MBA search marketing

Video production,digital pr, education marketing, online marketing service, digital marketing agencyIn this post, I’ll be looking at how business schools could be (in some case are) using search engine marketing to attract UK students.

The opportunity

Using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, I was able to identify the number of searches from within the UK for ten keywords that people might use if they were researching an MBA programme within the UK.

We know these search terms are relevant, because loads of business schools (e.g. University of Leicester, West London College) run Pay Per Click advertising campaigns against them.
 

Keyword

Local Monthly Searches (UK)

[best business school]

58

[best business schools in europe]

46

[business school in london]

91

[business school]

880

[business schools]

320

[business universities]

260

[mba programs]

210

[mba]

14800

[top business schools]

480

[top mba schools]

110

I’ve used the [exact match] function here, meaning that the data only show searches for the exact terms. This means that the results identified above are somewhat conservative (i.e. “top business schools” would not include “top business schools in Britain”), so to provide a more realistic measure of the search marketing opportunity, I usually multiply the exact match results by 3.3 (quite a widely accepted methodology). Using this method, the opportunity can now be estimated as follows

Keyword

Local Monthly Searches (UK)

Estimated opportunity

[best business school]

58

191

[best business schools in europe]

46

152

[business school in london]

91

300

[business school]

880

2904

[business schools]

320

1056

[business universities]

260

858

[mba programs]

210

693

[mba]

14800

48840

[top business schools]

480

1584

[top mba schools]

110

363

We also know that the top Google search result gets around 36.4% of clicks. This drops to 12.5% for Position 2 and 9.5% for Position 3. This gives us a clearer picture of the specific opportunity for top-ranked business schools:

Keyword

Local Monthly Searches

Estimated opportunity

Clicks (pos 1)

Clicks (pos 2)

Clicks (pos 3)

[best business school]

58

191

70

24

18

[best business schools in europe]

46

152

55

19

14

[business school in london]

91

300

109

38

29

[business school]

880

2904

1057

363

276

[business schools]

320

1056

384

132

100

[business universities]

260

858

312

107

82

[mba programs]

210

693

252

87

66

[mba]

14800

48840

17778

6105

4640

[top business schools]

480

1584

577

198

150

[top mba schools]

110

363

132

45

34

Total

17255

56942

20727

7118

5409

So, the business school that optimises its website for just these ten search terms (which are a drop in the ocean of relevant keywords!) to appear in the top three search results would net itself more than 5,000 relevant visits a month – or 60,000 a year!

So, how do the UK’s business schools fare in their search marketing?

I went to Google.co.uk in an incognito browser (to prevent previous searches from biasing the results) and here’s what I found: Only three business schools / universities made it into the top three search results for any of the ten terms in our sample. Only one of those was a top-ranked business school:

  • London Business School
  • Middlesex University Business School
  • City University London

And the following schools made it on to Page 1 for these search results:

  • University of Edinburgh Business School
  • Nottingham University Business School
  • BPP Business School
  • Londonmet Business School
  • Ashridge Business School
  • Cass Business School
  • Henley Business School
  • Warwick Business School
  • Manchester Business School
  • Brighton Business School
  • Harvard Business School
  • Rotman School of Management
  • London School of Business and Finance
  • Imperial MBA
  • University of Westminster
  • Open University Business School

Notably absent from Page 1 (for these search results) were five of the UK’s top business schools.

Conclusion

This is a small analysis of the UK search landscape for terms related to MBA courses in the UK. However, it is the first step we, as a digital education PR agency, would take in assessing the effectiveness of a client’s online PR and marketing activity. Based on the results (of a far more detailed analysis), we would deliver an online marketing service that incorporated digital PR, education social media, link building and corporate video production services. 

Read more in our series on higher education marketing: who's topping the MBA marketing rankings

 

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