Students Are Searching for You – 5 Reasons to Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Every month, there are more than 100,000 searches of students looking for nearby beauty schools on Google. And the search results page is littered with options – ads, the “People Also Ask” feature, websites to larger directories, and a map with Google business listings. If your school is not listed in this map pack, then you’re missing out on these prospective students.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business, or GMB, is a free business tool that schools can use to manage their online presence and get seen in local search results. It offers free marketing features that help prospective students learn more about the business – is the business reputable, what programs are offered, how to apply, etc. In short, GMB helps students find your school.
Why Do I Need a GMB Listing?
Local results are making up a larger majority of search results, which makes sense. Google is becoming more savvy to their users’ intent and recognizing that someone who lives in Austin, Texas and is searching for “beauty schools” probably wants a beauty school in Austin. Users don’t need to search “beauty schools in Austin” or “beauty schools near me” to know that the user probably means “near me.” And since Google works to meet the needs of those using their search platform, they’ve tweaked their algorithms and added more products. Specifically, Google My Business.
There are a number of benefits to listing your school on GMB. Here are five of them:
1. Get Seen
In every local search, the map pack results appear above all other organic results. If your school is not listed on GMB, this means that your website is buried halfway down the page, and that’s assuming you have a dedicated web team who’s poured thousands of dollars and hours into website optimization. Most businesses don’t have the time or resources to compete. But with a GMB listing, you’re on even ground with the other schools in your area.
Listing your school on GMB ensures that any prospective students interacting with the Map Pack feature can find your school.
2. Take Advantage of Your Free Website
One of the most helpful features of the free GMB marketing tool is the option to create a business site. If you do not have the time or resources to build and maintain a website, this is an excellent solution. Using this website features allows you to expand your visibility beyond your Facebook page.
The website feature allows you to create a one-page website with information about your school. Your Google posts are automatically added to your published site to keep content fresh and keep viewers up to date on the latest happenings with your program.
Setting up your business site on GMB is far simpler and less time-consuming than building and publishing a website on WordPress, Wix, Weebly, or whatever other website builders you’ve explored. After you’ve filled in information for your school’s name and provided a summary of your school and the programs you offer, you can publish your business site, complete with contact information, posts, and reviews. Of course, your business site can appear in Google’s organic search results.
3. Market Your School Through Other Free Features
If your school already has a website, GMB offers many more free marketing services. Using Google posts to share updates and news about your school helps inform prospective students, and Google uses these updates to determine relevancy and show information in the map pack. You can also use Google posts to share upcoming events, such as a campus open house, and allow students to RSVP through the platform.
Other features allow prospective students to find your school based on other attributes and programs. For example, if your school identifies as women-led, Black-owned, or Latino-owned. You can also expand your services to include all of the programs you offer.
In addition, Google offers free analytics, so you can use engagement and activity insights to see how users are engaging with your GMB listing and optimize your listing accordingly.
4. Connect with Prospective Students
Not only does GMB increase your school’s visibility in search results and help students find you, the tool provides more avenues for students to connect with you.
Adding your phone number to your GMB allows users on their mobile device to call you directly from the search results. GMB also recently added a free messaging feature, so you can respond to students’ inquiries in real-time.
5. Boost Your School’s Appeal
According to a recent study, 98% of [users] consider reviews essential. When students are vetting which cosmetology or esthetics program they want to attend, they’re factoring in cost, as well as what other students are saying.
Review are also an indirect ranking factor. The more reviews your school has, the more prevalent your school appears in Google’s algorithm. Claiming your GMB listing and enabling a process to encourage reviews can help increase your school’s visibility and encourage new students to apply.