Your Church Needs SEO Optimization to reach even more poeple
A few years ago our family was considering a few different cities to relocate to. We had no warm contacts in the cities that we were considering moving to, no friends, no family, no information other than what was available online.
At the top of our list was finding a church where we could feel at home. Every church we considered was the result of a Google search for each city.
It required a lot of digging and sifting through search results in most cases, but every once and awhile a church would appear right on page 1 of our search that was an amazing fit and ended up being added to our list of churches to visit in person.
Our family is not the only family out there who make their church a key deciding factor when considering a move to a new town. Each year hundreds of thousands of people migrate to new cities and are not sure where they are going to worship.
SEO optimization can be a key factor in making sure your church can be found online.
SEO MATTERS FOR YOUR CHURCH
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) combines web development, design and content in a specific way that allows your church’s website to be recognized by Google search and largely determines where your church’s website shows up in Google search results.
You can have the most amazing website out there and have an awesome representation of your church, but if your site isn’t optimized, people are not going to find you.
SEO can be a little intimidating and get technical at times. However, you don’t have to be a complete SEO expert to make some small changes that could have a BIG impact on your church’s website.
Below, we’ll go over some key pieces of information that search engines look at when someone is searching for a church in your area.
COMPONENTS OF SEO OPTIMIZATION THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
Having clean and simple URL addresses on your website is incredibly important for both your users (people visiting your website) and search engines that look at your website when someone does a search.
Minimal words in a page’s address such as “www.mychurch.com/plan-your-visit” communicate not only to a visitor as to what page they’re on, it also is communicating to search engines what type of information is on this page.
The search engine can clearly see that the words “Church” and “plan-your-visit” are all listed in this URL.
You’ll need to have a clean URL structure for every single page of your church’s website.
META DESCRIPTIONS AND TITLE TAGS
The meta description gives you additional space (155 characters) to really communicate what your website is about. This is crucial for how your site is read by search engine bots.
The Meta description is the grey text that appears under the link and address in search results. Your meta information should not be an excerpt from the web page (seen below) but should be a clear, short description of the page being shown in the search results.
You’ve looked at this information yourself thousands of times when you’re searching for the right website, your decision was made in part by this grey text wasn’t it?
These words should not be wasted. Having service times or your phone number listed, or even a special holiday event listed here could be the difference in someone’s decision making process at a critical time in their life.
The blue text shown on the first line of each search result is called the “Title tag”. Each page of your site has a title tag and they should be optimized with specific keywords to help your site be read more easily by search engines. The title tag is also helpful for people considering your organization in a long list of search results.
For your front page or home page a great title tag will typically include your church’s name followed by the location (city).
A good rule to follow for the other pages on your website would be the title of the page, followed by the church name.
Optimizing these two pieces of information can make a HUGE difference for how your church will show up in Google search results. This could be the difference in someone finding your church or not.
There’s nothing deceptive about this.
Optimized content isn’t a trick or bait and switch to grab web traffic (in most cases at least), rather it is a well thought out piece of content that clearly communicates information that visitors to your website are looking for, and also clearly communicates your church’s message.
Your content should be clearly organized and provide information covering questions from all possible angles.
Have you ever been annoyed when you only receive a one word answer to a question?
This is the same idea with optimized content. Sure – you could provide information such as “Service Times: 9 and 11am” or you could go more in depth.
You could have your service times page provide helpful information for any differences there are regarding each service such as styles of music or specific events that only happen at the 9am service.
All of this information not only helps a first time visitor feel a little more at ease about their visit to your church, but it also helps search engines read your web site more easily and provides credibility that your church’s website is a valid search result.
Just remember that quality content is important.
You want to go out of your way to explain everything about your church and services. You want to make sure that anyone considering visiting your church has their questions answered and their mind put at ease so that they can take the bold step of joining you for worship.
SEO FOR YOUR CHURCH
We’ve gone over a few key factors here for starting to improve your church’s SEO. Hopefully these changes can begin making an impact on how your church shows up in search results and encourage more visitors to come worship with you.
There are even more factors for optimizing SEO that we share in other articles. If you’re not sure where to start – you can always contact us and we’ll be happy to talk with you.
Need More Help with Your Church's SEO?
Want help maximizing your church’s SEO? We can help. Contact us today and see how we can start helping your church grow online and reach even more people with packages starting as low as $150 per month. Not so sure? We’ve got a few case studies to show you how we’ve helped other organizations succeed online here,and here.