What's happening in education search? Learn which programs are growing or slowing down and where colleges need to spend their content marketing dollars.

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4 Trends and Takeaways from the Google Education Search Q4 Report for 2013

Thu Apr 5, 2018

Content marketers in education have an increasingly difficult job to do. Even as education searches for everything from vocational and training programs to master’s degrees increase year over year, so does the competition for clicks from prospective students. Google’s final education search report for 2013 revealed the continuation of some trends from earlier in the year, and highlighted some new ones.

1. Students Are Searching for Programs

Education searches grew year over year for Q4 and for all of 2013, showing that there continues to be a strong market drive for education, and a growing preference for online research. The greatest growth is happening in program-specific search. Colleges, vocational schools, and certificate-granting institutions can benefit from optimizing for their most popular programs to reach students who are interested in specific fields and career paths. The content you write for students and their families should focus on your program offerings and their benefits.

2. Healthcare Education Demand Outpaces Other Fields

The greatest growth, by a significant margin, is in nursing and healthcare, where programs like clinical pathology and health administration have skyrocketed 46% and 45%, respectively. This confirms what other sources have been telling us: healthcare will continue to be one of the fastest growing employment sectors, and students will continue to look for programs that offer direct paths into well-paying healthcare jobs.

3. Video Content Will Get You Into the World’s Second Largest Search Engine

Education-related searches on YouTube have grown 24% year over year. According to Google, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, and the demand for video content is something education marketers can’t ignore. Training, certificate, and program-related videos took the lead with 49% growth, and vocational and trade school videos grew by 35%. Video is also the fastest growing form of content on mobile devices. As the overall demand rises, colleges and non-degree institutions need to consider how to supply video content that illustrates what can be expected from their programs and the work they lead to.

4. Growing Ad Volume Requires Increased Relevance to Break Through

More ads are being seen for each education query as the number of clicks drops. Clicks grew only 1% year over year, despite the number of ads per search query growing 13%, driving the cost per click by 12%. Nursing was the only search that saw a drop in ads displayed and cost per click, while seeing 25% click growth, further reinforcing the growth opportunities in nursing programs. Everyone else is left to fight for a shrinking slice of the pie. Content marketers for educational programs will need to better define what differentiates their offering, and then target their messages with laser focus to improve relevance and reach.

Although these quarterly reports are primarily targeted towards Google AdWords customers, they are full of insights education marketers can apply to their content creation and planning process. Watch the full report below for more details and numbers on what’s happening in education search, and see how you can adapt your content marketing and SEO strategy to leverage these findings.


Karo Kilfeather, content marketing manager at Percussion Software
Karo Kilfeather
Content Marketing Manager | Percussion Software

Karo was born in Poland, and learned to speak English by watching "Saved by the Bell" reruns during her first summer in the U.S., which has left her unable to go through life without occasionally breaking the fourth wall. As Percussion's content marketing manager, she oversees and creates content that drives website traffic, engages followers, and helps fill the marketing and sales funnel. She writes about content management, content marketing, SEO, social media and web design, and how to make it all less complicated.