What Monash Did to Win in Search Engine Marketing


Attracting leads to your website should be a simple matter of buying the right search terms and waiting for the traffic to arrive.

But when your site is over 65,000 pages, your audience includes groups that have both varying and overlapping needs, and your primary target can take years to convert, a more sophisticated solution is needed.

This is the situation Monash University found itself in in 2017 when it decided to insource its search marketing.

“With a university as large as Monash, we have a variety of audiences that we communicate with,” said Monash’s Director of Marketing Infrastructure, Amin Foda. CMO. “The priority areas that we focus on are around work, study, research and support. So our audiences are built from that. The complexity is that they don’t necessarily wear a single hat to a given time.

For example, a post-student may also be an alumnus, while an industry partner may also have been a student.

“The main ones are the prospective students, but you have your influencers around them, like parents and counselors, schools and their friends,” Foda explained.

Research represents an important channel for Monash, particularly from an acquisition perspective. “Organic and paid are equally important,” Foda continued. “We need to try to rank as high as possible and avoid paying for our search terms as much as possible.

“But we don’t just watch one channel. It really depends on our audiences and where they are. We therefore ensure that we are available where our audiences are rather than the other way around.

Monash SEO specialist Shefali Joshi said the university chose SEMrush to provide an all-in-one digital marketing tool to improve its online branding and web presence. This provided Monash with toolkits for SEO, competitive research, content marketing, and site auditing.

“It helped us improve our future student platforms and optimize them,” Joshi said.

Since using SEMrush, Monash has improved future student traffic by 144% from searches alone. “And we were able, with the help of their site audit tool, to resolve over 100,000 issues,” Joshi said.

These included completing an HTTPS implementation, as well as fixing numerous redirects, missing alt tags, broken links and email address, and optimizing metadata.

Monash’s main focus now is voice search, where Joshi claimed that Monash has already captured 30% of the market.

“We were able to capture the voice search market because we have SEMrush’s position tracker that shows us featured snippet opportunities,” Joshi said. “The featured snippet is the only answer that will win you Google voice search.

“Currently, speech recognition technologies are only 90% accurate. As soon as it reaches 99% accuracy, it will be a game changer and everyone will be talking to their devices.

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