Increasing Conversions Through Web Optimization

Improving user experience to boost conversion rates

One private university attracted new students by expanding their online offerings. While market research showed there was interest and a growing audience for these online programs, the university wasn’t getting the traffic they needed to these new website pages — and the traffic they did receive wasn’t converting.

Learn how this school optimized their website to improve user experience, increase web sessions and raise the number of web conversions to grow their enrollment.

Situation: Website audit and restructuring

To uncover why this university was experiencing lower-than-expected web traffic and conversions, Collegis investigated their website performance and soon discovered the problem. Over the years, the school’s website had expanded, organized based on internal needs and not on how a student might search for information or navigate the site. This made the site fragmented and full of friction for users — high bounce rates, low time spent on page and poor placement in search results.

As with many schools, our partner didn’t have experts on staff to diagnose the root cause of this issue or effectively fix the problem. In short, the university knew their online prospects weren’t finding the right information to convert, but they didn’t know what to do about it. They needed someone who understood complex web navigation and had the resources to fix it.

To identify where and why prospective students were getting hung up or confused on the website, Collegis performed a full website audit. Our experts tested the user experience to find and remove the barriers that were inhibiting the website — typically a university’s most valuable marketing tool — from performing.

The primary issues were:

  • User Confusion with Site Architecture: Programs and modality were organized by the University’s internal processes, not by how a user seeks out the information. This made it difficult and frustrating for a prospect to find what they were looking for.
  • Duplicate Pages: Because information was organized under modality silos, some programs had multiple pages of nearly identical information. This duplicate content causes distrust by search engines and lowers the position in a search engine results page (SERP).
  • No Program Finder: Program pages are often the most sought-after information on a college’s website. The University didn’t have a single source of all programs — or a way to sort and search them.

Results: Lift in web traffic and conversions

In order to increase web traffic and conversions, Collegis performed and implemented the following:

  • On-Page Content Optimization: Degree and program pages were redesigned to increase consistency, visibility and conversions. Many had been thin on content, making it difficult for search engines to understand the value of a page and why they should make it visible as a search result.
  • Improving Calls to Action (CTAs): Placement of CTAs within the application conversion path on the homepage and program pages made it simpler for prospects to apply and request information.
  • Foundational and Technical SEO: Improvements were made in terms of basic website functionality, such as cleaning navigation, correcting 404 errors and redirects, addressing site speed, improving folder structure and breadcrumb navigation, etc., to drive additional relevancy and authority — and improve visibility within the SERPs.
  • Local SEO: Simply establishing a consistent name, address and phone number across the website gave search engines confidence that they understand who our partner is, what they do and where they are located.