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America is in debt. Or at least we are technically still in debt. With Congress passing the Budget Control Act the debt ceiling was increased and the U.S. avoided default. As Republicans and Democrats worked out an agreement for the debt ceiling via Twitter (#compromise) I wanted to know how debt-centered our nation actually is.
As a recent college grad, the cost of higher education has not come without an expensive price tag, but I have always been told that student debt is good debt. Student debt pays for character, connections and a future. It is an investment, not debt. But with student debt now higher than national credit card debt, are student loans sites receiving more traffic than credit card sites?
To frame my search, I looked up the keyword “student loan” to see what websites receive the most traffic from keyword search. The results from May 1st to July 30, 2011 showed:
I then compared SallieMae.com, DiscoverStudentLoans.com and StudentLoans.gov to see what site actually sees the most Unique Visitors.
My search showed:
While SallieMae.com might have the most Unique Visitors with approximately 2 million for the month of June, StudentLoans.gov has seen a rise of Unique Visitors over the last 6 months. As the school year starts, signing a student loan has become as common as bringing an apple for the teacher. August and January see a rise of Unique Visitors as 20-somethings move into their dorms rooms, ready to sign their student loans. But what I find interesting is that while the beginning of a semester sees high traffic online, people continue to visit student loan sites throughout the year.
I took a look at SallieMae.com “Destination Sites,” to see where people were going after searching on loan sites. My search showed:
The number one site was ManageYourLoans.com, a website affiliated with Sallie Mae. CapitalOne.com, a credit card company, was found at number fourteen. People are visiting SallieMae.com and then going to CapitalOne.com as a “Destination Site” linking student debt with credit card debt. It is no wonder that student debt surpassed national credit card debt.
I then compared the number of Unique Visitors of CapitalOne.com to my previous three student loan sites.
CapitalOne.com has over 15 million Unique Visitors, more than seven times the Unique Visitors than SallieMae.com.
Maybe, an apple a day won’t keep U.S. debt from growing or student debt to accrue, but student loan and credit card websites will continue to see traffic on their sites, as long as there is a price for higher education.
Alyssa is on the Inside Sales team here at Millward Brown Digital, working within the Financial Services and Technology & Entertainment industries delivering digital intelligence that helps clients improve their marketing based on the online behavior of millions of consumers. Find Alyssa on Twitter at @alyssamaine or connect with her on Linkedin.