Local SEO will help improve your school’s visibility in the local area. Google makes assumptions based on the user’s location and the query they search for. For example, if you type in “secondary schools”, Google will assume you were looking for secondary schools near your location and pull up local Google listings.
To remain one of the top school choices, you need to be visible in these local searches. So in this blog, we’re sharing some tips to get you seen.
You should have already claimed and verified your Google My Business listing; if you haven’t, start here, it’s free.
Although it’s the same process, i.e. optimising your site for users to find, it’s focused on local searches only. If you’re looking for customers in the local area, which in your case is prospective parents, then local SEO can help you capitalise on local searches.
Put simply — you need to optimise for local search to compete. You’re marketing to a very specific local area. This means you need to show up when prospective parents are searching for nearby schools. You need to compete against schools in your catchment area, and the best way to stand out on Google is by investing some time sprucing up your local SEO, so you’re found quicker.
Here are just three quick and easy ways to boost your school’s local SEO.
Name, address and phone number (NAP) all need to be consistent with what you have listed on all online pages. We’re talking Yelp, Bing, your website etc. Why does consistency matter? Firstly, you don’t want to confuse online users. Secondly, search engines will scan all your associated school pages online to verify all your information. If it’s inconsistent, they can’t trust that the information they’re serving users is correct, so they might not list it in local searches.
Even small discrepancies with your school name will be classed as inconsistent; make sure all your NAP details are exactly the same.
Collecting Google reviews will positively impact your local search rankings, as the rating and the number of reviews are both taken into account by Google. It also helps capture the user’s eye when searching through the local results. If you searched for a plumber, you’d probably shortlist the plumbers who have the most reviews and the best ratings. It’s the same for your school.
Share a direct link to your Google Listing page and make it easy for parents and guardians to leave a review. According to Google, you should make sure you respond to every review to show you value your customer’s feedback — this can also boost your local visibility.
You have control over how your Google listing talks about your school, so including relevant keywords such as “secondary school in Leicester” will help you boost your local visibility. Although you can’t control what users write in their reviews, you can control what you say in your response. Use your response to naturally mention associated keywords to help Google understand further what your business listing is about.
Don’t forget to use local keywords on your school website, too — in your page titles, your meta descriptions, your headers and your body content. This all helps you rank locally.
You can add posts and updates to your Google listing; although this doesn’t directly impact your visibility in Google’s eyes, it can encourage searchers to click on your updates and learn more on your website. Update with latest school news such as open days, or post your latest blog articles here.
Hopefully, you’ve now got a few ideas when it comes to improving your school’s local SEO. And most of the above ideas can be done within just one day.
Did you miss the first part of our school marketing 101 series? Don’t worry, here’s the direct link: how to improve your school website experience.