By: Jeffrey Arnold
Did you know that there is a marketing tool that has people looking for your business and, if you aren’t using it properly, it’s sending those people to your competitors?
Let me ask you a quick question … What was the first year in which the baseball World Series was ever televised?
How are you going to find the answer? Unless you are a television history buff or remember watching Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers battle the Yankees in 1947, you are probably going to head to your smart phone or computer and ‘Google it’.
When the name of company becomes an action – a verb – It is obvious that the business has become engrained in our daily lives. How many times per day do you hear or say the term, “Google it.” If you are like the average person, this phase is part of your daily life.
And guess what? This is how people are searching for funeral homes. 1,300,000 people per month in the United States, to be exact.
You may be saying to yourself, “Yes, but I have billboards all over town and have newspaper advertisements running every week.” Did you know that only 26% of newspaper readers are the ‘decision makers’ when it comes to choosing a funeral home. In a time of crisis, people don’t remember the billboards or the phone numbers that were advertised on them. They go to the search bar on their browser and enter “funeral home CITY” – replacing CITY with their local area.
Additionally, with our ever-mobile society, depending on which group you listen to, up to 33% of all deaths occur out of town. This means that when Joe dies visiting his family in Seattle, his son or daughter needs to contact a funeral home in his home town of Atlanta. They don’t live in Atlanta, so they don’t see the billboards or newspapers there. They are going straight to Google and searching for ‘Atlanta funeral homes’.
When these people are searching on Google, 85% of them are going to click on one of the top 3 results that show up on the page (typically the first one) and that company will get their business. They typically don’t click on the ads because they like to trust the ‘organic’ search results – those results that are provided based on Google’s search algorithm.
They also trust the top level domain results compared to third party sites. This means that they would much rather click on “SmithsFuneralHome.com” than click on “GenericDirectory.com/smithsfuneralhome”. They want to go to the source, rather than go to another ‘search’ page that is sometimes skewed by paid placement.
All of this means that if you want to capture more business your website needs to be at the top of Google’s search results.
To make things even more complex, you need to rank for a multitude of phrases. “Funeral home Atlanta” isn’t the same as “Funeral Homes in Atlanta” or “Atlanta Funeral Home”. A quick search through our Google keyword phrase tool for ‘funeral home’ related phrases resulted in over 85 different ways that people were searching for their local funeral homes.
So, how do you get to the top of Google in your local area?
It’s not a simple process to take on by yourself, but it’s not extremely difficult for an experienced search engine optimization (SEO) firm. Just like doing your taxes, you could do it yourself, but it’s much more productive to leave it in the hands of a professional. Google’s algorithm uses over 200 factors to determine what content should be served at the top of the page, and this information is recalculated each and every time someone makes a search. A websites’ core/physical coding structure, visual design, and written content play a big part, as do social media signals (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+), and the freshness of the content that is on your site. Then, Google looks at all of the ‘off-site’ content that is out there that leads to your website (inbound links). It evaluates where these links come from, how they are linked, and how frequently these links are being created.
You are probably now thinking that as soon as you get done reading this magazine you are going to go to Google and search for a few phrases to see where you rank. Unfortunately, Google using tracking software to serve you custom content based on your previous searches, so you will probably see your company’s ranks artificially high (Google knows that if you visited your site before, then that is probably the site they should show higher for you this time). The best way to find out where your company ranks for some of the key phrases is to use third-party software. The software looks at Google as a ‘new’ user, so the results are not influenced by prior searches and historical usage patterns. (See below for a special offer for Funeral Business Advisor readers).
Google is driving over 1 million customers to funeral home websites monthly. If you aren’t at the top of the search results, your competition is, so start an SEO plan today and grab these new customers before your competition does.
As a special bonus, 4Spot Marketing has agreed to provide Funeral Business Advisor readers with a free search engine ranking report. Simply go to http://4SpotMarketing.com/FBA to request your free report. FBAJeffrey Arnold is the President of 4Spot Marketing, and has been involved with Internet marketing for the past ten years. He combines 25+ years of business management experience with his expert knowledge of search engine optimization and Internet marketing techniques to provide companies with comprehensive Internet marketing services. His success is evidenced by his clients’ top Google rankings time and time again. Mr. Arnold can be reached at (702) 721-9763, via email at [email protected], or via his website at www.4SpotMarketing.com.