You probably know in a general way that SEO is important to your website. You might not know what SEO is, what it does, and (most importantly) how you can use it. That’s what we’ll be looking into in this blog post and in the one that follows. Alternatively, you can watch our webinar. Let’s start by defining what SEO means.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” A quick google search will tell you that it is “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” Excuse me, what?
Wikipedia is slightly more clear: “Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines.” So basically, the idea is that you want your website to appear as close to the top of the results as possible when someone searches for something related to your business (or church, in this case). SEO is all about how to do that.
The most important thing to realize about the SEO process is that you should always be working to improve. To do that, you can regularly check your rankings, continue to optimize your pages, and keep analyzing your results for ways to get better. But before you start on that, let’s talk about how SEO works in the first place.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Simply put, search engines like Google or Microsoft Edge send out Internet bots called (weirdly enough) “spiders” to crawl the web. These spiders note your website’s titles, key words, description tags, navigation, and other stats. They then consolidate their findings and determine where you will show up when other people search words related to your website.
So what sets Google apart from all the other search engines out there? Google wrote a system that rates your website’s reliability and importance. This rating is based on your content, your website’s design, and how many other websites link to yours.
What Are the Most Important Ranking Factors?
A study bymoz.com ranked the most important factors that improve your website’s ranking on a Google search. We’ll start with the most essential factors, and work our way up to the factors that will allow you to compete with the best.
- Double check that your website is indexed by google. Some special settings turn off this feature, meaning that no one will be able to find your website no matter what they search. Once that’s done, you can start working towards a better website.
- Make sure that your content is compelling. Your content should be interesting and helpful to visitors so that they come back again and again.
- Optimize your website for a keyword. Essentially, what this means for a church website is that your website should be about your church.
- Choose a good design so that your website is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and looks great on a mobile device as well as a desktop.
- Create share-worthy content. This is similar to creating compelling content, except that this content should be optimized for sharing on social media and other websites.
- Work with the SEO features of your site to create an eye-catching and helpful title, URL, and description. This is what will show up on a google listing.
The final point of Moz’s hierarchy is not something we’ll go into today, but you may want to research it separately.
Next week we’ll be talking about how to apply all this information specifically to church websites. For now, you can watch our webinar for more information.