To fulfill its role as a guiding light in a world filled with shadows, the Church must strive to be the shining city on a hill. In today’s society, achieving such a lofty goal requires leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to ensure your ministry appears at the top of Google search results. Here are some of the best practices for church SEO that can help you achieve this objective.
Church SEO: Location, Location, Location
When individuals search for a church on Google, they usually include their specific location in their search query. Alternatively, Google may display local churches automatically. Consequently, it’s advisable to incorporate your location details on every page of your website. One effective approach is to include your address in schema markup.
Schema markup is a code that you can insert into your website’s HTML to help search engines read and identify your church’s physical location. This guarantees that your address is uniform across all pages of your website, ensuring that “Street” is always spelled “Street” and not abbreviated as “St.”
Pay Attention to the Keyphrase
Consider your audience and the keyphrases they use on Google to locate your church. If you’re unsure which keywords visitors use to find your website, don’t worry. You can avoid guesswork by installing Google Analytics on your website.
Google Analytics can inform you about the keywords visitors use to access your church’s website, along with other valuable data such as the referring websites or social media sites and the specific pages they view.
Another way to develop keyphrases is to utilize Google Keyword Planner to identify potential keywords. The tool will provide keyword suggestions and inform you how frequently people search for them each month. You only need to input your church website’s URL, and the tool will produce keyword ideas.
After identifying your keywords and keyphrases, optimizing your web pages is crucial. You should aim to include these phrases in specific strategic locations, such as:
- Title Tags
- Page URL
- Meta Description
Responsive Web Design: A Church SEO Necessity
As an increasing number of individuals search for information online using their smartphones and tablets, Google is adapting to this trend by favoring websites that are compatible with multiple devices. Therefore, opting for a responsive web design for your church website is essential. This isn’t only important for search engine optimization purposes. When your web pages appear seamlessly on all types of devices, you make it simpler for people to discover and engage with your church.
Give It a Name
Although an image is said to be worth a thousand words, optimizing it for search engines requires using words as well. While individuals can interpret that an image depicts enjoyment, search engines are unable to understand its meaning when only presented with a string of characters such as IMG8769.jpg.
This represents a missed opportunity to improve your website’s search engine ranking. Instead, you should develop a suitable keyphrase, such as “Fall Festival in Orange County,” that accurately reflects the image’s content. Search engines can then better comprehend the webpage’s purpose, and you can improve your chances of ranking well for that specific keyphrase.
Make the Most of Your Church on Google
This is a crucial aspect to consider when it comes to your church’s SEO. First and foremost, you must establish a Google account for your church to begin. If your church already possesses an email address, you may utilize it to set up a Google account.
Next, log into the Google account and conduct a Google search for your church. When you locate your church on Google’s local listing, you’ll notice links beneath your church’s name and address that read “Claim this business” and “Suggest an edit.”
Examine the name and address displayed. If the information is correct, select “Claim this business.” If not, select “Suggest an edit” to amend the displayed information. Simply complete the subsequent steps to allow Google to verify that you have the authorization to represent your church or make modifications to the listing.
While it may require a phone call or postcard to finalize the verification process, the endeavor is certainly worthwhile. This process will single-handedly place your church on the map – literally.
Invest Real Time in Your Blog
Creating a blog on your church website is an effective way to engage with people who may not have visited your church yet. By providing fresh and exciting content regularly, you can encourage them to visit your website frequently, even if they can’t attend church services in person.
Moreover, it’s not just people who will be interested in your new content; search engine bots will also be attracted to it as soon as it’s published. When your website has numerous pages indexed by search engine bots, it increases your chances of ranking higher in Google’s search results.
Don’t Forget: Google Loves Google
Utilizing Google’s own properties on your website can boost your SEO efforts. It’s no secret that Google favors its own products, so embedding some of these nifty tools on your church website is a smart move. Here are two to consider:
- Google Maps: Embed this tool on your “Contact Us” page for practical purposes, such as providing driving directions to your church. It also earns SEO points.
- YouTube: With over 3.5 billion searches per month, YouTube is the second largest search engine. Even dental practices find it worth their while to post on this video-sharing site. Take advantage of your church’s sermon and event videos by uploading them to YouTube and embedding them on your site. By doing so, you’re hitting two birds with one stone.
Improve SEO By Asking for Reviews
One way to show search engines that your church is active and relevant is by having reviews on your local listing. These reviews are also helpful to potential visitors as they provide social proof that can influence their decision-making. Encourage church volunteers and long-time members to leave honest reviews on your church’s listing to get started.
Fish for People
Keep in mind that SEO is not the ultimate goal, but a means to connect with a broader audience, especially those actively seeking a church to belong to. Therefore, while optimizing your content for SEO is important, always write with your audience in mind. Avoid stuffing your content with too many keywords or writing like a robot. Your audience will easily detect this, and it will make your content sound unnatural.
Even though everyone is vying for a spot on the first page of Google, your church’s primary goal is to reach out to people, not search engine bots. Your online presence provides an excellent opportunity to connect with those who haven’t yet attended a Sunday service. We live in a digital age, and most people spend their time online. So, the church must go where the people are. Use your online platform to shine your light before men for the glory of your Father in heaven.
Of course, there’s much more to engaging with congregants, donors, and potential churchgoers than proper church SEO. DonorWerx can assist in these areas. Schedule a Discovery Call with us today to learn how to increase revenue in your ministry.