AIEC Digital Marketing Consulting

SEO Digital Marketing Techniques for International Education

News about international education digital marketing, SEO, recruitment and analysis from AIEC Australian International Education Centre Budapest


From ICEF Monitor on international education student behaviour and analytics.  The enrolment funnel: Better results start with the prospects you already have. The pool of prospective students is getting larger all the time for many schools and institutions. The Internet appears to be a big factor in this trend, in that it makes it easier for students to file queries – via online forms, social media, or simply by email – with a number of schools at once. Similarly, online application processes, including central application systems that allow students to apply to a number of institutions, are making it easier for prospects to file a wider field of applications.

The web is now home to a vast amount of information about where and how to study, and that has given rise to a new prospect category in many admissions systems: the so-called “stealth applicant.” These applicants remain anonymous until the point of application, and so outside of the tracking, filtering, or communications processes of the institution or school. Some of these stealth prospects may simply prefer not to opt in to more formal enquiry processes that would allow the school to contact them. Others are simply able to find the information that they need online up to the point of application.


In international education strategy, marketing, communications and recruitment in the digital economy, do management skill sets fit the 21st century?  International Education Marketing.  Firstly objectives and strategy need to be clarified, e.g. how to create maximum visibility with the target or relevant audience all year round 24/7 through SEO search engine optimisation so that your institution's (relevant) international page appears in organic search results in that target language, and who is responsible?  At the national, state, region or city level government agencies should be doing the same without deferring to events, and using other languages/SEO to become visible in and develop other markets through creation of awareness and interest.  All regional or international managers and admissions have not just the qualitative knowledge of a market but also the education to do SEO well, i.e. social science or linguistic background, it is social science or anthropology, not the 'dark technical arts'.


Direct Student Recruitment.  There have always been issues with schools and universities promoting and recruiting directly, whether on direct online or via a recruitment event, and clear analysis of how students found an institution (often more personal preferences vs corporate objectives).  Further, there is the other question, why are not others finding you?

From ICEF Monitor:

Keyword research: Matching intent with results.  Somebody types a few words into a search box somewhere in the world and the process begins.

A prospective student is searching online, trying to find the right university or school, but how is he searching? What information is most important to him? What terms does he use and how can you find your way through the staggering volumes of search activity, advertising, and user behaviour to find and engage with this prospective student? More to the point, how can he find you?

ICEF Monitor Part 2: Keyword research: Building your toolkit Editor’s note: Today’s post is the second in a two-part series on keyword research. Part 1 focuses on a topic mapping and brainstorming process designed to generate a wide-ranging field of keywords. This following post demonstrates how to identify and focus on the best-performing keywords through competitor research and keyword tools.'

AIEC would add, other languages apart from English need to be included as e.g. in Europe it isestimated that not only are 9 out 10 starting their journey online, but that 9 out of 10 use their mother tongue, even if fluent in English.


Search Trend SEO in International Education Digital Marketing.  Google argues that the continued importance of non-branded education search – and the modest decline in brand-based queries – means that educators need new strategies to drive interest and awareness around their brand terms.


Kickstarting Australia's digital future. Over a two-day period in April 2013, Tourism Australia received 35,000 user-generated video submissions to its ‘Best Jobs in the world’ campaign.... For chief information officer Dave Rumsey, it was an emphatic proof point of the benefits of collaboration between the marketing and technology teams.... When Rumsey joined Tourism Australia in November 2011, that relationship was quite different..... the culture hadn't moved with the strategy... Tourism Australia identified cultural change early on as a key component of its digital transformation but many companies struggle with such an abstract notion.


International Student Recruitment.  ‘In International-Student Recruitment, Questions About Integrity Persist.  The agent debate is dead. Long live the integrity debate.’  Do admissions counselors actually know how their enquiries and candidates emerged?  Institutions should be or could be cooperating successfully on digital/SEO strategy with agents and related parties through creating rich content and social media network sharing to ensure there are good candidates to counsel in the first place.


International Education and Student Recruitment Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media, News and Information.  AIEC is highly visible online in Turkish (and other languages) via website, Twitter network, blogs, social media and conventional i.e. email list (600 contacts and increasing) updates to private high school counsellors, career centres at private university and vocational schools, private cookery, tourism and hospitality schools, private digital arts and media schools (to be followed by health).


Digital Marketing SEO Social Media Content for International Education.  From Search Engine Watch on Tourism Australia’s digital marketing, content and social media:  ‘9 Content Marketing Lessons From Tourism Australia.  Most of us think about marketing our businesses or our clients’ business, but how do you content market an entire country (to the world)? That was the question facing Australia back in 2010 when they embarked on their ambitious “There’s nothing like Australia” campaign.The Google SEO Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide online for free download.


Who should handle a university’s social media in China?  A growing number of Chinese students are going abroad to study every year – almost 400,000 in 2012, and growing at 17% year-on-year – and education institutions around the world have opened their arms to welcome this new cohort of customers. Many have gone a step further by reaching out to these students on the Chinese social web.  Should universities keep these activities in-house or outsourced?


International Education Agent Management and Digital SEO Marketing. 'How will online school selection affect education agents? At ICEF Monitor, we have written before about how educators can power their recruitment and programming strategies via the astute collection, management, and analysis of data on the behaviours and patterns of students. Today, we look at examples of online data sites and services available to students researching their education options, and we consider the question.


Most international education communication and marketing has focused upon conventional or "outbound" physical marketing at education events and fairs, but are they effective?


The internet is the primary source for students to research your institution.  However, most sites are not optimised (SEO) for most markets where 90% of related web searches are in the local language (British Council).


All prospective candidates are now online.  Prospective candidates who know your institution will find you easily online, but what about those who don't know your institution?




Digital or "inbound" marketing is achieved through having your website search engine optimised SEO, in relevant languages and content, to attract relevant web traffic from prospective candidates all year round, through general or organic web searches, and landing on specific pages.


This can be enhanced through blogs and inclusion in directories, and direct digital promotions via Facebook, Google Adwords and Twitter campaigns.




Inbound Virtual Marketing                                vs            Outbound Physical Marketing


24/7 all year                                                        vs            1 hour - 3 days

Online up to date information                         vs            Physical brochures expensive/out of date

Anywhere (multiple)                                          vs            Fixed physical location (one off)

Online promo/websearch                                vs            Sighting physical stand/print advertisement

Website visit                                                        vs            Stopping at stand/seminar/taking brochure

Email, Skype enquiry over time                       vs            General questions e.g. study, visa etc.

Economic                                                            vs            Expensive

Time to inform                                                    vs            Pressure for immediate results

Detailed analysis over time                             vs            Analysis limited to physical visitors on day

Long term sustainability                                   vs            Short term only.


Inbound SEO Search Engine Optimisation vs Outbound Digital Google or Facebook ads:


Informed by clients          vs Informed by senior management

Highly targetted                vs Generic

Marketing                           vs Sales promotion

Lower but specific traffic vs Higher general traffic

Matches custom course search requests vs Promoting or pushing school

Economic                           vs More expensive

Produces rich market intelligence or qualitative data vs Quantitative data

Organic                               vs Artificial

Cumulative                         vs 'One- off' event



What can AIEC do?


1. Include profile in relevant languages on AIEC website where it can be found through generic web searches.  Languages include English, Turkish, Russian, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovenia, Croatian and Serbian (to be 'possibly' expanded late 2015 to include German, Spanish, Portugese and Polish).  AIEC will also monitor web traffic, adapt, and deal with enquiries.


2. Include and develop unique institution profile as in 1., and include on AIEC blogs in any relevant language, include student testimonials and relevant news.


3. Promote via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter etc. and become indexed by search engines.


4. Include your institution on relevant quality in country study abroad websites.


5. Advise on how you can SEO your own website, promote digitally and use analytical tools effectively.


6. In Turkey, Central Eastern Europe and Australia assist with finding potential education partners and visits, see International Education Partner Search and Consulting.





Starts at EUR1500 per annum for stand alone colleges, with discounts for continuing subscribers, and potential payment "in kind".



If you wish to discuss digital marketing and consulting with AIEC, email Andrew Smith direct at aiecquest (@)


Related resources include the internationally acclaimed Australian Tourism Data Warehouse's digital marketing e kit.