SEO or SEM: Which Funeral Home Marketing Method Is the Right Choice?

(NOTE: Monitoring your funeral home’s online reputation is a requirement for success in the digital age. Try our free Review Scan now for an instant reputation report on your funeral home.) 

Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are two means to the same end. For online funeral home marketing to be successful today, you almost certainly need to employ both. Here’s why:

What Is SEO?
SEO refers to all the “free” efforts you take to improve your pages’ performance in search engine results pages (SERPs). That includes on-page efforts such as the inclusion of keywords, creating high-quality content, and structuring your site in a mobile-friendly manner. It also includes off-page efforts such as building backlinks or citations.

We refer to SEO as free because you don’t specifically pay to be included in the organic search results, and you can’t buy your way onto the top page.

On the other hand, it also isn’t “free” in the sense that it requires resources—either your own time or the money to pay someone else—to write content, handle keyword research, build links, and claim citations.

What Is SEM?
SEM refers to paid ad efforts to ensure your pages appear in strong SERP real estate. You can essentially buy your way onto the the top of the page on Google via search ads, though these are not organic results. Your listing will be labeled as an advertisement—but it’s pretty discreet, and these days, most searchers have no concerns about clicking on SERP ads.

Why Is an Integrated Funeral Home Marketing Strategy Best?
SEO and SEM each have strengths and weaknesses, so a good funeral home marketing strategy cover all the bases by incorporating both techniques.

SEO creates authority and trust with consumers; when you appear at the top of the organic search results, Google is telling consumers “we scoured the internet, and this page is the best possible result.” In contrast, SEM ads simply tell consumers that you think the page is the best result.

But SEO is a long-term game, and there aren’t any guarantees that you’ll achieve the very top sports. SEM lets you hedge your bets and get your name and links in front of more consumers. It also has a more immediate impact, which can be important for new deathcare businesses or funeral homes launching a new line of service or location.

Effective online funeral home marketing is never achieved through a single channel. Integrating multiple efforts—including on-page content, social media, video, and paid ads—is critical today. And that includes balancing your SEO and SEM efforts.