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.

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