A lot of marketers tend to think of search engine optimization (SEO) only as a way to help their website rank well in organic search, but the benefits extend beyond the search engine results page (SERP). SEO structures websites in a way that easily answers your prospects’ questions. When done well, SEO makes seniors and their families feel like they have already visited your property before they ever step foot on site. Every senior living marketer needs to know the following SEO basics to deliver the best experience to their prospects.

1. Own Branded Real Estate on SERP

Google’s SERP is where the majority of seniors and families first learn about your brand, making it essential to maintain a positive presence. Is there anything that is going to turn them away? Review your branded presence on search engines and work to adjust or remove any red flags that may prevent a prospect from reaching out or doing further research about your communities. 

2. Optimize GMB Listings

Nothing cannibalizes your own search presence like an out-of-date, incorrect Google My Business (GMB) listing. Optimizing your GMB is one of the most important aspects of your SEO strategy. Ensure all of your business information is updated and that you show up in the correct categories. Duplicate listings can lead to trouble for businesses and cause confusion for searchers. Check to make sure your pin placement shows up accurately on Google Maps, as someone looking to your community will need correct directions to find you.

3. Have a Robust, Hyper-Local SEO Strategy

Targeting senior living searchers nearby starts on your website with on-page optimization. Focus on your services and build a hyper-local strategy around the levels of care you offer. Your service pages should focus on local keywords such as ’assisted living + neighborhood + city.’ Searchers are looking for services in their neighborhood, often within minutes of home. A hyper-local SEO strategy lets searchers know exactly where you are and what services you offer. 

4. Local Business Structured Data Markup

Schema markup is code you put on your website that helps search engines provide more informative results for users. In addition to being a ranking factor, local schema provides more information about your business to potential residents directly on the SERP they are viewing. This includes star ratings, prices, reviews, service areas, and more. 

Surprisingly few businesses and websites have taken advantage of schema markup, which is simple to implement. Adding relevant microdata through schema markup could give you an advantage over your competition by improving ranking in local search results. 

5. Recent Review Sentiment and Reputation

Actively managing review sentiment and reputation helps improve your online presence and search ranking. Reviews show up directly within your SERP entry and if searchers treat Google as your homepage, not clicking through to your website at all, you need to make managing these reviews a top priority. 91% of marketers agree that Google’s reviews impact local pack rankings. Google uses ratings, positive and negative keywords, and recency as contributing factors to ranking factors. 

Go beyond star rating and analyze the sentiment behind the review to find out what people are talking about and how they describe certain subjects. Online reviews strongly influence your prospect’s decision. Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, make an impact on your brand’s reputation and search ranking. 

Use SEO to Answer Prospects’ Questions

SEO goes beyond search rankings to answer prospect questions before they even visit your website. Presenting your brand consistently and accurately in search results, optimizing your GMB listing and monitoring review sentiment and reputation play a large role in driving traffic to your website through external sources. A hyper-local on-page strategy focused on services and content using schema markup help increase your rank and provide more information about your business to prospects directly from the SERP. These SEO basics will help you answer prospect questions, increase local search ranking, and drive leads to your website.

Watch our new video to learn more about SEO and how to supercharge your marketing with the addition of digital advertising.