How setting up Google My Business can benefit your school
Unless your school is a boarding school, you hope to attract local students. That means you need to show up on the local internet searches parents might use to research local schools whether private or public. If your school doesn’t show up in their search, you are missing out in a big way.
One of the ways to increase your chances of showing up, besides having an active school website, is to claim your “Google My Business” listing. Google My Business (GMB) lets you maximize visibility in an organic search and highlight positive reviews at the same time. It’s like jumping up and down, waving your arms enthusiastically, and shouting at parents, “Pick me! Pick me!” No school administrator, especially those working in recruitment, enrollment, or admissions, would ever want to miss out on such an opportunity.
If you are serving students within a local geographic area (and most schools are), your goal is to make sure local parents are aware of what your school has to offer. Marketing folks will tell you that you need to “fish where the fish are.” Google My Business is a way to do just that. It is well worth the effort to add GMB to your school marketing efforts.
11 Benefits of Google My Business (for your school)
Today’s schools must work hard to attract students because there are many options to choose from. But finding and attracting your ideal students can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive. Wouldn’t it be ideal if a pop-up display provided your school’s location, phone number, website link, and parent reviews when someone searched for your school? Well, lucky you. That’s exactly what Google My Business does.
So, what are some of the benefits of setting up GMB for your school?
1. It’s Free!
You don’t need to spend hard-to-come-by budget dollars to start promoting your school, developing your brand, and creating community relationships. The presence of your school on the free GMB platform is a budget-friendly way to strengthen your presence in your community.
2. High-profile display of school information
Your searchers will immediately see mobile-friendly information that matters to them in their research, like:
- School hours of operation
- Directions to your school
- Photos of your school
- A “call now” button for easy access to your school for mobile users
- A description of your school
3. Search visibility
If you are using Google as your search engine, you will notice three local listings at the top of the page (above the organic results and below the paid ads) along with their information. These are the local listings (business or schools) populated by Google My Business listings. By providing a complete and optimized listing, your school can land in this section. It also lets searchers click on the rest of your content, such as your website, or to easily make a phone call to your school.
4. Local SEO boost
Google can be a crucial part of your local SEO and marketing strategy by helping you find students in your area and improving search engine rankings for your school. Google My Business is directly connected to Google Search and Maps. When a potential student or family is searching a school in an “area near me,” Google will find your school and show it to a potential family. By having a Google My Business account, Google will rank you higher in the SEO engine.
5. Provide insights
Google My Business offers insider insights into your business list, giving you useful insight into what’s working and what’s not working. Insights concentrate on how families locate your listing on Search and Maps and what they do after finding it, helping you make changes to enhance your listing and your school. By having a Google My Business page, you will be able to see who is seeing your page, making it easier to target them with further advertising efforts.
You want your school’s information to be correct on the web—regardless of where your customers find it. Google My Business allows you to enter, monitor, and update the correct information and business data in one directory over the internet, so search engine queries provide the right information. Basically, to gain from this Google-powered advantage, you must keep the information up to date, which also makes it very easy to get in touch with the administration for additional information.
7. Review management
Google My Business uses rich insights, review integration, and customer interaction tools to give you an outlook into the online reputation of your school. Knowing how your school is viewed by the public will help you grow and develop. It is crucial to manage your online reputation. You (or your page manager) can easily evaluate these reviews and respond accordingly, showing the community they are heard and valued. These insights can help you improve your brand and make changes to enhance school customer service, which in turn will improve student enrollment and student retention.
8. Gaining customer insights
GMB can provide your school with analytics you can customize. You choose the status you want to compare, and it shows up on a chart. The three main sections are visibility, engagement, and audience. You’ll use this information to improve your engagement and conversions (including enrollment) by using information from these areas:
- The visibility section shows you the number of views you are getting on your school profile, photos, and posts. You can view this data to show the last seven, 30, or 90 days.
- The engagement section lets you see how your audience interacts with your posts. As in the visibility section, you can select results from the last seven, 30, or 90 days.
- The audience section shows the breakdown of the people following you, including age groups, gender, and countries.
9. Additional communication channels
The more communication channels you can provide to your potential and existing customers, the more accessible your school will be. Additional channels also provide opportunities to promote your programs and expertise and offer additional educational or other benefits your school offers.
10. Encourage and respond to reviews
Reviews are powerful marketing tools, which you’ll get whether you want them or not. Most customers read these reviews and decide whether your school is a good match for their child’s needs or not based on what others are saying about your school. So, it is imperative you make it as easy as possible for customers to leave positive reviews. You can send a feedback request email with a link to your Google My Business page. You can then use GMB’s dashboard to monitor and respond to reviews. Responding to reviews, even negative ones, is important as is responding in a professional way and thanking your customers (parents, volunteers, students, etc.) for sharing their positive reviews.
11. Stand out from your competitors
As we mentioned, your GMB profile displays the basic information to encourage parents (customers) to engage with your school. It also lets you display a description of your school that will help visitors see if what your school offers matches the needs of their child or their hopes for their child’s education. This description offers a snapshot of your school’s differentiators and values, including relevant keywords. You can stand out from other schools in your area through this description—a benefit you won’t want to pass up!
To further stand out from the crowd, make sure your school website is top shelf.
Download Our FREE eBook: How to Create an Exceptional School Website
Need some help? Hire School Webmasters!
While claiming and setting up your Google My Business account isn’t difficult, it does take time and a bit of dedication. Often this is just one more thing on your plate you’ve not had the time to tackle. School Webmasters can do it for your school for $499. We’ll gather the information necessary to maximize your account, make customized recommendations for your school, create and post optimized content, and turn it over to you along with instructions and tips to maintain your listing and review your stats. Easy peasy!
Use Google My Business to better connect and understand your audience, generate more traffic to your website, and increase your chances of being found by parents looking for the programs and activities your school offers.
If you can provide more quality information and content even before your viewers click on your website’s link, then why not do it? If you’re not already doing so, let us start building your listing on Google. Leverage the advantages of a Google My Business page for your school, and shout “Pick Me, Pick Me” to the next parent searching for the educational services you provide!
Bonnie Leedy, CEO, School Webmasters, LLC.