I usually stay quite busy explaining to my funeral home clients what they need to focus on to improve their organic (unpaid) search engine rankings in their local market.
This time, we’re going to do something different.
Instead of advising you on one more thing you ought to do in 2018, I’m going to explain what you don’t need to worry about.
How nice is that? I’m literally not suggesting you take any additional action! Kick back and relax. And if you’ve been concerned with any of the four things on the list that follows, you can let them go now!
(Okay, I’ll be honest: I’m still going to suggest a couple of options at the bottom, but they’re things you’re probably familiar with already and hopefully incorporating into you funeral home marketing plan this year.)
I’ve always recommended doing everything you can to make your website rank as highly as possible in organic (unpaid) local search results.
While pay-per-click advertising and other internet marketing techniques have gained traction in recent years and I support those tools as well local businesses still get the bulk of their online lead generation, conversions, and revenue from ranking highly in organic searches. That’s as true of funeral homes as of any local business.
Before concerning yourself with anything else, make sure your funeral home website’s search engine optimization (SEO) is at the top of its game. That’s the foundation of besting your local competitors in an era when consumers have become increasingly dependent on the internet to select choose services.
Regardless, some funeral home owners remain confused about what techniques actually achieve the premier SEO level that puts a site on the top of the first page for local search results.
Some of these things might relate to other benefits, but planting your flag at No. 1 on a search engine results page isn’t one of them. So let’s look at a few things that do not have any effect on your website’s organic rankings:
The age of your website: “Established 2003” might look good on your site or on business cards, letting people know you’ve been doing business for 15 years, but it doesn’t carry any weight with Google. If your site is only five years old and it’s built authority with Google through great SEO, that’s all that matters. So don’t think the year of your site registry is something to consider, for better or worse.
Whether (or not) you use Google apps or services: Some business owners think Google will improve their rankings if they utilize Gmail or Google Docs. Others avoid using such products out of fear that Google will know too much about their operation, as if the company will spy on their email or files. Neither has any basis in reality. Use Google tools if you wish. Use other options if you prefer. It doesn’t matter.
Facebook Likes and shares/other social media sharing: Google doesn’t care whether your site has been “Liked” or shared on Facebook five times or 5,000. That has no direct effect on search engine ranking. However, that level of sharing almost certainly ensures more site activity, more click-throughs, and increased branding, which definitely affects your ranking. So there’s a definite benefit to social media shares, just not a direct cause-and-effect one.
Using shared hosting/an inexpensive hosting site: Again, that’s not even on Google’s radar. It doesn’t grant any greater authority to a site that uses some expensive boutique host than it does a site using cheap hosting. As long as your host doesn’t negatively impact your site’s performance in any meaningful way (e.g., slow loading times, server outages), you’re fine.
So what can we take from this? Well, it means that if your organic ranking isn’t as strong as you’d like, you can stop concerning yourself with any of the issues on that list.
However, you can and should be sure to focus on the elements that do generate great SEO and stronger rankings, particularly powering your site with strong, relevant original content and working on increasing both the quality and quantity of online reviews. Those are two great ways to make sure your funeral home site ranks at or near the top.
(Note: Want to know the top techniques for turning online searchers into real-life clientele? Ring Ring Marketing’s book explains it alland right now, it’s 100% free, shipping included! Order here!)