The Unaddressed Challenge of Online Visibility for Assisted Living Communities

For the last ten years, one of the major hurdles facing Assisted Living communities has been their scarce or even non-existent online footprint. This is particularly noticeable when individuals or their families use leading search engines like Google and Bing to find information on Senior Living or Assisted Living options.

Why Are Large Placement Agencies Ruling the Online Space?

Perform a quick search for “Senior Living” or “Assisted Living,” and you’ll predominantly encounter large, corporate placement agencies. Many of these agencies have appealing but often misleading names, which do not necessarily reflect the services they offer. (The contrast between these large corporations and local placement agencies will be discussed in Part II of this article.)

Senior Living SEOThese agencies not only dominate the initial online interactions but also entice families with the allure of free services, all while billing the Senior Living communities a hefty portion—often up to 80%—of the new resident’s first month’s rent.

Rarely mentioned is the hidden cost for Senior Living communities in terms of time and resources needed to vet these referrals. Often, the information furnished by these “care specialists” or telemarketers is either inadequate or misleading. Senior Living facilities across the nation work tirelessly to build relationships within their local communities—a crucial yet underemphasized aspect of Senior Living.

In the absence of true specialists, Senior Living communities have poured hundreds of thousands of hours into grassroots community outreach efforts to grow organically—not just in numbers but also in local awareness. Despite these concerted efforts, they struggle to mitigate the influence of these large placement agencies, which owe their leverage almost entirely to their online presence.

Who Appears When You Search for Senior Living Facilities in Your Area?

Given that 90% of online consumers rely on top-page search results, these corporate placement agencies are poised to extend their influence even further. Their strategy is transparent and straightforward: optimize for search engines (SEO) to capture the attention of every potential resident or family inquiring about Senior Living online.

As Senior Living staff work diligently to engage with their local communities, these large placement agencies merely wait for their phones to ring, generating revenue to the tune of hundreds of millions annually—all at the expense of Assisted Living communities.

What’s the Way Forward?

When discussing a problem, it’s crucial to identify it clearly and without bias. Having worked in Senior Living for nearly two decades, my insights are based on firsthand experience. Until representatives from large placement agencies provide a compelling justification for their services, we need to focus on finding solutions.

The adage “you can’t fight fire with fire” generally holds, but here it doesn’t. To effectively compete online, Senior Living communities need superior SEO strategies. It’s essential to partner with the right Senior Living SEO company, one that understands the nuances of competing for a top spot on Google.

Not all SEO companies are alike, and some may include Senior Living SEO as part of a bundled package. Avoid this. These packages often prioritize web design over SEO, compromising your online reach at the local level. Remember, these placement agencies are solely focused on SEO, and to compete, you need to be as well.

I’ve been involved in key projects for Senior Living, such as the “Respite to Prevent Hospital Readmissions Case Study,” and contributed to the introduction of Telemedicine to home health over a decade ago. Recognizing the potential to marry SEO expertise with the advocacy for online representation of Senior Living, we knew we had something unique to offer.


Michael Monsour Jr.