3 Ways to Leverage Local Search Engine Optimization for Your Long Term Care Facilities
SEPTEMBER 8, 2011:
Brian Bierbaum, Vice President of Strategy and Growth
Search Engine Optimization
As Gen X begins to help their baby boomer parents look at long-term care options, they are increasingly turning to digital channels such as search engines and social media to help make their decisions. According to a Bright Local survey, Google Places drives 33% of all website visits to local business websites. This presents an ideal opportunity for your organization to increase traffic to each of your facilities through local search engine optimization.
Why is local search important for your long term care facility marketing?
There are over 3.2 billion local searches conducted in the United States each month. Google recently revealed that one third of all local searches on the world’s largest search engine are conducted with mobile devices. Millions are using mobile devices to generate hundreds of thousands of searches for local long term care facilities.
People are finding data about you and your competitors that may or may not have been provided by the facility owners. Residents are writing reviews, publishing ratings, sharing experiences and uploading pictures or videos to these sites. This user-generated content affects brand reputation when it becomes instantly searchable online.
Google Places, Yelp and Foursquare have been on the forefront of developing the technology; aggregating the content and building the databases that populate these destinations. Social media heavyweights such as Facebook, Yahoo, Bing and Twitter have recently joined them. Many other sites are emerging and developing their own methods to display business listings. The benefits of a well run search engine optimization campaign are straight forward: increased visibility of your facilities in the community and more leads from your website and other local search sources. Below are a few tips to get you started in the right direction.
Claim Each of Your Facilities' Google Places Pages
Google routinely shows Google Places results (local search) before the regular search results. The first step in ensuring you are found is to claim or update your Google Places pages for each facility. Each of these pages can then be optimized using a variety of techniques to ensure you have the best chance of your facility showing up at the top of the list. For example, 60% of consumers give more consideration to local results that have images (according to the same Bright Local Survey I mentioned earlier).
Add Location Information to Your Local Page Titles
Combine geo-qualifying keywords with your main keyword phrase. This makes it obvious to the search engines where you are and what your facility offers. More importantly, searchers will see this information prominently displayed in your listings in the search engine results as well.
Optimize Your Website
Your website can also be a powerful tool for optimizing and showcasing your facilities. If you do not have a profile for each facility on your website, now would be a good time to start. If you do, consider updating them to include more than the address, description and a few pictures. Try to include testimonials from residents, videos and pictures of the facility and events, even display a schedule of activities. In short, use the page to paint a picture of the residents' experiences. According to Google, video submitted properly is at least 50 times more likely to generate a first page Google ranking than traditional SEO techniques. Additionally, if you have individual websites for each facility, consider evaluating your linking strategy to ensure that the sites are cross-linking appropriately. This can make a huge difference in where each of your facilities rank on the search engines. Before making any changes I would highly suggest checking with an SEO expert to perform an audit of your site(s) and strategy.
Do you have other tips that you have found useful in marketing your long term care facilities online? Please share!
This blog post was originally published on the Priority Blog at priorityresults.com/blog. Priority Integrated Marketing is now BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.