google

Church Website SEO

When you are looking for something where is the first place that you go? Google, of course.

To say that Google runs the internet might be an understatement. Historically people found our churches while driving by or seeing our ad in the Yellow Pages. Those days are over. Even if they do find us via those two paths, their likely next step is to Google your church to get more information.  

So, the question is: how do we make sure that our website ranks high on Google searches?  

Honestly, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is quite complicated and the details of how Google ranks website is unknown to most. There are however some best practices in order to optimize your website for Google results.  

The first thing you want to do is think through the top 3 search terms or phrases that you want your church to pull up. For Community Bible Church there are 3 primary search phrases that we focus on: “Community Bible Church”, “San Antonio Church”, and “Online Church.”  In order to make sure our website performs well in these searches we need to make sure these phrases are on the homepage of our website.  One common mistake that churches make is not having their church name on the homepage of their website. It is visibly there through a graphic logo, but it is not searchable because it is not searchable text.  

Beyond making sure your key phrases are integrated into the homepage of your website here are 3 additional things you can do to make sure your church is searchable:

  1. Utilize Google for Nonprofits - Google offers nonprofit organizations $10,000/month in FREE Adwords advertising.  Maximizing this resource can make sure that your church is Searchable in your local area.  

  2. Utilize Google Webmaster Tools - this might actually be the most important step as Google will help make sure your site is optimized for Google Search Results.  

  3. Setup Accounts on Google+ and other Social Networks - many of the top search results will pull from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and other Social Networks.  Having a Church account on each of these will help in search results.  

Know that SEO takes time to build and it takes minutes to destroy. Please do not buy into link pyramid scams that can often get your website blacklisted by Google. Work hard to create a great website with a lot of traffic and Google will steadily take notice. Building strong Google Search results is a long term play with huge return for your church.  

What are you doing to make your church more searchable on Google?

 

Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Church Website: Google Analytics

Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Church Website (Google Analytics) (1).png

How do you measure the effectiveness of your church website? For Community Bible Church our primary goal of the website is to lead people from website visitors to worship attenders.  That’s very hard to measure though.  While it’s hard to measure, we still try to measure all that we can and strive to enhance our website to become the most effective ministry tool that we can.  In order to measure the effectiveness of our website we primarily measure 4 things via Google Analytics:

  1. Overall Website Traffic - we believe that the better we make our website the more people will visit it. People will come through social sharing, personal invites and Google search results. We desire for our church to grow and often that church growth is directly in line with the growth of our website traffic.  

  2. Time On Site - while we don’t want people to live on our website, we do want people to spend significant time on our website finding out more about how they can get connected, watch sermon videos, and more. We primarily measure the time on site of our first time visitors to see well we are engaging this audience.

  3. Google Search Traffic - optimizing our site for Google search results is very important. People primarily navigate the Internet through Google and we want people to find our church through their searches.  

  4. First Time Visitors - the primary goal of our website is to reach new people in our community. If all we have are returning website visitors we are providing value to our church members, but we are missing our primary target audience.  

How do you measure the effectiveness of your church website? What other opportunities do we have to measure the effectiveness of our websites?

 

Google Business View Your Church

If there's anything I'm unfamiliar with and curious about I simply Google it.  You likely do the same thing.  Before I visit a restaurant, store or even a church; I Google it.  I want to find out everything I can before I go there.  

Before moving to New York we toured many neighborhoods via Google Street View.  It's crazy how you can essentially walk down a street and look in any direction.  Before we even visited the city to look for an apartment in New York we had virtually walked hundreds of streets!

Google has released a new feature called Business view where people can not just see your church on the outside, but the inside as well.  Take a look at Community Bible Church below:

I hope you will take a few minutes to walk the halls and visit both worship venues.  These virtual tours are not only found on Google, but can also be embedded into your site.  

Before you get freaked out by everyone seeing everything at your church, know that you choose what people see and don't see.  You coordinate a Google Photographer and choose what rooms you create a virtual tour for and which ones you don't.  Also know that this isn't a free service from Google, but something you pay for.  Well, the Google part is actually free, but the photographer you have to pay.  

Have questions?  I would love to answer them!

If you live in San Antonio, I highly recommend Roy Reynolds who shot everything for us at CBC.  Here's his contact information:

Google Trusted Photographer 
Roy Reynolds 
San Antonio, TX 78250 
cell: 210-771-9412
www.1000dreamsphotography.com