Dropdown- second level hover information

A scalable software platform for all budgets.

Recruit students, help parents stay connected, and empower your staff to easily update content with premium communications products and tools.

Award-winning designers bringing your school to life online.

Schools love how Finalsite finds what makes them unique and translates that into an authentic digital experience.

School marketing experts at your service.

Schools turn to Finalsite's consultants for their decades of experience developing and executing a digital marketing strategy.

Improve School-to-Home Communications with Password-protected Portals.

Portals provide a safe and secure place for your community to access information that's just for them on every device.

Sarah Gordon, Assistant Director of Communications
Choate Rosemary Hall

A best-of-breed approach to give you the "all in one" solution you need.

We focus on the critical function of marketing and communication, while leveraging relationships and integrations with 70+ partners to provide a more seamless experience between the school and your constituents.

A team of 200, Finalsite has been serving schools worldwide for 20 years.

Our business has been for and about schools since the beginning, which is why 95% of clients stay with us year over year.

Save Time and Enhance Data Integrity

Our secure integrations with popular SIS providers mean you can replace timely manual data uploads with our automatic transfers for a seamless solution.

Sarah Gordon, Assistant Director of Communications
Choate Rosemary Hall
  • General Best Practices
  • Independent Schools
  • International Schools
As Google Gets Smarter, School SEO Gets Harder
Red Abbott

If you’ve been watching the search engine space for any length of time, you know that it’s constantly changing. The changes aren’t predictable, but they tend to move the experience in certain directions pretty consistently. One of those shifts is in the “make searchers happy as fast as possible.” And unfortunately, that doesn't also mean "make marketers as happy as fast as possible."

Let's take a closer look at some of Google's recent changes, and what it means for you, the school marketer.

Page 1 is More Important than Ever

How often do you ever go past page one in search results? 

Me neither. 

The bottom line is that Google has accepted this fact and waits for you at the bottom of Page 1 with a list of alternate search terms that gently suggests that (a) they’ve done their best to make you happy with a reasonable number results and (b) rather than go to Page 2 perhaps you'd like to try your search again. One thing this does to schools is make an enormous practical difference between placement on Page 1 and Pages 2+.

example of google search with additional suggestions

Search Within a Search...Wait, What??? 

Let’s say you’re successful getting onto Page 1 for a competitive term like “private high schools in toronto.” Great! Hudson College does (at least they are right now on my computer):

hudson college on page 1 of search

Have you seen what happens when you click on a search result like Hudson College’s and then return to the Page 1 that took you there? Check it out:

search within search example

(You can also watch the search results change for yourself in this short video: http://fnlst.com/gFa6PX)

Google is back with their <airquotes>helpful</airquotes> suggestions, and this time they’re right there in the body of the page! Not only that, but one of these terms is for another school altogether. How important is it then, that you draw people in for an engaged visit from the moment they land on your site? A bit more than before this feature existed.

There’s a Party in Your Knowledge Panel - and Your Competitors Are Crashing!

Based on the image below you would think that Austin Prep has one the branded search game. The result looks great. Good looking main column, great-looking Knowledge Panel on the right - including some good stuff below the fold we can't even see.

austin prep knowledge panel

But wait! I scroll down to look at the rest of the cool stuff in their Knowledge Panel, I wind up at a People also search for section that's made up of other schools!

austin prep knowledge panel 2

This is a real bummer. It increases the chance that somebody who set out looking for me gets distracted and learns all about one of my competitors. As a result it becomes even more important to compel the click before they get to this point. Realistically, this means I need to get them to my homepage or my Wikipedia article or one of my social profiles, because these are the things that most commonly found higher on the page then these competitors in the People also search for list.

Upshot: Pay Attention and Adapt

All of these things represent attempts by Google to get the searcher to a place of satisfaction. With that in mind, you should look for opportunities to play the game as it is now, and you should also keep an eye on developments that reveal new opportunities to outflank your peers. Remember that we've looked at these examples from the point of view of one school, but it's also true that you may be one of those crashing the party and benefiting from these features as well.


Social Engine Marketing Services


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Red Abbott

 

Red leads our team of experts who have your back when it comes to organic online searches and ads. With a long history in independent schools — as an alum, former teacher, dorm parent, coach, and now a current parent — his passion for helping you is rooted deep in his own experiences. Alongside his degree in engineering and a master's in school leadership, it's easy to see why clients say Red "gets them" when they discuss marketing strategy!
  • SEO/PPC
There are no news posts to display

Explore More Blogs

Macbook mockup with The American School in London website homepage
Debbie Eisenach

The American School in London (ASL) continues to hold a leading reputation among international schools around the world with thousands of global daily site visitors. Learn how ASL updated their homepage to make use of images, interactive elements, and clear messaging to reflect their mission of an outstanding American education with a global perspective. 

Read More about International School Website Redesign: The American School in London