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Higher Education Website Search Best Practices

Higher Education Website Search Best Practices

There are over 1 million fewer students enrolled in college compared to before the pandemic began, and this is a trend that has been declining since 2015. With enrollment on the decline, many colleges and universities are struggling to attract new students.

One of the major ways colleges market themselves to prospective students is through their website. While most of these websites contain flashy images of happy students on photogenic campuses, many colleges have ignored the basic needs of the prospective students using their websites – specifically in the area of website search best practices for higher education.

Website Search for Higher Education is Overlooked

Websites for higher education are packed with information, but that can make it difficult for potential students to find a specific webpage. 

Today’s Gen Z students – those born between the late 1990s to the early 2010s – practically grew up online, and their expectations for digital experiences have set a new bar that colleges and universities need to meet. Understanding the needs of Gen Z “customers” is critical to attracting students to university websites and getting prospective students to apply and enroll.

One often overlooked feature for higher education websites is optimizing the search functionality. Many users end up using the search function because they don’t want to take the time to learn how a website is organized; it’s easier for them to type into the search bar. In most cases, they are left even more confused when wading through pages of poorly organized search results.

Understanding what Gen Z customers need and expect is critical to winning them over. For example, 70% of Gen Z users expect websites to know what they are searching for before they even enter any information. They also expect the search function to behave like the familiar Google Search with relevant information at the top of the search results. Those are high expectations, but you can live up to them by following website search best practices for your higher education website. 

Website Search Best Practices for Higher Education

Your higher education website needs to follow and implement these website search best practices for search analytics and personalization if you hope to win over new students. The best place to start is to conduct a deep analysis of where your website falls short, research other websites to see how search can be improved and consider the needs of your user.

View our Higher Education Website Search Best Practices to get started off in the right direction.

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See how SearchStax Studio elevates the search experience with better site search for higher education. Schedule a Studio demo with our search experts to get an evaluation of search on your current website, see how search can be improved and discover how analytics and easy-to-use tools can drive the best practices to optimize search for your higher education website.

About the Author

By Tom Humbarger

Senior Product Marketing Manager

March 22, 2022

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