UK Care Home Providers - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q2 2024

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The Q2 2024 benchmarking report for UK care home providers has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK care home providers perform across the digital space.

The latest Q2 2024 benchmarking report for UK care home providers has just been published. It covers the largest 11 national care home providers, including Barchester, Sanctuary Care, Caring Homes, HC-One, Avery, Four Seasons, Hamberley, Care UK, Signature, Maria Mallaband, and Runwood Homes.

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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 home providers 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 Q2 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.

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For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 11 care home providers on, check out our quick-look table below;

Care Home Providers W&L May24

Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's top and poorest-performing care home providers, or request a copy of the report for the full review.

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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. For care home providers, they'll 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 locations are clearly marked, and that users can trust them from the offset to provide an excellent level of service and care.

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 home providers will want to make sure users have a positive experience at every touchpoint, including by serving a fast, high-performing site which doesn't cause frustration.

For Q2 2024, the mobile site speed ranged between 55 and 23, with only HC-One reporting above the minimum 50% score. It’s important that brands aim for a high site speed score as a slow one can cause users to become frustrated, and then leave their website and even resort to a competitor.

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 home providers 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. The DA for this quarter ranged between 59 and 32, with Hamberley reporting the lowest DA score. This care home provider saw the fewest backlinks and from the least number of domains, and it should look to develop relationships with high-authoritative sites to help increase its DA rating.  

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 homes will always remain an essential service. Care home providers should therefore be mindful of losing any traffic to their competitors, rather than losing traffic from a shrinking pool of interest.

Four Seasons encountered the largest increase in organic traffic for both desktop and mobile, while Signature reported the biggest decrease in traffic on both devices. Given that desktop traffic was higher than mobile traffic, all brands should ensure that their sites are mobile-friendly and easy for consumers to navigate.

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 home providers, they'll want to capitalise on the opportunity to share 'Reviews' and 'Image Pack' results to give prospective residents and their families immediate insight into life at their locations.

Barchester is now at the top of the scoreboard with the most Universal Search appearances (5,514). The majority of these were from ‘images’. On the other hand, Caring Homes sat the bottom of the scoreboard with the fewest Universal Search appearances. This care home provider should optimise its images with alt txt and use responsive images to help increase is appearances in SERPs.

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 home providers could show high-conversion intent, or they could be questions about life in a residential care home, or the application and fee process.

Care UK is ranking the highest for the most longtail keyword appearances in positions 3 with Barchester (1,075) in a very close second place (1,009). The remaining care home providers should assess that they’re using longtail keyphrases that their customers commonly use to help increase their organic traffic.

Facebook Adverts

With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) hitting over 44 million users in 2023, 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 home providers, Facebook ads are an opportunity to effectively (and quickly) manage exposure and visibility in key locations where they have room availability.

We’ve included three examples of Barchester’s sponsored Facebook posts. This provider included the same text across all posts with unique imagery, suggesting that it’s testing which written content performs the best.

Care Home Providers - Facebook

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 home providers, 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.

Signature saw the highest total engagement, which is interesting considering they have the second to smallest Facebook page. This proves that more social media followers doesn’t necessarily equate to a higher engagement rate. It’s more important for brands to have more engagement than more 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 home providers can lose the interest or prospective residents, 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.

All brands should aim for zero contrast errors and accessibility alerts to ensure their websites is accessible for those with colour deficiencies. Signature has seen a reduction in accessibility alerts from the previous quarter (188 to 97).


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.

Photo by Georg Arthur Pflueger on Unsplash

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