George Mason University
Located just minutes from Washington, D.C., George Mason University (GMU) is the largest public university in Virginia, built to prepare students for complex 21st century careers. GMU offers many certification programs as well as degrees at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The university prides itself for its innovation, diversity, and focus on positive student experiences.
“There is a Passion natural to the Mind of man, especially a free Man, which renders him impatient of Restraint.”
George Mason (1725–1792)
This project started as an effort to boost GMU’s online presence. GMU’s location in the D.C. metro area is an overall positive, drawing students and educators alike. However, the sheer abundance of universities in the same area makes it difficult for any one school to rise above the rest as far as online presence is concerned.
Our first course of action was to boost search engine rankings to make sure the school had the visibility it deserved. We worked on this in a number of ways, namely doing a review of search engine keywords and integrating them into the website. This was achieved in part by implementing three separate blogs (each for a different graduate program), finding relevant and ranked topics, and continually coordinating the related blogging schedules. We developed a plan to make sure GMU’s website was fully optimized both for local (D.C.) searches as well as national searches, and we constantly analyzed year-round keyword rankings and content management to maximize visibility and keep the website stays current.
As it turned out, boosting the university’s Google rankings was just half of the solution. It was not enough to just attract the new audience; we needed to keep them, as well. We began working on digital assets to obtain and nurture this new, growing audience. We created several eBooks related to those graduate programs. The books include study tips, course layout, and other vital information for students researching the programs or preparing for the application process. These were all carefully researched, edited, formatted, and designed to ensure the creation of sophisticated, well-crafted works. The completed eBooks were then marketed through several avenues—such as a newly implemented e-mail marketing campaign—to reach as many interested readers as possible.
We continually reviewed analytics and milestones, creating real, quantifiable results reported on a monthly basis. As a result of our SEO campaign, GMU’s Google rankings changed dramatically in just a year. The MBA program, for example, is now highly ranked in very competitive terms, with many rankings in areas where the program had not ranked at all in the previous year. The eBooks, newsletters, and other digital assets also helped tremendously; the university saw a 422% increase in new conversions from search engines in one year.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Valeo has been instrumental in increasing our rankings across numerous search engines. We now appear within the top ten results for many of our graduate business programs. Valeo has creatively developed ways for us to capture intriguing content to offer our audiences. They are always working to find the best solution that will create strategic results for us.
“They are pleasant to work with, stay on task, organize your project efficiently, and are always on top of the latest trents and strategies in marketing and communications. Valeo is one of the very best digital agencies out there.”