Church website SEO is an important element of website health. What is SEO and why is it important for churches?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. Moz.com defines SEO as: “the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (also known as ‘organic’) search engine results.” Search engines, like Google, rank their search results based on relevance to user queries. SEO is the practice of using different strategies to optimize your website’s search rankings. Churches benefit from SEO by connecting with their specific audience and targeting their message to those who need to hear it.
The possibilities for churches to grow from SEO are numerous. In fact, there is so much content about how to do SEO that it can be intimidating to even know where to begin. We want you to start simply and learn a few straightforward best practices to begin your church’s SEO growth. Here are three SEO tips to get you started!
#1-Claim Your “Business” On Google
Google runs a business listing program called “My Business” that pulls business websites from the web and puts them in search results. If you’ve ever searched Google for “restaurants near me” or something similar, you’ve probably gotten results from Google My Business.
Churches aren’t businesses, but the Google business listing can still be used for churches. By adding your church to Google My Business (or claiming the GMB listing for your church that already exists) you can stake your claim on some prime internet real estate. If there is only one thing you do to improve your church website’s SEO, do this: claim your church on Google My Business. You can find out how here.
#2-Use Relevant Keywords
When web users make a search on a search engine like Google, the words they use in their search matter. Google matches results with the keywords the searcher used. Understanding this is tremendously helpful for SEO growth. When creating content for your church website, be mindful about the keywords and phrases that you use. This is especially important when it comes to location.
Grace Presbyterian Church, in Lake Suzy, Florida, is a noteworthy example. They are the first result on Google when someone searches “churches in Lake Suzy, FL”. Oftentimes potential visitors will be making searches like these. That’s why including your church’s location in key parts throughout your website’s content is essential for being picked up by Google. Church websites can improve their Google rankings by using keywords that people are searching for and by including their location in their website content.
#3-Share Compelling Content (And Update It Regularly)
According to “Mozlow’s Hierarchy of SEO Needs” (from Moz.com), compelling content is one of the most fundamental elements of a good SEO growth plan. Making your church website content relevant and engaging makes it more likely to be ranked well in search engines. Include eye-catching photos, engaging written content, and even videos to make your church website worth visiting.
It’s also important to keep your website content updated regularly. The more regularly you update your website with compelling content, the better. Consider a weekly letter from church leadership or a blog with relevant topics. Event updates, sermon library updates, and interactive web forms can also serve the same purpose.
What are the next steps with church website SEO?
The world of SEO is vast and there are varying levels of complexity. Starting small with these basic tips is a great way to increase outreach opportunities and make the most of your church’s website.