During the past decade, changes in the Google search algorithm set inbound marketing agencies and business owners scrambling for solutions. Although the effects of Google and other search engine algorithm changes cannot be completely accounted for, creating high quality content and keeping an eye on trends in SEO for assisted living facilities that will help your website continue to attract your target audience.
The first thing you need to do, if you haven't done so already, is make your website mobile friendly. Otherwise, your site will find itself on the wrong side of SEO trends in 2017. In May of 2015 Google reported that over half of online searches were completed on mobile devices, recently this number is more like 60% and climbing. This means that for the first time in internet history the majority of website searching is done on a phone or tablet. Due to this websites that aren't "mobile-friendly" will be heavily penalized by search engines.
Most sites created within the last several years, regardless of the platform, have mobile friendly alternatives already in place as part of their website's design template. Making sure to optimize your senior living website for all devices is one of the first things to consider when re-designing your website.
"Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead."
2.) Voice Searches Will Become More Popular
With the upward trend toward searching the internet on a mobile device comes an upward trend in voice searches. Google Now, Siri for Apple, and Cortana for Microsoft have been popular among mobile searchers since their inception. These apps, however, are no longer limited to mobile devices. Expect to see an increase with voice searches from laptop and desktop users as these computerized voice searchers become more human.
What does this mean for SEO? It means search language will become more conversational. Keywords should reflect these changes. "Best senior living communities," for example, might become "What are the best senior living communities in San Antonio?" Gone are the days of creating content strictly for search engines. Today's content will need to be more conversational and easily digestable to have a positive effect in search.
3.) Social Content and "Citations" Becomes an SEO Strategy
Searchers often favor a company's Facebook, Twitter, or other social media feed over a company's website. As a result, it's
becoming more common to find a business's social media page ranked higher than its website. With more and more children of seniors doings research online it will become increasingly important to stay engaged on social media for retirement communities.
This will play a role in SEO rankings in the near future. Individuals and companies that factor SEO into their social media posts and profiles will benefit most from this trend. "Citations" or mentions of a particular business or company on social channels will start to become a bigger factor, the same way that links to your website has been in the past.
4.) Secure Sites Will Continue to Be Favored More
The mere thought of a security breach drives away customers. Because privacy and security influence internet search behavior, they are going to influence search engine rankings. A growing number of searchers prefer sites with the "https" beside the domain name. Although this has been a small factor in search engine results in the past, it's a trend that will affect rankings more in 2017. The Official Google Webmaster Blog states:
"We’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We've seen positive results, so we're starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal."
5.) Machine Learning May Be Integrated into Search Results
Successful keyword strategies involve using the words and phrases that match the language used by the audience searching for information on that topic. With machine learning technology, such as Rankbrain, Google has made the way clear for combining machine learning with webpage indexing. This means that instead of finding an exact match of a keyword, an algorithm may determine alternative meanings. That means even if your blog post doesn't contain a keyword being searched, the algorithm will analyze your content and determine that it satisfies the searcher's requirements. Kind of crazy right!? Of all the SEO trends that will affect rankings in 2017, this is the most speculative. There is, however, no doubt that as this type of technology improves, it will be used more and more often.
Staying on top of search engine optimization for senior living communities can seem like a full time job. With all the updates, changes, and tips out there it can seem overwhelming. The important thing to remember is that there's no cheating when it comes to SEO. There's no more gaming the system or taking shortcuts to the first page. You need to play the long-game. Consistantly create useful content for your intended website audience, correctly structure your website's pages and social channels, and don't try to outsmart Google with shortcuts. Trust me, you won't win. Best of luck!