As we’ve discussed in this blog before, achieving “Page One” search status remains a top-level priority for growth-oriented senior living providers. In an era of instant gratification and a general population short on time and patience, the pundits are correct when they say, “If you’re not on Page One, you don’t exist!”
Jason McCloud, Vice President of Digital & Integrated Strategy at SageAge Strategies, says, “Fortunately, there are some basic winning tactics you can employ that will support your larger strategy of breaking through the clutter and getting your message out to your prime target audiences (i.e. senior adults and their adult children).”
Listed below are seven key tactics for achieving high search rankings with excerpts drawn from several excellent articles on the subject,these include: “Planning a Content Strategy with SEO in Mind,” “How to Please Google in a Post-Hummingbird World,” “2014 SEO Playbook: Google Hummingbird, Content & Authority” and “The New SEO: How to Create Hummingbird-Friendly Content.”
1. Know the customer … and what they’re looking for – Today, quality content is about focusing on your customers’ needs, problems and preferences more so than simply inserting generic keywords. Knowing and understanding your customers is the best way to create search-friendly content that is going to rank highly, be found and read.
One good way to connect with your customers is to identify the words and phrases they actually use to search for senior living information and options.
Chris Boulas of the Kapost blog, says, “A great way to get started is to perform a keyword audit. Audits identify keywords people actually use to search for your product and illuminate which short- and long-tail phrases are most frequently searched. You want to identify keywords that maximize your visibility.”
Jason adds, “Content is still king. Websites that embrace a content-centric SEO strategy will be rewarded in the search engine rankings. Although the basics still apply, the days of only optimizing meta tags, H1 tags and the beginning paragraph on each page are over. If you want to increase your rankings, it’s paramount to start building content that speaks directly to your customers’ needs and problems and that Google believes the user will value.”
2. Focus on quality not quantity – These days there is an overabundance of generic, under-responsive content on the web. Senior living providers should develop content that demonstrates their thought leadership and subject matter expertise in areas their customers want to know about. Google rewards content that it deems most valuable to the customer (i.e. content that answers end-users’ important questions).
Experts say that instead of pushing out reams of low-level content, it’s much more important to create content that speaks to customers’ specific circumstances and situations. Focus on what, where and when, rather than on how much.
Jason reinforces the importance of this thought, “Focus on quality not quantity. Develop in-depth content posts that answer users’ questions rather than serving up a lot of general information. For example, if you’re discussing the cost of assisted living, make sure you’re also addressing its value, advantages and solutions for your audience. In making difficult decisions, understand that the cost-benefit can be important to them.”
3. Mix it up! Create content that uses a variety of media – Good content goes well beyond creating a standard article with a photo at the top. Today, Google recognizes that there are many ways to create engaging and informative content. As a result, search engines are now including videos, images, service listings, reviews, locations and photos in their determination of your search ranking.
Adam de Jong on the HubSpot blog, says, “The more you can diversify your brand with different digital media assets, the more likely you are to curry favor with the search engines and the searchers.”
Consider a mix of introductory videos, photos, blogs, infographics and surveys on your site.
Adds Mr. de Jong, “Despite what people may say, the Internet is still predominantly a text-first media environment; people read more than they do anything else. But you should still find ways to incorporate various media assets as a way to appeal to users and search engines.”
4. Be social – Does your website or blog have the ability to share pages and/or content with others? It should! In today’s social-media-driven world, if you’re not making it easy for people to share your content with friends, relatives and co-workers via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you are severely limiting yourself.
Jason adds, “Inbound links continue to be one of the most influential authority signals. Social media indicators are also key, so it’s important to develop content that industry thought-leaders, bloggers and users want to link to and share with others. The more quality inbound links and social indicators you have, the better!”
5. “Mobile-ize” your content! – These days, your content should be mobile accessible. Mobile devices now account for over 50 percent of all Internet traffic – and it is growing daily.
Think about all the adult children who are now involved in information gathering and move-in decisions for their parents! Can they view your site on their iPhones?
6. Think “Fresh and Frequent” for content and SEO – Keep yourcontent fresh.Search enginesreward sites that are vibrant, refreshed and current. For example, if you’re doing a blog – which is recommended – publish it on a regular recurring schedule so your audience will keep coming back for more. Many blogging experts suggest publishing weekly or biweekly.
7. The bottom line: It’s still about the customer – Concludes Mr. de Jong, “There is no magic bullet when it comes to creating quality content. If we study the effects of [Google’s] Hummingbird [search algorithm] and learn the right lessons, we can see what Google is attempting to do with each new change to the search algorithm: to make the search experience more accurately reflect how users are engaging with brands and peers online.”
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SageAge Strategies is the ideal partner for strategically growing your sales and building your census. If you are a senior living provider considering the need for assistance in increasing your sales and growing your community through best-practice digital strategy, marketing, communications and creative design, contact us today for more information.
SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry and was recently named one of Inc. Magazine’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America. For more information, please call or email Adrienne Mansfield Straub today at 833-240-0655 ext. 100 / [email protected].