Getting good Google page placement is mostly an exercise in craziness.
Getting good Google page placement is mostly an exercise in craziness. People either spend lots of time and money on the effort or just give up and assume getting there is more about luck and cash and, ultimately, not worth it. I don’t begin to have all the answers, but just before year end, I spent time talking with Blair Carey, Managing Director of Retirementhomes.com about the broader topic of how senior living communities can improve their marketing efforts in 2014. Retirementhomes.com is one of Senior Housing Forum’s charter partners and is dedicated to helping senior communities be more effective with their marketing dollars and marketing efforts. Blair’s starting point was to talk about how, in 2014, senior communities can use consumer reviews to better their Google position and their overall marketing program. He offered 7 things to think about.
1. Consumer reviews are the second best form of marketing you can have, just behind word of mouth. The benefit of reviews is that, with the possible exception of Google local (more about that below), you have a great deal of control over reviews.
2. More Reviews are Better – Each review is, in effect, another webpage that is linking back to your web page and, at least on good review sites (retirementhomes.com,caring.com, senioradvisor.com, yelp.com), those pages have quality content and high Google rankings, all of which benefits your website.
3. You should pick two or three review sites to focus on. – Solicit reviews from everyone who visits your senior community and coach them on what to say. The reviews should be very specific including things they experienced, what they liked and what they wished was better. Telling a story with specifics is perhaps the best kind of review someone can write for you. Would you love to see the review below: “We were so nervous going into finding the right placement for Dad, but Kathy, the administrator, put us at ease right away. This building isn’t the fanciest, but the residents we saw and met were clearly happy and well cared for. We were sad to find that the building is currently full, but we put Dad’s name on the waiting list.”
4. Yelp should get serious consideration because they have tremendous strength in the Google Search Algorithms. This power comes from the quality of the data that Yelp provides and the amount of daily traffic they receive.
5. Google Local (formerly Google+) would seem like a good choice and, as long as you have only good reviews, it will usually help your Google search ranking, but if someone trashes you at Google Local there is very little you can do to mitigate that negative post.
6. More reviews are better than a few, part 2. In fact, until you get up around 10 reviews at a given site you will only see minimal benefit. 7. As your review campaign gains steam, print out those reviews to give to prospects when they come for a tour. You might also consider providing review examples to those people you are asking to review your community. Retirementhomes.com wants to help you improve your on-line consumer review profile and Google page placement and has developed a downloadable Free Online Review Kit. Steve Moran
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