The Q1 2023 benchmarking report for UK funeral and cremation services has just been published. Learn how the top 10 UK funeral and cremation services perform across the digital space.
The latest Q1 2023 benchmarking report for UK funeral and cremation services has just been published. It covers the 10 largest national funeral and cremation services, including Co-Op Funeralcare, Simplicity Cremations, Distinct Cremations, Avalon Funeral Plans, Dignity Funerals, Pure Cremation, Celebration of Life, Golden Charter, Golden Leaves and Affordable Funerals.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other funeral and cremation services to win brand exposure locally and online views. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
To see a preview and contents page of the Q1 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each brand based on 50+ metrics and indicators of a successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.
Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels
Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing and Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from £30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing. Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.
Technical Website Compliance
Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. During times of stress and grief, cognitive abilities are often impaired, so it's essential that funeral and cremation services maintain straightforward, easy-to-navigate websites that meet clients' needs. Particular care should be taken of the pathways to key pages, such as contact pages, pricing options, and FAQs.
Whilst most of the funeral and cremation services we researched had a fairly low amount of website errors, all 10 of the companies had at least a few 4xx or 5xx errors showing. Dignity Funerals are seeing the worst level of 4xx error codes, with 104, and need to be looking into the cause of these errors.
Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance
When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load will see a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. No one wants to be researching funeral providers, so funeral and cremation services need to ensure their customers have as positive an experience as possible on their mobile site, providing answers quickly with minimal frustration.
We would expect most to achieve at least an ‘okay’ score of 50-89, whereas only eight of the 10 funeral and cremation services did. The mobile page speed scores are currently between 24 and 81, with Avalon Funeral Plans lagging behind. All the companies that are scoring below 50 have some serious work to do on improving their mobile page speed.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority (DA) is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Funeral and cremation services should be continually pushing to improve their DA - though it may be a challenging sector to build authority in, they can do this by exchanging content with vendors they frequently use, or by using a good PR strategy in building new links (and claiming existing ones).
A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however, it’s generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. Only six of the funeral and cremation services achieved a score of average or above, with the DA ranging from 4 to 80. Co-Op Funeralcare are scoring the highest of all 10 funeral and cremation services. Those at the lower end of the scale need to be focusing on building a stronger backlink profile to compete with the higher-scoring funeral and cremation services.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for core, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. While funerals and cremations are in a niche group where ‘popularity’ never changes, without an effective organic search strategy, they can quickly lose ground to competitors. Care should be taken to monitor any fluctuations in rank, along with regular reviews of changing search terms, so they can optimise for topical, popular keywords.
We looked at how all 10 funeral and cremation services have performed compared to last year. We discovered that only six of the funeral and cremation services in our report have gained organic mobile traffic over the last 12 months. Dignity Funerals saw the biggest loss with an 11% drop, whilst Celebration of Life saw the biggest gain with a 933% increase.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results are an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a retailer can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. Funeral and cremation services should be utilising all universal search features as potential customers will want to see how previous customers have found their experience via Reviews, FAQs and People Also Ask. This is also an opportunity to provide useful, quick content for commonly asked questions that show high potential for conversions.
We could see that Image Pack was the highest used universal search feature, with Dignity Funerals taking the top spot reaching 1,700 results. Some companies are underusing all universal search feature options and only seeing a handful of results. Those getting a small number of results need to work towards the numbers their competitors are achieving.
The Longtail Keyword Opportunity
Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for new search terms as they enter Google’s index. There are many longtail keyword options that funeral and cremation services could be optimising their content for such as ‘funeral prices in Birmingham’ and ‘cremation services with payment plans’.
Although Dignity Funerals are ranking for a higher number of longtail keywords when compared to their competitors, they are ranking for very few longtail keywords in the top 20, with only around 10% ranking in positions 1-3. Dignity Funerals should be looking at how to improve their rankings on existing longtail keywords, but also at how to expand their strategy to include new search terms with a high potential to secure conversions.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecasted to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached £2.6b in 2019.
Below, we can see examples of Pure Cremations’ Facebook ads, using bold, strong, creative to capture the attention of users, including specific area names they are targeting.
Top Social Shares & Content
When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for a long period of time. It's great for your engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Social media could be especially useful for sharing information about its different financing and buying options.
We saw in our research that Simplicity Cremations are falling behind their competitors when it comes to both Facebook Likes and Instagram Followers. Simplicity Cremations need to look into how they can compete with other funeral and cremation services to provide useful content through social platforms.
Website Readability & Accessibility
Around 20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, brands lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. All the funeral and cremation services need to ensure their website is accessible for all customers looking at funeral and cremation options.
All of the funeral and cremation services appear to be struggling with accessibility within their sites, with all 10 seeing an array of errors, contrast errors, and alerts. Simplicity Cremations are still seeing the worst amount, hitting 123 contrast errors on its website. The funeral and cremation services seeing issues should be reviewing and optimising their accessibility, and investigating to see what the issues within their websites are.
Q1 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just six of the metrics we evaluated these top 10 funeral and cremation services on, check out our quick-look table below;
GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q1 2023 REPORT
To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.