Secrets to growing your church in the Google age.

It’s no secret that today if you want to reach your community you must start online. Sure, the sandwich boards and physical “traditional” marketing still has a place. After all, what better way to capture local attendees than for them to literally drive into one of your signs? Well, let’s hope they aren’t driving on the sidewalk…

In case you aren’t sure about the need to undertake a serious focus on Google search engine optimization, consider that more than 80% of consumers looking for a local product or service will start on a search engine. Which means just as people in your town will turn to Google when they need a Dentist or a plumber, so will they consult Google when they have a ministry need.

You may think of search engine optimization as something only businesses need or can afford to buy. But the reality is that with a desire to win online and with an investment of time, you can make surprising progress in taking your churches website from “undiscoverable” to the first page, or even first position on Google.

If you are intrigued about how to get started with SEO for your church, check out this article featured by one of the best SEO company blogs we’ve found.

Following is a primer video on SEO.

The following business.com article provides additional resources that may be helpful.

In short, following are four easy and nearly free steps you can take to make sure your website gains authority and rankings in Google’s search algorithm.

#1- Become a prolific blogger. Many businesses struggle in the area of content creation, but for a church, this is an easy step. Remember, Google indexes content, and the more relevant it is, the better. So what can be easier than having your weekly sermons transcribed and turned into a blog post?

#2- Write for other publications. There are several benefits to doing this, the first is that you will get a valuable backlink to your website. Google uses backlinks to determine the quality and relevance of the site being linked to (your church website). The second value is that you will build your own brand, which as your popularity increases, this will naturally drive more clicks and traffic, which in turn improves your authority and ranking.

#3- Appoint someone to handle your social media profiles. We get it, keeping your social profiles updates can become a real time sink. For this reason, you should consider appointing someone on your staff or perhaps a volunteer, to keep your social profiles always updated. You can never update too much. As with #2, keeping your social profiles regularly updated will serve to drive clicks, valuable backlinks and in general more exposure. Hiring tip: don’t worry about finding a “pro”, all you need is a social media power user. Many pastors are shocked to find that their social media experts come from the most unlikely demographic in their churches. e.g. don’t overlook your “older” members, they may just be savvier and have the time to give back to the church, that your students do not.

#4- Optimize your church website for the keywords that you would like to be discovered for. In some cases, your website may have all the pages needed, but they don’t portray the terms you would like to be discovered for. In other cases, new pages may need to be built. Regardless, take the time to objectively read your site, if you don’t see the exact words and phrases that you think someone would use to find you, then you need to invest in what’s called on-page SEO.

Click for a FREE SEO evaluation.

 

SEO tips for increasing traffic to church websites.

The following article contains three SEO tips for how you can generate more traffic to your church website. It can take up to 12 months to see the result of search engine optimization for your church website but do not think you made a mistake because the ranking movement hasn’t occurred the first time a spider visited your page. Keep linking and your site will be reaching your city and dominating Google in no time. A properly designed site with a clear call to action and easily discoverable information, are vital for your church or ministry to improve its online presence.

For this reason, SEO and digital marketing are critically important activities for all churches, but SEO alone will not determine your success. Many pastors do not know the number of leads their website is generating. Even more tragically, many ministries look at their site as an expense instead of an outreach vehicle. A good site works 24 Hr a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. However one of the most challenging questions is where to begin if your website isn’t really working for you, and you probably have a good sense if you are easily found on Google (or not). The short list below includes key elements that provide important pieces to your Google domination strategy.

Basics of SEO defined:

1. You must get traffic. Traffic to a website is about balance and tracking. When you have a variety of marketing methods, like PPC, SEO, and even print media, you won’t get stuck depending on a single source. Track each source to minimize your expenses and optimize your impact. Of all the traffic driving methods, search engine optimization returns the best ROI for the lowest investment.

2. Conversion, or put another way, do visitors take action when they come to your site. What methods are you utilizing to transform your local SEO traffic to Sunday visits? Do you provide people with an easy way to contact you, what about your service times, are they easily found, how about your address? Ask yourself, is it simple for individuals to decide what action to take? To improve conversion you may need a new landing page to improve your messages. Typically, less is more. You do not need to tell a visitor everything about your church, simply offer them something to “want more.” Then make it simple to act on.

3. Follow-thru. Not everybody will be ready to call or visit your church when they first come to your website. For this reason, you should have a subscription option (email newsletter) where those who might not want to call or visit, but who would like to know about forthcoming special events, etc, can be easily notified. One of the most underused online marketing tools by churches is the email newsletter. A converting site should consist of a system for tracking who visited your website so you can stay in touch. To aid in understanding your traffic, make sure you have Google Analytics installed.

Enhancing your site for greater exposure online and on the search engines is a process. There is no silver bullet, but with proper planning and the assistance of an experienced search engine optimization specialist, your website can become a highly effective outreach tool. With consumers now reporting that 80% of their search queries are beginning in a search engine, it’s highly likely that when someone in your community is seeking help, they will start their journey by asking Google. Wouldn’t it be awesome if that distressed family or individual, found your ministry first instead of alternative answers?

Check out this awesome video with the director of social media for Bishop TD Jakes to learn more about how social media can help your ministry reach the lost.