CHURCH SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
- People use Google to shop for Churches
- Can they find your church when searching for a church in your own TOWN?
- Can they find your church when searching in a NEIGHBORING town?
- Can they find answers to life’s problems on your church website (and in Google)?
CHURCH SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION RESEARCH
Our own research indicates that 90 to 95% of churches are not actively doing much of any church website search engine optimization. Due to the explosion of Facebook and YouTube and smart phones (iPhone and Android devices in particular) , it has quickly become evident that the #1 way that people are going to search for and find a church is via the web – namely Google. So, if the church website is not optimized, it may end up being “invisible” to that person seeking the church.
WHAT IS SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Basically, SEO is tuning the content on a church website so that the search engines can find the website as a resource when people are searching for certain search terms. If you know what search terms people actually use to find resources like the ones you have on your church website, you can optimize the content on your website to meet those needs.
This is the basic answer, but in practice, we have developed a list of over 150 220 optimizations (and this number grows weekly) that can be done to a church website in order to fully optimize it. In fact, we published some of them on this list of over 30 ways you can do search engine optimization for your church website.
In other words – it’s complicated, takes a lot of focus and a lot of technology experience and gets more complicated every day.
WHY DO SEO FOR OUR CHURCH WEBSITE?
When people are “shopping” for a church, the #1 resource they will turn to will be Google. It is widely known that the website holding the #1 position in the Google search result will receive somewhere on the order of 50 to 60% of all the clicks by a typical user.
If someone is searching for a church in your area, and your church website shows up on page two, there is very little chance they will ever even click over to page two and see your listing. Even being on page one doesn’t guarantee they will see your page. It is imperative, if you want people to be able to find your church website, that you be in the Top 5 search results and the best of course is position #1.
But, still, why do we care? Well, if you want your church to see a steady stream of visitors, it is very important that they be able to find you in Google. I assume your church is focused on reaching and welcoming and loving people who:
- are moving into the area and may be looking for a new church home
- have never been to church, but want to learn more
- have been to church in the past and want to come back to church
If you want to welcome these folks, the best way to do this is make sure they can find you in Google and then also be ultra welcoming to them on your website (commandment #2).
It used to be that when people (kids and adults) needed help or advice, they went to a trusted friend, teacher, pastor or mentor. Today, it is TOO easy to pull out your smart phone and just GOOGLE it instead!
What if a person is searching for help with unwanted pregnancy, drug or alcohol addiction, forms of abuse, sickness, legal assistance, debt problems? Do they find YOUR church as a resource for these solutions to these issues? If not, then they will just happen upon any random website for answers and they may be led down roads that are motivated by financial gain rather than by your church who is motivated by Jesus’ love.
People need to find your CHURCH as a resource for dealing with the issues that your church can help with when they are searching GOOGLE for answers! We’ll go into this further in Commandment #8 when we talk about providing “relevant” content.
WANT TO KNOW HOW WELL YOU SHOW UP IN GOOGLE?
Can people find your church if they search on churches in your city? town? neighborhood? zip code? For your denomination? By the way, if you want to know for sure, we do offer a low cost church website review that will tell you exactly how well you show up to those SEARCHING for you in the search engines and we will provide a FULL report on how to optimize your site for Google and Users!