Drive Traffic to Your Funeral Home Through Google Places

Marketing a funeral home means walking a fine line between promotion and compassion.  You want to make yourself visible and accessible when people need your services, but you don’t necessarily want to go overboard since that could make you look less professional.

Google now offers a service that can help make your business more visible to the local community easily.  It’s called Google Places and it’s the latest offering of Google’s tools to help local businesses connect with the community.  Reaching out locally is more effective than large campaigns, especially for businesses that offer specialized services.  In true Google fashion, they’ve also made the process easy to get your business on Google Places.

Getting Started on Google Places

All you need to get set up with Google Places is a Google account and a few minutes of your time.  We’ve broken the process down into five easy steps.

Step One:  Get Registered

Head over to the Google Places registration page and begin adding your company information.  You’ll be taken to a page that asks for routine information including your business name, address and website details.  You’ll need to agree to their Terms & Conditions and then your listing will begin.

Step Two: Verification

Google verifies each listing by mail.  Agree to the have a postcard sent and you can move along in the process while that’s on its way.  Once the postcard arrives you can log back in to enter the code they provide.  If you have everything else set up while you wait then your listing can go live right away.

Step Three:  Fill in the Details

The next step in the process is all about getting the details correct.  Add your social media links, website, blog and other online options.  Also include normal business hours as well as any special number for emergencies that come up outside of those office hours.  One of the sections Google Places uses is for AdWords Express, which brings us to our next step.

Step Four:  Sign Up For AdWords Express

If you’re not already using AdWords Express, check out the program to see if it’s a good fit.  AdWords Express is a lighter version of the traditional AdWords account.  It’s ideal for companies who want to create campaigns quickly and easily while staying within their budget.

Sign up for the account and add a simple ad and set your budget.  Then Google does the rest.  They’ll make it a promoted link based on the options you choose and they’ll end it when your budget is hit.  Simple as that.

Step Five:  Verify and Optimize

By this time, you should have gotten your verification postcard in the mail and you should be ready to go live.  Check your Google Places listing carefully, clicking on any links and double checking the business hours and other details.

Get your listing optimized for a search engine by taking care of the following:

  • Fill in all the information that is available.  People doing a search will want as much information as possible on how best to get in touch or access your services online.
  • Include high-quality photos of your funeral home and relevant pictures that engage visitors.
  • Make it easy for clients to find your Review link.  The more reviews you get via Google Places, the better your SERP results will be.
  • Use specific keywords throughout your listing but don’t overdo it.  Dropping the same keywords or phrases over and over is called ‘stuffing’ and it can actually make your site appear lower in results.
  • Add a link to your Google listing on your website and incorporate it into your email signature.

Is Google Places Just Google+ Local With a New Name?

Many businesses already have a Google+ Local presence and they may wonder if getting a Google Places listing is worthwhile.  But the two aren’t interchangeable and skimping on a Google Place listing could leave you out of searches.

A Google+ Local listing is essentially a business page on Google+.  This is similar to business pages on Facebook; they’re great for connecting with local people but it isn’t the same as turning up in a search result.

Google Places is not about interaction as much as it is visibility.  So you’ll still engage with clients directly via Google + or Facebook, but a listing on Google Places will make that first contact easier.