Pastor, Google Thyself (SEO and Your Church)

Pastor, Google Thyself (SEO and Your Church)

 

Let’s talk a term you probably don’t know.. we like to call it SEO. (sorry.. it was too easy).

When I talk to most pastors about their websites, they’ll usually tell me “well, we have a site now, but..” They’ll usually go on to confess that it was made around the time Friends was still on TV, or when George Bush was elected. Few churches are still in the dark ages of having no website, (and you’re probably not counted among them if you’re reading this). So the imperative question for most pastors isn’t whether or not they have a website, but if it’s working for them (i.e., driving visitors, providing the right information, creating a space where people feel invited to come visit, etc.). So, how do you find out if your website is doing that?

Well, to paraphrase an ancient Greek idiom… Pastor, Google thyself!

If you’ve never Googled your church, go ahead and do it. Open Google and do a search for “Churches in _________” filling in the blank with the city and state matching your church’s address. It’s okay. I’ll wait. Does your church come up at all? Are you on the first page? If you answered no to either of these questions, your website could have a serious issue. According to church consulting firm Monk Development, 90% of searchers don’t go past the first page of search results. 

Think about that a second.
If your site isn’t on that first page, 90% of the people searching for churches in your area don’t know you exist. Period. So how do you fix that? Who decides what ends up on that Google page, or Bing, or Yahoo, (or AOL.. i think my mom still uses that)? Allow me to introduce you to something that we in the web development business call Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short).

Things To Know About SEO

Search engines like Google and Bing have gotten much more sophisticated in the past 5 years as people have turned to search engines for just about everything. These massive search sites have extremely sophisticated computer programs that constantly “crawl” the web for every existing website imaginable. It then makes sense of these sites, indexes them, and saves them in huge data centers so that when someone goes to search for a particular topic or keyword, that search engine can spit out information on the site it crawled.

In order to be relevant to the people searching for things on the internet, search engines will prioritize websites that have well written, organized content that has a good amount of SEO going on under the hood. Because of this, the sites that are the most optimized for people searching on the web are sites that are built for SEO from the ground up.

Another tool that is particularly effective is Google My Business. If you search your church’s address, in most cases Google has already indexed you in their maps database. Google will let you “claim” the business and edit the information. This improves your rankings in local searches and searches done with Google Maps.

Here at Tentmaker Web, we realize that a gorgeous website means nothing if no one is visiting it. That’s why we use sophisticated tools and analytics to built Search Engine Optimized sites from the ground up. Find out more here.

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