The senior living housing provision is changing rapidly, as is the way seniors and their loved ones research caretaking options. Indeed, people of all ages rely on the Internet more than ever to glean information. In order for a senior assisted living community to keep up and continue serving the market to the best of its ability, it must adapt its content marketing techniques.
Before we define what content marketing is, it’s crucial to understand why you need SEO and a content strategy for your business. The following are statistics that help put the importance of SEO and content strategies into perspective:
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports that approximately 70% of people over age 65 will require some type of long-term care services.
- Staying in their private homes for as long as possible remains a top priority among the elderly. 80% of senior American citizens receiving assistance, including those with functional limitations, opted to live in private homes rather than in institutions or specialized facilities.
- 87% of Generation X online users made an online purchase as of 2015.
- About half of U.S. seniors use Facebook. Pew Research reported in 2013 that 45% of American adults 65 and older used Facebook, a percentage that’s likely grown in the last five years. Indeed, the popularity of the platform was especially increasing among this demographic. The below Statista graph shows the rapid growth of Internet usage sorted by age group (we will reference this chart throughout this guide):
- Only three percent of senior citizens live in nursing homes. The 2010 U.S. census found that 3.1% of seniors were nursing home residents, demonstrating that many seniors choose in-home care as opposed to a nursing home or assisted living facility.
If content marketing can produce 434% more search-indexed pages than other sites not publishing content and, according to Marketing Insider Group, content will have increased by 600% by 2020, writing amazing content won’t be enough to beat the competition. Staying ahead of the game will require you to understand Content Marketing and key concepts such as keyword research and SEO.
What is Content Marketing?
Content is meant to help people, whether it be informational, how-to articles, or current event pieces. Eventually, this is where you create and disseminate relevant information to potential customers and convert them into actual customers by way of marketing and sales. However, without SEO and marketing efforts, you would be unable to carry out the requirements necessary to increase traffic to your site (and therefore increase your number of conversions). Dedicating time toward testing your content is also part of content marketing and includes optimizing content by reviewing and implementing various strategies.
Proper market research must be done to determine the most appropriate channels to deliver content. The decision for seniors to move into assisted living is not an easy one; it can be emotional not only for the individuals but also for their loved ones. Identifying who is making and what is influencing the decisions should allow you to create content that targets them directly.
Questions to ask yourself while formulating content include:
- Who are you writing for and why should they care? Who is my audience in terms of age, gender, location, income, and other demographics?
- What do they do? What are they interested in? (Be very specific.)
- What motivates/frustrates/inspires them?
Another way you might write effective content is by mapping out who your audience or target is, as well as their personal buying journey. How might you avoid objections such as, “I recently got a second job and I can’t take care of my mom anymore”; “This isn’t for me or my dad or grandpa”; “More people are choosing in-home care, why should I send my dad to a facility?”; or “If you provide in-home care, what are some benefits you can offer that your competitors can’t?” Being too general converts into poor quality content despite amazing research, so try asking yourself, “For whom is the content for?”
How do you connect with people via content? You can’t market features such as in-house therapy as a benefit unless you are writing for someone who is bedridden, or someone who has been resisting assisted living because they have a house they can stay in. You need to be able to identify specific issues so that your content can resonate with potential customers. Ask yourself how someone might benefit from your assisted living community when creating content in order to be as effective as possible.
Refer back to the Statista graph for Internet usage presented earlier. The various influencers and decision-makers, be they seniors in need of assistance, adult children, grandchildren, or friends, will always end up online in search of more information. Your job is to create content that resonates with them and helps them understand what you have to offer and make the right decision for themselves or a loved one.
In order to be as specific as possible in content, ask yourself:
- Do you want to connect to the actual senior citizen who’s making his or her decision about assisted living? At what stage of the customer journey are they currently in?
- Have they prolonged their decision-making? Should you write for specific situations?
- What questions would adult children who no longer have the time to assist their elderly parents want to ask or find answers for?
Creating content for your current residents to help them easily identify the benefits and maximize referrals is also plausible.
How to Start Content Marketing for Your Assisted Living Facility
Now that you have an idea of how content should cater to its audience, let’s review through the three elements needed to create an effective content marketing strategy: keyword research, on-page SEO, and tracking.
Let’s say you have your brand message, vision, and mission all mapped out. The brochures and pamphlets have been printed for people to take home. You even have a company blog and the ROI isn’t what you expected. Even so, there are two mistakes you (and most businesses) will likely when creating and distributing content online: knowledge (or lack thereof) and assumption. Most people will want to rank “assisted living” or target all the high volume searches, neglecting the fact that several factors can hinder your online presence. Remember, your goal is to target a specific audience and provide them with specific answers to help them make decisions.
One of the keyword concepts we want to use is long-tail keywords, which are specific keywords that can help you. But what are they exactly?
Some examples of long-tail keywords for assisted living are:
- Why assisted living is good—Articles that provide information about assisted living for independent seniors or adult children who are trying to decide where their elderly parents should go.
- Disadvantages of assisted living facilities—Articles that overcome readers’ objectives, therefore discouraging them from going to a competitor’s article and missing this opportunity with your company.
- Alzheimer care facilities accepting Medicaid—Articles focusing on both “Alzheimer” and “Medicaid” customers who are limited to Medicaid and who want to know current available options and future options just in case Medicaid can’t deliver later on.
- List of things caregivers do—Lists written for independent seniors looking for a caregiver or as a gold standard of services for caregivers to provide.
These are all keywords being searched today! With long-tail keywords, you can fine-tune users’ intent to specifically target and answer questions they are searching for. The best way to learn how to use these long-tail keywords is to perform searches on keyword terms and identify how your competitors are using long-tail keywords. Who’s ranking number one? What type of content do number one rankings include? Who do they target?
But take caution: Just because you saw the keywords on Google search doesn’t mean you should follow suit. Pay close attention to the answers your competitors are providing. Which of your competitors are converting more? How relevant is their information today? How relevant will it be tomorrow? What about in 5 or 10 years? Should you create evergreen content or content based on trends? Keyword research also involves finding the perfect time to release your content in order to maximize exposure and beat out competitors.
Using Specific Words Can Make or Break You
Should you write about “The Patient Protection,” “Affordable Care Act,” or “Obama Care”? Whom would you relate with? Should you cover all of them just because they exist? Which keywords would convert the best? Produce the most traffic? Relevance? How do they relate to your brand? Who would you offend? Simply because one term generates more traffic than another does not mean you should use it.
Besides being political in your articles, you might make the mistake of writing an article for Generation X while using phrases pertaining to a Baby Boomer. How do you build generation intent as opposed to simply building user intents? What phrases and information work best for seniors, adult children, millennials, and caregivers?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Statistics Report, the most popular and requested type of home healthcare services for seniors 65 and older are as follows:
skilled nursing professionals, 84%;
physical therapy professionals, 40%;
general care professionals to assist with activities of daily living, 37%;
general care professionals to assist with homemaker services (i.e., cleaning and maintenance), 17%;
occupational therapy professionals, 14%;
wound care assistance, 14%;
and nutrition and dietary counseling, 14%.
With relevant data, you can come to the conclusion that many potential customers might also view this and search answers for themselves. Reviewing keyword research will allow you to identify other keywords that back up that data that you can examine and create content for, such as:
physical therapy in assisted living facility;
therapy services in assisted living facilities;
physical therapy for seniors near me;
physical therapy for elderly at home;
assisted living physical therapy;
occupational therapy in assisted living;
occupational therapy assisted living facilities;
occupational therapy in independent living facilities;
speech therapy in assisted living;
occupational therapy in senior centers;
occupational therapy in skilled nursing facilities;
in home physical therapy services near me;
in home physical therapy near me;
physical therapy exercises for elderly at home;
in home physical therapy cost;
physical therapy exercises elderly;
how to do physical therapy at home;
home physical therapy exercises;
physical therapy balance exercises for elderly;
fun balance exercises for elderly;
dynamic balance exercises for elderly;
dynamic balance exercises physical therapy;
physical therapy exercises for balance problems;
balance exercises for seniors PDF;
balance exercises for seniors youtube;
and occupational therapy balance activities for elderly.
Besides “assisted living,” you have keywords like “dynamic balance,” “fun balance,” “physical,” “services,” “in home,” and more. All these keywords can be associated with the customer’s journey. Each keyword can be segmented as part of their journey in order to help direct them to the right path.
Let me explain:
People are searching for answers, therefore if you haven’t done your keyword research, your content marketing won’t be successful. They will type in “physical therapy near me” and end up in “dynamic balance,” a specific niche service where you can explain what that service can do for them.
People searching for an answer might not start with the exact terminology used for specific services, so ask yourself, “What are my available options to connect with people and what part of the decision-making process are they in?” Other questions you might want to ask yourself while performing your keyword research include, “How does my site relate to people actually typing in keywords and phrases to find the answer they are looking for?” and “Where should potential customers end up?” Understanding customers’ intent is vital to conversions.
Finding the right keywords and providing specific answers helps convert your content into actual customers. Relating each journey and creating different paths like the example search below can help you rank for several related keywords:
The potential customer in the screenshot above is specifically researching the pros and cons of assisted living in order to help them make a decision either for themselves or an elderly loved one. Will you be listed in “pros of assisted living” only? Will you be listed alongside sites that use sleazy sales copy that only provides the pros, but not the cons? Or will you be listed in an “assisted living articles” search, providing good benefits while balancing both the pros and cons and being labeled the go-to site for trustworthy information?
There’s More Than Just Finding and Targeting Keywords
We’ve discussed the keyword journey and trends, but other research consists of estimated monthly volume, difficulty in ranking, and understanding competitors’ content, all of which play a major role in identifying and maximizing conversions. Having an SEO agency do your keyword research can help you avoid missing these opportunities.
SEO is used to connect your brand with people online. If that is the purest definition, the pages on your site need to be optimized to relate with people. Also, a conversion in its purest form is when you relate with the user who types the same words and phrases. On-page has two main factors that can help you rank higher: keywords relation and making sure that any technical aspects of your site don’t cause issues for search engines.
How Technical SEO Can Help
Here’s an example of how technical SEO can help increase traffic to your site. Stone Temple did a study in 2018 for 2016–2017 on how Mobile vs. Desktop visitors changed:
Mobile traffic in 2017 reached 63% of all traffic in the U.S. whereas it only reached 57% in 2016. Mobile-Friendly is only one example of how you can increase your conversion rate and maximize content strategy.
In November 2016, Google announced its mobile-first indexing system. Since most people were using their mobile devices to access the Internet, Google had to adjust their previously desktop-centered ranking system. Therefore, if at the beginning of July 2018 your site was not optimized for mobile, both your mobile and desktop performance may have started to decline. Here’s what Google said about the mobile-first index:
To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices. —Google Webmaster
With search engine algorithms changing all the time, you need to understand what’s required for a page to be indexed and ranked accordingly.
Using the previous example of “senior assisted living” keywords, how can you be listed under “assisted living articles” or “pros and cons”?
You cannot simply input keywords to tell search engines what to rank for the site. With semantic web, SEO needs proper architecture and structure, laying out relational mapping both in defining terms and technical requirements to make your site readable.
SEO today is about helping search engines define content. For people, an apple as we know it has colors, patterns, designs, tastes, smells, regions, and seasons associated with it. We grew up learning these differences and categorizing them. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to explain what an apple is to someone who has never come in contact with one.
Whether you perform SEO yourself or hire an agency, you need to create these relational mapping techniques to help search engines define what you are writing about.
Relational mapping comes in the form of:
- Entities & Wikis
- Structured data
- Continuing to refine and define so that search engines find the proper keywords related for the content
Developing a site’s SEO architecture and knowing the infrastructure to maximize your content marketing is just a third of the process. With today’s technology, you also must learn how to track and refine your site for search engines.
When it comes to relational mapping for your site, you need to use the A.P.I.E. (Analyze, Plan, Implement, Evaluate) method for your content strategy. Existing content is indexed by search engines, meaning you might see them in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) based on what they think your content should be associated with. By reviewing your Google Search Console, you can identify possible keywords, clicks, impressions, and CTRs (Click-Through-Rates).
What is Your CTR Worth?
You can either personally review each piece of content on your site or hire an SEO agency to determine what the content is related to and help search engines better understand your content. We as people understand what the content is about, who it’s for, where it should be located, when it’s relevant, and so forth.
Human vs. Technology?
Search engines now have built-in learning capabilities through A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) that help them determine what your content is about, define that content, and rank it. Though you might have the most intriguing content on the Web, letting technology decide where to put your content will reduce your traffic, conversions, and ROI. We are still a long way from algorithms that accurately define what “assisted living” means. We are currently still at a stage where humans assist computers defining and refining content for better outcome.
Tracking also involves using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to track what path potential customers took to arrive and whether they converted or not. If you wrote “Pros and cons of assisted living,” do you have related articles for adult children and caregivers to learn more? What goals have you set for each content? Understanding behavior flow of your visitors can help you identify the best conversion strategies.
You can go to Google Analytics > Behavior > Behavior Flow and review each article by selecting Pages and Events > Select a page like shown below:
You can review each page and review second interactions based on the CTAs (Call-to-Actions) you’ve implemented.
Analytics can help you understand where viewers are coming from and therefore determine where they will end up. How well are you guiding your users with your content, CTAs, and email opt-ins? A content marketing strategy involves necessary conversion optimization to help add layers of ROI. Just because the content you’ve written a couple of days, weeks, or months ago isn’t gaining new traffic does not mean that that there are no more opportunities for that content.
What is a good CTR and how much is it worth? Your click-through-rate might be 4–5%; however, a more practical way to view the value of your content strategy is to assign your CTR a revenue value. For example, 5 clicks x $300 per click = $1,500 total revenue. By adding a specific value to your CTR and content, you can identify the performances of each content with goals. Have you written about “Housing Options for Older Adults”? What CTAs are you tracking? How well or where are you converting the most? Who’s your target audience and how well are they relating to your article? How many become clients?
Writing amazing content and tracking its performance doesn’t mean anything unless you understand one last tracking factor in your marketing strategy. A link building strategy is needed to boost your domain and page authority in order to help search engines understand how important your site is in relation to the target keywords. Without proper strategy and understanding of white-hat strategy, your ranking performance might decrease. To avoid any detrimental effects to your ranking, closely monitor your competitors to identify how often they are building their sites’ ranking.
We reviewed the importance of content marketing with keyword research, on-page optimization, tracking, and monitoring. However, the list continues. Other examples include: location specifics and ranking on Google Maps; directories to maximize your exposure and click-through-rates; partnering up with other relevant products and services; consistently performing competitor analysis; reverse engineering competitor methods; updating keyword research to stay relevant; and understanding new SEO initiatives and making changes as necessary.
All businesses have their own strengths and weakness and it is up to you or an SEO agency to identify these and prioritize them accordingly. Though there’s no blueprint customized to your specific needs, the steps in this guide will help place you as number one in SERP.
The following graph indicates how the shares of clicks are distributed and help us understand how vital it is to create a specific content marketing plan in order to have a high ranking:
Several studies have put the first position at around 33%, the second position at around 15%, and the third position at around 9%. Nearly 75% of clicks go to the first page of search results. With voice-search trending, how well are you positioned for that result?
We’ve taken a look at multiple opportunities for your business to succeed. The goal of this article was to help you understand the importance of content marketing, why you need it, and how to create a content strategy to effectively target your audience. What are your thoughts and approach? We’d love to hear your thoughts and best practices!
And of course, if you’d like professional help or a complimentary consultation, contact us today.