The most common issue I see in search engine optimization for senior care is the avoidance of the term nursing home.  It is still commonly used terminology for your referral sources, and therefore your prospective residents and their families who are researching your services.  While no one may want to go to a nursing home…the fact is that sometimes people need nursing home services… and look for them online.

Using Google’s keyword tool, the following are the numbers of global monthly searches for possible keywords for which your facility website might be optimized:
1,500,000 – nursing home
823,000 – care center
165,000 – health care center
74,000 – skilled nursing

As you can see, the term “nursing home” gets almost double the number of searches as the second highest term, “care center”.  Although these numbers are global and not representative of your local market, you can see that the ratio differs greatly among the possible searches.  With at least twice as many searchers looking for nursing homes compared to other terms, do you really want to avoid optimizing your website for it?

If you do not want to label yourself a nursing home, think about ways to get creative with the copy.  The keywords need to be on the page the will be optimized, but you have flexibility with how they are used.  For example, you could say “in addition to services found in traditional nursing homes, we are pleased to offer…” or “we take pride in offering health care services in an environment that puts the “home” in skilled nursing homes!”

If your site is already successful in search for the term, you may be able to avoid going this.  However, you should monitor your site’s performance in search to ensure that your status doesn’t change.  In very competitive areas, you may not want to take a chance on falling out of the search ranks for this term, as it could be difficult to regain your position.