How can your church website connect with the people living in your town and neighborhood? We’ve talked about church website SEO before but it’s worth another examination. Specifically, what does SEO have to do with reaching your local community? How can your online presence reach people in your area and engage them? After all, getting your website to the first page of Google won’t help if no one in your local community is finding it. If you want to reach your local community better online, these tips can help you get started with local SEO for churches.

Claim Your ‘Google My Business’ Listing

Have you ever searched for ‘restaurants near me’ on Google? If you have you probably came across some business listings on Google. These listings give searchers information about the business’ location, hours, and reviews. Although your church or nonprofit organization may not qualify as a “business”, it’s still important to claim your business listing on Google. You can share your church’s location, office hours, contact information and reviews (which we’ll discuss more below). Claiming your listing on Google is free but requires a brief authentication process. 

Because your Google My Business listing is linked to your location, you’ll be more likely to show up when people in your community search for “churches near me” or something similar. Reaching your local community online starts with the Google My Business listing.

Get Reviews!

Reviews are actually an important element in SEO rankings. The quantity, diversity, and consistency of reviews over time all factor into search rankings. If your church has a variety of reviews you will have chances for better SEO than if you don’t have any reviews. It may seem weird at first to ask your congregation to review your church. View it as a chance for church members to express their appreciation for the church in a public forum. Ask your congregation to review your church on Google. 

Use Your Social Media

Social media and SEO are connected. How do you incorporate social media into your local SEO strategy? Keep in mind that reviews are just as important on platforms like Facebook as they are on Google. Sometimes Google will even display reviews from social media like Facebook in their listings. It’s important to keep your online presentation consistent across all platforms. SEO experts use the word “citation” to refer to anytime a business (or any other organization) is mentioned online. Part of a good proactive SEO strategy is to monitor and manage your citations. Does your church’s Facebook page give the same information as your website? Is your information consistent across multiple platforms? Do you view social media and website management as two different things or do you view them as interconnected? 

Reach Your Local Community

In review, reaching your local community with SEO best practices is surprisingly simple. It doesn’t take a complicated strategy, just the willingness to get little things done. Claim your business listing on Google, encourage your congregation to write reviews on Google, and establish consistency with social media. These may seem like baby steps but you won’t walk down the SEO path without them!

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