For the first 15-or-so years of internet marketing, the term you’d hear all the time was SEO (search engine optimization).
You couldn’t read anything about marketing your business online without SEO being part of the conversation. In many ways, SEO was virtually synonymous with online marketing.
If you wanted to rank highly on local organic searches for funeral homes, you needed to have excellent SEO. The better your SEO, the higher you rank. And if you didn’t rank in the top three or four, you were basically invisible, because few people scroll to the bottom of the first page of results and virtually no one proceeds on to the second page.
So in 2018 and beyond, has all of that changed?
No. All of that is still true. But you wouldn’t know that from a cursory review of many analysts’ takes on the subject. You’d think SEO was virtually history, taking its place with VCRs, 75-pound televisions and the knitting loom.
In reality, SEO still has a huge impact on how many visitors your funeral home website receives, how many visitors it converts into clientele, and how many high-margin services you contract for. Now is definitely not the time to ignore SEO.
If you want your funeral home website to rank highly in organic (aka unpaid) search results which you definitely do you practice good SEO. The process can include a variety of different elements, all of which combine to help you rank above your local competitors.
The higher you rank, the more likely people are to click on your website when they search for a local death care service provider. The more visits you get, the more likely you are to convert those visits into actual case counts.
It’s true that focusing on certain SEO techniques is somewhat less beneficial than it used to be, particularly as it relates to Google’s algorithms.
Google has made many changes in recent years to combat gaming the system by websites. The shady SEO techniques some sites used artificially pumped up the sites’ rankings even when those domains were not relevant to users and did not provide beneficial content to visitors.
Additionally, the rise of paid advertising on search engine results pages (SERPs) has made organic results less powerful than they used to be. When you can pay to get your ad onto the first page of results for a particular keyword (e.g., “Kalamazoo funeral homes”), that takes away from the power of organic listings.
Regardless, SEO will remain vitally important throughout 2018 and beyond. It still factors quite a bit into how Google (and other search engines) prioritize your business website. Proper SEO techniques regarding site architecture, design and keyword placement confirms authority with Google. Authority is what determines high organic search rankings.
The difference today is that SEO is just a large piece of the pie, not the pie itself. Google’s algorithms now take many other factors into consideration. You still need good SEO as a foundation. Google wants to see high-quality original content. It wants to see strong human engagement. It wants to see steady traffic.
As for the issue of paid results versus organic ones, don’t forget that organic search results still drive a ton of traffic. Yes, it can be quite beneficial to invest some of your advertising budget in paid ads for funeral homes in your geographic area, and I strongly encourage you do to just that.
However, some searchers will always prefer clicking on an organic search result over an ad. The best solution is to get a great ranking in organic searches and also promote your funeral home website with pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
If you’re in a particularly competitive market, SEO matters even more. It’s the aspect of your business where you can create the critical edge over other funeral homes in the area. At a time when Google is showing fewer organic search results on the first page, that edge can make all the difference.
To drive traffic to your website, you need to be on the first page of results. More than 90 percent of searchers never make it past the first page of Google search results. More than 50 percent of searchers choose among the first three providers on that first page.
That’s why SEO remains crucially important today. It shouldn’t be your sole focus, but it’s still the foundation to a well-visited, high-converting funeral home website.
(Note: Ready to supercharge the leads you get from the internet and convert them into real-life clientele? In his free webinar, marketing expert Welton Hong delivers practical techniques you can employ today. Click here to register!)