When 89% of consumers are using search engines to make purchase decisions, being found in Google search results matters. A lot.
If families look for your business by name,
does your website show up on the first page of search results?
For many providers we talk to, the answer is no. So we asked our Search Marketing team for the latest tips on how to improve your visibility in search results.
1. Forget about shortcuts.
Google’s engineers are hard at work making their algorithm ever smarter, delivering ever-more-helpful search results. (For a geeky detour, check out more about the history of Google’s algorithm rollouts, including “Panda.”)
What this means for you: making a site that works for Google doesn’t have to be a specialized art. Make sure your site is helpful for consumers by offering unique content relevant to your business, and you’ll be on the right track.
Also: our experts recommend healthy skepticism if anyone “guarantees” high search rankings or promises they know any “secrets.” Keyword stuffing, doctored tags, and other practices that worked in 2010 don’t work anymore. In fact, trying shortcuts like these will likely drive your site lower in search results.
2. Launch your website.
Most of the providers in the Caring.com Senior Directory already have a website, but some do not. For those of you who’ve been putting it off, move your website launch to the top of your to-do list. According to our team, this is the single best thing you can do to increase your visibility in search results.
Launching a website doesn’t have to be expensive. Nor does it have to be difficult: You only need a small handful of pages to start. If you can work a keyboard and mouse, you can master the tools you’ll need. Find a reputable hosting service and you’ll see how easy it can be, with their friendly website-building tools, tutorials, and customer service to help you along the way.
A note about domain names: Your domain name is an important part of your brand. Just as you build equity in a brand name, the minute you launch your site your domain name will begin building online equity, especially with search engines. Be thoughtful about choosing your domain name, and whenever possible secure one that closely matches your DBA — and avoid changing it at all costs.
3. Put contact information on every page.
Every page of your website should include your business name, address, and phone number. This sends a signal to Google — you’re showing that your website is connected to your business address. That’ll push you higher in search results.
Our experts also recommend including a call to action on every page, because you never know what page a visitor will see first. Common calls to action include, “Call us today!” or “We’ll answer any question for free” or “Come for a free tour and lunch.”
4. Create pages to meet families’ needs.
Most companies create a “Home” page, a “Contact” page, and an “About Us” page. That’s a good start — but with a few tweaks, your website can deliver even more value.
Our team suggests branching out to create three or four more landing pages about your core services.
For example, if you know families find you because of your memory care services, be sure to have a landing page that describes those services in detail. Give the page a search-friendly title, and include your location: “Memory Care in Spokane, WA.” And don’t forget to put your contact information on the page.
Not sure what landing pages to create? Ask your current customers what first led them to you. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Meal Preparation in Quakertown, PA
- Senior Companions in Mableton, GA
- Hygiene Assistance for Seniors in Ann Arbor, MI
- Respite Care in Plano, TX
- Broken Hip Rehab in Medford, OR
- Light Housekeeping in Chesterfield, MO
- Transportation Services in Louisville, KY
- Errands and Shopping Assistance in Mesa, AZ
5. Beware of jargon.
We talk about this a lot at Caring.com: There are many amazing services for seniors out there, but a lot of your potential customers don’t know what the services are called. Help them (and help your business) by paying attention to the words families use when they’re looking for you.
For example, you might offer a service you call “hygiene assistance,” but do all your customers know that term? Maybe some are searching for “bathing” or “bathroom help” or “toileting” or “getting dressed.”
We’re not suggesting that you rename all of your services. But do pay attention to all the words people use when they’re looking for you, and include some of those words in the content of your site.
Note: This isn’t the same as keyword stuffing. There’s no advantage to repeating words over and over to the frustration of your users. Only include words if they naturally fit into your text.
6. Make it local.
On your landing pages, talk about the areas where you provide services. Name the counties or towns. Mention local landmarks, if appropriate (“two blocks from the Veteran’s Memorial” or “around the corner from Hillsdale Mall”). Consider including a map. This helps families know where you are and whether you’re convenient to them, and it also sends more signals to Google about the service.
7. Create original content.
Another way to signal Google that your site is valuable is to provide helpful, original content. If you’re producing paper newsletters, be sure to publish that content online, too. (For more ideas about writing content, see our blog post How to Make the Most of Internet Leads.)
8. Don’t skip the details.
Make sure every page of your site has a unique title tag. This is your page’s headline, and it’s the bold title consumers will see in their search results. You have only 60 to 70 characters to catch someone’s eye. For your homepage’s title tag, we recommend including your business name, city name, and state. For all other pages, make sure your title tag is relevant to the content on that page. (If you’re not sure how to edit your title tags, check with your hosting company.)
Meta Description Tags:
Every page on your site also needs a unique meta tag of 100 to 150 characters. Your goal is to entice someone to click. What benefit will they receive when they visit the page? What problem will you help them solve? (Again, for help editing your meta tags, check with your hosting company.)
Memory Care in Spokane, WA | ABC Assisted Living | (800) 555-1212
Get help caring for your loved one with memory loss. We offer in-home care services, adult day programs, and residential options. Certified memory care practitioners. Free consultation.
(For more about SEO optimization, we recommend the Beginner’s Guide to SEO from SEOmoz.org.)
9. Claim your listing in the Caring.com Senior Directory.
So far, we’ve been talking about how to get your own website to show up on that first page of search results. Google’s algorithm also gives priority to well-established sites with lots of backlinks and social mentions. This means that Caring.com has a good chance of showing up for searches relevant to your business. Claiming your listing on Caring.com offers a way to double your exposure and get your business to show up twice on that first page of search results.
Your basic listing in the Caring.com Senior Directory is complimentary. (A one-time set-up fee may apply.) Odds are good we’ve already got you listed — we have more than 25,000 businesses so far and we’re growing every day.
To help your Caring.com directory listing move higher in Google search results, give us a call. We’ll recommend two key updates to your listing:
- Photos. As a provider, you can post a photo on your free basic listing. (Enhanced Listings can include up to eight photos.)
- Custom descriptions. Write a custom description of your services for your Caring.com listing. (Don’t reuse the same content you’re using on your own website — that hurts both your website and your Caring.com listing.)
You can make these changes at any time. Just call your Caring Advisor at (866) 824-9209.
It’s also a good idea to claim your business listing in other online directories, especially Google Places. To learn more about claiming listings everywhere, visit GetListed.org.
10. Get reviews.
Google’s algorithm rewards reviews. It’s one more signal that your website and your directory listing are connected to your business and that real people find you helpful. We make it easy to collect reviews from your customers at Caring.com: Find out more about getting reviews now.
11. Monitor your progress.
At least once a month, search for your business name and city. Once you’ve done everything described here, you’re likely to see your own website (and your Caring.com listing) rise to the first page of results. Ask families how they’re finding you, and see if you’re starting to get more Internet leads. Make these metrics part of your monthly management meeting.
Want to dig deeper? Learn more about how to improve your search ranking.
Ready to make updates to your basic listing?
Contact your Membership Advisor today at (866) 824-9209.
Kate Antheil Boyd is VP of Content at Caring.com, the web’s #1 source for senior care reviews. We help families find information, support, and local services to help with their caregiving journey. We also help senior service providers connect with the families who need them.
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