3 Google Best Practices for Including Images on Your Pages

Images help draw people into your content and retain the information you share. On average, people only retain 10 percent of what they hear after three days, but they retain 65 percent of the information conveyed to them with visual cues.

But slapping random images on your deathcare website pages isn’t the right move. Google provides some best practices for using images to increase SEO and the overall performance of your pages, and we’ve summarized three of them below.

1. Start with high-quality, relevant images.

This one might seem obvious, but many small businesses adorn their website with low-quality or irrelevant free stock images, mostly because it’s convenient and easy to do so. Some problems with this tactic include:

  • Images don’t support the content, so they don’t help with user engagement, information retention, and conversion.
  • Anyone can use those free stock images, and they do. Which means your site won’t stand out from the crowd.
  • Low-quality or boring stock images don’t capture user interest when they’re used as thumbnails in search or on social, which can reduce how many people click through on your link.

When possible, use original images. Hire a photographer to capture your funeral home facilities in well-lit, professional images, take pictures yourself with a decent smartphone, or use tools like Canva to easily make graphics with the right brand colors.

2. Include meta data for every image.

Every image on your page should have:

  • A descriptive title. “Woman standing near casket,” “Family grieving at gravesite,” “White flowers next to urn” are all examples of short titles that might describe images.
  • A caption. The caption can include keywords and be a bit more creative. “Family works with funeral director to plan memorial” or “Preplanning is easy, and you can do it remotely” are examples for images that show a family touring a funeral home or someone sitting at a computer.
  • A unique filename. Don’t leave “IMG00001.jpg” as the filename. Tell Google something about the image here, such as oak-casket.jpg.
  • Alt text. Make sure to complete the alt text description of the image to support accessibility. This is the text that’s read by a screen reader for someone who is visually impaired. It should give a short visual description of the image, such as “White flowers on blue background.”

3. Use the right image formats.

Make sure images are uploaded in formats supported by Google. Those include JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, WebP, and SVG.

Why Do Some Links Display Differently in Search—and How Can You Enhance Yours?

Standing out in search engine results is important. After all, about 90% of people start with a search engine like Google when they want to find out more about goods or services, including funerals, preplanning, cremation, or burial. Google offers enhanced search display features, but you must know how to position your site to potentially land them.

Why Some Sites Show Up Differently in Google

The most common way to show up in Google search results is via the “plain blue link.” That’s a blue link with the title of your page along with the URL and the meta description. The meta description is the one-to-two-sentence blurb that lets people know what to expect if they click the link.

But Google offers other display features, including:

  • Enhancements, which include search boxes and breadcrumbs. These options let people search your site directly from Google or click on other pages in your navigation from the search results page.
  • Rich results, which contain graphical elements including images or starred review icons.
  • Featured snippets, which are boxes with a link to a page and a snippet of content from that page. Google chooses the page it feels best answers the intent of a keyword query.
  • Knowledge panel entry, which is a box that gathers information from multiple pages and presents it in an easy-to-digest format such as bulleted lists and records.

How Do You Enhance the Google Listings for Your Page?

Google decides which pages to include in enhanced listings. To increase your chances:

  • Create quality content. Google picks what it thinks is the best content for these enhanced listings.
  • Answer the intent of the keyword query. Provide a short, easy-to-display answer for any keyword intent before expanding on the topic. For example, if the keyword is “funeral home costs,” ask “How much does the average funeral cost?” and answer with one or two sentences before delving into factors that might impact the cost.
  • Use schema and structured data. You can tell the search engine bots that certain content on your page is designed for question boxes or other Google properties using the right markup in the code. This is something most developers or website design agencies can help you do—which is just one of the benefits of working with outside experts for deathcare marketing.

Google Signals That AI-Generated Content May Be a Search Engine No-No

We might not be in Skynet territory, but machine learning has certainly come far in the past few years. Many companies are using artificial intelligence to help generate content for search engine optimization and advertising. But is computer-generated content a good idea for deathcare firms?

Google doesn’t seem to think so. John Mueller, Google’s Search Advocate and the public voice of what Google thinks on various search tactics, said auto-generated content can result in a manual penalty if it’s discovered. That means if Google thinks you’re using AI to create content for your webpages, it may demote those pages in search.

Mueller admitted that human intervention might be required to determine where AI-generated content was being used, so Google is unlikely to catch it every time. He also noted that plenty of companies are using this type of technology responsibly and that Google policies may evolve in the future to create more space for it.

In the meantime, deathcare firms might want to steer clear of auto-generated content for other reasons. Topics surrounding funerals, cremations, and other final arrangements are sensitive and human. Your marketing content should demonstrate the humanity of your firm and its caring, compassionate options for service, and AI hasn’t quite reached a level that it can mimic that level of connotation in content.

One potential exception might be Google search ads. Descriptions on these ads are limited to around 90 characters, so there isn’t room for as much unique writing style. Once you discover the type of facts and content that work for your audience in these ads, AI might be able to generate numerous versions that also work well.

Why White Space Matters for Funeral Home Marketing and How to Achieve It

Web designers have a common darling, and its name is white space. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to learn to appreciate white space, and as someone marketing deathcare services, you definitely need to learn how to incorporate it.

White space refers to the negative space around text, images, and other content on the page. It’s the space that provides a bit of metaphorical breathing room for the reader.

To understand the importance of white space in content, imagine this scenario: You’re in a conversation with someone. They talk very fast and they never stop. It’s been five minutes of talking with no breaks and no input from you.

If you’re like most people, you probably tuned out of that conversation by now. At best, you’re no longer actively listening and probably won’t remember all the points the person made.

That exact thing happens on your page if you run a bunch of text and other content together without leaving room for a pause. The reader tunes out—often by clicking away from your page in search of a more user-friendly option.

Obviously, you don’t want that. And since creating white space on the page is one of the easiest parts of deathcare content marketing, there’s no excuse not to. Here are a few tips to create those pauses for your readers:

  • Use short paragraphs. Many people recommend no more than four sentences, or about four to five lines of text, per paragraph. It’s not a hard requirement—some paragraphs can run slightly longer if most are short.
  • Break up content with subheadings and lists. Subheadings and bulleted lists make content more scannable and automatically add white space.
  • Integrate other media. Images, embedded videos, pull quotes, and text boxes break up large bricks of text and offer plenty of options for adding white space.

Thinking About Projects Instead of Tasks as a Deathcare Professional

How many items are on your to-do list for today? If it’s more than a dozen or you don’t even know, it may be time to switch from task-based time management to project-based tasking. Deathcare professionals already deal with a lot of emotional and work stress without their to-do list doing them in, so find out more about project-based tasking below.

Organizing Tasks by Projects

Listing out all the tasks you must accomplish can be daunting. Most deathcare professionals could fill an entire page with tick marks and tasks if they list each item, which might range from calling a family to sending an email to refilling the coffee basket in the hospitality kitchen.

Instead of looking at your day as a series of detailed tasks, break things up into projects (or categories). Each funeral you’re helping to plan might be a project. Each section of the funeral home you’re responsible for could also be a project. Instead of a task list of 25, you might have a project list of three:

  • Smith family funeral plans
  • Attend to kitchen
  • Complete payroll

List tasks under each category or project. If possible, use a digital project management option such as Trello or Todoist to manage this process. These tools let you see the overall project list or delve into each to see more detailed tasks.

It seems simple, but organizing your tasks so you can see big pictures or scale down to details of a single category is a mental game changer for improved time management.

Setting Better Priorities

Starting with a project mentality also helps you set better priorities. If employees are expecting to be paid today and you don’t have a funeral planned until next week, you know that the tasks under “complete payroll” are more important than the tasks under “Attend to kitchen.”

You can also more easily prioritize within each project.

Delegating, Deleting, and Delaying

Understanding what project or category each task belongs to also helps you better delegate, delete or delay as needed.

  • Offload tasks when others can do them. As owner or manager of a funeral home, you may not be able to delegate payroll. But anyone on your team can ensure the hospitality areas are well stocked.
  • When you’re forced to categorize tasks by project, you’re also forced to determine if the task is necessary. If you can’t fit the task under any projects or categories, ask yourself if it really serves a purpose or if you can delete it and move on.
  • Everyone works with the same 24 hours a day, and work-life balance and general wellness dictates you aren’t spending even half of those at work. Some items on your list may have to be moved to tomorrow or next week. Organizing them by projects with known due dates helps you decide what gets shuffled.

3 Easy-to-Follow Guidelines for Making the Most of Internal Links on Deathcare Websites

Internal links send people to other pages on your website. They’re important to SEO and user experience while providing a way to guide potential clientele through your sales funnel.

Search engine bots follow internal links when they crawl your pages. These links help search engine AI understand what your pages are about and how they relate to each other, so logical internal linking structures help SEO.

People also follow internal links. They may click to find out more about a specific topic or follow a link in your CTA because they want to take the action you suggest. Implement these guidelines to help drive more SEO and conversion success with internal links:

  • Link on relevant keywords when possible. The phrases that show up as the clickable link in your content are called “anchor text.” When possible, use keywords relevant to the page you’re linking to as the anchor text. This helps search engine AI best catalog your content. For example, in a blog post on preplanning, you might want to link to another post about average funeral costs. “Average funeral costs” is an ideal anchor text for that link.
  • Include informative and actionable links. Some links in your blog posts and other content should offer the chance for a reader to find more information on your pages. The example about funeral costs above is this type of link. Someone considering preplanning might wonder how much funerals cost; by providing the link, you let them research further without leaving your page.
    Other links are actionable; you want the reader to click on them and do something. These are typically best reserved for your calls to action (CTAs). For example, you might say “If you want to start preplanning, make an appointment today,” and link to your appointment contact form.
  • Check for broken links regularly. Links that go to the wrong page or don’t work at all hurt SEO because they stop search engine bots in their tracks. They also hurt the trust you’re building with consumers and may cause people to navigate away from your site. Use a broken link checking tool regularly to find links that don’t work on your site so you can remove them or redirect them to new pages.

3 Reasons You Need External Links in Funeral Home Marketing Content — and Where to Get Them

External links are those that send people away from your website. Why would deathcare firms ever want to do that? Turns out external links are a valuable part of SEO and offer a few important benefits.

Find out more about the value of external links (and where you can get them) below.

Search Engines Like External Links

According to Search Engine Land, links (both internal and external) are a top consideration in search engine algorithms. And that’s not likely to change soon; most marketers think external links will still be a factor five years from now.

Links Create Authority for Your Content

The reason search engines like external links is that they help demonstrate authority for your pages. If you make a claim or cite a statistic and back it up with a link to a deathcare industry association page, search engine AI is smart enough to give you points for that effort.

High-quality links do the same thing for your audience. Anyone can make a claim about the average cost of funerals or how many people are choosing cremation. Backing up your content with links to data lets people know you’re working to provide them with the correct information.

The Right Links Offer Value to Your Audience

Some links also offer additional value to your audience. If you create a blog post on things to consider when nearing retirement—and naturally include preplanning in the list—you might link out to helpful resources. The Social Security Administration pages on retirement benefits and the IRS rules for funding IRAs are just two examples that might be valuable links to people interested in such topics.

How to Choose External Links

Obviously, you don’t want to link to competitor pages. You should also avoid linking to low-quality pages that may or may not have correct information. Sticking to known industry organizations, government websites, and quality news sites can be the best bet for ensuring high-quality links that support authority and good SEO.

3 Powerful Ways Educational Content Helps Deathcare Firms

Chances are you’ve seen a used car ad on television in the past year. Local dealerships often employ a hard sell approach, shouting from the television and proclaiming the absolute need to check out their selection today.

As a deathcare pro, you know that type of advertising doesn’t work well when you’re offering preplanning or at-need funeral services. What does work is educational marketing content. Here are three reasons to educate your audience:

1. It Positions You as an Authority

Educational marketing content lets you demonstrate the experience and knowledge of your staff. That’s critical for today’s online marketing environment, as Google puts a high value on authoritative and trustworthy content.

It also provides peace of mind to potential clientele: If your content shows you’re an expert, they can more easily trust you with their own final arrangements or the memory of their loved one.

2. It Tells the Person What to Do Next

Educational content should do more than inform. It should also guide, walking people through the next steps.

Many people who come to your website in search of information about preplanning or during an at-need situation may not know what to do. When you provide step-by-step guidance and checklists, you create a map they can follow. That removes some of the friction for them, making it more likely they’ll take those steps and sign up, call you, or make an appointment.

3. It Removes a Burden

Researching deathcare services can feel like a burden to people outside of the niche. They may feel an obligation to find out as much as possible so they can make the best decisions.

Well-written, organized educational content in one location lightens that burden and lets potential clientele lean on you for this part of the process. And that increases your chances of winning them over by a lot.

Landing Pages vs. Blog Posts for Deathcare Marketing

Blog posts and landing pages are both important types of marketing content for deathcare firms. But they serve different purposes, and each comes with its own best practices. Understanding the difference can help you choose the right content format for your marketing goals.

Landing Pages vs. Blog Posts: What’s the Difference?

The main difference is that a landing page provides information about a specific service or product. Its goal is to get people to make a purchase or take another action, such as making an appointment. The goal of blog posts tends to be more general and includes driving traffic and building trust with your audience.

 

Landing pages Blog posts
Each page is about a specific product or service Each post includes content about a specific idea or topic
Meant to market or sell Can market or sell, but often meant to inform or entertain
Main purpose is usually a conversion Main purpose may be to build rapport or drive traffic
May be the link related to ad campaigns More likely to be linked to in social media campaigns

 

How Are Landing Pages and Blog Posts the Same?

Both types of content start with keywords and should be relevant to the intent of searchers. They both need to answer searcher questions and provide high-quality, informative content.

Do You Need Landing Pages or Blog Posts?

Most firms can benefit from both, but if you only pick one, landing pages are critical for a successful website. Supporting your landing pages with blog posts, however, creates freedom in the topics you can cover and enhances the SEO of your website.

3 Tips for Creating H1 Titles for Funeral Home Blog Posts

Every blog on your deathcare website should have a good title—also known as the H1 header or headline. It’s the first thing people read when they start browsing your content, so it must capture interest and provide some context about what’s in the post below.

The wrong headline can drive up bounce rates—that’s when people leave the page without engaging further. Use these three tips to create more powerful H1 headers for funeral home blog posts to keep people on the page and ensure they read more of your content.

1. Write Titles With Five to 13 Words

Catchy titles with a minimum of eight words can increase performance by around 20 percent all on their own. Some studies have shown that titles between six and 13 words drive the most consistent traffic.

If you’re writing titles more than 13-15 words long, they’re likely too unwieldy to do much good. On the other hand, titles with less than five words may not offer enough information about what readers can expect on the page.

2. Use Emotion-Centric Verbiage

Consider these headlines:

  • 3 Ways to Memorialize a Loved One
  • 3 Joyful Ways to Celebrate the Life of a Loved One

Which one seems more interesting to you? Most people would pick the second—especially if they’re on the hunt for information about vibrant celebrations of life.

Including emotion-centric language lets you create headlines that are more relevant to the content and more likely to capture reader attention.

3. Include a Version of Your Keyword

When possible, include a version of the primary keyword for the blog post in your headline. Doing so lets the search engines better understand what your content is about.

However, don’t put keyword inclusion ahead of readability, relevance, or an attention-catching title.