Marketing to Seniors,Search Engine Optimization,Senior Living

What Senior Living Communities Need to Know About Google and Bing’s AI Changes

Illustration of a search engine results page with people around the page holding inspecting glasses or talking and pointing

Ever since ChatGPT became famous in late 2022, senior living marketing agencies and the communities they serve have been asking how AI can improve their marketing efforts. Can I use AI to write my blog posts? Will people even search now that they can chat? What should I do to get ready? How do I show up in chat responses? 

Now that Google and Bing have revealed their AI chat functionality this spring, let’s peer into the future and get more concrete answers to those questions.

Google’s Search Generative Experience and Bing Chat: The Next Step in NLPs and Search

Natural language processing (NLP) refers to the branch of computer science — specifically artificial intelligence — working to give computers the ability to understand text and spoken words in much the same way humans can. ​ 

Over the years, companies have been working to create more and more human-like responses with NLP, such as voice search (e.g., Alexa and Siri) in 2012 and the consistent tweaks to search engines to understand more than keywords, but the whole sentence or question we ask.

The new Google Search Experience (SGE) and Bing Chat are the next user experience (UX) evolution utilizing NLP and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help people better find what they’re looking for. 

SGE: AI-Generated Responses and Improved Search User Experience

Google’s new search experience uses AI to develop a custom response to your questions above the traditional list of links it provides. They are not getting rid of links and content but rather providing human-like responses from content Google has crawled and listing the most relevant pieces of content that it found and directing people there in the AI chat box. A new change Google is making is having AI move away from keyword ranking in location-based searches and instead offering results based on its own product, Google Business Profile listings.

If you want to see SGE in action, you can watch the May announcement or sign up to get early access to SGE. SGE will roll out to all searchers in the fall. 

Bing Chat: AI Chat Outside the Search Experience

The new Bing Chat provides a natural response with detailed answers and allows you to ask follow up questions and is separate from the search results page. If it seems familiar to the famous ChatGPT, it’s because Bing’s chat functionality is built by OpenAI, the same AI research and deployment company that created ChatGPT. Bing Chat has internet access, which gives it the ability to provide more up-to-date responses. The free version of ChatGPT is only trained on data up to the year 2021 and is not connected to the internet. 

At the time of testing, the Attane SEO team has found that Bing’s Chat does not quite fully and completely answer many of the common searches prospective residents and decision makers ask and can provide irrelevant or inaccurate responses. We expect that this will improve over time, as OpenAI is Microsoft’s significant investment, and they continue to improve its abilities. 

Bing chat is available through Microsoft Edge.

How Are SGE and Bing Chat Different?

  • Google’s SGE has integrated AI responses into the search results page while Bing has opted to have it be separate
  • In location-related searches (e.g., assisted living near me, best retirement community in Chicago, etc), SGE prioritizes Google Business Profile reviews and ratings, not website keyword rankings, in developing responses. Bing Chat uses information found in directories like Seniorly, and A Place for Mom to come up with responses and lists them as sources instead of using a location’s reviews or ratings.
  • Bing Chat at the time of this blog post has provided irrelevant or sometimes confusing information to questions common to people searching for senior living services, such as telling users good neighborhoods with many doctors in the area when asking about the retirement communities in the city or providing map listings of places that aren’t communities.

Peering Into the Crystal Ball: What Our SEO and Local Listings Experts Think About the Future of Search

The future of how people will use search, and how many tweaks Google and Bing will make this year, is uncertain. We can’t predict with certainty what will happen, but we can make educated guesses based on the information and experimentation we have available.

  1. Google will be moderately reducing the organic search share and impact on referral directories like A Place for Mom and by bypassing directories and list articles and instead using Google Business Profile to generate its own lists 
  2. There will be an increased importance in Google Business Profiles and increase in percentage that traffic comes from listings versus search links
  3. Companies will be accelerating their plans to invest in reputation management programs and services to ensure Google Business Profile reviews have high star ratings and a steady flow of new reviews

What Senior Living Communities Should Be Doing Now to Get Ready

Right now, we recommend senior living communities prioritize getting ready for the changes coming to Google. Why? Because when reviewing the data of all of our clients, we found that:

  • 94% of all senior living related organic search traffic comes from Google
  • Only 6% comes from Bing searches
  • 30%-50% of Google traffic comes from the Google Business Profile (map) listing

Remember, your profile listings aren’t a one-time optimization. Consistent managing and optimizing all areas, including posts, products, events, FAQ and other areas, monitoring search visibility, and review management are key to a listing that brings in traffic and calls and distinguishes you from your competitors. 

Your Checklist for Getting Ready for SGE

  1. Make sure your Google Business Profile has a 4.1 star rating or higher with recent reviews and scale up (or start) your review management efforts.
  2. Continue or start to create high-value, specific content that Google will recommend in the 3 AI response areas.
  3. Continue or scale up your local listings management efforts, as for many people the preview of your listing in the AI response will be a person’s first introduction to who you are. This includes:
    1. Adding eye-catching property photos to your listings
    2. Reviewing your listing for accuracy
    3. Adding products, FAQs, Events and more to your listing

Don’t Want To Stress About Being Found Online? We Can Help

At our senior living agency, we work holistically to have you show up in search results. This is why we bundle our comprehensive organic search program that includes SEO, Local Listings Management and UX with our Owned Social program. (Did you know? Bing uses Facebook reviews and engagement metrics to decide what senior living communities should show up on top in search!) Our teams work side by side to make sure your prospective residents and family decision-makers can find you at the right time and say yes to your community. 

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