I’m going to start today’s article by posing a question that I get from many partner communities: “Where is my community? I’m looking at the Assisted Living list for Seattle on your website and I should be in the first few results, but I’m not on the page at all.”
The Basics of A Place for Mom’s Search Results
To answer this question, I have to start at the beginning. APlaceforMom.com is built specifically for families to gather the information they need to make an informed and confident decision when choosing the right senior living solution for them. Every section of the site must have as much information as possible to aid the family in their search, while minimizing the amount of incomplete information. Each partner community with A Place for Mom has an individual web page on our site that you can use to share information, photos, and features of your community.
We organize our partners’ web pages by level of care and location. Additionally, our site has dozens of city pages within each level of care. If you go to our site and click on Assisted Living in the navigation bar, for example, you can click on your city and browse Assisted Living options near you. The city page uses the physical center of a city, but you can also use the “Refine Your Results” section to search using any zip code as the center point.
We show 30 of the best results for each city. You can imagine that in major metro areas, there are more than 30 Assisted Living communities, so we show only the best 30 community web pages. What does “best” mean? From a family’s perspective, it means that the community is located nearby and has a complete APFM web page for them to read. That second point is very important when it comes to the APFM search results.
Unique Content is King
We use specific logic to display communities in our search results:
- Start with the communities within or close to the center of the city.
- Sort them first by distance.
- List them in the search results by completeness of web page.
- High: Unique description AND unique photo(s).
- Middle: Unique description OR unique photo(s).
- Low: No unique content.
When a new partner comes on board with us, our Customer Experience Team sends a series of welcome emails to the marketing director to introduce them to the tools we offer to help you manage your partnership more effectively. One of these emails includes instructions to register for Partner Central and complete their APFM web page. Ideally a new partner would complete this page right away, as it’s often your first opportunity to introduce yourself to APFM-referred families. Sometimes the community forgets to complete their web page, which means that we put up a generic message and stock photo. This is what we mean by “no unique content.” It represents a poor user experience for a family, so we list those communities last until they have completed their APFM web pages.
Search Results in a City vs. a Small Town
Without a unique description and photo, the community is automatically sorted below communities that did complete some or all of their web page. Let’s look at two example city pages. Click here to view Seattle, WA. You can see that these communities all have unique descriptions and at least one photo. I can tell you, since I can find all of the partners that are eligible for this list in APFM’s system, that there are some communities that would be on this list if they had completed their web pages, but because of our logic and the high number of options in Seattle, they do not appear at all.
We see a different effect in less-populated cities. Click here to look at this page, which is for Bothell, WA, (20 miles northeast of Seattle). There are several options on this page that are within 6 miles of the center of Bothell. Halfway down the page, we see several communities that completed their description, but haven’t uploaded any photos. At the very bottom are communities that have no unique information. There are communities that appear further down the page that would be within the first three to five results if their pages were complete. If your community is in a small city, you may show up on the city search if you haven’t completed your web page, but a family may not even bother looking at it if they can’t find any meaningful information or browse through photos.
Now that you understand how our city pages work, it’s time to log into your Partner Central Community Profile and make sure that your page is the best it can be. Click here to read our post, Four Easy Ways to Make Your Community Profile Stand Out, to learn more about registering for Partner Central and completing your web page.