The Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK care comparison sites has just been published. Learn how the top 10 UK care comparison sites perform across the digital space.
The latest Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK care comparison sites has just been published. It covers the largest 10 national care comparison sites servicing the UK, including carehome.co.uk, Care.com, Autumna, Carers UK, Care Choices, Curam, Lottie, Care Sourcer, PrimeCarers, and TrustedCare.co.uk.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other care comparison sites to win brand exposure locally, drive organic visibility, and generate online enquiries. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
To see a preview and contents page of the Q3 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
Q4 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 10 care comparison providers on, check out our quick-look table below;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's top and poorest-performing care comparison sites, or request a copy of the report for the full review.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each site based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.
Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels
Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing. Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.
Technical Website Compliance
Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. Care comparison sites will need to be particularly mindful of creating a positive site experience at a potentially stressful time for families. They'll need to ensure pathways to key pages such as fee information and potential care locations are clearly marked, and that users can trust them to make safe recommendations and comparisons.
Care comparison sites generally perform very well when it comes to technical compliance, with seven sites returning fewer than fifty in our crawls (with may close to zero). The clear exception here, however, is PrimeCarers, which returned 2,246 4xx errors in our audit. This is a concerningly high amount of error codes, and PrimeCarers must be addressing whether users are turning elsewhere after being directed down dead ends.
Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance
When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. As with minimising the levels of technical errors, care comparison sites will want to ensure users can get the answers they need quickly, from a high-performing site which doesn't add to existing frustrations.
PrimeCarers and carehome.co.uk have each secured the highest mobile page speed score, with 48. This is just two points shy of the benchmark 'okay' score of 50, though we are currently seeing very few brands in any sector reach this. The slowest mobile site has come from Curam, which scored 23. Curam, and other care comparison sites at the lower end of this scale, should investigate what quick wins, or best practices, they can introduce to improve on these scores.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. For brands operating in a niche sector, such as care, building authority may feel challenging. However, care comparison sites can make the most of local publications, as well as repurpose existing content to capitalise on relevant events and industry trends.
A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however it’s generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. DAs for care comparison sites range from Care.com's 83, down to PrimeCarer's 13. PrimeCarer's can look to reclaiming backlinks from existing mentions on other sites, as a first port of call for improving this score.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. Though we're seeing reductions in traffic across many sectors, due to the cost of living crisis, care comparison sites have a strong opportunity to build traffic and interest, as users will want to find the best quality care and compare prices of nearby options.
Only four care comparison sites are seeing any increase in traffic year on year. Lottie, a relatively new brand founded in 2021, has stormed ahead of competitors with a 2,296% increase in digital footfall year on year, taking them from the least-visited site in 2022, to the second most visited in 2023! Care Sourcer has seen the biggest fall in traffic, losing 47% when compared to 2022.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a site can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. For care comparison sites, they'll want to ensure they have a strong presence for 'reviews', 'people also ask', and 'local pack' results, helping build trust with searchers directly from the SERP.
Carehome.co.uk has the strongest presence through Universal Search results, with 66,000 'reviews' making up the majority of their Universal Search results total. Lottie, which showed an extraordinary growth in organic traffic, has secured the most appearances for 'people also ask' results, with a total of 6,600. 'People also ask' results are an excellent way to build authority from the results page, in addition to improving visibility for longtail keywords.
The Longtail Keyword Opportunity
Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for brand new search terms as they enter Google’s index. Longtail keywords for care comparison sites could show high-conversion intent, or they could be questions about life in a residential care home, the options for care at home, or even pre-care home residential solutions such as retirement apartment complexes.
Carehome.co.uk has the strongest performance on longtail keywords, securing both the most rankings for longtail keywords overall, along with the most longtail keyword appearances within the top twenty positions. With 19,100 appearances in the top three results, carehome.co.uk are securing more visibility in these top results alone than eight competitors are in the top twenty.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019. For care comparison sites, Facebook ads are an opportunity to manage exposure within areas their partners are seeing a large amount of capacity or vacancies, enabling them to quickly manage fluctuating residency levels.
Lottie is the only care comparison site to be using Facebook ads as part of its digital strategy. Lottie has opted for the carousel format in two ads, showing aspirational lifestyle images that help build a positive image of the care providers they work with.
Top Social Shares & Content
When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your brand engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. For brands in a service-based sector, such as care comparison sites, content is an opportunity to create long-term touchpoints with prospective residents and their families, by creating pieces that help support them through managing at home, before guiding them to care home residency when the time comes.
Meta is the preferred method for seven care comparison sites, though only six sites are showing significant levels of activity. Care.com has the largest audience on Facebook (with 855,000 likes), while Carers UK has the largest Instagram audience (7,500 followers).
Website Readability & Accessibility
20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, care comparison sites can lose the interest or prospective residents and clients, who may turn elsewhere out of frustration. Unsurprisingly, this is particularly essential in the care sector which caters to both older customers, and those looking for quick, well-presented answers during what can be a challenging time.
The biggest cause for concern, when it comes to accessibility, lies with PrimeCarers, which showed 104 alerts in our audits. Autumna also has room to improve, having flagged 82 contrast errors. Many of these errors come down to white text placed on images, making important headings challenging to read.
GET THE FULL 79-PAGE Q4 2023 REPORT
To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.