Some things truly were better in the old days. Not everything, but for example back in 2013 Google was still sharing the information, which keywords the user had used before reaching your website (see table below with 99% of the keywords not provided this April vs. 47% in 2013). While 4 years seems to be eras ago in IT terms, the question is: Why bring it up now? Let us talk about keyword insights for schools.

Changes in data shared by Google Analytics
99% of the data is not provided anymore

Many schools and universities do not invest in SEO

The reason is that I still hear from many schools and universities they don’t invest in SEO. That is because from analytics they see organic search and direct visitors as the first two sources of how students find them. If you read this, are you up for a 3-min exercise and check, which keywords brought you most students in spring 2013? Simply select e.g. March 2013 in your analytics and show the keywords used back then. Preferably limit this to the visitors closest to becoming a student with you.

The research I have done shows that 70-90% of the visitors with the highest conversion (e.g. filling out a lead form, leaving to the application pages, etc.) have used the name of the institution in their searches (or a wide variety of spelling errors around it). Does your time travel in your analytics show the same? If so, it means your students have heard from you before and were looking exactly for you.

To the tangible recommendations from these insights:

  1. A good analytics setup (i.e. goal setup) allows finding out, which source really brought your students in the first place (Google Analytic’s User Explorer is very insightful for this) and from the landing pages, you can deduce their keywords (more alternatives for keyword insights from Kissmetrics here).
  2. If you see mainly your homepage there or the used keywords include your institution’s name, let’s take a look at how to improve your SEO for keywords related to the programmes you offer – my former colleagues have put together a nice overview here.
  3. An easy in-the-face conversion for your visitors allows also to shift the insights from anonymous visitors, where you know the marketing source, to contacts with a name, where you know the marketing source. Common to have is e.g. a form to send more information to the visitor of your website.
  4. Or be happy that you already work on this for years and can send me a mail, so I can use you as a good example in future posts?

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog post on keyword insights for schools. At we have been helping schools to increase student enrollments since 2010. If you are looking to recruit the best matching students for your programmes with minimal cost and effort, feel free to reach out to us.