Local School Increases Enrollment During a Recession Using SEO

ClassIn an economic recession, people tend to reduce unnecessary spending.  This may mean changing little things, like not going to the movies or eating out as much, however, it can also mean changing big things, like whether a child goes to public or private school.  One way a family can quickly save $5000+ a year is to stop sending their child to a private school.  While many schools simply resigned to the fact that they were going to see enrollment go down until the economy turned around, at least one school planned to see their enrollment go up.  How?

Family of Christ Christian School, Tampa, FL
Family of Christ Christian School is a Kindergarten, elementary and middle school located on the north side of Tampa, FL.  They are a relatively new school that started in 1999 with a Kindergarten program.  Since 1999 they have expanded to Kindergarten through 8th grade and now have a full K -8 school program.  As of 2009 they had 140 students, which is up from the lower 130’s the year before.  They are associated with Family of Christ Lutheran church and offer a Christ-centered education with a high academic standard as well as many extra-curricular activities.

Increasing Web Presence
Family of Christ Christian School first started hosting a website with OurChurch.Com in 2005.  Deciding that they wanted to start utilizing their website more and realizing how important making a good impression on the Internet is to getting new students, in 2008 Family of Christ purchased a custom designed website.  This added new functionality to their site, but also made the site much more appealing to visitors.  It was easier to navigate and was much more attractive.

With their new website in place was ready to start actively using their website to gain new students.  So, shortly after, Family of Christ moved forward with the Top School Search Rankings service.

The Top School Search Rankings service
The Top Schools Search Rankings service offers a multi-pronged approach to search marketing for schools.  It includes local search engine optimization, geo-coding, adding listings in the Internet Yellow Pages, adding listings in school directories, adding listings in local search sites, setting up listings in Google+ Local, Yahoo Local Business, and Bing Maps.  In addition we also optimized several pages on the school site.  When all of that is done we work with the school help get positive reviews for the school through the Internet.

The Results
Even after just the first month into the service, Family of Christ Christian School was already starting to see results in the rather competitive large city of Tampa, FL.  Typically, local search engine optimization takes two or three months to see real results, however, they had already moved up to having:

Enrolment going up!- Rankings:

  • 428 Top Thirty Rankings
  • 159 Top Ten Rankings
  • 74 Top Five Rankings

And they are continuing to move up in the search engines!

In addition to these search rankings, Family of Christ has several new listings in school directories, local search sites, and the Internet Yellow Pages.

- Increased Traffic
So, what do all these new listings and higher rankings meant to the site?  Comparing this past week to the first week we started tracking traffic (7 weeks ago) on the Family of Christ Christian School, the website traffic has increased by 87%.

With twice as many people visiting the school’s website, the potential for new students has increased dramatically.  Family of Christ increased their enrollment last year and plans to increase their number of students again this year, actively reaching out to potential families through the search engines.


Update:
In Feb 2013, I decided to update the Family of Christ story.    Family of Christ Christian School has continued to see gains each year for the past 4 years.  This year their enrollment is well over 160, having increased every year.  They are now nearly at full enrollment with some grades having a waiting list.  There rankings have also improved to:

  • 684 Top 10 Rankings
  • 484 Top 5 Rankings
  • 148 #1 Rankings

How is your school’s enrollment?  Would you like to do so well in the search engines that you can grow in a recession?  Request a consultation today to find out how.

Request Your Free Search Marketing Consultation Now!

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Kurt Steinbrueck is the Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.Com. He also serves on the leadership of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL. You can find him on Google+ as .

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