A new kind of ranking to worry about: Google ranking

Overlooked by most traditional ranking publications, many online programs are taking to the internet to build their brand, reports Jeffrey Young for EdSurge.

For many online programs, Google search results play a similar role to college rankings by publications like U.S. News and World Report, writes Young. If Google's search algorithm views your site as having a high-quality domain authority, your institution will appear earlier in the results and reduce the need to buy other kinds of advertising, he reports.

According to Matthew Rascoff, associate vice provost for innovation and education at Duke University, online colleges are more likely to have a weaker domain authority than traditional in-person programs.

Some institutions are making an effort to improve their domain authority by investing in search engine optimization, says Jeff Burton, public relations manager at Western Governors University.

For some institutions, online marketing is key to reaching students from around the country, says Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University. And in the increasingly competitive landscape, institutions will have to do more than "a good job" to get their name out there, says LeBlanc. He notes that many schools turn to external vendors to help them design successful strategies and use investments in online marketing effectively (Young, EdSurge, 9/11).

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