Winning Church SEO with Daycare, Part 1

Focusing on the right church SEO keywords may allow your church website to be found not just by people looking for your church, but by people searching for other things the church offers.

In my last post, I suggested that the search keyword, “daycare.” Why? Go back and read my explanation.

I also suggested that we seriously count the costs before proceeding. If this goes well, we may find more people interested in our church. Is our church ready? Also, this is going to take some time, effort and commitment. If you have your hands full, you may want to hold off for now.

Here we go with church SEO keywords.

They keywords "daycare san antonio" receive 3,600 searches a month. What if your website content could get you to the top of that results list?Let’s see if we can get your church to show up when people search for daycare in your area. I want to mention again that this is going to take some time and commitment. As I am writing this post, the school year has already begun. This may reduce the number of people who are still looking. However, by starting to work on this now, you will be in a better position come the beginning of the next school year. There are also many people who will be searching throughout the year.

Another assumption I am making here (as I mentioned in the previous post) is that you have daycare at your church. If not, think about this: Is there something else that your church offers that might be appealing to someone who may also be interested in your church? If you think of something, keep reading because you might be able to adjust this plan for your content.

Step One – Redo Your Church’s Childcare Ministry Page for Better SEO

As I look through web pages for church childcare ministries, I can see why they don’t show up in search engines. They don’t include any of the words that research shows us people are searching for.

If we really want to reach out to people who are searching for a place for their children, we need to be aware of the words they are using in their search.

To best accomplish this, you need to know your audience.

Know Your Audience

There are two audiences for your childcare ministry landing page. Appealing to both will mean people will find your page and, once they get there, will find it appealing.

The two audiences are:

  1. The search engines that are looking at it.
  2. The people who are looking at it.

Search engines have particular ways of ranking pages. Though, as hard as they try, they can’t see a page the same way human eyes do. You will need to find a balance that will achieve good search engine ranking and create a page that is helpful and appealing to the reader.

Use the Right Church SEO Keywords

early_childhood_center__San_Antonio_-_Google_SearchYou may have an early childhood development center but, do people know that is what they are looking for? There are many advantages of an accredited school over a regular daycare but, people might not know that. The data shows us that an average of zero people per month search Google for “early childhood center, San Antonio.” Does that mean that no one is searching for such a thing? No. It means they aren’t using those search terms when they look.

Not all daycare ministries are the same. There are differences between daycare, day school, pre-school, early childhood development centers, and mother’s day out programs. Daycare is a broad term, and churches want to make clear what they offer and how it may differ from what other places offer.

Your webpage should explain those differences and show what your church is offering. However, you need first to be aware of what people are searching for. You can’t really explain if people never get to your website.

While 3,600 people search for “daycare San Antonio” each month, only 210 search for “preschool San Antonio,” 20 search for “day school San Antonio,” and there are zero searches for “early childhood center San Antonio.”

Add to that the fact that churches are creative. We love to brand things in unique ways and get out offerings to stand out from everyone else’s. We name our programs in creative, but non-descriptive terms, like “Christian Care for Kids,” “God’s Little Angels,” “Bright Beginnings,” “Good Shepherd.” There is nothing necessarily wrong with being creative in naming a program. However, people will not likely be searching for these keywords, and that means they won’t find your ministry or your church. So, if we are going to use a creative name, we need to make sure the descriptive language surrounding it uses words people might be looking for.

Geography is also crucial in keywords. Maybe your school is in Laurel Heights (a neighborhood in San Antonio.) Currently, there are zero searches per month for “daycare laurel heights texas.” That doesn’t mean people aren’t searching for something in that area, they just aren’t using those words in the search.

Use Church SEO Keywords Generously but Not Excessively

There is a delicate balance in creating a webpage that is well indexed by search engines and is also helpful and visually appealing to the reader. Webmasters used to stuff web pages with keywords to catch the attention of search engines. The search engine algorithms have become much smarter and rank these pages lower. However, within limits, the more keywords the better. But maybe you have seen a webpage that takes this too far. The excessive use of keywords can get in the way of proper sentence structure and create pages that are just not readable.

Include Helpful Content

If you want to attract high search rankings and keep visitors on your page, you need to consider adding helpful content. Most of the church childcare program websites I visit include information about the school. I see a lot of information about accreditation, costs, payment options, and schedules. That is all helpful and necessary information. However, think about the audience for a moment. Someone may be there, not looking specifically for information about your program. They may be researching childcare options for their kid. Can you help them? Put yourself in their shoes. What information would be helpful to them in their search? Would it be beneficial to describe the different types of programs available? Could you produce a piece on how to look for and evaluate schools? Might you explain how accreditation works and why it is important? When enrollment times are over, and maybe your program is full, can you offer advice for finding programs with openings? Perhaps this information ends up causing them to pick another school. But, if the point of this is outreach, does that matter?

Include Photos

This is clearly a stock photo. Don't use stock photos. Make sure you use captions, image descriptions, and alternate text.
This is clearly a stock photo. Don’t use stock photos. Make sure you use captions, image descriptions, and alternate text.

I cannot overstress the power of photos on your webpage. I could point you to studies but let’s just go with the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” A couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t use stock photos. Use images of your staff and your kids. (Of course, get photo releases.)
  2. Show your facilities. Church web designers are told to stay away from pictures of buildings because people aren’t interested in buildings. However, parents looking for a safe place for their children are concerned about buildings. They want to see your clean, well-lit, immaculately maintained facilities.
  3. Make sure your photos include descriptive files names (our-day-school-classroom.jpg), captions (a view of one of our day school classrooms), and images descriptions and alternate texts (you may need to ask your web expert about those.) Search engines don’t look at photos, but they do look at the information about your pictures and include it in their ranking formula.

Skip Abbreviations

Abbreviations and acronyms don't help with SEO
Abbreviations and acronyms don’t help with SEO

My survey of church childcare ministries exposed me to an overwhelming number of abbreviations.

CELC
UMDS
NAEYC
CHUMS
WS&CDS

These are not helpful to anyone. It doesn’t hurt anyone to type out “early learning center” or “National Association for the Education of Young Children.” Not only do your visitors not know what these things mean, search engines don’t either. Unless you happen to know that people are searching for the phrase “NAEYC” accredited schools, just write it out.

If you do all this, you are going to have a great start on getting found on the web. But this is still only part of the equation. In the next post, I will cover some other things you can do to improve your ranking and reach. Then I will cover how you may be able to help these website visitors take an interest in the rest your church has to offer.

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