Webinar: Using Google to Manage Your School’s Web Presence

Yesterday, Tony Trumbo and I presented at a webinar organized by WhippleHill about using Google Places and Google Webmaster Tools to manage how people find schools online. What we presented could apply to any business with a physical location and a website, but the primary audience for this talk was independent schools. There are one or two parts where we talk about WhippleHill, but remember that all of the Google stuff is open to anyone. If you’re feeling charitable, after watching the presentation try looking up a favorite local school or business and seeing if their listings could use some help.

Here’s a video of the presentation.

And here are the slides if you just want to skim:

The webinar format

We were originally scheduled to present this week in Nashville at the WhippleHill Summit. Unfortunately, severe flooding in Nashville damaged the Gaylord Opryland venue (where the conference was to take place), and the summit was cancelled. Since they already had a bunch of speakers lined up, the organizers asked the scheduled presenters to do webinars instead.

As a viewer, a webinar is pretty convenient. You don’t have to travel anywhere, you can multitask, and if you’re bored, you can quietly leave without the presenter seeing you. As a presenter, it’s convenient, but not ideal. You can’t see the audience, so it’s tough to know if they’re following you, and you miss out on that fun 1:1 hallway Q&A at the end. Fortunately we had Melissa acting as a moderator, so I didn’t feel completely disconnected.

Because of the nature of the content presented, it was tough to do a presentation without relying on slides. Generally when I present (such as when I teach how to search), I avoid slides and do live demos. In this case I think slides worked out pretty well, and Google Presentations has definitely improved over time. We were able to escape with only one slide using bullet points, and another using two ordered lists.

Sharing information

I think it’s pretty cool that WhippleHill is offering this type of training for free. If you follow the advice we give about SEO at Google, you’ll often hear us say something along the lines of “Create high quality content or a unique service and establish yourself as an authority.” That’s exactly what WhippleHill is doing. Many people may come across these webinars and watch them for free without becoming a WhippleHill customer, but that’s fine. Once the webinar is created, I’m guessing it costs WhippleHill virtually nothing to distribute. Bandwidth is cheap. But some people may come across this content, determine that Whipplehill must really know what they’re doing, and consider purchasing their services or referring someone else to their site.

Resources

Google Places

Webmaster Central
Webmaster Tools
SEO Starter Guide
Webmaster Central blog
Webmaster Central YouTube channel

Nobody asked about non-Google stuff, but I had looked these up just in case:

Bing’s local listings center
Yahoo’s local listings
Bing’s webmaster tools
Yahoo! Site Explorer

Special thanks

Special thanks to Nelson for taking my picture with Googlebot and to Albert for walking by the conference room and staring at me while I was presenting.

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