Voice search is becoming an important tactic to consider when you’re devising your senior living community’s digital marketing strategy. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical component of ensuring you get the right eyeballs directed towards your website but it’s not enough to just to remain cognizant of what terms seniors are using to locate your community’s site. You also need to stay cognizant of how they’re finding you and that is where voice search comes in to play. 

What is voice search? 

According to Forbes, voice search “essentially allows users to speak into a device as opposed to typing keywords into a search query to generate results.” 

Think Siri and Alexa, with their capabilities to let users search the internet with a simple voice command. It’s an emerging technology that isn’t necessarily new but is consistently growing in popularity. 

Speech recognition technology has been around in some form or another since the 1950s. The earlier versions were obviously much less advanced. Now? Voice search comes in two main formats

  • Mobile devices. Smartphones like Apple’s iPhone use apps such as Siri to let users find information through voice search. 
  • Smart speakers. Google’s Alexa and Microsoft Cortana fall into this category. 

It’s now advanced to become a staple in millions of homes across the country. One study found that 27% of the population uses voice search via Google. It’s clearly a popular format. But why should you, as a senior living community, want to target it as part of your digital outreach? Can factoring it into your web presence help you increase interest in your community from prospective new members? 

The answer is a resounding yes, for several reasons. 

voice search

Why senior living should care about voice search

There’s no question that senior living communities can greatly benefit from the fact that seniors use voice search. For many seniors, voice search is an easier option than using a traditional internet search. Consider a few factors into why there is a high probability that seniors use voice search: 

  • Many seniors have difficulty with movement. A senior confined to a bed or couch would be able to employ voice search to help them solve any number of problems without having to get up. 
  • Seniors could treat a voice search assistant almost as a virtual attendant. Rather than have a nurse or other assistant in person, seniors could have several needs met through voice search. This could help instill a feeling of independence in some seniors who may prefer autonomy to reliance on an attendant or nurse. 
  • It’s a versatile tool that would appeal to seniors for a number of routine tasks. Along with conducting internet searches on an engine, voice search may be able to perform any number of commands, including (but not limited to) regulating temperature, making phone calls and texts, and setting alarms and reminders. If seniors would use it for any of those purposes, it seems likely they’d use it as they search for a new place to live in their area.
  • It is also a much quicker way to get the information you need. It saves seniors the time of having to use a computer and sift through numerous search engine results. 

Combine all these factors with the reality that more seniors than ever are embracing mobile technology, and it’s clear that seniors relying on voice search makes sense. 

It’s clear that voice search is a popular search tool that is well-suited for seniors. But how can your senior living community optimize its website to capture the results of voice searches from seniors and their families looking for a new place to live? 

Tips to optimize your website

According to HubSpot, Google voice search queries have skyrocketed by 3400% in the last decade. To take it a step further, according to Search Engine Journal, voice searches have penetrated overall searches in the real estate/property industry by 48%. It’s clear that optimizing your senior living community site for voice search is a good and valuable idea. 

But how exactly can you do that? Voice searches differ from traditional internet searches, so it’s not the same as regular old SEO. There are several ways you can increase the likelihood that voice search users find you: 

Keep in mind how voice searches will differ from traditional internet searches

Voice searches will be phrased how people speak as opposed to how they type. They may come in the form of a question (i.e. “What is the best senior living community in Arlington, Texas?”). Keep this in mind as you develop your content and use questions as a component of your online marketing strategy. 

When you pose a question in your blog headline or first line of your post, make sure the answer is quickly included after it. 

Try to get into Google’s “Answer box”

For voice searches on most devices, the answer that’s read are answers found in Google’s “Answer box.” This is the box that pops up as the lead, highlighted link after a search occurs. It’s Google’s way of saying, “This answered this question better than any other link.” 

There are some best practices that can help you get featured here. It’s great for general SEO purposes but even better for improving your results with device users opting for voice search. 

Summary

As voice search surges in popularity among all groups, it’s important to consider how popular it may be with seniors. Don’t neglect that as you develop your digital marketing strategy. Account for the popularity of voice search as a source of information by making sure your website and your accompanying content are optimized for it. That will get the message about your senior living community in front of even more potential new residents and their families.  

408 Marketing is always at the forefront of digital marketing technology. We’ll continue to monitor the voice search landscape, and frequently reevaluate our approach to this exciting medium. Always feel free to contact us with your digital marketing questions; we are here to help.