A recent study by Ziegler showed that 81% of long-term care facilities find that internal marketing efforts produce higher quality leads than national referral services.
But how can your internal marketing succeed in the face of national competition? Experts advise to start by understanding three core metrics used by search engines like Google: Trust, Authority and Relevance.
Trust: Manage your entire web presence.
Senior care and living facilities need to earn trust from the communities they serve in order to survive. The same principle applies online — and it’s the first key building block of a successful local online marketing strategy.
In SEO (search engine optimization) parlance, trust is a measure of a business’s reliability as perceived by search engines. In essence, the search engines want to verify that the business described on a website is a real, established organization. When the search engine algorithm ranks a website, it looks at the location and contact information on the website and checks it against the information it finds elsewhere on the web. The goal is to verify the facility’s information across many places on the internet.
In order to earn and keep a high trust score, you need to make sure that your entire online footprint matches your facility’s real-world contact information. Maintaining accurate information across the web requires diligence and constant monitoring, especially if your facility gets a new phone number, changes its name or moves or expands to a new location.
Authority: Cultivate credibility to bolster your facility’s trust.
Authority is the search engine’s way of measuring your website’s credibility — whether your site is actually a valued resource in the field of senior living.
Trust is a prerequisite for authority — after all, in order to perceive you as credible, the search engines first have to believe that you are who you say you are. But trust is a necessary rather than sufficient condition. To establish authority, search engines also consider the quantity and quality of your website’s content and incoming links from other authoritative sites.
For example, Law.com is a highly authoritative site as perceived by search engines. The website is frequently updated with high-quality content and there are many links from other websites pointing back to Law.com, showing that those websites consider it a credible source.
Authority is something that is built over time and must be maintained — it can be lost much faster than gained if your site runs afoul of the search engine algorithms. It’s a long-term investment in your facility’s present and future online marketing.
Relevance: Bring in contextually relevant inbound links to add authority.
When highly regarded, high-quality websites link to other sites, they pass on authority to those sites, improving their placement in search results. That being said, not every incoming link (known in the industry as a “backlink”) passes on much authority, even if it comes from an authoritative site. The best incoming links come from contextually relevant sites.
Basically, if your facility is to garner much value from an incoming link, it helps if that site is related to senior living.
The types of links that do have value, then, are links from trusted, authoritative websites that are relevant to senior care and living.
Remember, authority has to be built over time, and you’re liable to be competing against big national sites that have already established their own authority. A verified listing on a credible site with a backlink to your facility’s website is the most direct way to send more authority to your site. This is the way to improve your visibility in your local area and bring in more potential residents directly – without relying on the national referral services. n