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SEO for Homecare Agencies

Search engine optimization is an important tool for all businesses to maximize exposure and reach potential customers. The business of Home Health Care is no exception to this idea, as Homecare agencies will increasingly rely on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to position their home health business in front of prospects, caregivers, and partners. In this blog, we review some of the fundamentals of SEO for home health care professionals who may not have the resources to hire a professional SEO firm.

SEO Tips For Home Health Agencies

Whether you are working in a small to mid-sized agency or a franchise with multiple locations, let’s dive a little into the area of Search engine optimization (SEO) for Homecare agencies.

With the many time-consuming tasks that go into operating a Home Healthcare agency, quite often administrators are hard-pressed to find ways to attract new patients and grow their business. We recently visited an agency owner in the Florida area, and she was speaking about how they had just launched a website for their agency to market themselves better. One of the inevitable topics was SEO, and how to implement some of the basics on a website that you may not have the budget to hire a firm to professionally handle. Quality SEO Tips for Home Health agencies can sometimes be hard to come by, but let’s start with the basics.

The Website – The Foundation of Your SEO Efforts

Getting a decent website is much easier and more cost-effective than it used to be. Once you’ve added a few nice pictures (istock, getty, or professional images may be more beneficial on banners or home pages than cell phone pictures) make sure the basic information about your agency is included. Using “alt tags” on your images helps even more, particularly if you have a logo and /or your business name in these images, as google can index these independently, allowing your photo to show up in image results as well. Location, types of care provided, a brief statement of your business goal (ie “Providing excellent care from compassionate caregivers”) should be the core ingredients of your main page and/or about us page. Having separate landing pages for your home page, care provided, about us, contact us, will go a long way in establishing a logical path to generating business.

Make it Simple for Your Audience

One of the best ways to attract website visitors is by identifying how your potential customers are searching for you. This translates into some very basic keyword research that almost anyone can do. You can get a basic idea of some of the most popular ways a potential client could find you by simply trying different search terms in Google and seeing the numbers and results that come up. For instance, if your agency operates in Florida, maybe in Broward county, imagine yourself a patient, caregiver, or patient’s family member searching for a home health care agency. Naturally, you’ll want to pair those high-traffic keywords like  “Home Health Agencies” “Home Health Care” with regional terms like “Home Health Care in Broward”, or “Florida Homecare Agency.” Use terms like this in your keyword meta tags, your description, and the content of your website.

Cover all the Basics for the Search Engines AND Live Visitors

Sometimes the most basic content, like a description of your services, company history, mission statement, and info on the types of home health care you specialize in (Skilled care, Physical therapy assessments, etc.), can do a world of good in getting you closer to the top of the first page rankings. A little back-linking  (links to your website on external sites and directories, as well as internal links between your website pages) is essential as well. You can always get free business listings on local directories, sometimes chambers of commerce, Yelp, and consumer review sites. While Google doesn’t always index every free link website, you have nothing to lose and a lot to potentially gain by putting keyword-rich (when available) links to your home page where ever you can get them.

Search for the Searches

Web searchers are using more detailed searches to get more targeted search results quicker. Because of these changes, ranking for search has evolved from choosing a couple of top keywords to mix in your content, to adding keyword phrases and accounting for natural language searches. SEO best practices will continue to change and evolve, but the fundamentals of good keyword placement have always been a constant. There are a number of free (and paid) keyword research tools available online, as well as google analytics for those who want to go deeper.

When do I get to Number One?!

The question often asked of course at the end of the day is “When can I expect my SEO efforts to produce new customers or sales?” Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast certain answer to that, as it will depend on several factors. All websites are different, even if they are selling the same services or items or in the same industry. Rankings will move around based on a number of factors on and off-website.  You should plan for at least a six-month engagement of steady work in the areas of content improvement, back-linking, and utilizing tools and free services like the aforementioned Google Analytics. After six months, particularly on regional lesser traffic terms which are based in a particular market (Like for instance “Asheville North Carolina Homecare agencies”), you should start to see results.

Social Media Still Works

The way that people interact with web content online often begins with social media. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin page, be sure and link to and from it on your website. The same concept goes with a YouTube channel. Recent studies show that people consume information online from videos at more than 3 times the rate of written content. With YouTube’s free video editor, iPhones and other mobile devices with video editing apps, and the plethora of inexpensive software available now, even creating a quick video that highlights some pictures of your agency, tips, or industry-relevant commentary along with bullet points about the services you provide can help. Brief 30 seconds videos about your agency, patient care, or fun social facts, can drive traffic to your social media business pages (yes, you should create them!) and your website. Timely videos placed on YouTube, Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter will provide good exposure and drive traffic to your website for the search engines and for your potential clients.

Patience and Consistency

SEO is not a short sprint, but a reliable marathon, as good results will yield growth over time. The results you see at six months should get even better with twelve months. Although you see results, and you may be happy with them, you must maintain activity. You shouldn’t just make a few good online advertising and SEO efforts and expect to stay on top indefinitely. If you have time, blogging and establishing yourself as a subject matter expert is a win for you with the search engines and for the readers. On the Linkedin platform, for example, you can write and post featured articles easily.

Spend Money or Spend Time

There are a large number of paid SEO programs, services, individuals, and more out there in the market. If you are a smaller agency and you lack the budget to invest in SEO, or you’ve only budgeted for one-time SEO optimization work, remember that SEO is still a content-driven game above all else. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, and it is worth doing for your business. Try to consistently invest a little time, and as your business grows, you’ll be happy you did.

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