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SEM x SEO: what is the best strategy for the college entrance exam?

Gustavo Goncalves
Gustavo Goncalves

Dec 13, 2023

The same thing happens every year, hundreds of higher education institutions compete for the attention of entrance exam candidates in an attempt to attract as many students as possible. This race is not easy, or even simple.

It's not easy because every year the market changes, as does the behavior of college students. In relation to the market, let us remember that the education sector is going through an unprecedented crisis, with a lack of funding and a shortage of students.

Okay, you might be wondering “what does this have to do with SEM and SEO?” The answer is: everything. It is exactly at times like this that all available initiatives need to be taken advantage of.

Currently, more and more higher education institutions are investing in promotional actions for marketing digital to increase the visibility of your entrance exam campaigns.

In fact, the number of households with access to the network in Brazil reached 70.5%. There are almost 50 million connected homes. This is where producing content to attract students in the entrance exam becomes a competitive advantage and, rest assured, your competitors are betting on this.

In this article we will explain what are the main marketing strategies in search engines that can be used to enhance your student acquisition. Do you know what SEO and SEM are?

Here's what you can expect in this post:

Continue reading and choose the most appropriate one for your case.

What is SEO and how to take advantage of it in your campaigns?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a set of techniques based mainly on optimizing a page so that it is indexed by search engines, such as Google, for example.

Optimization’s main objective is to give more visibility to your publications. In other words, when an entrance exam candidate searches with keywords such as “best colleges”, “where to study administration” or “how to pass the entrance exam”, all content related to these topics is easily found.

In other words, SEO for college entrance exam campaigns seeks to put you at the top of Google, without having to pay anything other than the costs of producing the content. This is what is called organic positioning. In this sense, it is enough to dedicate efforts to producing content to attract students in the entrance exam.

But, how to do SEO for college entrance exam campaigns?

First, make internal improvements to your page. Your higher education institution can focus on quality content, optimizing images, creating rich content (e-books, infographics, among others), having a web that loads quickly, choosing keywords related to the searches of college students , etc.

Regarding publishing articles, having an original, informative and attractive blog for your audience does not mean that your subscriptions will multiply exponentially: blog posts must not only be good, but also be optimized to maximize the reach of your audience- target.

SEO for university entrance exam campaigns must be aligned with the target audience. And this, when done well, represents a virtuous cycle: an optimized website and blog have more reach. And greater reach means better ranking in keyword search results, which in turn gives your college entrance exam more visits and visibility.

When you improve your positioning in search results, your posts are found not only by more people, but also by a greater number of qualified leads - interested students.

And leads are everything your sales department needs to continue initiatives that seek to convert potential interested parties into effective registrations. Here, SEO for entrance exam campaigns will have fulfilled its role of giving visibility to the institution.


SEM and its contribution

If, on the one hand, SEO is based on increasing visibility organically, that is, without you having to pay to be found, SEM for college entrance exam campaigns is capable of giving your exposure more immediately.

This is because SEO takes more time. You have to wait for search engines to find your content and believe that it is worth displaying to people searching for related topics. This is why the production of content to attract students for the entrance exam needs to work on both fronts, organic and paid.

SEM for college entrance exam campaigns is excellent for complimenting your fundraising strategies, as you can showcase your initiatives as soon as a campaign startsrotate.To give an example, search for terms like “best entrance exam” or “entrance exams in São Paulo” and you will see some results that show the word ‘ad’ next to the page URL.

The platform for managing SEM campaigns on Google is Google Adwords. The platform allows, in a simple and practical way, your institution to create different types of campaigns to solve your different needs. You can pay to be linked to any type of search, including if a candidate searches for a competing institution.

Regarding investment, SEM is based on sponsored links to promote the entrance exam. Every time a user comes to your website from an SEM ad, you pay a set amount upfront.

Depending on the amount invested and the way the campaigns are configured, your ad will be displayed in different ways. But the ‘click value’ is not the only factor that will make our ad reach the best position, Google also gives a lot of weight to the quality of our website (SEO) and the relationship between the advertising made and what your web page shows.

In short, Google Adwords is a simple platform where "everyone" can create a campaign. The ideal is to be able to optimize campaigns so that ads appear in the best positions, paying as little as possible. As a result, the return on investment is greater and SEM for entrance exam campaigns gives better results.

best strategy

Which one is the best?

In an ideal world, you wouldn't need to invest in SEM for college entrance exam campaigns, as you would be working on your page's visibility through the production of content to attract students in the entrance exam and would already be in the best organic results.

However, utopia has no place in such a competitive market and, sometimes, especially during peaks in searches - months before registrations - it is necessary to place some files in the SEM so as not to lose space to other institutions.

In short, bet on both, invest in SEO for entrance exam campaigns beforehand, but be sure to take advantage of the opportunities and visibility that sponsored links to promote the entrance exam can offer at strategic moments.

Check out our post on ON PAGE SEO training

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