Why is my funeral home website not first on Google search results?

Take a quick test. Open up www.google.com and run a search for your funeral home name. Do you come up first? On page 1? Try it again for how families might search: "funeral homes + city, state". For example, Funeral Home + Plano, TX. How did you do on this search?

If you came up first or on page one, then you are probably doing ok. There is always room for improvement, but there is no immediate crisis. If you did not come up on page one, then it might be time to learn what SEO is.

To make this easy, search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website more readable for the search engines, like Google. (note: Google owns approximately 70% market share for searches, so that is why it is important to use their results as the standard) By optimizing your website you are making the site rank for specific searches so the website will display higher than competing websites. Your families are using search engines, probably Google, every day. Some of those searches could be for services you offer. If you are not showing up in the results, then you probably are not getting the call.

When search results are posted, there are usually two kinds. Results at the top of the page and on the right are called paid results. These are advertisers paying to display their websites for certain key phrases. These advertisers pay based on if you click their ad or not. It is called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing and is a huge topic for another time.

The other listings below that are called natural or Organic results. These are the best kind because they are free. Google makes a determination of the relevancy and credibility of your website. Google uses a complicated algorithm to make this determination and it is proprietary so we do not know all the components. What we do know though, is that the way the site is built, the content on the site, and the quality of other sites linking to yours make a tremendous difference to how Google ranks you. We also know that when you rank high it is akin to getting thousands of dollars in free advertising.

Think of it this way, PPC is paying to have an ad run in the newspaper. Organic results are being mentioned in articles in the newspaper by reporters who have loyal readers. Wouldn’t you rather have the recommendation of the reporter? Exactly.

Coming full circle, if you ran the search query from the top of the article and did not show up where you wanted, you have two choices. You can begin a Pay-Per-Click campaign to start showing up. Or you can begin making changes to your website to "optimize" it for the key phrases you think families will search for.