Legacy.com – Is it time for a truce?


Most funeral home owners have considered Legacy.com to be their arch enemy for years. The issue has always come down to the obituary and who controls the traffic, flower sales, and condolence messages.

In this newsletter, I’ll make a case for declaring a truce with Legacy and finding a way to work with them.

The issue we’ve been fighting over for years comes down to who ranks higher in Google when someone searches on “obituary for Jane Smith”. Legacy almost always ranks higher in the search results than the funeral home’s website, attracting more visitors.

I know this will be hard to swallow, but it might be time to give up the fight. Legacy has won the search engine obituary war. Or they are so far ahead of most funeral homes that it simply doesn’t make sense to fight with them.

Here’s why.

One of the significant factors in the search engine ranking algorithms is something called your Domain Authority. This is a number between 0 and 100 that indicates the degree to which Google sees you as an “expert” source of reliable information.

Not surprisingly, Google.com gets a score of 100.

News sites like cnn.com or NYTimes.com get a score of 85+.

Legacy.com gets a score of 84.

Most funeral home websites that I’ve tested have a Domain Authority score between 20 and 30. Smaller firms with a lower call volume will typically have a low score.

Even a firm like Schoedinger.com doing well over 1,000 calls/year, only gets a score of 43.

Legacy.com (at 84) versus your website (at 20 to 30) is not a battle you are going to win regardless of how many SEO tricks your web developer has in their toolbox.

Yes, Legacy has won this battle but is this a problem for most funeral home owners?

No.

I believe there is a way to find a silver lining in every adversity, and this situation is no exception. In fact, I think there are three ways to turn this to your advantage.

Search Engine Ranking

Every link from a website with a high Domain Authority is worth its weight in gold when it comes to search engine ranking. Legacy is giving you an extremely valuable link for every obituary they post for you. All of these links make can significantly increase your search engine ranking.

I know I just said that Legacy had won the search engine ranking war, but that statement only applies to obituaries. But they are not attempting to rank for terms like “funeral homes near me,” and that represents a massive opportunity for your funeral home.

Which search do you want, “obituary for Jane Smith” or “funeral homes near me”? I know you’d like both but if you had to choose between them which one would you pick?

Your answer should be “funeral homes near me.” That search term represents an at-need call, so that should be your focus.

Ironically, by letting Legacy have the obituary traffic, you are increasing your ranking for at-need traffic.

That’s called a silver lining!

Preneed advertising

About a year ago, one of my consulting clients asked me to create a preneed ad to run on Legacy. Initially, I thought that was a strange request, but the more I investigated it, the more I liked the idea.

Advertising for a funeral home requires you to walk a very fine line. You have to present yourself as being available but not pushy.

Placing a traditional ad on your website comes across as being pushy because people don’t expect to see an ad there. But people do not have the same bias when it comes to Legacy. You can place a preneed ad right beside one of your obituaries without offending anyone.

Better yet, you can place a preneed ad right beside your competitors’ obituaries, assuming they haven’t already taken the spot.

Facebook Traffic

At the same time as we were battling with Legacy for Google rankings, we were also helping our clients with the Facebook strategy, including the sharing of obituaries.

As a result, many of my clients now get more traffic to their obituaries from Facebook than Google. In some cases, they get 90% of their traffic from Facebook and only 10% from Google.

Legacy is fighting over Google. But if most of my traffic is coming from Facebook, do I really care if Legacy wins the Google ranking game? Not really.

Those are my reasons for reconsidering your relationship with Legacy. They can help your search engine ranking for at-need terms, they can be an excellent place to advertise, and Facebook can drive all the obituary traffic you need.

However, Legacy does not have a track record of partnering with funeral homes. In the past, they’ve partnered with newspapers and tolerated funeral homes. My inside information tells me that their attitude has changed.

It’s time for a truce and let’s put our energies towards other battles like the one we’re waging with discount call poachers.

I’m not telling my clients to partner with Legacy yet. But for the first time, we are open to hearing what they have to offer.

Until next time

John

John Callaghan

Fractional Chief Marketing Officer for Funeral Business Builders

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