When Jesus ascended he gave his church a Great Commission: to make disciples of all people. Since then, the church has existed to gather God’s people and equip them to live faithful lives. How do church websites fit into this commission? How can technology impact your church’s ministry specifically? What do you have to gain from using SEO for ministry?
One powerful modern tool for ministry and outreach is search engine optimization (SEO). According to Moz, SEO is 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.”
Essentially, good SEO practices drive more traffic to your site by ranking your site higher on Google. There are countless ways to rank higher in search engines like Google, including using popular search keywords in your content, managing your online reviews well, and using specific strategies to reach your local community online.
But what is the true purpose of SEO best practices as they relate to the ministry of the church?
Build authority through trust
Strong SEO can build trust for your website over time. As you put in the work to succeed at SEO, your content will be displayed by more search engines as they try to put the right relevant content in front of the people using their search engine. As you build “trust” with search engines by publishing quality, relevant content, you’ll also develop more and more authority online as a voice that people should listen to you. This is a tremendous opportunity for outreach.
Online leads to offline
Your church’s efforts to connect with people online (e.g. social media, your website, etc.) should always be driving offline connection. It won’t matter how many social media followers you have if you can’t develop in-person relationships with them. The church was not meant to exist on an entirely digital platform. True discipleship occurs when people are able to build strong face-to-face relationships. As your church pursues SEO best practices, keep this in mind. The purpose of more web traffic is to connect more people with your church and build relationships with them.
This is one reason why local SEO is so important. It specifically connects you with the people in your local community.
It’s all about visibility
Jesus told his disciples that they were the “light of the world”. He told them that a “city on a hill cannot be hidden.” In the same way, SEO best practices are meant to increase a website’s visibility on the web. There are incredible opportunities to get your message in front of people who need it. SEO can help your church increase its online visibility. Discipleship stems from relationships and relationships start with meeting people. SEO is just one way that your church can connect with your local community and initiate relationships.