SEO Tips for Your Funeral Home Website

When was the last time you conducted an online search and explored past the first page of results? If you’re like most search engine users, you probably rarely even bother to pay attention to websites that appear after the top five results.

An effective search engine optimization strategy for your funeral home’s website can help your firm earn one of the top spots in search engine results pages (SERPs) where your client families and prospective client families are much more likely to see your content and click through to your website.

What Is SEO and Why It Matters for Funeral Homes

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results. Businesses use SEO to get more of the right kind of traffic to their website. When your funeral home website incorporates SEO best practices, more people in your community will find you when they’re looking for information online about funeral services. 

How to Optimize Your Funeral Home Website for Search Engines

Understanding why SEO is important to achieve highly-ranked results in SERPs is easy, but understanding how is a little more complicated because there are hundreds of factors influencing a website’s rankings. Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors that might be deterring your ability to rank well in search engine results, and what you can do to improve your funeral business website’s rankings.

Choose Appropriate Keywords

Search engine results are driven by the keywords (or search queries) that your potential client families enter into their search bars. But selecting the right keywords can be tricky — after all, a person could think of many different phrases to find the information they want.

There’s a simple way to get clues about search terms that people use to find funeral service information. Try this exercise: Begin typing “funeral” into your search engine, such as Google, and see what terms the search engine automatically suggests to complete your search. Then, try some other combinations, such as “[your city] funeral…” to find additional keyword opportunities. Other popular techniques for finding keywords include using Google Keyword Planner, an SEO tool like Semrush, Google Suggest and more.

Selecting, using and monitoring keywords is an ongoing task, not a one-time project. Factors to consider when choosing keywords include relevance to your client families and prospective client families, value to your funeral business and difficulty (i.e., the chances of successfully earning a high ranking for a specific keyword). A funeral home blog is a great way to use your target keywords. For example, as you discover common questions people ask about funeral services during your keyword research, answer those questions by writing blog posts. When someone searches for one of the questions you wrote about, your blog post will have an opportunity to appear in organic search results for that individual’s search query.  

Write Thoughtful Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Each page on your website has a title — this is the text that appears as a link in search engine results. Because you don’t have very many characters for this title (50-60) before it gets shortened by search engines, be sure to pick your words carefully. Each of your website pages also has a meta description, which explains the information that website visitors can learn on the page. This is the text that appears below the linked title in the search engine results. Be sure this text includes one of your targeted keywords and accurately explains the contents of the page.

Align Your Website Content with Current SEO Best Practices

Keep your website content in line with today’s SEO best practices, which focus on providing a great user experience. Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving to help people find websites that are relevant to the information they want. They weren’t always so sophisticated, and unfortunately some website operators took advantage of opportunities to improve their search engine rankings without really providing value to people who need information.

Tactics like filling up your pages with keywords, purchasing links and creating pages and content designed only for web crawlers are no longer effective, and in fact could get your website penalized with a lower ranking. Plus, these outdated strategies can make your content more difficult to find or less trusted or useful for the people who you want to see it.

Incorporate Images

Your website visitors will appreciate images that add visual interest to the page and reinforce the messages you are communicating. The file names of these images are important — an image that’s named something generic, such as website-photo-12.jpg, won’t tell search engines anything about the content you’re providing. If your image shows a family planning a funeral, for example, include that in the file name: family-funeral-planning.jpg. Pictures on your website can also have alt tags, which allow you to add short descriptions of what the photos depict. This alternative text will be displayed if the image can’t be rendered.

Use Links

Search engines use web crawlers to follow links and discover interconnected pages online. Their findings are used to develop search engine results that are relevant to the search term that was entered. To help make your website more user-friendly for your audience (including those web crawlers), evaluate your website architecture to identify and fix potential issues. If you have pages that aren’t effectively connected to your website via internal links, they’re difficult for search engines to index. That means you’re missing out on valuable opportunities for your content to get in front of the right people.

Another component of SEO is backlinks – the links placed on other reputable websites that take users to your website. These are more difficult to get, and one of the best ways to earn them is, again, through the content that you put on your website. Information that’s relevant to the people in your community is also likely to capture the attention of people who could provide beneficial links to your funeral home website. 

Tip: Always check your links and set a cadence to periodically check them. Broken links aren’t only bad for user experience, they’re also bad for SEO. If a prospective client family is looking for information on your celebration-of-life services, but the link to that page doesn’t work, they might move on to another firm’s website that has the information they need. You may end up losing that client and possibly others looking for funeral services online. Google suggests regularly checking your website for broken links. “Regularly” can mean different things to different people, but it’s probably a good idea to check for broken links at least once a quarter. 

Other SEO Tips for Your Funeral Home Website


Identify Your Goals

Outline what you hope to accomplish with your website. If you want people to get to the obituaries as quickly as possible, then that’s great — feature the obituaries in a prominent location. But if your goal is to educate consumers on the value of your services, highlight your competitive differentiators or generate preneed leads, you may need to take a hard, critical look at your website design and navigation menu.

Evaluate Your Website’s Navigation Menu

The vast majority of websites stretch their primary navigation menu across the top of their page. Most internet users know this, and their eyes are trained to look either at the top left or the top right corner to find what they need. If the link to your obituary, for example, is in one of those two places, site visitors are likely to see and click it first, before they look at any other content.

You’ll also hear a lot of web designers talking about content above and below the fold. This is a relic from newspaper advertising, when the premium ad placements were in the top half of the paper (above the fold), because casual readers would see them without having to unfold their papers. The “fold” on your website is the cut off for a standard browser window without the user having to scroll down. If your obituary link is included in a prominent place above the fold, many visitors won’t scroll down to see your other content.

If you want consumers to learn something about your business when they visit your website, you need to thoughtfully consider where you put key information. For example, try placing the obituary link about a third from the left or right end of your top navigation and/or at least one scroll below the fold. Visitors will still get what they need, but they’ll receive key information about your business on their journey to get there. Even something as simple as glancing over your “Plan Ahead” and “Services” menu items can help educate them about your business. They may even take a detour on their way to the obituaries and find out why they should become your customer.

One more thought on navigation: Regardless of your unique goals, how you want consumers to contact you is the most important thing to include on your website. If you want them to call you, your phone number should be a focal point. Place that in your website header and footer and anchor it on every page.

Use Consistent Messaging — Especially When It Comes to Pricing

The consistency of your message is what people start to associate with your brand, so your website messaging should align with the message you deliver face to face. It doesn’t have to be overly complex or deep. In fact, a lot of times less is more. But when you talk about your services online, you need to be as specific as possible so consumers know what to expect from you. For funeral homes, that should include some discussion of pricing.

Take a hard look at how you’re communicating your prices today. Are you contextualizing why things cost what they do? What story are you telling? Are you easy to work with, or do you nickel and dime customers? Are you compassionate and caring, or are you looking to optimize the business side? When you publish your price list, remember that it is also a marketing piece — it should tell a story and make customers feel a certain way.

This is a sticking point for many funeral providers, but price transparency is a key part of building trust with consumers. Most people have trouble feeling comfortable with an experience if they don’t know what it will cost, and consumers quickly become frustrated with businesses that are purposely opaque with their pricing. That’s why many successful business owners believe listing prices online gives them a competitive edge over competitors who don’t. With that said, how you list your prices depends entirely on your value proposition. 

Ideas for Low-Cost Providers

If your focus is on being a low-cost provider, don’t shy away from that — own your position and communicate that through your site. When you look at your website design, include your prices in key places above the fold and on either end of your top navigation. List specific dollar amounts and explain exactly what is (and is not) included.

Ideas for Premium Providers

If you are a premium provider, don’t lead with price. You’re offering something different than low-cost providers, so make sure you’re telling that story. Focus on the service you provide, the features and the reason someone would choose you. It’s the care, it’s the attention to detail — it’s all of those small things. You should still include some information about your prices, but don’t put it in a prominent position. Keep it out of the main navigation and place it below the fold. And when you do include it, do so in ranges (“Packages starting at…”).

Ideas for Other Providers

If you fall somewhere in between a low-cost and premium provider, you should focus less on the dollar amount and more on the cost relative to other providers. Hinting at price as a comparison is a good middle ground (“15% below our leading competitor”).

Remember that the goal of your funeral home website is to tell your story. If you are transparent in both your value proposition and your pricing, you are going to attract the type of consumer who is most likely to be satisfied with your services.

Your website should be optimized to meet your business goals, and it should function as a lead generator. It needs to tell your story and explain your services in a way that makes sense based on how your brand is supported locally. Visitors should have the same experience with your brand online that they do in person. If you can’t confidently say that that is true of your business today, it’s time to take a hard, critical look at your website. Contact your Homesteaders account executive for more tips on optimizing your funeral home's website.

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