By Susan Saldibar

Before you post that cheesy, self-serving blog, consider this: Every scrap of content you put online can move you up (or down) the competitive totem pole. It can even get you within striking distance of the number one position on page one. But only if you’ve deployed the right set of SEO tactics.

SEO is more critical today than ever in the way it impacts your entire digital presence. So it can pack a punch if you do it right. And it can really suck if you don’t.

That’s why we need to listen to people like Debra Gawet, Social and Digital Content Strategist Supervisor for SageAge Strategies (a Senior Living Foresight partner). “People don’t realize how critical SEO is,” she tells me. “For instance, if someone is googling communities in your area and your profile is optimized, you’ll appear high on page one. If not, you won’t show up at all.”

That’s scary. And it’s why Debra urges senior living marketers to look beyond SEO to your entire content marketing strategy (and you’d better have one). Because, in today’s world, you need great content that helps grow your brand awareness and recognition and build relationships with your prospects and customers.  “First and foremost, remember to create content that attracts, engages, and delights prospects,” Debra says. “If you’re not doing this, you’re missing the point. Always start with value and what you’re doing to provide helpful and relevant content that will help prospects in the buyer’s journey.”

And, I might add, if ever there was a time to really crush it with your SEO, this is it.

SEO Is Bigger Than Keywords and Links

I asked Debra, given her vantage point as a digital content expert, to share some key areas that senior living marketers need to optimize and why:

  • Listings: Don’t ignore any of them. Make sure you have optimized Yelp, GMB, Senior Advisor,, A Place For Mom, and any other listings you have. Pay attention to your profiles. They, too, need to be optimized for SEO. And keep them updated.
  • Blog posts and other content: Relevancy and quality count. And make sure they contain, appropriate keyword phrases, page header (H1) tags, and so on.
  • Social media posts: Make use of all relevant channels. People look up information on social media channels too. When your content is shared on social media by others, it can help drive more traffic to your website, thereby boosting your own ranking.
  • Digital ads: This includes all paid advertising efforts (from social to PPC).
  • Website: This is where you really need to hire a professional team to optimize your website, making sure it’s easy to use, updated regularly, and mobile-friendly.

Given today’s competitive marketplace, there needs to be a content marketing strategy behind everything you put out there, Debra tells me. “Social media isn’t about posts. It’s about strategically positioning every piece you write,” she says.

Resist the Impulse

So, how do marketers resist the impulse to throw random content out there? Debra suggests that you start by not looking at blogs and posts as finite pieces of content. They should always be connected to your goals. Then, put them to work. “Look at things like the length of your blogs, links to and from your blogs, and keyword phrases to start with,” she explains. But, to be really competitive, you’ll need to go further and delve deeper into optimizing your content, Debra says. Articles, for instance, should be repurposed to give them a longer shelf life.

A Higher Purpose

Finally, Debra underscores the need for senior living marketers to look at their content, not as a vessel for keywords, but as pertinent, informative content that is useful to your audience. “There should be a higher purpose behind your content,” Debra says. “Otherwise, you may be wasting your time producing content that no one ever sees.”

For more information about SageAge Strategies, please visit their website.