Vanguard University / SEO + SEM

Vanguard University turned to 454 Creative to lead initiatives for greater web security and increased online reach.


Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California is ranked as one of the top 10 colleges in the west by U.S. News & World Report, has been named a 2014 “Best in the West” College by The Princeton Review, and is included in the Forbes list of best universities.

As Vanguard’s academic standing continued to grow, their web presence was not keeping pace. Mel Smith, Associate Director of Web Services and Development turned to 454 Creative to lead initiatives for greater web security and increased online reach.


“454 Creative worked with our team to transition from an outside web services vendor to an in-house model that led to highly improved security, greater efficiencies, and significantly improved results.”

Mel Smith
Associate Director of Web Services & Development

As our relationship with Vanguard University began, 454 Creative identified Vanguard’s regional competitors and charted their global rank as a benchmark for Search Engine Optimization performance and growth. At the time, Vanguard’s global rank was rapidly declining and had slipped to last position relative to the other major private universities in the region.

454 Creative devised a strategy, retooling the available site content and SEM campaigns to quickly provide an influx of organic and paid traffic.

Measure of Success

Within 6 months, Vanguard University’s global rank increased over 160,000 places, SEM traffic increased by 282% while SEM spending only increased by 17%.

These results helped promote the University to prospective students, potential donors, and other valuable stakeholders, which is vital in an increasingly competitive higher education market.

454 Creative continues to serve as a key partner for setting digital marketing strategy, directing Google Adwords campaigns and implementing marketing automation technology.