So, how well is your church tapping into the Google ecosystem? Do you know what your church website’s Google rank is right now? If someone were to keyword search “church” in your area, would your site show up on the first page?
Whenever you need to find something, buy something, define something, or check something, you Google it. It’s pretty amazing, really, to see just how much this search engine platform has changed how people connect with information, products, and services. That’s why Google ranking is so important.
If you’re not sure or feel your church website’s Google rank could be better, keep reading.
We’ll share some of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your ranking with Google. So print out this roster of ideas as your to-do list and improve not only how your church website ranks with Google but also how well your faith message can reach new members.
Table of contents
- 1. Claim Your Google Business Profile
- 2. Get Your Reviews Pumping
- 3. Do Your Keyword Homework to Boost Your Church Website’s Google Rank
- 4. Google Trends Is Great, Too
- 5. Get on the Google Map
- 6. Invite Other Websites to Link to Yours
- 7. How’s the Word Count on Your Homepage?
- 8. Optimizing Your Church Website’s Google Rank with Images
- 9. The Power of a Meta Description
- 10. The Freshest Content Rises to the Top
- 11. Improving Your Church Website’s Google Rank with Responsiveness
- 12. Consistency in Formatting Matters
- 13. Optimizing Your Church Event Posts
- 14. Improving Visibility of Your Pillar Pages
- 15. Get the Boost Your Website Needs with the Right Partner
1. Claim Your Google Business Profile
With A Google Business Profile, you have an online listing for your church that you may not have already claimed. This listing, without an owner at the helm, is unverified, and features of this automatic directory presence are being wasted.
Find your church listing, verify your ownership of the listing, and start customizing! Add photos or videos and updated information about your services and ministries.
2. Get Your Reviews Pumping
Google+ Local will generally pull online reviews from across various sites into one place. And the more, the merrier. If you have fewer than ten reviews out there, your church website’s Google rank will be lower.
Shopify says your online reviews represent as much as 10 percent of your Google ranking search results.
Invite the congregation to share their church experiences on Bing, Yelp, Google, or CitySearch. Even Facebook reviews can help if you have members more comfortable leaving comments there. There’s no bad place for a review, and Google will recognize those organizations with more reviews as important.
If your Google lists three churches, one of which has 60+ reviews, another with four, and a third with none, guess which church gets prioritized at the top of the list? And which will ultimately receive more site visitors as a result?
3. Do Your Keyword Homework to Boost Your Church Website’s Google Rank
Google loves keywords. It’s how the platform seeks and identifies essential and relevant sites. So to boost your church website’s Google rank, consider doing a little homework on what keywords your target audience uses most to find a church.
Your ministry isn’t just any church. It has far more to offer than Sunday service, too. Consider sitting down to create a list of strong keywords that best represent your faith message and members.
You can also use Google AdWords as an excellent tool for researching target keywords with high search traffic. It’s helpful in showing you what keywords competing churches might be using, so you can create more unique keyword phrases, as well.
With a robust keyword list in hand, you can then audit your church website and make sure those terms are featured heavily throughout the text. Use these precise keywords when posting new content and sharing church news.
4. Google Trends Is Great, Too
While we’re on the topic of keyword strength, you might also consider Google Trends. This tool is ideal for measuring how popular keywords are during a period of time. So, if you want to know what people search for around the holidays, Google Trends can help. Knowing these details will help you incorporate the search terms your community uses most, allowing you to reach those potential new members.
Google Trends won’t offer competitive scores like AdWords. However, it can narrow down to a local area to highlight words and stories that are “hot” in the search bar. You can optimize your church website accordingly by publishing content using those keywords as part of a faith message or spiritual lesson.
5. Get on the Google Map
When people search for local dentists or restaurants, they rely on the Google map to show them area locations. Make sure your church is doing the same. Put your ministry on the map!
This practice is called “local SEO,” and Google My Business (GMB) is a gamechanger for any establishment looking to be found in those local search efforts. It allows you to manage your ministry’s appearance on the actual map provided during a Google search. It also ensures more browsers will see and find you when they’re looking.
If you haven’t created your GMB listing, start by doing a general search of your ministry. You can log into your Google account directly from there or create one. The process is outlined for you, step by step, to update your church information. Grab a few reviews, and you’re good to go!
6. Invite Other Websites to Link to Yours
In the digital marketing world, we call it backlinking. When you get another website to share your church website, it’s one of the best ways to boost your church website’s Google rank.
Get this. More than 99.2% of all results on the first page of a Google search have at least one external link directing to their sites.
In a way, Google sees this backlinking activity as a positive endorsement of your church website. Of course, it can be tough to grow the number of external link sharing since it’s technically out of your control. But you can get creative in inviting local community sites, municipalities, or charities to link to your church website.
Sponsorships can be incredibly helpful with backlinking, as well. And promoting community calendars online can be a great way to ask and share sites collectively for better Google ranking results.
7. How’s the Word Count on Your Homepage?
When Google looks to identify which sites to list first, at its most basic level, it focuses on keywords. So if Google doesn’t recognize the terms on your homepage, you might be missing out on valuable search engine results positioning.
It’s recommended to start reviewing the content on your homepage first. Even the best images and graphics won’t help you rank better on Google. It’s a word thing, and Backlink.io reported that the average homepage word count of sites showing up on the first page of displayed results is 1,890 words.
Get more descriptive about what your church offers. Don’t just promote “St. Louis church services.” Instead, consider adding in “St. Louis Youth Ministries” or “Youth Ministry Classes.” The more descriptive you can be on your homepage about your church offerings, the easier it will be for Google to find your site and rank it higher accordingly.
8. Optimizing Your Church Website’s Google Rank with Images
When you feature images on your church’s website, do you know whether or not they’re optimized? There is typically a field allowing you to describe the “alt tag” for the image. It’s the alternate text here that search engines use to verify the relevancy of your site’s content.
There are software solutions out there that read these “alt text” fields aloud to vision-impaired browsers, too.
Be descriptive about providing your “alt texts” and get the most mileage out of your church website images. It will also ensure a boost in your church website’s Google rank.
9. The Power of a Meta Description
Almost every content management platform provides a way to update the meta description for each page of your church’s website. The meta description is a summary statement, usually chock-full of those powerful keywords, that describes the core value of the content on that given page.
Search engines like Google will display these meta descriptions under the page title on the search engine results page (SERP.) Not using them or having weak meta descriptions could cost you in those church ranking results.
10. The Freshest Content Rises to the Top
One of the simplest ways to effectively boost your church website’s Google rank is with updates. Google loves a website that continuously updates, refreshes, and provides something new. Revamped website content will always rank higher than stale or stagnant sites.
To keep your website ranking high with every search, make sure you’re routinely publishing new content. Post blogs, update calendars and upload new member faith testimonials. Keeping a weekly or even monthly schedule of updates is better than none at all.
11. Improving Your Church Website’s Google Rank with Responsiveness
Improve your church’s website ranking by improving its overall responsiveness. Google’s algorithms prioritize those sites that work well and load quickly. An oversaturated site with complicated graphics or too much text can bog down the site’s flow and ease of use.
How mobile-friendly is your church website? Considering nearly 60 percent of all online searches are conducted on a mobile device, churches need to make sure their websites are polished, mobile-friendly, and responsive with every click.
Fast load times and adaptable websites matter to browsers and Google ranking. Try loading your church site on your mobile device or tablet and see how people experience your content. If there are image or page loading delays, or if it feels cluttered with content, you should explore solutions and improvements.
12. Consistency in Formatting Matters
The search engines will look for consistency in endorsing a website for ranking position. It might sound trivial, but if you’re spelling out “avenue” in some instances and abbreviating “ave” in others, it’s a sign that inconsistency on your site exists.
Of course, slight grammar contradictions aren’t going to make or break your church website’s Google rank. However, too much inconsistency in style and format can result in lower search engine positioning. Consider going through your site, page by page, and correcting these inconsistencies ongoing.
13. Optimizing Your Church Event Posts
Most churches have lots to celebrate and a host of events throughout the year, from fundraising to youth-sponsored activities. If you’re interested in boosting your church website’s Google rank, consider optimizing those event and calendars posts.
Anyone who is unfamiliar with your ministry won’t keyword search for specific events. They will likely search for “Easter activities for kids in Baltimore” instead. So when you share your ministry activities online, keep these search behaviors in mind and use strong keywords that help you cast the net wider for better audience reach.
14. Improving Visibility of Your Pillar Pages
Your church website is thoughtful, well-designed, and inspirational. But if no one can find it, the message is lost. Consider spending a little extra time reviewing your pillar pages. The pages that tend to receive the most traffic for any church are the pastor, ministry, and worship pages.
Revamp keyword structure on those pages. Instead of “Missions,” say “Missions in Kansas City.” Instead of “Worship with Us,” you can incorporate “Youth Worship” to attract families with children.
15. Get the Boost Your Website Needs with the Right Partner
Sometimes, despite your very best efforts, you just can’t seem to get your website rank any higher than where it is now. And that’s ok. It only means that you’re in need of a website partner to help with those next-level improvements.
When people in your community begin their search for a church to call theirs, they almost always hit the Google search bar. To ensure your ministry’s website comes up in the results, you need a strategist with knowledge of the faith community and all the tools to communicate effectively to those hard-to-comprehend search algorithms.
You need an incredible Local SEO strategy outlined by someone with proven experience in guiding church organizations like yours to digital success. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few Google-certified experts in your corner, either.
When it comes to directory management and increasing your church visibility online, you need ReachRight. We specialize in helping churches just like yours, and hundreds of them, increase their online presence and ultimately, reaching more new people.
You can’t help the lost if your church can’t be found – online, that is. Take advantage of some of these ideas as great ways to boost your church website’s rank. And if you feel you’ve exhausted all your efforts, let the digital marketing professionals at ReachRight tap into their ministry marketing capabilities to increase your online presence!