Making the search easier: improving the SEO performance to drive applications


University of Glasgow

In the Higher Education marketplace, we have delivered SEO projects for institutions of all sizes, with a range of challenges to overcome. Some of these projects are driven from a centralised team with the objectives being to improve overall ranking positions, site health and content guidance. Others are more specific and relevant to faculties, schools or audience segments or markets.

For many university sector clients, it’s about the detail – improving and refining the impressive offers they already have. One such client was the University of Glasgow, who asked us to look at 39 of their programme pages to help increase their organic search rankings. They understood the strengths of their offer, but what they needed was an understanding of how to target these offers within the market place and ensure a broader range of potential (passive) students engaged with their specialist courses.

Once we had agreed specifics around objectives, KPIs for measurable conversions and ensured there was a signed off project plan, we had to perform a full technical audit on their entire site. This technical audit needed to be comprehensive and looked at a number of key areas:

  • Meta data – Ensured that all page titles, meta descriptions and headings etc. were being used to best effect
  • Content optimisation – We used our in-house experts to provide engaging copy that was optimised to ensure success
  • Backlink review – Using client feedback and approval, we provided new suggestions and helped review the validity of existing backlinks
  • Strategy proposal – The culmination of the audit was our comprehensive and exhaustive strategy proposals, which built the foundations for page rank improvement stages.

The work, which is now an ongoing service, has led to some truly impressive results, which really highlight just how effective our expertise can be in these situations:

  • +43.79% – Traffic from natural search in an average month has increased significantly since the commencement of the SEO project
  • 5,052 – More visits per calendar month than forecast
  • +12.7% – ‘How to Apply’ goal completes year on year via SEO
  • +23.8% – ‘Fees and Funding’ goal completes year on year via SEO

All of which has provided Glasgow with greatly improved figures and ROI, which can be directly attributed to the work we’ve carried out.

And because SMRS understand this market, we know better than anyone that it’s not always the big things – the glamorous things – that have the most impact, so often it’s the something unseen. It’s putting our knowledge and expertise to use, and quietly and ingeniously finding the solution to the problem.

It’s not how loud you shout, it’s what you say that matters.