Local SEO Tips for Day Cares, Nursery Schools & Preschools: 5 Steps to Improve Your Google Rankings

/Local SEO Tips for Day Cares, Nursery Schools & Preschools: 5 Steps to Improve Your Google Rankings
Local SEO Tips for Day Cares, Nursery Schools & Preschools: 5 Steps to Improve Your Google Rankings 2018-01-04T08:26:59+00:00


Those who run day cares, nursery schools, and preschools are facing increasing challenges in finding customers. Word of mouth is certainly important, but more and more parents simply run a quick Google search and call the first couple of centers that pop up. To grow your customer base, then, you need to make it to the top of Google rankings.

We will walk you through our proven, step by step process for catapulting your business to the top of the list. First, though, let’s walk through why local SEO is so important.

3 Reasons Day Cares, Nursery Schools, and Preschools Should Invest in Local SEO

  1. The Yellow Pages Are Dead, Google Is Hot:Not too long ago, you could take out an ad in the Yellow Pages and wait for parents to call. Now, a stunning 97% of people search for local businesses online, and Google is the undisputed king of the hill.
  2. Free Traffic:Although this is slowly changing, advertising is still one of the largest costs for small businesses. Boosting your Google ranking gives you an ongoing stream of free traffic that you only need to convert to paying customers.
  3. Quick Results:National and international businesses have to wait an average of 6 to 12 months to see the results of a new SEO campaign. As a childcare provider, though, you have a massive advantage. You are competing only with other day cares, nursery schools, or preschools in your local area, not those halfway around the world. And many of your competitors aren’t taking advantage of local SEO. This means that a targeted campaign could boost you to the first page of local Google listings in just 30 days!

Step 1: Choose Your Keywords

First, simply sit down and make a quick list of keywords that match your services. For example, you might choose “day care,” “nursery school,” “preschool,” or “childcare”. When you have a reasonably extensive list, sign up for a free Google AdWords account.

You do not need to create or fund an ad campaign. You simply need the account to gain access to the free Google Keyword Planner. This tool shows you how much traffic each keyword drives, and suggests similar keywords that may not be on your list.

Now you are ready to finalize your keyword list. All keywords fall into 2 broad categories:

  • Buying Intent: Buying intent keywords are used when a prospect imminently needs your services. For example, “Finding a good day care Milwaukee” is a clear sign that the parent is looking for a day care now.

Buying intent keywords drive fast results, so they should be your initial focus. Feature them on your homepage and on separate service pages.

  • Research Intent: Research intent keywords mean that the prospect is “just looking.” She may need childcare someday, but not today. For example, someone asking “what is the difference between a day care and a nursery school” might be considering future options.

These keywords are of lower priority, since they don’t drive quick conversions. However, they are perfect for FAQs and blog posts, which introduce you to prospects who might remember you when they need childcare.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords

With your finalized keyword list in hand, you can move to optimization. There are 2 places to focus on—your Google My Business page and your website. Here’s what to do:

Google My Business

Your Google My Business page is a kind of mini-website that appears in Google’s “Maps” section. It gives a quick overview of your company and increases your online presence. It’s also an easy way to boost your rankings, as Google My Business pages are easier than websites to get highly ranked.

To optimize, completely and accurately fill out all of these elements:

  • Verification: The first step is to claim your page and submit it to Google for verification. This is finished when you see a checkmark and the word “Verified” next to your company name.
  • NAP: Your NAP is your business name, address, and phone number. Make sure it is correct and identical across the entire internet. To reassure Google that your business is local, choose a local phone number rather than an 800 number.
  • Categories: Google categories must reflect services instead of results. Day Care Center, Preschool, and Nursery School are all valid Google categories, as are Child Care Agency and Learning Center, if those apply to your business. Try to list 3 to 5 categories, if possible.
  • Description: The description is a 100 to 200-word overview of your company that ends with a call to action. Try this format: {Name of Company} is a {day care, nursery school, or preschool} in {Your City}. {Give some information about your child care and/or why customers love you.} Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your child’s first week.
  • Hours: Make sure that the hours you provide care are accurate, and are correctly listed across the internet.
  • Images: Images are vital to boosting parent engagement and showing new prospects what to expect. Add some photos of your facility, staff, and even kids (with their parents’ permission). Make sure your images are sharply focused, sized between 10KB and 5MB, and have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px. Also consider replacing the generic Google My Business background image with a branded image.

Website Optimization

Your first priority for optimization is your “core” pages, which include your homepage and service pages. Optimize them for your buying intent keywords. Then optimize your “content” pages (blog posts and FAQs) for your research intent keywords. Here’s how:

  • Homepage: The most vital individual element on your homepage is the title tag. Like the chapter title of a book, it should describe your business in just 50 to 65 characters. Try this format: Day Care (or Nursery School or Preschool) in {Your City} | {Name of Your Business}.

The meta description is a brief (100 to 150 characters) overview of your main services that ends with a call to action. Format it something like this: {Name of Company} offers quality {childcare, or similar} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your child’s first week!

Also known as the H1, the visible headline must contain your primary category. Format it similarly to: {Day Care Center} in {City, State}.

Your page copy comes last. It should consist of 500 to 1000 tightly edited words that explain your company and core services, and end with a strong call to action. Incorporate your primary keyword as it naturally fits in the copy.

  • Service Pages: Create a service page for each core service. Optimize it just like the homepage, but focus on the relevant keyword.

Step 3: Build Citations and Links

Now that the framework of your local SEO campaign is ready, you can build citations and links. Both boost your Google rankings by improving your online reach.

  • Citations: A citation is nothing more than a listing of your business NAP (name, address, and phone number) in an online directory. You can use general national directories such as Facebook and yellowpages.com, general local directories such as your Chamber of Commerce website, and targeted trade directories. Your NAP must be entirely identical across all listings.

Note that some directories accept only paid listings. In this case, take a look at Google Analytics. It makes no sense to pay for a listing that will not drive traffic and conversions.

  • Links: To get to the top of Google rankings, you must have inbound links from authoritative, credible websites. Build relationships with companies that offer complementary services to your own, such as schools and local kids’ sports teams, and then ask to trade links. You can see where your competitors’ links are coming from with a tool such as the Moz Open Site Explorer.

Step 4: Ask for Reviews

Customer reviews have a two-fold impact on your local SEO campaign. First, they help to convince prospects to give you a chance. Second, they reassure Google that you have a legitimate business. All reviews are important, but you will get the fastest rankings boost from Google My Business reviews. Send your satisfied parents an email link to your page, and ask them outright to write a review. If you follow up regularly, you will soon have an ongoing stream of recent reviews.

Step 5: Track Your Results

To know what’s working and what still needs tweaking, you need to track your results. There are innumerable ways to analyze your data, but these 3 core metrics are the most critical:

  • Rankings: Google customizes its display rankings based on past browsing behavior. To truly learn your rankings, you need to use a tool. Ask your webmaster to install the free Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools), and track your rankings at least once a month.

To dig deeper, try a paid tool such as RankRanger.com. This helpful tool tracks your Google My Business page alongside your individual webpages, and automatically updates ranking data from all of your SEO campaigns.

  • Traffic: Your best option for tracking your traffic, or visitors to your website, is Google Analytics. You can see your overall traffic, the traffic for each individual webpage, and the percentage of traffic that came through Google search. Read your report at least once per month to look for long-term trends.
  • Conversions: A conversion is a concrete behavior you want prospects to perform, such as contacting you for 10% off a week of childcare services. Google Analytics lets you track both phone and web conversions. You can also see which of your webpages have the highest and lowest conversion rates, as well as which services drive the most conversions.

Ready to Get Started?

Now you know why a targeted local SEO campaign is the key to building your customer list. Work through the steps in order, taking care to complete each step before moving on to the next. Here is a recap of the 5 steps:

  1. Keyword research
  2. Keyword optimization
  3. Citations and Links
  4. Reviews
  5. Tracking

Want Help with SEO?

At Main Street ROI, we specialize in helping day cares, nursery schools, and preschools attract more local customers through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

Click here to request a Free SEO Quote

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