Guest post by Mark Sharron
Okay Charles, challenge accepted. This will be the first in a series of articles where I share some insights into what the readership of this site (people who work in the funeral industry, mostly) can do to increase their search engine exposure.
To give you a little background on myself I have been working on behalf of a Brighton funeral director (Sussex Funeral Services Limited) for about 18 months and I’m proud to report during my tenure their brand has enjoyed an uninterrupted strong first page presence.
As business owners, if you get SEO right, the rewards can make the difference between a healthy balance sheet or struggling to attract new clients.
This article and those that follow will give you an insight into how Google and other search engines work including how tips on how to increase your search engine exposure. I also extend an open invitation for any readers of this site/blog to ask me anything in the comments below.
Over the next few posts, I’m going to cover a range of topics and tie each of them back to the funerary industry. These include:
- * Keyword research / types of keywords.
- * Pay per click (ppc/adwords) advertising
- * Your website
- * Content marketing / onsite seo
- * Google local
- * Google organic
- * Link building (including guest posts like this one)
- * Analytics
- * Social media
The foundation of any SEO campaign is keyword research. Thorough keyword research will either make or break an SEO campaign. When I first engage a new client, the first thing I usually get told is “I want to rank #1 in Google.” My immediate response is “What do you want to rank #1 one for?” The most important first step in any SEO or PPC campaign is keyword research.
A keyword is any word or phrase that a potential client may type into a search engine when looking for your site or a competitor’s offering.
The trick to keyword research is understanding your market and the kind of language prospective clients are using when they search for a funeral director.
- * Your brand name e.g. Sussex Funerals
- * Funeral director Brighton
- * Funeral director Hove
- * Funeral home Brighton
- * Undertaker Brighton
- * Funeral director
- * Undertaker
- * Funeral home
- * Cheap funeral director Brighton
- * Affordable funeral director in Brighton
This list is a very small sample of potential keywords a prospective client may use. The idea is to create an exhaustive list of funeral focused keywords and have your website rank at the top of first page for all of them. The greater the number of keywords your site ranks for, the more prospective clients will find your site. More clients finding your website means more potential business. To summarise, this is known as a “long-tail keyword strategy.” A long-tail keyword strategy is not about picking one specific keyword, rather an aggregate search volume strategy that targets hundreds keywords at once.
Different Types of Keywords:
Not every keyword is equal. Some will attract more searches and will be harder to rank for; other keywords will be less competitive and convert more clients. In the SEO industry we give different types of keywords names. I personally group keywords into the following categories:
- * Short-tail keywords
- * Long-tail keywords
- * Branded keywords
- * Local keywords
- * Keywords with commercial intent
Short Tail: 1-2 words are a known as short tail keywords e.g. “funeral director.” These keywords attract the most searches. They are more competitive/will be harder to rank for, and users landing on your site are in research mode, therefore a high percentage of visitors arriving at a website using short tail keywords do not convert into billable business.
Long Tail: 3+ words imply commercial intent. 4+ words there is strong commercial intent. A web user is starting to narrow down their search to a specific product or service, e.g. “affordable humanist funeral director.” Individual long tail keywords attract fewer searches but they typically have more value. Ranking for a lot of long tail keywords is a lot easier in organic search and less expensive in Adwords.
Local Keywords: Local keywords can be a combination of short-tail or long-tail and generally have a strong commercial intent as a user is searching for a local service provider e.g. “funeral director Brighton” or “cheap funeral director Brighton”
Branded Keywords. This is just your brand name e.g. “Sussex Funeral Services.” In this case my client has used a local keyword as his brand name which gives his website an advantage when web users search for Sussex Funeral Directors.
Keywords with Commercial Intent: These are usually long tail keywords where there is a clear commercial intent. e.g. “cheap funeral director”, “budget funeral director”. Users are again searching for something specific. They are in buying mode. You will find your competition knows these keywords have value and they can be quite expensive to bid on.
In the next article I will explore Google Adwords and considerations / tips when setting up a PPC campaign as a funeral director.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section and I will respond within 24 hours.