From time to time, Funeral Director Daily asks experts in their field to author articles that we believe may be helpful to our readers. In today’s world virtually every funeral home has a website. However, having a website is not adequate anymore. . . . . knowing what that website can do for your business and how the consumer relates to the website is of ultra-importance. To that end, we asked Welton Hong, founder and CEO of Ring Ring Marketing and an expert in the digital marketing world, to help us understand more of what can make a website work better for our businesses.
User Experience and Its Role on SEO Performance
By Welton Hong
Writing great content and incorporating the right keywords isn’t enough for funeral homes to stay competitive in search results anymore. Google and other search engines have grown increasingly complex, and they’re capable of measuring and considering numerous other factors when ranking pages. One of the most fundamental factors is user experience (aka UX).
What Is User Experience?
It’s exactly what it sounds like: a person’s overall experience with a product or website, including ease of use and the feeling evoked.
Peter Morville, who helped pioneer UX and information architecture and still writes and consults on the topic today, created the User Experience Honeycomb, which is a look at the seven basics of UX. Here’s how they might apply to funeral home websites:
- Useful: What you provide on your website should be relevant and useful to the user. If someone is searching for “cost of a funeral in Florida,” they don’t want information about costs in Oregon or a page on the history of funerals. Your content must be useful in the context of the keywords and searchers you’re targeting.
- Usable: The pages and content on them must If links are broken, your site navigation is confusing, or your content is poorly written and hard to understand, user experience is impacted.
- Desirable: The information and products you offer must be things your target wants or needs. If your target audience is millennial preplanners, content about finding ways to pay for preplanning on a retiree’s budget may not be especially desirable, for example.
- Valuable: Once you know what type of content your audience wants, you must create it in a way that provides value. For funeral homes, that means providing meaningful, helpful, quality content—not just throwaway SEO drivel that’s filled with keywords.
- Findable: People should be able to find you in the search engines. That means investing in strong search engine optimization. But once on your site, consumers must be able to find what they’re looking for within a few seconds or clicks. Pay attention to where information is on the page and how your menus work; don’t hide valuable information, products, or services behind a frustrating trail of links.
- Accessible: Pay attention to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Ensure anyone who comes to your page has a good chance of being able to interact with your content.
- Credible: Use your expertise and credentials to assure readers you’re a credible source on funeral topics. Create an “About Us” page that highlights the experience, education, and certifications of your staff and the history of your company. When linking to content or writing about statistics, always use credible sources to back up your claims.
Why Does UX Matter to Consumers?
Put simply, no one wants to be frustrated.
It’s critically important to reduce frustration for visitors to your funeral home website. If they’re in an at-need situation, they’re emotional and their stress state might already be maximized, so the slightest roadblock to a smooth user experience could be too much to deal with.
And even those looking for preplanning information won’t put up with much when it comes to website roadblocks. For example, about 40 percent of people won’t wait longer than 3 seconds for a page to load. Google considers anything over 2.5 seconds as needing improvement.
How Does Google Use Perceptions About UX to Rank Pages?
Google uses a variety of metrics and tools to “measure” the user experience your web pages offer. If a page scores low with regard to UX, it could rank lower in search engine results pages (SERPs)—even if the content does a great job at addressing the intent of the related keywords.
One way Google measures UX is via RankBrain scoring. RankBrain takes into account factors such as page load speed and behavioral metrics, including bounce rate and time on page. The concept is that if people who find your page in the SERPs stay and read the entire thing or click through to other pages on your site and interact with them, user experience must be decent. That can help you rank better in search results.
Core Web Vitals is another tool Google uses to understand UX on pages. These tools factor in elements such as page load speed, whether interactive elements work well, and how visually appealing your site might be. A slow site with tons of flashing and scrolling images, for example, is likely to have a low Core Web Vitals score.
Improving user experience for your funeral home webpage can be as simple as using the page yourself to find and fix pain points. You can also call in a web design professional to audit your site to find areas that could be improved upon.
Welton Hong is the founder & CEO of Ring Ring Marketing, a full-service digital marketing firm recognized as a leader in educating the funeral industry on cutting-edge techniques to increase at-need calls and preneed sales. He is also the author of Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Funeral Homes, Second Edition. To learn more about Ring Ring Marketing click here.
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