Search engine optimization is a term you probably hear quite frequently throughout the senior living industry. SEO is considered a long-term approach for marketing, geared towards driving search engine users towards your website. SEO requires unique content, quality back-links, and appropriate structure of your website. One thing we hear from clients is that they want to be on page one of Google, and fast. If using white hat SEO tactics (the kind that won’t be penalized), page one after day one is likely not a promise any marketer should be making. Over time, and when done properly, SEO will bring quality Internet users to your website, more leads into your sales funnel, and new residents and clients in the door.
Here are a few tips on SEO best practices in the senior living industry.
- First, make sure SEO is the right tactic for your organization. For SEO to be successful, your website must be up-to-date, optimized, responsive and mobile friendly. Additionally, your local listings must be at least 75% complete, meaning that online listings relating to your organization contain the necessary data (name, address, phone number) for search engines to properly identify and relay information to your prospects. Click here for an SEO audit of your organization’s website. If you have more than one location for your organization, be sure they are all housed under one parent website to avoid confusion.
- Website pages should be well written with unique, valuable, quality content. From an SEO standpoint, content is huge. Each service you provide should have it’s own page on the website, and should also contain high quality content explaining exactly what is being offered. Use keywords and location phrases to draw more visibility on search engines, but do not “stuff” the page with keywords. Keyword stuffing is the practice of placing irrelevant keywords into your website to manipulate website rankings. When keywords are stuffed into a page or blog, Google, Yahoo, or Bing may flag your website and penalize you. Be sure to write your own unique content and link to other credible websites when necessary.
- Use social media to your advantage. Social media can play a big role in SEO. Studies have shown your social media posting, following, and engagement is correlated with search engine rankings. Be social!
- Get mobile. A recent study published Americans spend around 87 hours a month browsing on their smartphones. Similar data tells us mobile usage is rising above desktop usage when it comes to searching online. Your organization’s website must be mobile responsive so that it is easy to navigate on a mobile device. Search engines take this into account when displaying search results, and it has the potential to boost your SEO.
- Utilize white hat SEO. White hat SEO, in comparison with black hat SEO, abides by all of the rules and regulations set forth by Google. When SEO companies tell you they can get you on page one of Google in a very short amount of time, be weary, for they are usually utilizing black hat SEO tactics (keyword stuffing, hidden links, “bot” web visitors). Using black hat SEO can get you flagged by search engines and even removed altogether. The repercussions are difficult to bounce back from, and not worth the risk.
SEO can be time consuming, but utilizing best practices is worth every minute. SEO is a long-term approach and is never finished. Block out time monthly to work on your websites SEO. Stay up-to-date on best practices, changing algorithms, and your rankings.
If you’d like to know more about SEO, and even learn some DIY techniques, contact us today for a complimentary brainstorming session.