How Online Discovery Can Boost Senior Living Move-Ins

Since dipping your toe into the digital marketing pool, it’s likely that you’ve been hearing all about the importance of SEO for your senior living business—but what is SEO, anyway?  


Moz, an online SEO tool provider, defines it as:  


“SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results.” 


“Organic search results” are unpaid listings, ranked by relevance, that show up when a user searches for something online. With 6000 senior living-related searches made every hour in the US (Senior Housing News, 2017)— and an estimated 600 in Canada, showing up first is a major advantage over your competitors and can help you boost new resident move-ins.  

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How does SEO support Senior Living businesses?

The connection between SEO and move-ins begins with an understanding of how search engine optimization functions. SEO is a collection of strategies implemented on an ongoing basis that help search engines find your website and show your listing in the search results. More than 25% of people click the first organic search result, and over 55% click a result in the first three (Search Engine Journal, 2020).  

Depending on your residence’s goals, these visitors become the leads that eventually turn into residents. The shift from “visitor” to “client/customer/resident” is known as “conversion”.  Ranking high in search results helps attract more website traffic, giving you more chances to convert visitors to move-ins.  

High rankings also ensure that your residence is in a visible position in the search results, making it easier for your ideal residents to find you.  

Your business’ website is a powerful tool that helps prospective residents, their families, and other senior living professionals learn about your residence, services, and amenities before they reach out.  

Among the most important pieces of information that clients are seeking is where your residence is located. This is especially meaningful considering that 46% of all Google searches are for local information like events, goods, or services in a particular neighborhood. With respect to consumers, 97%, or nearly all prospective clients are searching for businesses in their area (SocialMediaToday, 2019). 

5 Tips to Lower Your Residence’s Vacancy Rate with SEO

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect formula for search engine optimization. Instead, there are specific strategies and tactics you can test to see what works best for your senior living residence. As you start implementing each of these strategies, bear in mind that it will take some time for you to see the results of your new SEO efforts.  

With approximately 23% of senior living sales coming directly from online sources (Creating Results, 2018), it’s important to start nurturing and gaining the trust prospective residents and their families sooner. 

1. Maximize Your Keyword Strategy

A great keyword strategy is the backbone of your residence’s entire SEO strategy. After identifying relevant search terms for your senior living business, you’ll use what you find to create valuable informational content for your prospective residents.  

Online tools like the Moz Keyword Explorer for general exploration, Semrush for competitive analysis, and GetKeywords for local SEO recommendations, are great places to start for free. 

2. Share High-Quality Content

After selecting your keywords, you’ll be using them to create online content to begin attracting visitors to your residence’s website. Well-written, keyword-rich blog posts, website copy, downloadable guides, and videos, will not only help you position yourself as a trustworthy expert in the senior living niche, but will also help search engines rank your listing higher in the organic search results.  

Do ensure that the content you create is useful and helpful for the residents you hope to attract, their loved ones, Senior Living Advisors, social workers, hospital discharge coordinators, or other healthcare practitioners. Not every piece of content has to satisfy the needs of everyone, but a good variety will help extend the reach of your website. 

Social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest also indirectly support a robust SEO strategy (Semrush, 2020). Consider taking the valuable website content you write and repurposing it to create bite-sized snippets to reach even more of your audience. By interacting with prospective clients and their loved ones regularly on social media, you’ll be building your brand’s credibility and inviting them to learn more by visiting your website or subscribing to your email newsletter.  

3. Double-Down on Local SEO

As mentioned, local searches can be extremely beneficial for your senior living business. Afterall, seniors and their loved ones or advocates, will often be looking for residences nearby. It’ll be in your best interest to tailor your keyword strategy to show up in searches for your local area.  

For example, if a prospective resident types in the phrase “senior living residence in [city, province],” your website will be pushed closer to the top of the search results if it includes the same phrase, but that’s not always enough to land you in the top 3 results. Search engines typically rank websites with the most helpful details and answers even higher—this is where all those valuable blog posts come in. Follow this link to learn even more about how Google’s algorithm ranks search results. 

4. Optimize On-Page & Off-Page SEO

On-page SEO primarily impacts what visitors to your website see, but it also helps search engines discover, read and categorize your content so it can be shown as a relevant search result. The words, images and graphics that prospective residents and their loved ones see on your site also have behind-the-scenes SEO elements involved; this is due to the coding that makes up your website. Optimizing things like HTML tags, loading speed, .txt files, schema markup, and mobile compatibility may require the assistance of a webmaster or developer. However, there are a few SEO best practices that you can do on your own. 

Tips for on-page optimization without a developer:  

  • Include keywords naturally
  • Consider what a visitor’s search intent may be
  • Create and share quality content

Off-page SEO is a little less technical and a little more human—it's about building relationships. This aspect of SEO focuses primarily on how the content you make for your senior living service or residence is shared and received around the internet. The goal of your off-page SEO strategy is to build “backlinks”- simply put, you’ll want other websites to send their visitors back to yours.  

Tips for off-page optimization that aren’t sleazy: 

  • Use social media to connect with your audience and other content creators
  • Provide value to others in the senior living niche for a brand mention
  • Leverage media appearances— offer yourself up for relevant interviews for articles, news stories and podcasts
  • Offer guest posts to relevant senior care blogs

5. Build Links & Credibility with Reviews

72% of consumers trust businesses more if they read positive reviews about those businesses (Digital Strike, 2022). Choosing a senior living residence or senior care provider is one of most important decisions a senior and their family will make. A glowing review from a current resident or their loved ones helps support both your credibility and your SEO strategy. 

Proactively reaching out to current residents, family members or other senior care professionals for review of your residence improves your SEO performance in two ways:  

  • By generating share-worthy content for your brand to be repurposed on your social media channels
  • By helping search engines detect the presence of user-generated content on your website, leading to a higher ranking in search results

Platforms like help senior care providers generate keyword-rich backlinks by: 

  • Allowing care providers to claim and manage their own listings
  • Functioning as an unbiased place for senior living reviews

Best of all, because was developed specifically for the senior living industry, your residence’s listing is automatically placed in front of an audience of your ideal clients in your local area. Better yet—it's free to get started.