Your website is the only part of your preschool’s online marketing that you have complete control over. Make sure you’re sending the right signals to both search engines and prospective families by following these important tips:
1. Be Chatty on Your Homepage
It’s a common mistake to include just a short paragraph of text on your homepage. This doesn’t give Google (or your website visitors) a good sense of what you’re all about. Your homepage is often the most important page on your website, and you need to make sure you provide useful content to your website visitors immediately.
Tip: Make sure you are thorough on your website’s homepage. Talk about what makes your preschool special, about the neighborhood you serve, your teachers, etc…
2. Avoid “Thin Content”
The goal of every page on your website should be to provide relevant, useful, and interesting information. Take a look at the main pages of your website, not just your homepage. Are you covering the topic of those other pages in a way that’s meaningful? If not, you may be serving up “thin content” to your visitors (and Google doesn’t like it either).
Tip: Be sure the other pages of your website are thorough too! Need inspiration? Take a look at the page and its purpose. Pretend you have a parent in front of you asking a question about that topic (eg, Tell me about your staff?; What’s the enrollment process like?). If you’re still struggling to add content, consider adding a Frequently Asked Questions section to the end of the page. You can use actual questions you’ve received from families as inspiration.
3. Keep Your Website Copy in Words
I cannot tell you how many schools hide their website content from Google and other search engines by including important copy in images or PDF files (which Google can see, but doesn’t often list in search).
Tip: Make sure your images are just for image-y content, like photos or banners (and be sure to provide appropriate “alt text” to give search engines an idea of what they’re looking at). If you use PDFs for a lot of your content, copy and paste that content out into an actual HTML page on your website. You can always include the original PDF for download at the top or bottom of the page, but its important to have that text somewhere on the pages of your school’s website.
4. Include Proper Local Signals
It’s important to give Google, as well as your website visitors, the proper “signals” about what you do and where you are.
Tip: Include your location (City/State) in your title tags, headline, content, image alt text, and (if possible) in your URL. Read it aloud, to make sure it sounds like natural language. Be sure to provide your correct information (Name, Address, Phone Number – or NAP as we call it) on your homepage, contact page, directions page and any other pages you can. Including your NAP in your website’s header or footer will usually allow it to show up automatically on all pages of your school’s website.
5. Include Local Content on your Blog
Your blog should be an important element of your website. You can use it to impress prospective families and show off what the kids are doing, and you can also use it to post about local-focused content. This is great for your current families and prospective families, and it’s also really effective for families that are new to the area.
Tip: Write some articles about local events for preschoolers, the best places locally to visit during each season, or a guide to the best family friendly restaurants in your neighborhood.
6. Mind Your Google Analytics and Search Console
Make sure you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) installed. These tools are critical for understanding how visitors are using your website. Through them you can learn which parts of your website are popular (so you can expand them), and which parts need work (so you can fix them).
Tip: Install or ask your web developer to install these important tools for you. We are going to be offering a complimentary webinar on Understanding Google Analytics for Preschools. If you’d like to be invited, sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page.