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5 Tips to Make Your Church More Searchable Without Spending a Penny

Remember when people use to simply go to the Yellow Pages or Religious section in the newspaper to find a local church?  That’s no longer the case and being found isn’t as simple as just out spending the other churches to stand out a little more on that page of the paper or in the phone book.  Just like anything else, people now turn to Google to find a church and it’s our goal that whether people are searching for a church or really anything else online, that they find your church.  Here are some tips to help make your church more searchable without spending a penny:

1)     Include keywords on your website home page.  Think about the words that someone might search on Google and you would want them to find you.  Most often the key term is your city’s name and the word church.  For instance First Baptist Church in Little Rock would want people to find their church when searching “Little Rock Church” so make sure those words are all included in your homepage.  If possible include these words in your page title.

2)     Maximize Social Networks in linking to your site.  While you are not likely able to manage a bunch of Social Networks, it’s always a good idea to create an account on social networks both for potential future use as well as for search sake.  People can find your church while searching on that social network as well as creating additional links to your church.  While posting content to these social networks make sure to regularly link back to your church website as well as always including your church URL in the About section of each network. 

3)     Setup a Google+ Page for your church.  While Google+ from a social engagement standpoint will not be a valuable investment, from a search perspective it is incredibly valuable.  Make sure you setup a Google+ page and fill it out well with your church address, pictures and basic information (including service times).  You don’t need to constantly update your page with ongoing posts, but making sure your page is setup well is very important.  

4)     Encourage staff and members to leave reviews.  While people are seeking out information about a church or more specifically your church, Yelp and Google Reviews are likely where they will land.  Encourage your staff and members to visit these sites and leave reviews.  This will both practically help those who are searching, but it will also enhance your ranking in Google’s page rank.   

5)     Maximize YouTube for all of your church's videos.   It is FREE to host your videos on YouTube and it’s important to note that it is the #2 search engine in the world behind Google.  Consider titling your videos with titles that people might search in either Google or YouTube.  You can host both your sermon videos as well as sermon clips, video announcements or any other video that you might have. 

 

After completing these 5 simple steps to becoming more searchable we would love to help you take Search to another level by applying for and managing a Google Grant.  Google offers churches and other nonprofits $10,000 a month in FREE advertising on Google Adwords each month.  It’s not a joke or a scam, these are real ads reaching real people.  Visit http://Searchable.Church for more information. 

Since this post includes 5 tips we wanted to offer 5 churches 3 months FREE on Searchable Church getting you setup and managing your Google Grant at no cost for 3 months.  The next 5 people who go to Searchable.Church and request more information will be able to take advantage of this special offer.  

3 Questions with DJ Chuang

I'm excited to bring back an old tradition to my blog in interviewing friends with 3 questions that I then share with you.  My first guest back to this new format is my good friend, DJ Chuang.  Introducing DJ could be a whole post in itself as his list of unique experiences could go on and on.  I will summarize it in saying that he is focused at the center of the intersection of the church and the internet.  You likely have heard of his podcast Social Media Church and he is currently working with the American Bible Society with the .Bible registry.  To learn more about DJ you can visit his website at DJChuang.com.  

I'm so grateful that DJ took the time and know you will gain great insights from DJ's answers to these 3 questions: 

1) As you have studied how churches are using Social Media, where do you see churches getting it right and where do you see them missing a great opportunity?

> @djchuang: I've heard of many great examples of churches using social media in a wide variety of ways through my podcast conversations during the past 2+ years on Social Media Church, and that's good to see. Plus, I think it's a good sign that my Google Alerts for "social media church" comes with a handful of mentions almost every day now, whereas just a year ago, it was only a couple mentions every few days. I think churches are getting it right when they empower both their staff and attenders to actively use social media, and learn to use it better over time. You (and your church) develop your social media voice by using your voice on social media. 

As for opportunities, there are so many because the Internet is so vast and wide, the opportunities are practically limitless. But we are finite people with limited resources. I'd say the biggest opportunity that churches are missing is YouTube. The number of people watching YouTube videos, the hours of time with videos watched and uploaded is astronomical! YouTube statistics at the moment are: More than 1 billion unique users every month, over 6 billion hours of video watched monthly, 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute, 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US. The opportunity here is not to upload your church sermon videos; it is to create engaging videos that is worthy of a Gospel witness.

 

2) After studying the trend of Online Church for years, what do you see ahead for this trend?

> @djchuang: I had started tracking the number of online churches and internet campuses back in 2007, when there were 5 that I could find, during my tenure at Leadership Network. By 2014, there was over 105, and those are just the ones I could find in my spare time, since I'm not a full-time researcher. That's good growth, though hardly a drop in the bucket when compared to the total number of churches in the US, estimated to be around 350,000+. 

I'd like to think that the next iteration for online churches will be content specifically produced for an online audience, rather than merely streaming video content produced for an in-person offline audience. Most churches currently provide a video of existing worship services for the online audience to watch and participate from afar. The growing trends of online education, webinars, livestreams, and online conferences all point towards churches extending their ministries online in more engaging ways.

 

3) You are also very involved in the Asian American church.  Can you share what trends you are seeing and what people should understand about that Asian American Church that they might not know?

> @djchuang: Firstly, I'd refer your readers to my popular article on Ed Stetzer's blog, 9 Things About Asian American Christianity, and notice that Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial grouping in America. 

Plus, I see so much more potential for Asian American churches than what's currently happening. Asian Americans on the whole have the highest family median income and the highest rate of college degrees of any racial ethnic grouping. That's not to say there aren't community needs for some Asian Americans, but it is to say that Asian Americans could be great partners for the Gospel in America's multicultural society and today's transnational world. 

Recent racial tensions in America continue to show that we are not in a post-racial world. I believe the best remedy for racial strife is the multiethnic churches, where real relationships and friendships have a foundation on the Gospel and tap into God's power for reconciliation and true peace on earth for all humankind and between all peoples.