Four digital marketing strategies every nursing home must use

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Josh Kanter
Josh Kanter

Mom has been in the hospital for a week. The physician speaks to the children and says that she's doing much better, and ready to be released. However, she's no longer in a state to live on her own. The children start scrambling about what to do. They all pull out their smartphones, start calling friends, Google local nursing homes, and pouring through the customer reviews. 

Unfortunately, your nursing home doesn't even show up in a Google search. Or, even worse, your site does show up, but it's so poorly designed, the site visitor is quickly turned off. The worst case scenario? Your site does show up in Google but the reviews are filled with angry comments from disgruntled families. What do you do?

It's time to take advantage of a fresh set of digital marketing strategies that can increase search visibility and increase positive reputation management. While print media still plays an important role, data shows that most Americans turn to the internet first. As well, print media is very difficult to measure whereas online channels can be measured and drilled down to provide you with invaluable information and immediate results.

Here are four tips to get your site ranked on Google, optimized to make people convert, and give your online reputation management a boost, sending all those nasty comments to page 5 on Google.

How to appear on Google searches

The first step in the digital marketing process is to get found on Google, and there are a number of ways to do this, especially for local businesses such as nursing homes.

Let's start with this example. The screenshot on the left shows what someone in North Carolina will see when searching Google for “skilled nursing facilities near me.” There are three sections to the result: paid Adwords ads, a “local pack” of listings, and standard organic traffic.


Here is how to get ranked in each of these results:

1. Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

Search Ads

At the top of a search results page, you are likely to see 3 to 4 listings which are marked as an ad. As an advertiser, you can create a Google Adwords account, create an ad campaign, and choose which keywords you want to bid on. For example, you can decide that you want your ad to be displayed whenever someone in your area searches for “nursing home," “skilled nursing facility,” or any other word or phrase which is connected to your business.

Ever wonder how Google makes their billions? This is it. Paid search ads are by far the fastest way to get your site to appear in search results, but it will cost you. While simply showing your ad won't cost you anything, you will have to pay each time someone clicks on your ad.

Here's a pro tip: Make sure that you align your keywords, ad copy, and landing page. For example, if someone searches for “nursing home," make sure they see an ad which says “nursing home,” and upon clicking, are taken to a landing page which says “nursing home." Then do the same thing for “assisted living facility”, and any other keyword you are bidding on.

Another tip: Google Adwords is an extremely complex platform, and Google makes a lot of money off of inexperienced advertisers who don't know how to navigate its intricacies. You might want to turn to a digital marketing agency to handle your PPC for you. Otherwise, you risk wasting a lot of money on untargeted traffic which will never convert into customers.

2. Search Engine Optimization

While the top section of the Google results page seen here consists of paid ads, the second and third sections are free listings. If your site appears in these sections, you can get all of the clicks you want without paying a dime.

In this case, there is a fundamental difference between section 2 & section 3.

  • Section 2 is referred to as a “local pack.” When someone conducts a search which Google determines to have “local intent,” Google will show a local pack consisting of exclusively local businesses. If you are searching for an area business (which can include anything from restaurants to hardware stores to nursing homes), a local pack will appear. On the other hand, if you search for something without a local intent (for example, “who is Abraham Lincoln?”), no local pack will appear.

  • Section 3 consists of what is referred to as “organic search results.” These listings can consist of any website that Google determines to be worthy of ranking for your keyword search.

How to rank effectively in search engines

If you want to generate free search engine traffic, you're going to need to invest in a robust Search Engine Optimization campaign. Here are some of the techniques which will help your site rank:

  • Make sure your website is keyword optimized. Use a keyword research tool to determine which words your target market is searching for, and make sure to use these words in your site's content and title tags. Make sure, though, that you don't stuff (repeat) keywords in an unnatural manner. Your site content should be written for visitors, not search engines.

  • Include your location (city/state) on your website, and especially in your home page's title tag.

  • Generate backlinks for your website. The more links from external sites you have, the more trusted your site will be in the eyes of search engines. High quality backlinks can do wonders for a site's organic search traffic.

    • However, please heed this warning. Paying for links, or otherwise generating links which Google sees as “unnatural” can result in serious penalties from search engines. Before moving forward with a backlink generation campaign, it is probably best to consult with an SEO professional.

  • Host a blog on your site. Google loves fresh content, and wants to see that your site is updated often.

  • For best results in the local pack, blog about topics which are specific to your geographical area. For example, you might want to write blog posts about the local restaurants, parks, and other activities that your residents enjoy.

  • To appear in the local pack, you'll need to set up a Google My Business page for each location. You'll also want to claim your listings on Yelp, YellowPages, and other local business directories.

  • Generate positive reviews on local directories, and especially on your Google My Business page. This in turn will help your online reputation management.

3. Conversion rate optimization (CRO)

So, you've generated traffic to your website. Does that necessarily mean that you are going to see an influx of leads? Unfortunately, no. The next step in the digital marketing process is to ensure that your site will convert visitors into leads.

All too often, website design is viewed as an art project, where the only goal is to make the site look attractive. Yes, the site must look nice, but ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the site properly and clearly portray your company's value propositions?

  • Is the site sufficiently persuasive to convince visitors to contact your company?

  • Is social proof utilized to show that your brand is established and trusted?

For this reason, many website designs result in an attractive website — but nothing more. A more attractive website will not necessarily mean an increase in conversions, leads, customers, or revenue. For your site to effectively generate leads, you'll need to make sure that you give visitors a good reason to contact you, and present strong calls to action (such as a prominently placed contact form) to provide them with the ability to do so.

4. Social media

Social marketing

Creating a social media campaign will allow you to portray your home in a positive light. You can also share your blog content, news stories, press releases, happenings at the home, and links to additional resources that interest your target market. Having different social profiles that are being updated will also get ranked in Google, giving your home further positive exposure.

Social ads

Facebook allows you to create different types of ads to drive people to your site or capture their info in a lead gen form. You can directly target individuals interested in senior care or even geriatric physicians who should be aware of your home. Below are examples of such audiences in South Bend, IN.

By investing in these strategies, you will see an increase in your site's online presence. Those using Google will find you without a problem and they will convert on your site. Filling the search results with all of these positive results will help push down any nasty review and your online profile will be solid.

Josh Kanter is the Digital Marketing Manager at eCommerce Innovators.

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