By Joanne Kaldy
What if you threw a party and no one came? That is what it’s like when you have a great senior living community with great reviews but no one sees you online. Search engine optimization (SEO), ensuring that you rank high and well in search engine results pages (SERPs), is essential for guaranteeing that your target audience—and future customers—find you easily.
While successful SEO can significantly multiply your website traffic, as well as customer engagement and inquiries, it takes a lot of work. Fortunately, a recent webinar from Senior Living Foresight partner Caring.com makes it easier, more efficient, and more effective.
The ABCs of SEOs
In “Search Engine Optimization for Senior Living,” Avril Langevine, Senior Digital Marketing Analyst at Caring.com, starts with the basics. SEO, she says, is basically “the practice of updating or maintaining a website to make it rank higher in relevant Google searches. It’s a way to make sure your business can be found online by people who are searching for your services.”
SEO isn’t one-size-fits-all. Search results and your business rankings in SERPs depend on the user’s search keywords and location. It also depends on what the search engine determines is the best match for that person’s presumed intent. As Avril noted, “Search engines prioritize the results they deem to have the best content and user-friendly websites matched to the consumer’s query.”
SEO that Brings People to Your Party
Just like an event invitation or announcement needs to be interesting to attract attendees, you need lots of highly relevant content that will interest the types of consumers and searchers you’re targeting for your conversion funnel. Understand that you can miss out on some great prospects if you don’t pay attention to content and keep information current and consistent.
Specifically, you need to ensure that your online profiles on such sites as Caring.com and your own website are consistent in how you present your business name and address. Also, like great, meaty content, search engines prioritize online reviews in results and help you attract and convert prospective customers.
Avril went over the most important SEO ranking factors—the issues that determine how high up on the page your listing is when someone does a keyword search. These include keyword usage, social metrics (such as quality of tweeted links and Facebook shares), usage and traffic, and link authority features (for instance, quality of links to the domain). However, she stressed that site content should be a top priority. This includes the use of keywords in your content and original information without duplication.
There are three parts to an effective SEO strategy, Avril observes. They are:
- Onsite: Optimization of the website itself and the breadth of relevant unique content.
- Offsite: A linking and business listings strategy to build authority.
- Technical: Site health, page speed, and indexation, which determine what can show up in a search.
Keys for SEO success, she suggests, are:
- Onsite success: Remember that content is king, so make sure it is unique and engaging and answers questions customers might have. Tighten up tags, customizing the title tag for each page and incorporating target keywords. Then make sure everything is user (and crawler) friendly.
- Offsite success: Leverage local listings. Here is where “consistency is key,” Avril stresses. All high-authority profiles (e.g., Google My Business, Caring.com, Facebook) should exactly match your brand name, physical address, and phone number on your website. Reviews come into play here too, she says, “as these are a major deciding factor for setting a brand apart and dictating consumer behavior.”
- Technical success: Use the free tool Google Search Console to track performance.
When You May Need a Party Planner
Avril observes, “There are a few main ways to rank on page one of search results and get the most eyeballs on your page.” You can do a pay-per-click campaign, create a robust Google business profile and try to rank high in local listings, or seek preferential treatment around your service office name. If this all sounds like a huge investment of time, energy, and expertise, it is. But there is another option.
“At Caring.com, we’ve invested significantly in this so that you don’t have to do it all by yourself,” Avril notes.
If you don’t have the resources and staffing to manage a robust and well-monitored SEO program, you can partner with Caring.com. “We have invested millions in SEO and website content, and we consistently succeed at ranking and serving consumers online,” she says. “This can be a more affordable . . . and less labor-intensive . . . strategy to help your business get found online by the people needing your services,” she says, adding, “Caring.com is a leader in SEO for senior living and senior care, and we have a ‘small army’ of highly-skilled experts who handle this aspect of digital marketing.”
At the same time, business profiles on a trusted site such as Caring.com help senior living communities get found by “hitching” themselves to an established and successful partner. This is actually an affordable, immediate SEO option, especially if you don’t have the specific staffing and significant funding for your own SEO team.
Finally, increasingly savvy consumers prefer authoritative aggregator websites with reviews for their purchases and service choices. These are impartial sources where they can read through numerous options at once instead of having to find and visit several sites individually. They can narrow their search quickly, with relevant insights they can trust from consumers just like them.
Want to Join the Party?
This webinar received rave reviews from industry leaders. It’s not too late to learn from Avril and other experts at Caring.com:
To get started on SEO efforts that will take off and soar, contact Caring’s team as follows:
Existing Caring partners: [email protected] or (855) 932-3880.
Communities not yet in their network: [email protected] or (855) 897-2433.