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I always try to really emphasize the importance of Search Engine Optimization when speaking about online marketing with college and university marketers. SEO is a fundamental building block of your higher ed online marketing efforts. If you are not investing in SEO you really are selling yourself short. And in fact, I would argue you are truly undermining the time and money you are spending on your other really great marketing efforts by not attending to this foundation element of your overall Search Engine Marketing (SEM) efforts.

I admit I have been banging on this point in recent posts, but I can’t resist bringing it up again, given this recently published report, (June 8, 2013), on Search Engine Results Page (SERP) traffic. Read on if you aren’t already convinced.

The Percentage of Traffic by Google Results Position chart, from the report below, shows the percentage of traffic that a search result will receive depending on the position that a result holds on a Google search engine results page. (Google makes up approximately 67 % of total search engine traffic, so these stats are likely applicable, to most searches.)

Traffic by Search Results PositionSource:

Or put more precisely :

Traffic Stats

So almost 70% of the traffic generated by searches on Google go to the first four search results positions. I still find this pretty amazing but it is the harsh reality of search. And then it falls off really rapidly after that. Total traffic to page 1 search results accounts for about 92% of all resulting traffic.

The news gets even worse if your College’s search results don’t appear on page 1. Only 5% of people will click on page 2 search results and only 1 % will click on results on page 3.

Traffic percent by page


If this is not enough proof that you need to sharpen up your SEO efforts and start working on getting your main pages top ranked for your branded and non-branded keywords, I’m not sure what would be.

On-page optimization is a great place to start because you can control this internally, and with a bit of studying up, and effort, you can make a significant impact in your SEO productivity. Link building is the next step, where you probably need some experienced help, but regardless, make SEO a priority and get started on the long march towards a goal of top 4 rankings.

So where do you rank on Google for your main program keywords?