Date of Graduation

12-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Michael T. Miller

Committee Member

Carleton R. Holt

Second Committee Member

Adam A. Morris

Keywords

Social sciences, College admissions, Internet marketing

Abstract

Use of Internet marketing techniques in higher education to attract prospective students is relatively new. While the research is recent, there are several studies that identify what is most valuable to students seeking information on college web sites. Higher education is now facing increasing competition from for-profit schools and reduced funding from typical sources. This study examines how two different Carnegie classifications use Internet marketing techniques and identifies if there is a difference in how much they use these techniques. Content techniques and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques were examined for 56 higher education institutions in this study. Of the 14 internet marketing techniques that were studied, seven were focused on the content that prospective students identify as valuable to them and the other seven were focused on the techniques that are recognized as important SEO techniques to improve web page visibility on search engines. The seven content focused internet marketing techniques were developed based on multiple studies that identified what prospective students value most on a higher education web site. The content techniques that were examined include online applications, a cost calculator, online course information, admissions contact information, online visit requests, mail information requests, and student focused navigation. The seven SEO focused internet marketing techniques were developed from journals, guidelines provided by search engines, and SEO experts. The SEO techniques that were examined included use of the H1 header tag, page titles, description meta tags, relevant keywords, user friendly page addresses, Sitemap.XML files, and Robots.TXT files.

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