By Susan Saldibar

Blocking and tackling, heavy lifting. You’ll break your back trying to do this yourself.

I’m talking about today’s paid search advertising. And please don’t walk away from this subject. You can no longer afford to. Because whatever you’re doing, it’s not enough. This is 2022 paid search advertising. It’s a different animal.

If you don’t get it right, Google and Bing won’t even see you, and your dollars will be wasted.

This has always been a challenge. But paid search advertising has evolved to a science that is now outpacing even the most talented in-house digital marketers (and agencies as well).

I spoke recently with Chris Westmeyer (“Wes”), founder of Digital Strike (a Foresight partner). Given their level of expertise in SEO and advertising, I’m always amazed at how much Wes is willing to share with senior living marketers about what he and his team at DigitalStrike are doing every day to help their clients save a ton of money and still get their ads boosted up to the top of the deck. 

We’re going to break this down for you, but it may take an SEO genius to really understand it. Luckily, that’s exactly what DigitalStrike does. (Skip the details and reach out to them for help.)

What Are Search Partners? And How Can They Increase Your Leads?

While there is a lot to like about paid search advertising, it does have one major drawback: It is limited by the number of relevant searches at any given time. 

That means that Google and Bing do not create searches; they merely are the vehicle through which people find what they are looking for. So adult children looking for senior care for their aging parents will use search engines to find exactly that – senior living housing.

To be competitive, however, advertisers are wanting access to more opportunities within the paid search channel. So how have Google and Bing answered the call? 

They have created “search partners” to extend the reach (and monetization) of their search engines. 

The idea is that they will share the income from any ad clicks with these third-party websites or partners. It is set up to be a win-win-win situation for everyone:

  • Google and Bing can sell more search ads and make more money. 
  • Partner websites can benefit from Google’s and Bing’s large ad platforms to generate revenue for themselves from their own website traffic. 
  • Senior living advertisers can have access to a larger audience. 

But this is where it starts to get a little tricky ….

Search Partners: the “Good” Vs. the “Bad”

If you run paid search campaigns within the Google and Bing ad platforms, you have probably seen the section where you can choose to run search ads on these partner networks. They are easy to turn on or off and are incredibly tempting if you are looking to grow your paid search advertising opportunity.

But beware! Not only is it impossible to get an accurate or complete list of all partners, you don’t get to personally select each and every partner when you advertise. And while some partners may be good, there are many more that may not be

The search engines, in other words, basically offer a “take it or leave it” approach, with a few exceptions on Bing. That means that when you choose this option, you have to take the bad to get access to the good … and cross your fingers that the overall benefit is worth any waste. 

This cost-benefit approach begs the question: Who are these “partners,” anyway? 

The “Good”

Here are some identified partners that have a large search focus or opportunity and are generally seen as “good.” Note that many partners are shared between Google and Bing.


  • Startpage – 61 million visitors a month*
  • – 52 million visitors a month*
  • – 39 million visitors a month*
  • Dogpile – 3 million visitors a month*


  • Yahoo – 3.5 billion visitors a month*
  • DuckDuckGo – 980 million visitors a month*
  • AOL – 247 million visitors a month*
  • Ecosia – 137 million visitors a month*

*Similarweb data 1/3/22

These partners and platforms all look like great opportunities to grow paid search advertising opportunities. Not all partners are like the ones listed above, though.

The “Bad”

There are other more questionable and more plentiful partners that present problems. Below are some identified partners that seem less valuable and potentially outright spammy for a few reasons:

  1. They generally have no real traffic of their own.
  2. They appear to rely on bot or fake traffic.
  3. They are playing some sort of arbitrage across ad platforms, which is generally not in the advertiser’s best interest.



Remove the “Bad” – Increase the Good!

So, how can you remove the “bad” partners in order to increase those “good” senior living leads? 

Google and Bing will not allow you to cherry-pick premier website partners. But you can exclude undesirable ones. That means you can potentially remove some of the spam clicks on your ads. This allows your media spend to go further within the partner network, increasing your odds of actually connecting with a potential customer. 

This connection will allow people with real needs — finding reliable senior housing and elder care — to access relevant resources, including your own communities. It will also help you generate leads, in turn creating revenue for your communities that can be put to good use, such as upgrading facilities and increasing the number of available amenities.

The problem for advertisers now is finding a list of the partners they want to exclude. 

That task has been almost impossible …

… Until now. Go to to view this list as a starting point to review and potentially exclude websites from your partner campaigns so that you (and your community’s residents) can reap the benefits. 

By the way, if all of this is clear as mud, all the more reason to reach out to Wes and the team. Some things are hard to figure out, but they’re super important to do. This is one of them!