30+ Church Website Search Engine Optimization Strategies
Onsite Church Website SEO Strategies
The following list of SEO todos are ones that primarily concern optimizing the content on your current website. You may use this as a checklist to do on your own website and as a springboard for your own SEO research and SEO planning.
- Setup automated reporting to measure everything – the most critical step – you need to know where you stand today and how you may be improving over time in terms of
- search keywords, the volume and competition per keyword, which are best to target
- search engine result page ranking – track your position in search results for every keyword
- google analytics to determine new keywords to optimize for each month
- find and track all inbound links
- research competitive links and keywords
- (ChurchBuzz has a fantastic tool that can help with all of these needs – contact us)
- Make sure your domain name contains the word Church or UMC or other Google recognized abbreviation.
- Optimize TITLE and META tags
- Setup H1, H2, bold and bulleted lists – Google likes your data to be organized, and people like to scan your text, not read it. Judicious use of these HTML tags can make your content more readable for humans and search engines
- Add more content, sprinkle in more keywords – make sure you add in additional keywords whenever possible without making the text sound unnatural or overly repetitive
- Add links to valuable resources on the Internet with “no follow” links – Collect links to blogs, other websites, information in general to help your users find the information they may find useful. This gives you some powerful keyword rich content to use without having to write a lot of articles from scratch.
- Create How To or FAQ or Top 10 pages
- Claim and setup your site with Google Places correctly – very important to ensure your website comes up for appropriate “local searches” in your area
- Create pages to be “directory pages” for your town – create a page called “Churches in My Hometown” (substitute “My Hometown” for the name of your town) and list any information about your town and the churches found in that town. This will help you rank better for town specific searches for your church. Do not be “selfish” and think this will drive people to another church – your church indeed may not be the right place for them and providing links to other churches is good ministry.
- Create pages with content specific to each ministry, class, etc – Make sure your content for each page is focused on one particular topic.
- Create “moving to this area” pages
- Publish news/blogs regarding everything that might be pertinent to users in your town
- Publish news about local people/organizations needing help, money, participation
- Publish Youth / Children / Adult Calendar of events to website
- Never remove anything from the website – make sure you NEVER delete content, you don’t want to give up any possible search results that someone could search on and find you in Google
- If you move the website, pages, rename pages, setup 301 redirects – 301 redirects is something your website or website host can setup for you to redirect users from an “old” page to a “new” page. Google likes you to do this to maintain link structures, search results and it is more user friendly than showing a “page not found” error.
- Listen to Twitter / Facebook stream for opportunities to provide more or republish conversations. When you get people talking, repurpose that content into articles, or somehow find a permanent place for it on your church website.
- Review Google Analytics each month for more content ideas. Google Analytics will provide a plethora of great information such as what are the actual search terms that people used to find your website. This can give you a great new list of keywords to try and optimize for each month which then will lead to other keywords, etc. This also gives you a good sense for what people are really looking for in a church in your community.
- Register for other church blogs for content ideas or to mention another blog post in your blog. Also, build relationships with other blog authors and guest blog on each others’ blogs.
- Register your blog with Google Feedburner – this will make your blog easy to syndicate and be re-used in lots of different ways including to allow people to automatically receive alerts when you update the blog
- Monitor the ‘search results’ for your site for more content ideas. Make sure to implement a “search box” on your own website and then once a month check the searches that are performed to see what people are searching on at your church website. This may provide more relevant content ideas.
Offsite Church Website SEO Strategies
These action items will help improve the number of inbound links to your church website which will help you get better rankings in Google because every inbound link basically counts as a “vote” that your website is important.
- Register site with DMOZ.org
- Make sure your denominational site has links to your website as part of their directory and even any mentions of your church in news, blogs, etc.
- Register with Church Directory sites – find directories of church sites and get registered on them. Also, check the Google Search results for churches in your town and surrounding towns. You are bound to find some directories there.
- Links for partner ministry sites – if you have any partner ministries or organizations, make sure they link to your church website
- Get links from blogging members of your church. If you have anyone blogging in your church, be sure to ask them to blog anything of interest and link back to your church website
- Get news stories or “upcoming events” published by Local news bloggers and make sure they publish links to your website or the specific pages on your site with more info on your local events and such.
- Get links from area business owners who are members, or that support your church/ministries
- Get links for internal pages, not just the homepage
- Get links from the town, city, county government websites, especially if they are .gov sites
- Get links from local universities especially .edu sites
- Make sure all inbound links are optimized with proper keywords
- Find and claim your church website on any/all 3rd party or social media sites, then optimize them