Google getting sticky: Seniors Housing operators can grow presence off and online

When it comes to marketing your Seniors Housing community online, there are three factors that affect your search engine rankings:
1) Paid Listings—Sponsored ads that run across the top and down the right side of the search engine results (as seen below). Paid_Results

2) Organic Listings—The non-highlighted listings you see (not paid ads and not maps)


3) Maps—This third factor is currently a hot topic as search engine leader Google is leveraging its maps section in a way that could feasibly change how businesses advertise online when targeting local customers


Let me explain.

A number of G5 Search Marketing clients have received window stickers from Google in the mail. These stickers, which identify one or more of their communities as a “Google Preferred Place,” are being distributed to businesses that rank well in maps for a certain subject (e.g., Seniors Housing) and for a specific geographic area. Companies that show up regularly and have a full listing in the maps sections are the first to receive these stickers.

The rationale for this offline offering:

“This launch is part of our overall effort—online and offline—to provide you with the best local business results whenever you’re trying to figure out where to go, whether it’s a trendy Cuban restaurant in Philly, a comics shop in L.A., a hip hotel in NYC, or a little bit of photographic history in Rochester, N.Y.”

In essence, Google is becoming more involved in finding locally relevant businesses and services offline for its online users. For Seniors Housing, this is a boon. As users are searching online for Seniors Housing services, they’re typically searching for those services in a certain geographic area. When these stickers are placed in a high visibility physical location, such as a community’s main entrance, this effort bridges the offline experience (e.g., tour or a move-in) with the online search experience. With 80% of the search engine volume, Google is by far the market leader and, as more and more Seniors Housing prospects are beginning their information search for a community online, these offline stickers imply Google endorsement and, by extension, provide instant credibility of your community and brand.

Google claims to have mailed over 100,000 stickers across the U.S. and the search giant said there should be many, many more in distribution by the end of 2010. So how do you get your community on the mailing list? A key first step is to help increase your profile on the Internet by claiming your Google Local Business Center Listing and enhancing that listing with content—such as photos and videos of your location(s). Having your communities listed high in your maps results in addition to having positive reviews on Google and a sticker on your door identifying you as a favorite destination on Google will help increase your occupancy numbers.

Next Time: Google Local Business Listings—why they matter, how to create them, and why it’s worth your time. Devin Davis is the Director of Marketing for G5 Search Marketing. You can reach him via e-mail, Twitter (@G5SMarketing), or phone (541) 306-3389. G5 Search Marketing is a Local Marketing Management provider for the Senior Housing Industry.

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