Duke University and the University of North Carolina (UNC) saw jumps in Google searches during the annual tournament. Duke and UNC finished No. 7 and No. 8, respectively, on the Google Zeitgeist list.
The reasons for why some colleges get enormous traffic from Google searches was called into question in June, when a compilation of the 20 most searched-for colleges and universities on Google was published June 15 by CampusSplash, a website offering news and advice to college students.
A two-year college in Georgia, for example, made the CampusSplash list.
South University – a for-profit school in Savannah, Ga. – was the second-most Googled college in America, according to the CampusSplash rankings.
And Central College, a 130-acre private liberal arts campus of 1,650 students in Pella, Iowa, ranked No. 16 on CampusSplash’s top-20 list, just five spots behind Harvard University and one spot ahead of Duke University.
Generic school names can help a campus rank high in thousands of variations of Google searches, meaning prospective students and parents search for “universities in the south,” for example, see a link high in the results, and often click on it, said Allen Gannett, co-founder of CampusSplash, a Washington, D.C.-based site launched last winter.
“Some colleges get a massive amount of free attention by having these kinds of names,” he said. “This has major benefits for the college. People who would have never stumbled across your school now see it on Google.”