How and where funeral directors need to be listed online in the UK.
Funeral directors are local businesses and as such, appear in local search results when people search for funeral services.
This article outlines the unique elements that influence how and where a funeral director appears in local search and what can be done to improve search performance.
Challenges funeral directors face in local search
We all search for products and services online, however, people rarely need to search for a funeral director. So, if the need does arise, it is important that people can find funeral directors using the search methods that they are familiar with.
It used to be the case that families would use the same funeral directors. However, with increased migration, people may not know the funeral directors in their area, or the person organising the funeral may not live in the area either. People are searching for funeral directors without previous experience of them.
A funeral director website is important, but even more important is how and where people search for funeral services. Gone are the days when they would open the Yellow Pages and look for a familiar name, instead they go online and search for “funeral directors + location”.
“Funeral director + location” is a local search term, the results of which are influenced by numerous factors, but the most important is where business address details are listed online and customer reviews. It is very likely that a potential customer will click on a local listing in Google, Bing or Facebook before clicking through to your website. If that listing is incorrect, doesn’t look good or says that you are closed, when you are open, or has a negative review, there is a chance that they will not call or click to your website!
Searching for a funeral director can be a ‘distressed search’; so the person searching is not going to spend hours comparing websites, so first impressions will count wherever they find your details.
How to list Funeral Directors
Local search is dependent on consistent Name, Address, Phone number (NAP), Category, Content and Customer Reviews being consistently listed in LOCAL online directories and citation sites.
Funeral Directors need to follow these simple listing tips:
Name: list your business name as it would appear above the door. For example, A.B.Thomas Funeral Directors
Ensure that the name is consistently listed everywhere. Do not create a different listing with different keywords in the name such as A.B. Thomas Funeral Services, A.B. Thomas Funeral Directors, A.B Thomas Stone Masons, etc. Instead, choose one name and stick to it. If you have changed the name or taken over the premises of a previous funeral director, then be sure to look for the old names and either remove those listings or change the names accordingly.
If you provide different funeral services at the same address, for example, Stone Masons, be very careful how you list this. It is possible to list different businesses at the same address, but there must be a very clear NAP distinction between them and ideally a different website link. Do not be tempted to list two businesses at the same address with the same phone number and website.
Address: Your address is extremely important as it is a major indicator that you are local. A problem for long-established funeral directors is that addresses can change very subtly, or in fact, the postcode changed. Check your address with the Royal Mail Postcode checker [http://www.royalmail.com/find-a-postcode] then use that in the listing sites.
Phone Numbers: Use the same telephone number in all listing sites. Avoid listing different numbers for different sites; this will only confuse search engines. Use the same number on your website branch page and highlight it in micro-format. If you have changed your number, you need to find and update the sites that list the old one.
Importantly, many funeral directors operate an out-of-hours telephone number. It is very difficult to list different numbers for the same address for different purposes, so if possible, use the same number all the time and route the number to your telephone answering service after hours.
Opening Hours: If you have a 24-hour answering service, be sure to set your opening times as 24/7; in that way, you will always appear in search results as “Open”.
Category: You need to be categorised under Funeral Directors, Funeral Services and Funeral Arrangers. Some sites may provide additional categories such as Stone Masons, Funeral Flowers, Funeral Cars etc. Only use these if relevant. Focus on your main category.
Content: Most listing sites provide space for a business description, images and web links.
Words – Think of local listings as classified ads- they need to be punchy and to the point with keyword-rich content that focuses on your services in your area.
Don’t waffle or use the same description on all listing sites. Although you are not penalised for using the same content, there is value in having a range of content on different sites.
Images – Use engaging images. Although a death is a sad event, try to use neutral welcoming images rather than dark, lonely sad ones. You’d be surprised how an image influences the click rate.
Customer Reviews: Customer Reviews associated with your address in places like Google can influence local search performance and customer purchasing decisions.
There has been significant growth in people writing local online reviews, however, funeral services are different. Understandably, the bereaved are less likely to write an online review unprompted, although they are usually happy to write a thank you letter or testimonial for a Funeral Director.
Testimonials on your website may influence customer purchasing decisions (if they read them), but they may not influence your local search performance. It is, therefore, necessary to ask customers to write a review in Google or other local review sites that influence local search. This needs to be done sensitively and at the right time. We suggest sending a simple printed request and instructions a few days after the service.
Local Listing strategies for Funeral Directors in the UK.
There are hundreds of local listing and citation sites in the UK alone. However, not all are useful or relevant to funeral services. So how do you decide on which listing sites to use?
We have grouped the listings below for you into; Distributors, B2C Generic and Funeral Services:
Funeral Services-specific sites naturally perform better in local search results for “funeral directors + location”. You should set up and manage your NAP listing on these sites and, where possible, enhance it with content. In no particular order, these are:
Note: Some of these funeral related sites may require you to be a member of their association before you can be listed.
If you’ve put the effort in to claim and manage your listings, be sure to check them periodically. Unmanaged listings can change and eventually lose their content and value.
‘Distributors’ are important sites that feed NAP listing information to multiple sites. By updating these sites first, you will see some of the downstream directories updated over time.
These sites are:
- Central Index
- Local Data Search
- Royal Mail
- Dun & Bradstreet
B2C Generic sites list different local services including funeral directors. They vary in quality and usefulness; however, these are the main ones that funeral directors can claim and manage;
By managing your NAP information in the right places and encouraging customer reviews, you will improve your local search performance and increase the number of places that people find your information online.
If you need help with your funeral director listing, please get in touch below or alternatively call MiShop.local on 01273 987498 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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