The Q2 2022 benchmarking report for care home providers has just been published. Learn how the top 9 UK care home brands perform across the digital space.
15th June 2022
The latest Q2 2022 benchmarking report for care home providers has just been published. It covers the largest 9 national providers with 40+ care homes, including Care UK, Barchester, Four Seasons, HC One, Sanctuary, Caring Homes, Maria Mallaband, Avery & Runwood Homes - it highlights year-on-year digital performance, plus winner and loser comparisons in 20+ online performance metrics.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning share online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other care home providers to win brand exposure locally, enquiries and occupancy rates. 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 Q2 report, click here. To get a copy of the report and the key take-aways, please contact us.
Care home groups that didn't make the most recent report include, Signature, Country Court Care, Richmond Villages, Greensleeves, Abbeyfield, Ideal Care, Larchwood Care, Bluebird, Dovehaven, Brendon Care, Akari, Kingsley, Gold Care and Cinnamon Care.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each brand 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
Many 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 under-perform. 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.
Many of the care home providers have varying degrees of technical errors that will be hindering organic traffic and conversion performance. Examples include Four Seasons Care Homes’ 2,098 missing meta descriptions, and Barchester’s 2,204 duplicate page titles.
One stand-out result is Caring Homes’ total of 921 error codes, suggesting a poor user experience when navigating their site.
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.
In our research, we discovered that Maria Mallaband care homes have a mobile core web vitals score of 4 seconds when loading the largest contentful paint. This matters more for your page speed index score than any other metric as it measures the time it takes for the largest above-the-fold content element to load. MMCG must look to improve this to avoid losing customers due to poor [age experience!
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, ie. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads.
Domain authority is considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. ‘Good’ DA score depends on the competition level of the industry. In our research, UK care home sector domain authorities range from 34 to 59, with Runwood Homes sitting at the bottom of the scale.
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.
Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We discovered that seven of the care homes in our report have lost organic mobile traffic year on year putting these brands in danger of losing organic customers to their competition.
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 brand can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings.
For Care UK, their 980 appearances in featured snippets (which could be lists, paragraphs answering a question, or even videos) make them quickly visible and appear above all other results. For care home brands without an Image and Universal Search Strategy, they could be missing out on 50% of all searches to Care UK.
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.
Barchester are appearing in the top 4 for 893 long-tail keywords, indicating an SEO strategy poised for conversions. Without visibility on these high-converting keywords, other care homes risk losing highly-valuable traffic.
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.
Below, we can see how Four Seasons Care have been running paid social ads to promote their short-term care options. This stands out from other brands promoting their general, long-term options, as Four Seasons can appeal to those wanting to ‘try before they buy;
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.
We recognised that HC One created a large amount of content in a short amount of time, 120 articles of content during March ’22 while publishing very few pieces during other months. Though this saw a short-term engagement boost, engagement rates fell shortly after, indicating that this was not evergreen content.
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, brands lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere.
Unsurprisingly, this is particularly essential in the care sector which caters to both older customers, and those looking for quick, well-presented answers at what can be a challenging time.
User Journeys & Conversion Rate Performance
3.42 seconds are all it takes for a user to judge a site solely on its appearance. For sites with a low clarity score, this means users are getting a poor impression of your brand and aren’t seeing your vital cues to convert.
HC One achieved a clarity score of 69%. With the highest score we recorded coming in at 87%, HC One must make improvements to their readability, usability, and competitor benchmarking to improve their user experience and better craft their journeys.
Additionally, we use attention maps to judge user behaviour and assess how customers are interacting with a site. You can see from these examples just how wildly different site designs can impact user attention;
Get A Management Summary of Q2 2022 Report
Book a conversation with me to request a copy and management summary of the research and find out what this means for your accelerating your business’s digital strategy.