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Online Marketing for Home Care: 2014 Google “Rules” Update List

local seo guy home care marketingFrom the Desk of Valerie VanBooven RN BSN- those who read and engage will prosper.

It’s certainly time for an update from LTCEP on the state of the state of “Google Rules”. In our opinion, 50% of your effort/money/time should be spent on in-person networking and gaining new referral sources the old-fashioned way…..and the other 50% of your effort/time/money should be spent on mastering your local online marketing.  So here is our list- in no specific order…. part opinion, mostly experience and data; and some Google announcements that make a huge difference in your online marketing efforts.

1. (Not Changed) Never hire a local website/seo company who does not “know” the home care market. Common sense.

  • If they don’t understand the complexity of the financial and emotional decisions that go into making a decision about home care services, they shouldn’t be designing your call to action, your marketing messages, or your website.
  • You get what you pay for. (nada in most cases)
  • PS: If your local guy isn’t providing articles for blog posts that are professionally written AND 100% unique- then they are selling you an empty strategy.

2. (Not Changed) “You are not your customer.” Think about that statement for just a moment. Truth be told, your customer wants to read less of your banter online, and wants you to get to the point.

  • GET TO THE POINT. What’s the point?
  • The point is: I have a senior care problem, CAN YOUR COMPANY SOLVE MY PROBLEM? Yes or No?
  • Don’t Make Me Think: Your customer doesn’t really care how many awards you have won, or how many “quality certifications” you have, because they have no idea what that means (yet). Get to the point. Be clear. Be brief. Example: http://starmulticare.com/
  • Your customer is your target market. (so remember what that looks like)
  • Paint a picture in your mind of the 40-60 year old female who is overwhelmed, maybe a bit sad to see her parents declining with age, and completely baffled about how families afford home care services or any senior service for that matter……she doesn’t know the “lingo”. (NOW- refer back to #1 on this list)

3. (Not Changed, now even more important) NOT engaging in your online marketing effort is a dead behavior.home care customer- you are not your customer

  • The reality is that each home care agency must designate one person in their organization to be fully responsible for working WITH their online marketing company, or actually doing the work themselves.
  • You will never beat your competition if you don’t engage in online marketing.
  • That does not mean you must know how to write blog posts or Facebook posts, it means you must WORK WITH your online marketing team for the best results.

4. (Changed) Google Authorship has changed, but it’s not dead.

  • For the last 3 years, Google has placed some importance on Google Authorship. All of our clients are Google Verified Authors. For 2 years our clients’ faces showed up next to their blog posts in search engine results. Google has made a change- no faces. “BY LINES” are still extremely important (as is other data behind the scenes), but no more faces next to posts.  :(. We roll with the punches and move on. Always doing the right thing for the client. You can read more about Google’s rationale here: http://searchengineland.com/google-authorship-dead-author-rank-202254

5. (Not Changed) Google Adwords isn’t that great for home care for a variety of reasons, but some clients get semi-good results.

  • It’s ok to run a low-level Google Adwords campaign, but we feel that it results in more job seekers than anything else (and we are good at Google Adwords, not super insanely excellent, but good- especially in the home care market)….so be careful.
  • No matter what any of the sales people promise you, I CAN promise you it’s probably a waste of your time.
  • Natural search engine results are where it’s at. Not easy, but worth it.
  • Combining online marketing with offline marketing is where it’s at. If you aren’t doing these things, Adwords won’t save you.

you are not your home care market6. (Changed) Google Page Rank is sort of in a coma. Not dead, but not a super valuable measurement of your website’s worth either.

  • There are other measurements that make more sense.
  • Majestic SEO offers Trust Flow and Citation Flow are better indicators.
  • A Trust Flow of 15 or better is ok, and a Citation Flow of 15 or better is ok.
  • It takes a long time to achieve these results, but for those of you who know what that means…..page rank hasn’t been updated since December 2013….and might not be updated again for a long time (if ever).

Google’s gotten a lot more advanced in the last couple of years. The Penguin spam fighting updates and the arrival of Hummingbird and semantic search, as well as Schema change things. Sites with a higher Page Rank don’t necessarily rise above lower Page Rank sites any more – it’s a very different world nowadays. -SEOAndy.com

7. (Not Changed) Never buy backlinks.

8. (Not Changed) Content is king. Great engaging content is better than the king.

  • This will never change in social media.
  • Content content content.
  • Be smart, participate, make sure everything you do for your business offline makes it to your blog online.
  • (NOW- refer back to #1 on this list)

9. (Not Changed, but you may not understand it) Social media by itself is not effective online marketing in the home care market. Not at all, not for a minute, not even close.

  • You will never never never acquire a new home care client  in 180 characters or less. #markmywords
  • If you hire a company to tweet “cute” senior care tweets for you, or post “cute” photos for you and quotes and sayings to Facebook- that’s all well and good, but you will never get a new client because of a cute quote, picture, or saying. (NOW- refer back to #1 on this list)
  • Plus, NONE of that material came from the feed from your blog on your website, so therefore, it does you absolutely no good from the SEO standpoint.
  • LinkedIn.com and Facebook.com are the 2 most important accounts for home care- and they both require your involvement. If you are paying someone to post goofy crap to your Facebook page and expect a result, you are wasting your money and time. Never happening. It’s all or nothing in this market. (Refer to #1 on this list).
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Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

Co-Owner, Author at LTC Expert Publications
Valerie VanBooven, Managing Partner/ Co-Owner of LTC Expert Publications
Valerie’s motto and favorite saying is: “Impact is not created by big budgets, impact is created by innovative marketing ideas!”
Valerie is a Registered Nurse and the author of three books, Aging Answers (2003), The Senior Solution (2007) and Priceless Caregiving (2009). Her adventure in internet marketing began as a self-promotion experiment and ended up becoming a full time marketing consulting business for the elder care market.

Valerie has appeared on national television (Today Show), has hosted her own local radio show, and has been interviewed for dozens of publications and radio shows across the country regarding her business and the business of elder care.
She fast became the foremost authority in driving sales via the internet, seminars, and e-mail for senior service providers and elder care entrepreneurs.While Valerie’s best known for her expertise in marketing, her students share that her biggest impact comes from her ability to make things happen quickly, even on a small budget.
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