As a digital marketing agency focused on senior living communities, Markentum understands the marketing power of your physical location(s). You gain walk-in traffic from passing cars, and that traffic may be just as likely to walk into another community down the street or around the corner.
For that reason, when we ask new clients, “who are your competitors?”, most will list the communities within driving distance of their location. As location-based keywords are crucial, understanding and researching these competitors is a key step, but when it comes to your online competition, you have to look at the bigger picture.
Markentum wants to share what you should consider when building a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and how to implement competitor research successfully.
It’s More Than Physical Location
Google’s algorithm is regularly changing and updating to improve the user experience. A successful SEO strategy looks beyond the physical location of a business as many factors play a role in the results a search engine serves a user, including:
- Page Speed
- Mobile-Friendliness (Is your website mobile-optimized?)
- Domain Age and Authority
- High-Quality Content
- Previous User Data (How long are users staying on your site? What’s the click-through-rate?)
Understanding the above for your own website will help you learn who your online competitors are.
“SEO competitive analysis involves researching the links, keywords, content, and more of your SEO competitors in order to reverse-engineer the most successful elements of these tactics into your own SEO strategy (moz.com).” It’s not about mirroring their strategy, but leveraging what you can learn from their strategy.
Understand Their Brand
As with any industry, there is a mix between the types of businesses – privately owned, franchises, national brands, etc. It’s important to learn about your SEO competitor’s brand to learn from their success (or lack of).
For example, maybe you have a senior living community around the corner called Totally Awesome Senior Care. After doing some research, you learn that Totally Awesome Senior Care has been around for 20 years, has over 75 locations across the country, and is aggressive with their paid advertising efforts.
In comparison, your community may only be five years old with one location and a minimal budget to put behind paid ads.
In terms of SEO, Totally Awesome Senior Care will likely outrank your website in certain situations due to the age of their domain, size of their website (if they have multiple pages for each of their 75 locations, that increases the amount of content they can offer), and marketing budget they are able to put behind paid advertising.
Your goal for SEO shouldn’t be to only focus on outranking your competitors; it should be about targeting your audience and driving the right users to your website.
Understand Their SEO Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve learned about your competitors, you can dive deeper into their strategy. There are tools and programs available that can show what search terms your competitors are ranking for.
Maybe Totally Awesome Senior Care drives a lot of traffic to their website for their independent living services.
In comparison, your community’s marketing strategy wants to focus on the quality memory care services you offer. Focusing your organic content marketing (or paid advertising, if applicable) efforts towards memory care focused terms will outrank your competitor since these are not terms they are strategizing for.
As with any strategy, it’s important to have a clear goal or outcome in mind. An SEO strategy won’t be successful if your goal is to “rank number one.” 👉
You want a focused, attainable goal, such as “increase website traffic for assisted living services,” “increase organic traffic conversions by 25%,” or “improve rankings for a specific list of terms/phrases.”
Keep the User in Mind
As you start to form your SEO strategy and implement data and things you’ve learned from your competitor analysis, make sure you are always keeping the user (your audience) in mind.
Don’t create content optimized for terms/phrases that do not benefit your audience of users; learn from your audience. As a senior living focused marketing agency, we know that there are terms the industry tries to avoid, but your audience may not know this. While you call it an “assisted living community,” your goal audience is searching for an “assisted living facility.” Implement the terms your audience is using as a way to educate them. For example, creating a landing page or blog, “Why We’re a Community, Not an Assisted Living Facility,” will incorporate the appropriate phrase while being an educational resource to users.
SEO is a long-term, ongoing strategy, and understanding who your competitors are online, as well as how you can compete with them, will help you find success. You want to ensure you are creating high-quality content that your users will love, but also taking the time to continuously improve and optimize your website for search engines to crawl.
We encourage your community to contact Markentum for a free evaluation. Our focus is on the senior living industry, and we help senior living brands of all sizes find search engine success through our organic and paid advertising experience.