It’s Friday night, your child care business is closed for the next two days and your significant other picked up your favorite pizza for dinner — hello weekend!
You grab yourself a slice, cozy up on the couch with your kids…and you have no idea what to watch because you have a million options at your fingertips.
So what do you do? You grab your phone, head straight for Google and type “best Netflix shows” into the search bar. Then you quickly scan through the search results and read a few articles before settling on a show everyone wants to watch. Crisis averted.
Technology connects you to the rest of the world. If you play your cards right, it can also connect the rest of the world to your child care business. This is what’s known as SEO.
Keep reading to learn how you can leverage SEO to grow your daycare center.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the act of creating and adjusting web pages so that they rank higher in search engine results.
Do you ever wonder why certain websites make the first page of Google, while others languish in obscurity? Google isn’t playing favorites. It’s simply using its sophisticated algorithm to showcase content it believes its users are looking for.
So when you type “best Netflix shows” into Google, this algorithm combs through the internet to find the answer you seek.
Why does any of this matter to you, a child care provider? Because your customers use search engines like Google to research child care costs, reviews, location, services, amenities and more.
If your website appears in these search results, you’ll drive a steady stream of traffic to it, connect with more parents and make your child care business more profitable.
Procare is here to help.
We know the business of child care. For more than 30 years we’ve been guiding child care professionals just like you to help stay connected and in control.
How to Please the Google Gods
Google shrouds its algorithm in mystery. This means that people like us will never completely understand how it works. But that’s okay — we know enough to optimize your website so that it’s as Google-friendly as possible.
Note: most of the tips and techniques below will work for other search engines, too. But since Google owns 88.14% of the global search market, we’ll focus on this platform.
1. Know Your Audience
This is where all good marketing starts. If you don’t know who your audience is—and I mean really know them—you won’t be able to speak to them effectively.
Your customers are parents and caregivers in your area, of course, but what else do you know about them? Try to pinpoint details like their age, occupation, marital status, income level and anything else that might be relevant to your business.
There are a few ways to find this kind of information:
- Ask: To learn less personal information, just ask your customers. You’d be surprised how much they’re willing to share — especially if they know it will help you out.
- Listen: By talking with your customers and listening to their answers, you’ll be able to learn more about them in a natural way.
- Guess: Lastly, do a little detective work. For example, if you notice that one of your customers drives a luxury car, you can probably assume that they reside in a higher income bracket.
2. Choose the Right Keywords
A keyword is any word, phrase or question that internet users type into search engines. “Best Netflix shows” is the example I used earlier in this post. Examples related to your business might be “child care in [Your City]” or “how to choose a daycare.”
These are the terms that parents in your area will Google when searching for child care options. You want your website to appear in the search results!
The question is, how do you know which keywords to use? The answer is that you do a little keyword research:
- Use Your Intuition: You run a child care business. As such, you probably have a good sense for keywords related to your industry. Take a few minutes to brainstorm terms. Then write them down in a Word or Google doc to save for later.
- Invest in a Keyword Tool: These days, there’s software for just about everything, including keyword research. Some of these tools cost a pretty penny, others are free. One of the best free options is Ubersuggest. Visit the website and type in the terms you came up with in the previous step to learn more about them.
- Analyze the Results: Ubersuggest will tell you a lot of information about your keywords. You’ll be able to learn how often they’re searched for, how competitive they are (i.e. how many other websites are trying to rank for them) and similar keywords.
The key is to find keywords that have high search volumes and low competition levels. This means you’ll need to focus on long tail keywords.
A long tail keyword is a keyword that has three words or more. “Best daycare in Denver, CO” is a good example. While these terms aren’t searched for as often, they’re much more specific, easier to rank for and will drive higher quality traffic to your site.
3. Create Great Content
Now that you know who your audience is and the specific terms they’re typing into Google, you can create content to match. When I say “content,” I’m talking about website copy, blog posts, social media updates, live videos and more.
The trick is to add your keywords to these pieces of content in strategic areas such as page titles, body copy, meta descriptions and URLs.
Pro Tip: Write content for humans, not robots. In other words, make sure your web copy, blog posts, etc. flow and sound natural. Many businesses try to over-optimize their sites with too many keywords. This is called keyword stuffing and will actually hurt your Google ranking.
Once you’ve created great content, it’s important to take additional steps to make sure it gets seen. Remember that there’s already so much stuff on the internet. So you need to give your web pages and blogs a little boost via link building. That way, they have a chance to get found by your target audience.
There are two types of links to be aware of:
- Internal Links: These links connect one page on your site to another. They help Google understand what your site is about. They also help engage readers and keep them on your site for longer, which is good for SEO.
- Backlinks: When a third-party website links to yours, it’s called a backlink. Backlinks are incredibly important for SEO because they build trust. When Google sees a backlink pointing to your site, it will think, “hey, if other sites are linking to this one, it must be full of good information.”
So how do you get these links?
Securing internal links is easy. When creating content, link to other relevant web pages, blog posts, etc. that live on your website.
Building a backlink portfolio is more difficult. The best way to secure backlinks is to create great content and then share it with those in your industry. If they like what you’ve made, there’s a chance they’ll link to it in their own content.
4. Use Google My Business
No blog post on SEO for child care is complete without mentioning Google My Business.
Google My Business will allow you to create a listing for your child care business on Google that includes hours of operation, contact and location details, daycare cost and images.
When people search for local businesses on Google, Google My Business listings appear at the top of the search results. Because of this, Google My Business is absolutely essential for every daycare center. Fortunately, it’s an easy platform to use:
- Claim Your Google My Business listing
- Enter all relevant details about your daycare
- Add as many high-quality photos as possible
Don’t skip the last step! Google listings with 100+ images get 1,065% more clicks.
Boost Your Daycare With SEO
Opening and operating a daycare can be a lot of work. A proper SEO strategy will ensure your efforts are rewarded by driving a steady stream of high-quality traffic to your website.
While SEO will help you promote your business, Procare Solutions will give you the tools you need to grow and manage it effectively. Request a free demo today to learn how you can more efficiently operate every aspect of your center such as attendance tracking, billing, staff management, contactless check-in, parent engagement and more.
And if you’re looking for more marketing-related tips for child care centers, join us for our upcoming webinar with Lauren Small, owner of Early Education Consultants, LLC, on Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. EST. Attendees will learn:
- The most important and high-impact ways to market your child care program.
- Ways you can leverage social media and search engine optimization to drive increased interest.
- How to create a digital storefront that attracts even the most discerning parents.
- Tips on using data to make more informed decisions about your marketing and promotional tactics.