Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it is more commonly known, is the practice of providing searchers with valuable content and making your site easy to find on search engines. But you already knew that, right?
Maybe you did and maybe you didn’t. Either way, you have surely come in contact with the phrase before. Unfortunately, though, it has become a buzzword. A term too often thrown around by digital marketers and business owners alike without a fundamental understanding of what it truly entails. This has led to some confusion about what it takes to truly optimize a website.
You see, SEO is a living, breathing and ever-evolving practice. It requires constant adherence to the latest search engine algorithms and, at the same time, adapting to the behaviour of consumers. It all may sound understandably complicated and while it certainly isn’t easy, you can start optimizing your website by doing one thing; Putting yourself in the consumers shoes. When it comes to funeral home marketing, good SEO means that you have to think like the families who are looking for your services. If you do that, then you have already given your firm a head start.
The next, and most crucial, part of the process, is staying up to date with the SEO trends. This will give you an understanding of the things your funeral home can do without having to get into the nitty-gritty, technical stuff. Here are a a few SEO tips that will truly help you improve your rankings in 2018.
One of the major trends that is impacting SEO in 2018 is the advent of voice search, which grows more popular with each day. Devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa have become a staple in households around North America – helping people with everything, including their search queries. In addition, smartphones like Apple’s iPhone have offered voice search as a feature for some time. With all of this considered, it’s starting to look like SEO may be less about the search bar and more about voice commands.
The secret sauce to improving your website for voice search? Well other than expert help, it is about employing an approach based less on single keywords and more on long-tail (or sentence based) phrases. For example, someone may type “funeral services New York” but would say “what are the best funeral homes in New York”. Basically, make sure that your website content is built for real people, not just Google. This is a common mistake made by many that you should avoid when improving your SEO this year.
Most people think video is a great way to market your business, showcase your staff and even welcome people into your facility. While it is all of those things, it is also another (useful) angle you can use to position your business in front of more people. Why? Well in 2017 Google introduced us to the idea of dynamic and blended search results. This means that far more than traditional results are displayed when you conduct a search. We have already started taking this for granted. But next time you search for something, take a minute and look around the results page. Depending on the term (obviously) you will see news, rich snippets, reviews and, most importantly, videos all in one place.
Another common misconception about SEO, is that it is limited to written content and website code. But visuals like photos and videos can actually be just as, if not more, valuable to how you are seen on search engines. So if you don’t have a video strategy, it is definitely time to get on that train. It will have a profound impact on your online rankings and can offer more than limiting browser titles and meta descriptions. Think about it, if a picture says 1000 words – then what does a video say? I promise you it is more than 160 characters.
Ok, everyone knows what a desktop computer is. But laptops and home computers are quickly being forgotten by search engines. Yes, they are still important but are also, by a large margin, getting left behind by their hand-held siblings. By now it should be no news to you that mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are used for the vast majority of searches. In fact, Google indexes mobile sites first.
So, when you try to improve your site’s SEO, start with having a mobile responsive site (one that works on all devices and screen sizes). If you don’t have a responsive site, then you have yourself an even more definitive starting point. Not much else needs to be said on the matter, other than paying attention to the quality, readability and user experience of your website on mobile devices is the most important thing you can do to rank higher this year.
I wanted this post to help you plan a strategy for your SEO moving forward. If nothing else, I hope these tips have provided you with some tasty food for thought.
It may be overwhelming to think about at first. However, SEO doesn’t have to be rocket science. But having rocket scientists on your side sure won’t hurt. If you want to take your website to a new level and put your firm in front of more families, I happen to know some people who can help. Feel free to contact us today, our team of marketing experts would be happy to help you improve your rankings and generally make your funeral home more visible online. After all, thats why you read this post in the first place.
Brandon is the Marketing Communications Manager at FrontRunner Professional. He holds a Social Sciences degree from McMaster University and a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Lawrence College. His creative writing and innovative ideas bring new life to the company, FrontRunner’s clients and funeral directors world-wide.