Local SEO: What Your Funeral Home Should Know This Year
Posted January 22, 2020
7 min read
What does it mean when someone says, “local SEO”? And how does a local SEO benefit your funeral home?
“Search engine optimization” simply refers to how businesses can promote their services on the internet to local people, in their area, who are looking for those very same offerings.
Another way to reference it: “local search.”
“Local search” is used to describe when someone goes to search something with local intent behind it. Here’s an example: if your funeral home is located in Columbus, Ohio, and someone in Columbus is searching for your services, they might search something similar to “funeral homes near me” or “funeral homes in Columbus.”
That’s an example of what you can call a local search, because it’s a search query that includes location (a place. Search engines (such as Google) are advanced enough to be able to deliver just what customers want: in this example, that means results that are location-specific.
Did you know that by implementing certain tactics, over-time, you can boost your business’ ability to show up in local search engine results? For funeral homes, that’s not just important, but it’s critical. After all, it’s been argued that local search has the highest conversion levels of all local advertising channels.
Here are 4 steps you can take to help you improve your local SEO in the coming months.1
1. Claim your Google My Business listing
Have you taken ownership of your Google My Business listing?
If you aren’t quite sure what that is, you may not have taken proper ownership of the free business profile that’s given to you by Google. (We focus on Google since it’s the number one search engine with the greatest market share.)
Google My Business is a free tool you can use and update to showcase your funeral home. You can see the results on the right-hand side of the page when you Google search local businesses. It’s a great first step to make sure your business shows up properly when people search for you, or the products and services you deliver.
To get started, sign up for Google My Business (or claim ownership of an existing profile for your business). At minimum, fill out your profile with your client families in mind. That includes your business hours, physical address, phone number, what business you are in and your website. Add worthwhile photos that help differentiate your business.
Remember, this is also the place where people will be able to ask questions and leave reviews for your business, so don’t simply set up your business profile and never return to it. Instead, respond to reviews, update your services when appropriate, include any special offers when you have them, update your photos and pictures, and answer any questions you are asked, too. Not only can you showcase your business with your listing, but you can see insights from Google that may give you some ideas on how to better engage with your client families in the future.
2. Encourage authentic reviews
Now that you’ve filled out your Google listing, you also want to be sure you you’re adding reviews too. After all, that’s immediate credibility and it helps you to tell your story.
This isn’t just true on Google: you also should put the same effort towards Facebook reviews, reviews gathered and showcased on your website, Yelp, and other platforms that are a fit for your business. (Be sure to follow each channels’ guidelines when it comes to collecting or “soliciting” reviews.)
One simple way to start collecting and showcasing more reviews and family experiences is to ask client families after you’ve served them. That might be via phone call or via email.
Besides creating emails that can direct them to each of these social media sites (not all—we recommend just one!), you can also add physical signage in your funeral home to help you collect reviews. Physical signage is key since it helps to remind people just how important a review is for your business.
Whatever physical signage you use, make sure it guides them right to the appropriate social media channel or to your website; the less time they have to think about it, and the easier it is to give feedback, the more likely it is they’ll respond.
3. Update your website regularly with original and relevant content
Besides doing all you can to manage your online ratings and reviews, you also want to be regularly updating your website with relevant, local-centric content. Regular updates to your site with original, fresh, and relevant content can help your long-term, local SEO efforts.
Not sure where to start beyond your obituaries? Think about content that is local and think about content that help inform and educate families. When it comes to building out your content calendar, you may even want to get feedback from your client families.
How do they see you as different? What do they see as your impact on the community? What are they most interested in learning about when it comes to funeral service in general? What do they have questions about? What do they wish they would have known about sooner in the process? What are you doing in your local community that you can highlight?
The answers to these questions are a great place to start when it comes to content you create and post on your website. Remember, you never want to start writing content for the search engines or for an algorithm—you want to create content that’s written for your client families. Every single piece should be written with a strategy behind it.
When it’s a natural fit, you can prioritize the content that has a local angle; this will help you to make sure you’re creating content that is important to client families but also will help you in your long-term local search efforts.
4. Be sure your website has an up-to-date contact page
One of the biggest mistakes you can make on your website is to forget to include your version of a “contact us” page. Not having a clear place that indicates your address and phone number leaves both search engines and your client families having to dig to get that key information.
Worse yet, some funeral homes have this information on an “about us” or “contact us” page that doesn’t include up-to-date, accurate information.2
Think of this critical page on your website as a location page; that page needs to clearly list your business name, address and your phone number—and it needs to be listed the same everywhere else across the digital world.2
Again, be sure your phone number is consistently used across all your platforms or channels—even down to including your area code, each and every time. Have multiple locations? Consider creating a location page for each physical location on your website; be sure to vary up the content on each of those pages—which might include family testimonials, images and content you can change from time to time.2
These are just four tactics to help you boost your local SEO efforts, but there are many more ways you can improve your SEO in the long-run. Want to learn more? Subscribe to our blog to learn other marketing tactics and strategies, death care trends worth knowing about and watching, and tips to help you improve your operations—and much more.
The Simplest Way to Manage Your Funeral Home
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