Web Presence simply defined, is your center’s ability to create a digital presence in a variety of places online.
The primary areas are:
Website: Are you getting enough visitors to your website? Are they either calling or completing a form so that you can follow-up with them, schedule a tour, and ultimately enroll their child.
Social Networks: Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram,LinkedIn, and Google + all require a certain degree of engagement to ensure you are seen as an expert in your field. These networks also create the necessary social signals to support your claim.
Directory Listings: aka review sites and citation listings are essentially the equivalent to advertising in the yellow pages of old. Ensuring that your business name, address, and phone number are correct is essential to brand alignment online. Yelp, CitySearch, and Best of the Web are just a few of the 250 sites that need to be claimed.
Paid Advertising: Many online gurus do not include paid media in web presence; however, I believe every method used to give your potential customers the opportunity to find your center and eventually enroll their child is a factor. Pay-Per-Click, Facebook, Pinterest, and other paid placements offer paid ways to boost your web presence.
There are several free tools online that will help you better understand how you are doing with your web presence. The first few that I recommend are from Google:
#1 – Google Analytics for Visitor Behavior
This amazing tool allows you to see website visitors’ behavior so you can better understand your potential customers. This tool also allows you to track more data than I can cover here. Two examples are:
1. By Device: Here you can see exactly which devices the visitor is using. If your website is not mobile friendly, then imagine how many people just give up trying to read the information on the site. To ensure your website is mobile friendly, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
2. By Channel: Here you have the ability to see exactly where the traffic to your website is coming from. Here we see that the website is ranking well for keywords since 50% of traffic is coming from searches. Also, with almost 25% of the traffic coming from direct, we know the brand is well recognized since people are typing in the domain name off the top of their head.
#2 – Google Search Console Tool (Formerly Webmaster Tools)
The Google Search Tool is again a very robust app that allows you to track several aspects of your website’s performance. Here again are two examples:
1. Crawl Errors: Google has bots that go out and review your website aka crawling your site. These bots will identify when there has been a server error for example. Once you identify a problem, ask your webmaster to troubleshoot the problem and fix whatever is wrong with your website.
2. Sitemap Issues: The website’s sitemap is required on your website to assist Google in crawling the site and determining exactly what your website is all about. Here you can see there are three warnings. Please pass these issues along to your webmaster unless you prefer to Do-It-Yourself..
Now, on to tool #3.
#3 – Website Grader for Website Review
A very simple tool to use to get an overview of how your website is Website Grader powered by Hubspot. This tool analyzes your website’s ability to be a marketing asset. Too often there are issues that are difficult to spot. This app measures: website performance, mobile usability, SEO, and security.
Here you will see the report for performance. I recommend this free tool because it provides detailed descriptions of what the issue is and how to fix the problem. Great for the Do-It-Yourself marketers.
#4 – Hootsuite for Social Media
Hootsuite is a popular free tool for posting and reviewing social media updates. You can also use it as a personal social media management tool, too. It enables you to quickly post to all the main social networks including Google+ company pages and review conversations and messages. This tool comes with a free version, however, I recommend you invest in the Professional version at $19 per month.
#5 – Moz Local for Directory Listings
When someone searches for your center, search engines and many mobile apps rely on location data from these data sources to provide users relevant search results. If your listing data is incorrect or inconsistent between all these data sources, your listing might not show up in the search results.
These are the main aggregators of location data that send information to local search engines: Infogroup, Neustar Localeze, Acxiom, Factual and Foursquare.
You can search and update data manually, or use a service like Moz.com.
In this example, you see that this web presence has significant problems with duplicate information, inconsistent Name, Address and Phone data, and a fair amount of incomplete listings.
#6 – SERPS for Web Presence Rankings
There are many paid tools that can check your website’s rankings. Please keep in mind that the purpose of checking your rankings is to ensure your web presence is trending upward. Too often, the focus becomes on just a few keywords and frustration builds when you see up and down movement. This movement is normal. Rarely do you see a keyword hold the #1 position indefinitely. To see how you are doing, check out SERPS. It has a free 30 day trial.
#7 – Google Keyword Planner for Keyword Research
Identifying and using the correct keywords in everything you do online is essential. This includes the About section in social accounts, directory listings and your centers website. The Keyword Planner is still indispensable for keyword research.
Ubersuggest is also useful for identifying keywords.
An even easier method in to take advantage of the bonus provide here:
BONUS: A list of the top 150+ keywords for child care centers.
There are many tools available to ensure that you are able to understand your child care center’s web presence. Please keep in mind that the old rules for gaming the search engines no longer work, and Google is aggressively penalizing websites that violate those requirements.
If you are working with a professional SEO company, make sure that they are staying current in this ever-changing industry. Your center cannot afford to ignore your web presence.
Using these tools will help you identify and work on issues related to your web presence, and that effort will directly increase visitors over time.
Since 1994, Jeff Fisher has been helping entrepreneurs and business owners improve their businesses and marketing strategies. In 2011, Jeff focused on online marketing for preschool & child care centers. For more details, please visit Local Child Care Marketing. He ceaselessly studies what is required for local business owners to succeed on the internet, and then puts it into action in his own business. Clients report that they value Jeff’s candid assessment of issues and his inventive ways of solving business problems. He applies his business experience and insights to design creative approaches for businesses to succeed offline and online.