New Obit Poacher Expanding Rapidly With Google’s Help


Everhere.com is a new obit poacher showing up all over the country these days and they are succeeding with Google’s help.

If you are not familiar with obituary poaching, that is the process of copying the obituary information off of your website and placing it on another website without your permission. 

The reason people try to get away with this is to syphon off some of the search engine traffic and profit from the sale of flowers, merchandise etc. It often creates a lot of confusion for families and costs the funeral home money.

Obit poaching is a bit of a scam, should be illegal and is definitely unethical. Multiple tech companies have tried to get away with it and found themselves in legal problems. Sadly, there’s even a funeral home website vendor that offers this as a premium service.

Everhere is based in Quebec, Canada and was founded just two years ago. In two years, they’ve gone from having no internet presence to showing up in search results all over Canada and the United States.

If you read the Everhere.com website there is good reason to be very concerned about this company. If they succeed with their mission, it will cost funeral homes a lot more than just a bit of flower commissions.

Do a search on the name of one of the deceased currently in your care and they may show up. If they are not ranking in your market yet…they’re coming soon.

So how is Google involved in this?

Google isn’t doing anything questionable or sneaky (this time). It’s just that Everhere is doing a better job of playing by Google’s policies than most funeral home websites.

For example, over a year ago Google put out a statement saying that they were going to start using website speed as a ranking factor. Which means if your pages load faster than your competition than your website will rank higher (assuming everything else was the same).

Google knows that website visitors will only wait about 3 seconds for a page load. Anything longer than that and they’ll leave. 

I took this to heart and recently had my website completely rebuilt with speed being the primary goal. We just launched the new site and so far it is performing roughly 400% faster than my old site.

My old site looked much better than the new site but Google makes the rules. You either play by the rules or you will be penalized.

You can test your page speed using this Google tool. 

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Everhere is using the exact same obit content that you have on your website. Yet in most cases they will rank above your website. The primary reason…. speed.

I did some spot testing for a few of my clients by running their obit listing through the Google tool and comparing it to the speed of the same Everhere listing. On average Everhere was twice as fast!!

Needless to say, we’ll be taking this matter up with my clients’ website vendors.

The Google tool returns a score of between 0 and 100. My new website averages a 95 on mobile and gets a 100 on desktop. I tested websites from a few other funeral home marketing firms and they were in the 10 to 20 range (ouch).

I would suggest taking the link from one of your obituaries and running it through the tool. If you get a score above 25 you’re faster than most other funeral home websites but you’re still less than half what Everhere scores.

Any funeral home with a website score less than 50 should be talking to their website vendor. If enough owners make a fuss about this the vendors might make the necessary improvements.

Also, be sure to check both the desktop and mobile speeds. The majority of obit search traffic is now from mobile devices so that is the number you need to be concerned with.

By the way, the owner of Everhere.com recently lost a $20M lawsuit in Canada for obituary poaching with another website AfterLife.co. He was forced to shut that site down. 

Hopefully the same thing happens to Everhere but it might take a number of state associations banning together and filing a lawsuit like they did in Canada.

Remember, in today’s online world Google is the 800-pound gorilla. Give it what is wants or suffer the consequences and today the gorilla wants…. speed.

Best wishes

John

 

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