In Part I, we looked at four ways to improve the main section of your school’s Search Engine Results Page or SERP. In Part II, we will focus on the Google Knowledge Panel or Box.
The Google Knowledge panel is connected to Google My Business (formerly Google Places). It appears on the right-hand side of your Search Engine Results Page. If you see a box similar to the one pictured for your school, skip to Step #6.
5) Set-Up a Google My Business Account
Hubspot’s Blog provides an excellent step-by-step tutorial for this process. They refer to it as Free Advertising on Google.
6) Review your School’s Google Knowledge Panel
Look at information on the Knowledge panel.
1. Check the image
Is this the best photograph to represent your school? If not, hover over the picture and the url of the contributing site will appear. If possible, try uploading a new image to this source. Would you like more control? In most cases, Google prefers to display the image from your Google+ page, but we will talk more about this in Step #7.
2. Examine the Description
Google usually pulls the short description in the Knowledge Panel from Wikipedia. You most likely updated your Wikipedia description earlier in this process, but of course, Wikipedia changes so it is worth double-checking every now and then.
7) Open / Update Your Google+ Page
Before the collective groan begins … Yes, I have read articles with titles such as Is Google+ Dead? and Google+ is a Ghost Town … but the fact is your school’s most recent Google+ post (connected to your Google My Business account) WILL appear on the right of your SERP page. If someone happens to search for your school, it is a great place to highlight your programs as well as upcoming events. Our policy is to update Google+ at least weekly. It is not that time consuming and, honestly, it is probably worth the effort.
If your school does not have a Google+ page, Hubspot’s post - Free Advertising on Google that I referenced in Step #5 provides instructions for this process as well.
As a side note, we found we had multiple Google+ pages – one connected to Google My Business and one connected to our YouTube channel. The YouTube Help topic Connected to wrong Google+ profile or page helped us to resolve our problems.
Our school’s SERP journey began at Step #1. We happened to Google “The Gow School” at a marketing meeting one day we did not like what we saw. “Uh-oh this is a mess!” Think of it as Spring Cleaning. It is not the most exciting job, but two or three hours of labor will produce a neater and more organized appearance for both your school and, more importantly, for your prospective clients.