SEO + Content Case Study
How top-tier backlinks to university program pages resulted in 20% increase in enrollment form completions and boosted keyword rankings.
increase inform completions
Established in 1966, MidAmerica Nazarene is a Christian university that helps students pursue academic excellence while cultivating a passion to serve.
Our goal was to build top-tier links with high domain authority to MidAmerica Nazarene’s entrepreneurship program pages. Also, earn organic mentions in a variety of online publications. We generated SEO value using link building content and added PR value by earning brand mentions and social impressions.
The target audience for this piece was readers of top-tier publications in a variety of media verticals, including business, entrepreneurship, lifestyle and entertainment. Top placements included: Business Insider, Yahoo!, MSN, CBS, MarketWatch, The Chive and The San Francisco Chronicle.
We know content journalists and editors are incentivized by views, social shares, impressions and other engagement metrics. So, the most important aspect of our outreach strategy was finding the right journalists and editors to share our content. We focused on writers who previously wrote about entrepreneurship, business, inventions and innovation. That first phase of our outreach resulted in placements on Business Insider, Yahoo!, The Connecticut Post, The San Francisco Chronicle and many others.
Next, we reached out to several dozen morning shows within the iHeartRadio and CBS Radio networks, to entice station producers to share our content on-air. We saw incredible success from this media relations strategy and secured a large amount of links.
Finally, we targeted general interest and lifestyle publications and earned placements in Total Frat Move, The Chive, Bro Bible and Matador Network amongst others.
During the ideation process, we created a mindmap to identify topics related to the program’s entrepreneurship focus. We selected a topic – the most impactful invention by state – that we knew we could express as a map – a highly attractive format to journalists.
Previous attempts to detail state-by-state inventions lacked fun, engaging visual elements. We believed displaying the data with a map visual would create a stronger experience for readers.
From May 9 to June 30, 2017, we earned 126 placements from 25 hours of media outreach and promotion. More than a quarter (27%) of the placements were from sites with a domain authority of 90 or higher and 61% of the placements were from sites with a domain authority of 50 or higher.
Examples of top linking sites include: Yahoo, Business Insider, MSN, The San Francisco Gate, The Houston Chronicle, iHeartRadio, CBS, MarketWatch, The Chive, The Seattle Times and The Connecticut Post.
This content was featured on more than 30 iHeartRadio segments and more than 30 CBS Radio network segments. Additionally, many traditional news outlets covered this content, including the Hearst newspaper network and more than 15 local affiliate news outlets across the country
All tracked entrepreneur-related keywords showed tremendous upward movement in organic search results. Prior to this campaign, all tracked keywords ranked on page 2 or worse. After this campaign completed, we saw all keywords reach the first page of Google search results. Two keywords rank in the top 5 and one of those keywords moved 11 positions since the campaign launch.
The main conversion metric we track for MidAmerica Nazarene University is a Request for Information (RFI) form completion on their site. Completion of this form indicates that the user is interested in learning more about enrolling at the university. The University recorded a 20% increase (year-over-year) in RFI form completions during the campaign.
The total aggregate readership for this campaign was 533,484,018 and the total ad equivalency for this campaign was $1,002,949. (This is calculated using the readership, potential viewership and average ad cost of each placement. It represents how much the editorial coverage would cost as placed as advertisements.)
This infographic received more than 50,000 social shares. In fact, a company that invented one of the products featured in the map used their social media account to showcase it being named the most impactful invention from Arizona.
The landing page for this content is the second most visited page on the website, after the home page.
Based on ad equivalency alone, the return on investment for this campaign is 9,929%.