Care Home SEO
There are a number of key metrics and tactics that will influence organic search performance sometimes directly, other times indirectly.
Some of them you’ll have heard of, others might be new, what I’ve tried to do is balance a number of practical ideas with others that are a bit more strategic.
Usability & Dwell Time
Improving usability and dwell time across your site will have an impact on your organic search performance and care home SEO.
- Do your webpages load quickly on mobile and are they easy to read?
- Can customers consistently find what they are looking for across your website?
- On your main landing pages, is the key content easily accessible and not buried at the bottom?
If you find yourself answering ‘no’ to all, or any of these questions, the likelihood is that a customer won’t stay for long on your website.
Beyond these considerations you should also be looking at user, or customer, journeys.
To start off, take a look at all your key landing pages that are ranking well and bringing in direct organic traffic, what do you want the customer to do next? Where do you want them to go?
And there’s one more secret to improving dwell time on any website.
Deliver quality content that not only satisfies the curiosity of your customers, but is easily accessible and interactive.
We used to call it ‘sticky content’ in the business.
Seems like a bit of a weird phrase nowadays, but it’s still relevant.
Finding ways to improve your CTR from search engine results pages (SERP) can give you an advantage over a competitor, even one who is ranking higher than you.
How? Here’s an example of a simple search journey to illustrate.
After searching for a care home near them, our customer is confronted with a number of very similar descriptions in the SERP.
Take a look at these search results, which one do you think the customer is more likely to click first?
Having really impactful descriptions for all your key landing pages, ones that instantly make a connection can really improve your CTR – and bring more customers to your site.
You can alter how your care home business is displayed in the SERP by editing your title tags and meta descriptions.
A good title tag should contain a target keyword or two and your brand name.
Title tags can have a direct influence on ranking and your care home SEO; be careful though, write a poor one and Google will choose one for you.
And while meta descriptions are not a direct influence on rankings, a really well-written one can improve your CTR and increase traffic to your site, which, over time will have an influence on keyword rankings.
More importantly, if you add quality, interactive content to your website a really good title tag and meta description almost writes itself.
Backlinks and Social Shares
Gaining high-quality backlinks from other websites is still one of the most powerful things you can do to improve your online visibility and keyword rankings on Google.
While social shares aren’t officially part of Google’s algorithm they can be hugely influential too.
Gaining links and shares is not easy though.
This might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked: human beings only share really good quality, interesting experiences and content.
Content that they’re confident will make them look good if they share it.
Imagine two friends who have just bought cars.
- Friend A, has just bought a 998 cc, 1992 Rover Metro.
- Friend B, has just bought a 6.5 litre, Lamborghini Veneno Roadster.
I know it’s extreme, but, which one is more likely to share this information among their friends?
Dull, badly written sales content is unlikely to be shared. High-quality, interactive experiences that make a difference to people’s lives are more likely to be shared or linked to.
Ok, so far we’ve touched on a few key metrics and some practicals There are still millions of websites out there, and hundreds all jostling for position in the care home industry.
How can you make your site a bit different from the competition and improve your care home SEO? How do you make your site’s content a bit less static and dull?
How do you make the content on your site more helpful to users? And a bit more sticky?
How can 360 Virtual Tours Make a Difference?
So how exactly will getting a 360 Virtual Tour help your care home SEO? Recently, Google released a new directive called the “helpful content update” which puts the emphasis on creating content for people first.
“The helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations won’t perform as well.”
Let’s just note down a few considerations for care seekers, whether they’re the actual person seeking care or someone looking on their behalf.
Age UK has an excellent page of advice on how to find a good care home. Here is a small sample of some of the questions it recommends care seekers ask before choosing a care home.
- Are the buildings and grounds well maintained?
- Is there an accessible garden or courtyard?
- Do the home and garden feel inviting?
- Are there pleasant views surrounding the home?
- Is the home clean?
- Are the rooms well decorated?
- Are there enough parking spaces at the home?
- Is there good wheelchair access into and within the building, including wide doorways?
- Does the home use signs or pictures to show where things are?
- Would you have to share a bathroom or bedroom?
- Do residents usually eat together, or can they choose to eat in their rooms?
- Are there lounges or social areas with furniture arranged to allow small groups to socialise?
- Are there facilities such as: a radio, reading room, TV room, newspapers, books or a mobile library, public phone, shared computers, internet reception and hairdressing services?
Allowing care seekers, at various levels of digital expertise, the ability to give themselves a guided tour of your care home is an incredibly powerful way to visually answer all these questions.
That’s almost the definition of helpful content.
And when you provide people with positive experiences online, they will more likely remember your brand name.
So, great content not only improves SEO but also increases brand awareness and can boost sales and bed occupancy rates.
What’s not to like?