There is no SEO evidence that buying paid ads improves your organic ranking in search returns. All search engine companies have very firm walls between their commercial divisions and search technology division. Further, most search engines can recognize ads and discount them when calculating the importance of incoming links. However, anecdotally we do still see increases in rankings for enterprises participating in paid search programs.
We currently do not use paid ads on any keywords. This puts us at a competitive disadvantage to several of our peers. About half of our Vision 2020 peers use paid search ads to some degree. Most relatively small, but some make very significant investments.
Most other schools are focusing on online courses and their business school. The emphasis on courses probably is the reason that ad buys often vary largely by month…users are strategic about placing ads when students are actively looking for their courses. Bypassing emphasis on courses and expanding into our grand challenges could be a way of setting us apart from other higher eds.
This report is meant to simply show the current state of search results to the campus web properties that we own. While it does include rudimentary analysis, it is not intended to offer strategic recommendations on how to implement an SEO program. That will come later in a separate report. This report is instead meant to lay the groundwork for those recommendations. To inform where we are now so that we can create goals for where we want to be and how to get there.
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