Senior Living Search Engine Optimization 101

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We spend a lot of time diving into more advanced digital marketing topics on our blog. But sometimes, it helps to return to a beginner mindset. After all, if you’re new to digital marketing in the senior living space, you’re likely encountering all sorts of acronyms, like MQLs (marketing-qualified leads), TOFU (top of the funnel), and SEO (search engine optimization), all of which can be super overwhelming to newbies.

Today, we’re giving a crash course in senior living search engine optimization (SEO). Why are we focusing on this acronym rather than some of the others? Simple. Your website is the most important element in your senior living marketing efforts. If you don’t optimize your community‘s website for search, you might as well pack up and go home.

Below, we answer common beginner questions:

  • What exactly is SEO?
  • Why is senior living search optimization important?
  • What are the key components of effective SEO?
  • What is local SEO?
  • How do you measure SEO success?
  • What are some common SEO mistakes?
  • How can you stay updated with SEO trends?
  • What’s a smart next step for me to take?

What is search engine optimization (SEO)?

Simply put, search engine optimization—or SEO—involves enhancing your website’s visibility in online searches. The better visibility your website pages have in search results, the more likely you are to attract prospects to your website.

Why is senior living search engine optimization so important?

Today, most senior living prospects will begin their search online. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily searching for a community at the outset. Some people will be in education mode: What is senior living? How can I finance senior living? Others will be checking out review sites or “listening” to conversations friends and family are having on social media.

Eventually, though, serious prospects will venture onto senior living community websites. Some will land on these sites because of paid ads or third-party aggregators (like A Place for Mom), but plenty of others will enter them via organic search, provided the site has been optimized properly.

Note: As a rule of thumb, most of your website traffic should come from organic search (shoot for 70 to 75%).

What are the key components of effective SEO?

Effective SEO involves many moving parts, but the big ones to keep in mind are the following:

  • Producing high-quality content that’s easy for humans to read and for search engines to navigate (thanks to things like H1, H2, and H3 tags, good formatting with bolding and bulleted lists, and strong page titles)
  • Gaining “authority” through quality backlinks that occur organically or that you build as part of a larger link-building strategy
  • Focusing on the right mix of keyword phrases, including ones with decent search volume and relatively low competition
  • Making sure technical elements are up to snuff, like mobile responsiveness and site speed

And let’s not forget:

  • Optimizing images and videos: Use alt text and appropriate file names to ensure your media is engaging and SEO-friendly.
  • Local SEO: This is critical for senior living communities since people often perform “near me” searches. Effective local SEO includes an optimized Google Business Profile, listings in local directories, and plenty of recent reviews.

The above list only scratches the surface. A lot goes into effective SEO and local SEO. And here’s a secret: you’re never “done” optimizing a website. It’s an ongoing process. You must monitor your site’s performance, stay updated on the latest trends, and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Further reading

How do I measure the success of my SEO efforts?

To gauge how well your SEO efforts are paying off, track key metrics like organic traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rates (anonymous traffic to marketing-qualified lead [MQL] and MQL to sales-qualified lead). Tools like Google Analytics can provide valuable insights.

What are some common SEO mistakes to avoid in the senior living industry?

Don’t try to game the search engines. This won’t end well for you. Always write for humans first, search engines second. Write naturally and avoid keyword stuffing. Don’t underestimate the importance of mobile optimization or user experience. As mentioned above, SEO is an ongoing process—you’re never done.

How do I stay updated with the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes?

Follow reputable SEO websites (like Moz and Search Engine Journal), attend webinars, and participate in SEO forums.

Below are some additional resources to check out:

What’s a smart next step to take?

While digging into the ins and outs of SEO is an excellent first step, you might be wondering what your next step should be. We recommend getting an SEO audit like the one we offer. Our team lives and breathes SEO, so we’ll be able to tell you what’s working, what isn’t, and how to address issues.