We're Proud to be the Cary Chamber of Commerce Small Business 2017 Award Winner! Cary Chamber of Commerce

Searching on Google: A Practical Home Care Guide

home care guide

Searching on Google: A Practical Home Care Guide

Online Search: A Home Care Guide

When looking for a new service provider, whether it’s a dentist, auto body shop, or in our case, a home care agency, it’s typical to seek referrals from friends, family, and colleagues.  You seek out the expertise of those you trust.

But, what if you’re unable to get a trusted referral?  You probably search online for answers.

Google is the primary search engine the world uses when people are looking for the information they need.  Google accounts for nearly 60% share of the market in terms of search with 30+ billion queries per month.  


This is known as a SERP, or ‘Search Engine Result Page.’ With a general term like ‘home care’, the results will vary based on your location. Just below the number of search results (in this case…114,000,000 of them), we have our Google ‘sponsored search’ results. 

The SERP has three key sections:

  1. The first section is Sponsored Search.  Companies are listed here with an Ad icon and are ranked in order how much money they are currently bidding on a particular keyword
  2. The second section is comprised of relevant, prominent, and nearby local listings with a complete Google My Business profile.
  3. The last section is the Organic Search section. The highest ranking content is determined by a number of factors considered in Google’s Search algorithms. The most relevant and useful content will appear first.

Sponsored Search Results


The pages listed in the sponsored search results (designated with ‘Ad’ to the left of the URL) are the result of the company, or an ad agency/individual they hired, spending money on a Google AdWords campaign for the keyword ‘home care.’ The pages are listed in descending order of highest amount bid for the keyword first. The amount of money spent depends on the total budget of the ad campaign and the dollar value of each user clicking on the ad (Known as CPC, or ‘Cost Per Click’).

Depending on the volume of searches and the number of ads placed for a particular term, the CPC will vary. Additionally, these ad campaigns can specifically target the audience that are more likely to click on the URL.  In this instance, the keyword ‘home care’ is estimated to be valued at $7.55 per user click via Google’s Keyword Planner:


What does this mean?

The companies listed in the sponsored search results have paid to get priority treatment on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page, the first image of this article).  The benefit for the company running an ad campaign is that they can target users who match their customer personas that are more likely to take action on their web page.  Examples of taking action include purchasing an item from an online store, signing up for a newsletter, signing a petition, or signing up for home care services. 

The quality of the URLs is not factored into the paid search rankings.  Companies consistently at the top of paid search rankings tend to be national brands with larger media budgets. It’s best to use discretion when clicking on paid search results since it may not necessarily contain the information you’re looking for. 

Local Listings


The next section is a list of businesses related to the keyword that have fulfilled the following requirements:

  • Relevance: They have completed their Google My Business profile with relevant keywords and categories related to your search.
  • Prominence: The business has been reviewed on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other sites bolstering their reputation; for home care agencies, this could include SeniorAdvisor.com and Caring.com (as well as others) for home care providers.
  • Distance: Based on your device’s location, the companies listed are the closest businesses related to your keyword that have completed their Google My Business profile.
With a completed Google Profile, businesses are afforded the opportunity for users to click on their business in local listings, located in the middle of the page and center of attention. Users who click on a local listing are shown photos of the physical office and staff, operating hours, links to the company's web site, as well directions to the office.  

Side note: Google doesn’t differentiate between home care and home health services. Even though they differ in what they provide for seniors, these two categories are both labeled as a Home Health Care Service.

If the company has posted on Google Plus or created any events with their profile, they’ll appear at the bottom of the profile as well.  

Local listings give the user a great in-depth look at the businesses they’re considering. What does their location look like?  Are they participating in any local events?  What are customers saying about them?  Do they take the time to answer Google reviews about their company?

Since local listings prioritize companies with relevance and prominence in your proximity, they are likely populated with good options for what you’re looking for.

Organic Search


Organic search results are listed in descending order according to a number of factors. The more trustworthy and relevant a link is to your sought keyword, the higher they will appear in the results. The ranking criteria include:

  • The age of the web site
  • The site’s domain authority (Translation: Do high-quality and reputable sites link to and from this URL?)
  • Quality of content (Is the text properly formatted? Does it include the keyword you were looking for without overusing it? Is the quality of grammar high? Does it contain relevant and useful information?)


Essentially, the highest quality and most relevant information will appear at the top of the rankings. Home care agencies that appear at the top of the rankings are likely to have been around a while and are connected to other sites that also provide great information for users. Google’s algorithms for judging the quality of content is almost always accurate (unlike in the past when users would simply repeat their keyword in the text as much as possible and rank highly).

Summary

The first SERP will generally give you the information you're looking for.

When using the Internet to search for home care, the top organic rankings and local listings will provide you the best results.  While sponsored results may contain what you’re looking for, they are ranked based on the budget of the company running the ad and not on the quality of content in the link.  They pay for the attention instead of earning it.

The top three local listings and organic results for the keyword you searched for are worth a deeper dive.  If you would like some help with items/things you can use to compare and rank home care based on your priorities, visit our Blog “15 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Care Agency for Your Loved One”

Be Aware Monthly Newsletter

* indicates required