your institution appears nearer the top of search results, increasing the likelihood that students or parents will click through to your website.

Visibility is king when it comes to standing out among other higher education institutions. Once you’ve increased your website’s ranking, more page traffic will follow.

How Does SEO Help Your Institution?

In GA4, you can configure up to 500 unique event names per user account, and each event allows for you to assign up to 25 custom parameters. You can set value definitions up to 100 characters long. 

Google Analytics’ enhanced measurement feature makes event tracking even easier than Universal Analytics. For example, this feature will automatically track events like page scrolling, video view time, and site search tracking without requiring you to input any new coding or tagging. All automatically collected events are captured as long as you use the gtag.js tag

There is no one size fits all SEO strategy, but it’s important to know what a strong strategy consists of. Here are some elements of a strong SEO plan:

  • Don’t assume what people are searching when it comes to higher education. Instead, perform in-depth research to ensure that you know what they’re looking for. This includes looking at what people search to find sites like yours, and what they do on your website once they get there.
  • You can’t expect to draw users to your page without optimizing keywords and phrases. You can’t expect to keep them there without providing extensive, high-quality information about your institution and programs, built around these relevant keywords.
  • Highlighted strengths. Based on internal site searches, highlight what people are most looking for on your website. Target your SEO efforts to the landing pages most likely to prompt enrollment increases.
  • Algorithms for Google and other search engines are constantly changing. SEO efforts must be updated as changes happen in order to keep up with new standards.

SEO tools are incredibly powerful in driving traffic and generating new student interest for universities, and there is no time to waste on poor strategies. Turning to an expert SEO agency is your best bet to ensure you are maximizing your site’s potential and pulling in new student interest.


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7 Items That Should Be on Your

Higher Education Marketing Agenda

When you’re first beginning, crafting an SEO agenda for a higher education institution can be intimidating. Not only do you need to pull in prospective students, parents, and faculty, you need to remain true to your institution’s values and brand. As you develop your SEO strategy, there are certain elements that are critical to consider to ensure your efforts reach their maximum potential:

  1. Build insight into common student and parent queries. The first item on your agenda should be to find out what prospective students and parents want to know when searching for higher education online. This might be different than what you’ve assumed, and it also may be different than what you’ve found in in-person interviews or surveys. Search engine analytics will tell you what students and parents are actually searching for online when it comes to higher education, and with this insight you can begin to build a targeted strategy.
  2. Identify high volume keywords. When most people think of SEO, they think of keywords. While keywords are not the entirety of the SEO picture, they are incredibly important to its success. It is important to note the most high-volume, relevant keywords from your research and ensure that you work them into your website. This tells search engines that your site is well equipped to answer common user questions, and will be served prominently for user queries.
  3. Create quality content. Identifying high volume keywords is only the first step. It’s critical to make sure the web copy and content surrounding them is high quality, informative, and purposeful. The days of keyword stuffing are long past. In order for users to remain on your website and learn more about your institution, you must have information worth reading.
  4. Perform a site audit. User Experience (or UX) is becoming a crucial part of the SEO world. Google and other search engines do not base SERP rankings solely on matching keywords and searched phrases; they also evaluate how well the site functions for the user. This means that if you have broken links, un-optimized photos and videos, constant redirects, and other technical issues, you will rank considerably lower. Do a thorough audit of your site to address any technical issues. Perform research and ask users what they notice about your site to ensure you don’t miss critical failures.
  5. Address page speed. An important element of UX is how fast a page loads. This is often affected by LCP, or Largest Contentful Paint, which is the amount of time necessary for your page’s largest content to load. Large images and videos can increase your load times, causing users to give up on the process and bounce to another site. Optimizing your largest media elements can help you address this issue.
  6. Optimize for mobile. Today, the majority of searches originate from a mobile device. However, the way users search on mobile is vastly different than how they search online. Incorporating SEO that is geared toward mobile searches as well as desktop searches maximizes your hits. Mobile optimization also involves ensuring your mobile site UX is just as pleasant as your desktop version.
  7. Hire an agency. Implementing SEO is an enormous undertaking that requires effort and expertise. A professional SEO agency will be able to ensure that each of the agenda steps above are implemented in ways that will draw in parents and students. At Elevated, we incorporate real data and analytics to determine your needs and optimize your SEO efforts. We’ll get you on the road to seeing higher enrollment rates and ensure lasting success.


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Strategies Your Institution

Could be Missing

SEO is certainly not a new concept for all colleges and universities. In fact, many higher education institutions have been implementing SEO tactics for years, and believe they have achieved a one-and-done SEO overhaul to achieve results. Despite this belief, many universities still don’t see the results they’re looking for from their SEO websites.

This doesn’t indicate that SEO doesn’t work, or even that your SEO techniques should be abandoned, it simply means that it’s not working to its full capacity. Just as search engine algorithms are constantly changing, so are the tools necessary for optimization. It’s possible that your institution’s SEO strategy is simply missing a few components that could lead to seeing significant results.

If you feel that your growth has hit a plateau, or if you are looking to operate your current SEO at maximum capacity, these are a few strategies that may be missing:

Refresh Your SEO Approach

What worked for you at the beginning of your SEO journey may not be working anymore. As mentioned, Google updates its algorithm constantly, and small tweaks to their search engine can lead to big changes in ranking. At minimum, refresh your SEO at least every six months, and more frequently if Google rolls out big changes.

Cater to the Featured Snippet

You’ve likely noticed an increase in focus on Google’s featured snippets. These are the small boxes that appear at the top of a search with highlighted information, questions and answers, or other content relevant to the current search. Nearly 30% of users click on either the first SERP result or the sites that appear in the featured snippet, because the information provided indicates they are likely to find more relevant information on the website. Focus on answering common questions and queries relevant to your institution to enhance your chances at appearing in the featured snippet.

Update Your Google My Business Listing

Many institutions ignore their Google My Business listings, which is a huge mistake when you consider that you’re missing out on optimizing what’s often the first contact a user has with your institution. Google My Business is a primary feature experienced by mobile users, and any outdated information like addresses, phone numbers, links, or descriptions can lead to increases in bounce rates. You’d be surprised how many users rely on Google My Business profiles to glean basic information about your institution, read reviews, and begin contact.

Update Your Google My Business Listing

It‘s important to remember that college is a significant investment, requiring most people to save, utilize student loans for, and even get second or third jobs. This kind of investment requires thorough research to ensure that the investment sees a return. Many people turn to reputable and trustworthy sites for that information, the US Department of Education website being the most important. Make sure the Department has up to date information about your institution, as it is used to populate many other higher education ranking and rating publications. Update all third party websites your institution appears on, as well.

Hire An Agency

Hiring an SEO agency is one of the main ways you can make sure your SEO is working at maximum capacity at all times. SEO experts keep up to date on trends and changes, and can use their expertise in the field to infuse your site with tactics optimized for the current algorithm. Better yet, by hiring an agency, you’ll avoid the hassle of monitoring Google and other search engines for updates, and can trust that their efforts are working for you while you return to your other important responsibilities.


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It’s important to remember that, at their core, colleges and universities are a business, and as a result they function online just like any other. As a business, you have as much to gain from advertising practices as any other industry. SEO tactics are a wonderful asset for higher education websites because they can help your institution stand out among the competition and highlight your strengths to increase enrollment.

For many businesses, including colleges and universities, social media marketing can mean simply giving current and prospective students a platform to engage and communicate. Sometimes, audiences feel like they aren’t being heard. Responding to social media questions and comments with friendly, professional answers is a great way to counter that. In addition, you can utilize social media to provide ongoing updates regarding your programs and events in a friendly, knowledgeable tone.

You shouldn’t. As Google’s Core Web Vitals launch in May of 2021, the quality of the user’s experience will increasingly affect your rankings on Google’s SERP. You must address your technical SEO and UX if you want to rank well on searches and drive relevant traffic to your page.

With the wealth of information available online, and the growth of many options for both traditional and atypical education routes, even famous or well-respected institutions can benefit from connecting with potential students. Students enroll where they feel welcome and where they feel their educational needs are being met affordably and efficiently. Digital marketing can help you emphasize your efforts to improve these aspects and ensure your message speaks to as many viewers as possible.

Hire a professional agency. At Elevated, we excel at reputation management projects. We use all of the optimization tactics at our disposal to ensure that you can leverage positive information about your school while pushing negative stories down on the SERP.


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