Advertising on Google Adwords for community colleges is crucial. The ability to target people searching for schools in their area and colleges offering the programs they want to take can yield some fantastic results; the professionals here at Davis have seen it firsthand. Here are some of the Agency’s tips for setting up your Google Adwords Campaign to make your college stand out in the search results:
- Focus on the programs You offer
If your school offers 50 different programs, the best way to capture the non-competitive keywords online is to place bids on keywords associated with your program offerings. Set up adgroups for each program you want to emphasize, along with associated keywords. It’s better not to use one-word keywords, so try to combine your program offering along with key phrases like +college, +training or +degree. If you offer culinary classes, one keyword might be “+culinary +degree.”
- Avoid competing in the “online college” field
One of the main reasons we suggest focusing on specific program keywords is because the competition for more general keywords like “online college” is fierce. Check out this screenshot below:
With a quality score of 7/10, Adwords is suggesting we bid $30.00 per click just to appear on the first page. Paying $30 CPC will quickly eat away at your budget, which could be better spent driving more people to your website with specific keywords. Unless you have millions to spend, we don’t suggest competing against those that do by using “online”-related keywords.
- Target the area around your college
This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s the littlest things that make a big impact! Ensure your locations are set with “radius targeting,” so you can enter your college’s address and then simply select how many miles around the school you want your ads to appear. We recommend 20-50 miles, depending on the population density of your location.
- Set up basic name protection
Create a separate campaign that just runs ads for the name of your community college only. Imagine if someone types in your school’s name “John Smith’s Culinary School” and a bunch of competitors appear above you on the list. That should never happen! Thankfully these keywords tend to be very cheap in relation. Setting up name protection in its own campaign allows you to easily control what percentage of your overall budget you are using defensively. At the same time, limiting this portion of your Adwords campaign is important because the overall goal is to get clicks from people not already searching for you. Those typing in your college’s name likely already plan on going to your website, and your college’s web page is probably first in the organic search results anyway. In sum, although there is a small benefit in pushing competitors down or being able to display more information, the big ROI’s come from other terms.
- Set up landing pages for your programs
“Landing Page Experience” factors largely into the quality score of the keywords you pick. If you set up a campaign for your various programs, yet everything links back to your homepage or a single landing page, chances are high that you will have “Below Average” landing page experience, hurting your overall quality score. We recommend having each program link to that program’s specific page on your website or design custom landing pages for each. A custom ad linked to a custom landing page will not only lead to a great user experience, but it will also reduce your PPC cost significantly.
Davis is here to help!
If after reading these tips, you feel you may need a little assistance, we are here to help. Davis Advertising has great systems and knowledge of running Adwords campaigns for community colleges. Much of Adwords is testing what works and what doesn’t, setting up AB tests and adjusting; already having that knowledge and being able to utilize it right away can help your campaign hit the ground running. We also have fantastic landing page designers to take your Adwords campaign to the next level. Please feel free to contact us or check out our other higher education work for more information.