Try this quick experiment: Type “funeral homes in [your city]” into the Google search bar, and see where your funeral home ranks in the list of results. Are you happy with these results? If not – or if you’re happy with your placement and would like to keep it – you’ll need to carefully consider your funeral home website’s search engine optimization practices as part of your funeral home marketing efforts.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the set of techniques used to help a website achieve a better rank in the results of search engines such as Google. When your funeral home website incorporates SEO best practices, more people in your community will find you when they’re looking for information about funeral services.
Search engine results are driven by the keywords (or short phrases known as long-tail keywords) that your potential clients enter into the search bar. 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 could be using to find funeral service information. Begin typing “funeral” into the Google search bar, 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 terms. When you’re ready for a more sophisticated approach, click here to learn about services that can help you find effective keywords.
Optimizing Website Pages
There are many ways to optimize your website pages to improve your search engine rankings and ensure your client families find you when they’re looking for funeral planning information online. Here are a few of the elements to help you get started:
Titles 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.
Page text and images. The text on your page should be focused on providing a service to your clients and include just a few mentions of your keywords. If you add too many occurrences of your keywords to the page, you could actually be penalized in search results. Providing outstanding content also has another important SEO benefit: It increases the likelihood that people who operate other websites will provide links from their pages to yours.
Your website visitors will also 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.
Internal links. Another website SEO best practice is to include links from various pages on your website to other related pages. For example, if you have an “About Us” page that describes the history of your funeral home locations, it’s a good idea to include hyperlinked text (called anchor text) that leads to a page with the contact information for your location(s).
If you haven't evaluated your funeral home's online presence recently, it may be time to examine how your website is performing and investigate how you can improve the results. There are many ways to optimize your website to achieve the best possible search engine rank, and these are important steps toward ensuring your funeral home can be found when members of your community are looking for information about funeral planning.