It happened again this week; another funeral home website vendor tried to feed me a line of bull about their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) service.
Vendor – “Our approach is proprietary, so I can’t tell you what we’re doing.”
Me – “What kind of results are we getting from your service.”
Vendor – “You can’t quantify SEO like that.”
Me – “On behalf of my client…you’re fired”.
Technology vendors love to hide behind smoke and mirrors to avoid being held accountable for SEO results. In this newsletter, I’ll attempt to clear away some of the smoke and debunk some common SEO myths.
Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, here’s the Wikipedia definition of SEO.
“Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic.”
For a funeral home website, SEO helps you show up on the first page of the Google results when someone searches for “funeral homes in .”
Below are three SEO myths and my take on the reality of the situation.
Myth #1 – SEO is critical for funeral homes
Wrong. Website traffic is critical for funeral homes.
You need as many people as possible to engage with your brand online. If they have a positive experience at your website, you increase the chances of winning the call.
But SEO is just one way to generate website traffic. I have multiple clients who receive more traffic from Facebook than they do from Google. Significantly more!!
If you are in a highly competitive market, SEO is not critical, but it is important.
But if you are in a small market with only a handful of competitors, you will need some initial SEO setup work, but there’s typically no need to pay an ongoing fee for this service.
Myth #2 – SEO requires “secret” strategies
The technology vendors love to sing this song. But unfortunately, they’re wrong again.
Funeral homes are local businesses. The SEO techniques required to rank a local business are well-documented and readily available. Here’s a blog article that summarizes the key factors.
Local SEO does not require “secret” strategies. It just requires you to do a handful of well-known tasks properly.
Having your website show up in the search results outside of your local area takes a little more work, but the strategies are still not “secret.” A good example is the website HeritageCremationProvider.com which shows up in the local results all over the country.
We’ve analyzed Heritage’s strategy, replicated it for clients, and achieved similar results. The process they use is good but not secret. If you want to know how to copy their results, just give me a call, and I’ll gladly share the information.
Myth #3 – You need a blog to succeed with SEO
A blog is a great way to communicate with your local community. But from an SEO standpoint, it serves two primary purposes; it creates links back to your website when someone shares the blog post, and it increases the time people spend on your website (aka engagement).
What else can do that for you? Your obituaries!
Make sure your obits are always shared on Facebook, and you’ve just created all of the SEO links you’ll ever need.
Ensure that the obit module on your website encourages condolence messages and you have all of the engagement you’ll need.
Having a blog on your website is a good idea. But you should use it to build relationships with your local community. If you are only doing it to improve your SEO results, you are wasting your money.
Those are the top three myths of SEO for funeral home websites and my take on the reality of the situation.
The bottom line is that vendors love to make SEO sound incredibly complex. But for 99% of local funeral homes, it’s just a bunch of tasks to be completed.
Until next time
PS: If you’re paying a vendor for SEO services and would like a second opinion, feel free to contact me.
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