When you’re looking for... well, anything, what do you do? You Google it. Google is the lifeblood of the internet, and keeps things spinning efficiently. No matter who you are, where you work or what your goals are, we guarantee you utilise Google on a regular basis.
People often think that because they appear on page one of Google’s results (also known as SERPs, or search engine results pages) for a specific term, that nothing else matters. However, if you’re not optimising your Google My Business page, then you’re fighting a losing battle: here’s why.
You need to be searchable
The fact of the matter is that not all of your potential customers, or in a school’s case, prospective families, are aware of you yet. The surest way to improve your visibility in local area searches is via a Google My Business page.
This little guy puts you on the map - quite literally. If someone searches for schools in their area, you won’t show up on Google Maps unless your My Business page is listed.
What’s more, if you take advantage of Google’s growing functionality, your school could not only show up, but show up first. We underestimate just how powerful proximity is - after all, how many times have you searched for a store or service and picked the first one out of convenience?
That probably won’t be the case when it comes to the emotional, difficult decision that is choosing an education provider, but it’ll at least put your name on their lips. If you can secure a tour or even an enquiring phone call or email out of it, you’ve guaranteed a shot at showing them why you’re a good fit.
If you’re not on Google, do you even exist?
When someone is on the hunt for your school’s website, step one is to plug your name into Google. Step two should be clicking on your name, the first result, and bam - they’ve arrived at their destination without a hitch. However, more often than not, this doesn’t actually happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe there’s another school with a sturdier online presence than yours in another city or even country - this happens!
Utilising My Business, however, sidesteps this annoying possibility and places you at number one based on the searcher’s location. There your school is, primed for a new parent enquiry...that is, until they land on your site and can’t quickly find the information they’re looking for. We’ve discussed the importance of relevant info on your school’s site in the past, but it’s also worth having this listed on Google My Business to cut out the middleman.
We recommend every Google My Business page contains the following information:
- Your school’s name (required)
- Where you’re located (required)
- Your contact phone and email (required)
- A link to your website
- Images showing the school, students and any physical USPs
If you have developers or techies at your disposal, it may also be worth including:
- Links to your social media accounts
- A high-res video of your school
If you don’t have an updated Google My Business Page, you’ve just put up one more roadblock between you and your potential families. It’s a no-brainer, right?
Automatic social proof
Google My Business pages do much more than just show the usual suspects - contact details, website, images and so on. A search for your school will also automatically show a star rating and reviews if you’ve had enough past engagement. This means that those who know and love you have the chance to shout it from the rooftops, thus broadcasting great feedback to anyone inclined to Google your name. This is called social proof, and in 2019, it’s incredibly powerful and persuasive. People will click on your site with a preconceived idea of what you can offer based on the glowing reviews you will have secured from loyal parents, staff and alumni.
So, how do you secure reviews? Often, it’s as simple as reaching out to the dedicated parents who love to show their appreciation for your school. The people who hand-deliver wine to their favourite teachers (we all know the ones) are usually a good place to start! Reach out on your social media platforms too -- chances are people will be more than happy to give you some positive feedback if they truly believe in your school and its staff.
Even though we hear a lot about SEO, SEM and more, there’s no denying that a Google My Business page is worth a little time and effort -- after all, it’s a simple way to put your school on the digital map, ensuring interest begins to flow your way.
The best part? It’s totally, completely free. Google prioritises free, readily available information, so make the most of it! It’s easier than ever now for brands and schools alike to get their names out there amongst the wider public.
You have all the tools you need. Now, it’s up to you to make them count!
Here at Digistorm, we’re dedicated to improving school operations through handy enrolment and communication-focused products, including websites, apps and software. For more digital marketing tips for your school, head on over to the Digistorm blog.