Senior Living SEO Metrics – Set, Track Succeed

Maile Ohye from Google emphasizes that successful SEO strategies can take anywhere from four months to a year before you start seeing results. Ohye evokes scenery with users outside the SEO community believing it to be “black magic.” Watch her break down SEO basics in this video.

This perception that SEO is this a mystifying and impossible-to-comprehend entity is propagated by the fact that there isn’t just one factor that will guarantee your senior living community will be ranked first in Google, Bing or Yahoo. In fact – Backlinko has identified 200 ranking factors (and counting) that can contribute to your senior living community’s SEO success. (see: Backlinko’s Complete List of Ranking Factors).

Does this spell doom and gloom for your senior living community ever being found online? Well, not exactly. As long as your digital agency partner or internal team is focused on the right senior living SEO metrics and is utilizing data to support ongoing insights, then you’ll be able to see what’s working best in your SEO strategy. Check out Philip Smith’s thoughts on Senior Living and the digital landscape after attending LeadingAge 2016.

Why Don’t Search Engines Love My Senior Living Community?

Laptop showing the Google search page

There may have been a time where you’ve gone online to check your Google analytics or just wondered, in the spur of the moment, where your website ranked. You may have been pleasantly surprised – or, you might have found that your senior living community had changed its rank overnight.

This isn’t uncommon! Any one of hundreds of SEO ranking factors could have contributed to the change. Google is constantly sending out crawlers across the internet to compare and measure the information on your senior living community website with your competitors. Its goal is to serve users the most relevant and accurate information based on the user’s search inquiry.

The important takeaway to keep in mind is that your senior living community’s website ranking can – and will – change over time. Improvements or optimizations to your website will also need time to take hold (four months to a year, remember?). And, remember to take into account that your competitors may also be investing in SEO.

Keyword reporting and rankings are supposed to be measured over a set course of time (i.e., three months, six months, or annually) to create accurate reporting and meaningful insights. Stay high-level and understand that aggregate data will provide the best insight when measured in the long run.

Wanna check if your senior living community stacks up? Linkmedia 360’s Joanna Nativio shares some keyword and content marketing strategy tips for senior living communities.

Google Agrees that Context is Everything (in Search)

Since Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update in 2013, search engines have become more sophisticated at semantic search. An increasing number of devices and various communication methods within those devices (i.e., voice search, keyboard or tablet) created the need for this update. Hummingbird has impacted the context of our searches and the way search engines present a user’s results.

Purple-throated hummingbird representing Google's algorithm update

So what does that mean for your senior living community?

It means that all of us in the digital marketing space must be cognizant of changes to Google’s algorithms and how they will impact the way users search for your community. Tracking the commonly searched keyword phrases over and over again alone won’t yield the insights that will keep you ranking above your competition.

Due to the many variations in specific search terms, tracking which terms are proving to be most relevant can prove difficult – even for digital marketers. A combination of too many keyword combinations and a lack of time to round up every conceivable combination leads to difficulties in pinpointing exact search phrases guaranteed to move the mark.

Moz created a way to help track your searches like a pro. Check out their tips that can help you reduce some of the factors impacting the accuracy of your reporting for keyword research.

While you’re at it, download our Senior Living Digital Marketing Checklist to see if your senior living digital strategy is where it needs to be.

Choosing the Right Senior Living SEO Metrics

Don’t beat your head against the wall in trying to come up with the perfect set of keyword phrases for your senior living community. While this is important, there are additional senior living SEO metrics that are key to your community’s performance:

  • Website visits from organic search
  • Specific page or groups of pages visited during a session (pages you’re measuring traffic on)
  • New visitors vs returning visitors
  • Engagement metrics: bounce rate, average time spent on each page
  • CTA’s and conversions from organic vs paid search
  • UX and how your user is navigating your website

Continue to track the metrics most important to your community over time (month-over-month, quarterly, annually) to craft the best insights about your results. That will help you determine trends and commonalities with your senior living community that you may have overlooked before. Cross reference your desired metrics with your keyword rankings to determine your best insights.

Group Your Keywords Together for Better Tracking

Consult this guide from Moz about how to track keyword rankings. First, start by organizing a keyword list into separate groups (i.e., branded keywords, long-tail and standard keywords). Once you have the groups separated, you can track trends within the keywords. Are you noticing similarities with keywords in a specific geography? Or keywords more commonly used on certain devices and not others?

It will take time to build a strong organic SEO ranking. That being said, having a strong position in organic search can be an asset for your senior living community. Hopefully this post helps your community focus on senior living SEO metrics that will drive or determine ROI. If you need further tips, Kurt Krejny walks you through the senior living maturity model to help your community identify and advance marketing operations.

Set those metrics for success! Have anything to add? Contact us with questions or ideas.

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