Over the last two decades, the senior living industry has grown exponentially. And, with increasing numbers of seniors using the internet today than ever before, assisted living facilities need to be able to increase their online visibility and show up at the top of related search results. That’s why it’s important to understand everything that goes into SEO for assisted living marketing.
SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization,” a proven technique that will help improve your website’s rankings. It can help you grow your online footprint, drive qualified leads to your facility, and help more patients – all at a fraction of the cost of other traditional marketing techniques. Even though it takes time to see results from SEO, it is a necessary practice if you want to keep up with the competition, help more families, and keep your community thriving.
Why Is SEO Important for Assisted Living Facilities?
Rather than turning to phone books or newspaper ads, the internet is the primary source of information for everything – from general information to health questions, and consumers who are searching for a business or service. As a result, the majority of families and senior citizens will begin their search for an assisted living facility online. If you want your facility to be considered as a possible home for that individual, you need your website to show up on the first page of the search results. The best way to guarantee a top position for search queries like “assisted living facilities near me” is through a detailed SEO strategy.
Whether a person is searching for general information or a specific business, the vast majority of search engine users focus on the top listings on the first page of search results. In fact, the top 3 Google search results get 75.1% of all clicks. On the other hand, less than 6% of traffic comes from search results that are on the second page. So, getting that first-page ranking is important. If you don’t, you’re losing business. The higher your rankings, the more clicks you will earn from search users, and the more traffic your website will obtain.
That being said, not all traffic is created equal. If your website is only ranking for blog posts about supporting a family member who is already in an assisted living home, it is unlikely to result in conversions. However, the beauty of SEO is that you can develop a strategy that targets conversion-driven keywords. As a result, the people who will find your website will do so because they have expressed interest in locating a senior living facility, not just to read a blog post.
Now that you know why SEO for assisted living facilities is so important, let’s take a look at what goes into a strong healthcare SEO strategy.
SEO Strategy for Assisted and Senior Living Facilities
The main goal of SEO for assisted living facilities is to make your website and your services more visible to prospective residents and their families. In order to do so, you have to earn the trust of search engines, like Google, by optimizing your website in accordance with SEO best practices. Five areas of SEO that will help you accomplish this goal are:
- Keyword research and content marketing
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Local SEO
Keyword Research and Content Marketing
Families who are searching for assisted living homes may do so using a variety of different short and long-tail keywords, such as “senior living home,” “retirement community near me,” “residential care homes,” or “assisted living facility.” They may also search for specific services that you offer, such as skilled nursing, memory care, or resources for family members. In order to show up for the search terms that your prospective customers are searching for, you will need to conduct keyword research and use those words and phrases throughout your website.
Content is one of the most important ranking factors of Google’s algorithm. Authoritative, unique, and insightful content is crucial if you want to drive more traffic to your website. Assisted living content should can in the form of blog posts, videos, infographics, and service pages. That being said, there are several specific elements that Google considers when determining the quality of a website’s content, including:
- How unique the content is
- Length of content
- When the content was last updated
- How clear, comprehensive, and valuable the content is
- Links to reputable and authoritative sources
- High authority backlinks pointing to the content
Creating content that not only uses the right keywords but also provides users with detailed information on what makes your senior living unique, is important for your SEO strategy. Families who are looking for an assisted living are probably a little stressed or overwhelmed because this can be a difficult time in their lives. However, by taking the time to develop content that is tailored to the specific needs of your target audience, you will see more phone calls and higher conversion rates.
On-page SEO is exactly what it sounds like – optimizing the various elements on your website that Google deems important ranking factors. While this begins with doing keyword research and writing content, on-page SEO goes much further. For example, some elements that you’ll need to optimize include:
- Keyword density – using your target keywords is vital, but overusing them can harm your site more than help it. For example, if your landing page for your independent living services mentions the phrase “independent living in Boca Raton,” in every single sentence, search engines will pick up on this and you probably won’t rank for that term because of keyword stuffing. It’s important to use the right number of broad and long-tail keywords throughout your content if you want to optimize it correctly.
- H1-H6 tags – heading tags play an important role in the structure of your website’s content. H1 tags should be used for the title of your content, while H2 and H3 tags indicate subheadings. This not only helps visitors who are reading your content to understand the hierarchy of the page, but it also lets search engines know what the content on that page is about. Including your target keywords in your headings can help improve your rankings.
- Title tags – Title tags are one of the most important on-page SEO ranking factors as they specify the title of a webpage. Title tags are displayed to users on SERPs and serve as the clickable headline for any given result. This element is important for encouraging users to click on your website, letting search engines know what your page is about, and for social media sharing purposes.
- Meta description – Meta descriptions are HTML attributes to provide a short summary of a webpage. In approximately 155 characters, the meta description should contain your keywords and is displayed on SERPs just below the title tag element, as shown below.
Although these aspects are important, this only scratches the surface of the on-page SEO techniques you should be using for your assisted living marketing strategy. There are hundreds of ranking factors that search engines look at, including some that aren’t found directly on your website.
Off-page SEO is the practice of improving your rankings by taking actions outside of your own website. Generally, off-page SEO refers to link building. The more authoritative incoming links your website has, the more trust and authority your website will build, ultimately resulting in higher rankings and more traffic.
There are a few different ways your assisted living facility can build backlinks. The first is to reach out to local organizations, websites, and niche directories and try to get your facility listed as a resource. Some places to start include caring.com or senioradvisor.com. The next is to contribute guest posts to relevant websites. For example, you might reach out to a healthy aging website and submit a guest post about self-care in assisted living homes. You will include a backlink in the article that points back to a page on your website, which will have a positive effect on your website’s ranking and domain authority.
Other ways to build backlinks and enhance your off-page SEO is through brand mentions, broken link building, and public relations. Regardless of how you obtain your backlinks, there has to be a strategy behind it. After all, not all backlinks are equal in the eyes of Google. Low-quality links, such as ones posted on black hat directories, PBNs, or paid links, may get ignored or even penalized by search engines. If you have an excess of low quality or spammy links pointing to your website, it can seriously affect your rankings. That’s why you should focus on building links on high quality, authoritative websites.
Technical SEO ensures that search engine robots are able to crawl your website and index your pages. Unlike on and off-page SEO, technical SEO has nothing to do with the content of your website or marketing materials. Instead, it focuses on the structure of your website and it’s performance. Some important aspects of technical SEO include:
- Page speed – if your website doesn’t load within three seconds, the majority of users will leave your page. You’ll miss out on traffic as well as preference with Google and other search engines, ultimately hurting your rankings.
- Crawlability – search engine robots click on links to discover content across the website. To make your website easy to crawl, it should have a good internal linking structure. You can also give robots specific directions on your site by letting a developer handle your robots.txt file – a tool that tells browsers how the structure and function of your website works.
- Security – a properly optimized assisted living website is one that is secure, allowing users to maintain their rights to privacy. The most important thing to do when making your website secure is to implement HTTPS, an important Google ranking signal.
- XML Sitemap – an XML sitemap is a list of every page on your website that provides search engines with a road map so they don’t miss out on indexing any of your pages.
- Canonical links – sometimes, technical issues can cause the same content to show up on different URLs. This can confuse search engines due to duplicate content, but using canonical links, you can indicate which page is the original page that you would like search engines to rank you for.
- 404 redirects – clicking on a broken link is not only frustrating, but they aren’t good for SEO either. Stay on top of your website by using digital marketing tools to identify any broken links and redirect them, if necessary.
The aspects of your technical SEO strategy can be analyzed and managed using digital marking tools, such as SEMrush, Moz, Screaming Frog, Google Search Console, and more. By improving the technical aspects of your assisted living website, search engines are more likely to reward you with higher rankings.
If you’re not investing your assisted living SEO efforts into local search marketing, you’re missing out on huge online real estate. According to Backlinko, approximately 46% of all Google searches are for a local business or service. Plus, for many broad keywords, such as “senior living home,” Google automatically generates local search results for users, as shown below.
As you can see, whether a prospective client searches for a “senior living home” or “assisted living facility near me,” Google automatically populates local listings that show before the organic search results. Local SEO for assisted living facilities involves making sure both your Google My Business (GMB) listing and your website show up on the first page of these search results.
Since the vast majority of internet users search on Google, it is vital for your assisted living facility to optimize your GMB profile. GMB is a free service that places all relevant information about your business in one convenient location for prospective customers. By filling out all of the business and service information, posting regularly, and responding to client reviews, GMB can be a powerful tool to help target local seniors and their families.
In addition to filling out your GMB profile completely and optimizing your website content for local keywords, you will need to focus on citations for a successful local SEO strategy. A citation refers to any online mention of your business that consists of your facility’s name, address, and phone number (NAP).
Local citations may occur on a variety of online platforms, such as directories, social media, other websites, and review platforms. The number of times a citation appears on the internet, the consistency and accuracy of these citations, and the quality of the places these citations are found all influence local search rankings.
Assisted Living SEO With Stodzy Internet Marketing
Seniors and their families need to be able to find trustworthy and reliable services easily on the internet. If you aren’t investing in a long-term online marketing strategy, these prospective residents aren’t going to find your facility. At Stodzy Internet Marketing, our team of SEO experts will make sure your website contains the content, keywords, and attributes that search engine algorithms are looking for so you can reach your target audience.
When prospective residents are able to find your site, have a flawless user experience, and get engaged with valuable content, they are more likely to trust you as a healthcare provider and contact you when they are ready. As time goes on, you will see your rankings and traffic increase, ultimately driving more phone calls and residents to your community.