Most churches have a front door problem. The fact is that they just don’t see enough people come through their doors to replace the number of people that are leaving. That’s why according to Lifeway, 6 in 10 Protestant churches are plateaued or declining in attendance and more than half saw fewer than ten people become new Christians in the past 12 months.
If you are serious about seeing your church grow, you need to find a way to get more people to visit. And like most things in 2021, the best strategies are digital ones.
If you want people to find your church on Sunday, you need to make sure your church is found online.
Here are five keys to make sure your site is found locally.
Table of contents
Claim Your GMB
The first thing your church needs to do is claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Google is the king of search, and people use it every day to search for terms like “Churches near me” or “Best Churches in Boston.”
Google’s algorithm ranks the results, and in most cases, it uses the info in your GMB listing to create that ranking.
Don’t assume that Google has all your information right. Get in there and claim your church’s listing.
Optimize Your GMB
Once you have claimed your GMB listing, you need to take the time to optimize it. Make sure your Name, Address, and Phone Number are exactly right. Slight variations here can cost you.
In addition, you need to get your service times, office hours, web, and email address in there.
Photos on your GMB listing are critical. Take the time to submit great images. Try to include people caught in the act doing the values of your church.
Claim Local Directory Listings
An essential factor in your church’s local search ranking is how many citations your church has online. The primary way to gather those citations is through online directories.
Did you know there are over 70 local directories where your church can be listed? The more of these directory citations you have, the better.
There are two ways to get listed on those. You can go to all of them and create an account and build out a profile. It would help if you kept an eye on those profiles because they have a way of changing over time.
Alternatively, you can use a service to do that for your church. If you need some help – REACHRIGHT has you covered.
Ask for Reviews
Asking for feedback may seem counterintuitive, but reviews are a vital part of how Google creates its rankings. The more reviews your church has, the better.
We find that it helps to think of reviews as testimonies. They are people sharing their stories online.
If you can get members to share their experience with your church on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, it will go a long way to helping your church be found.
Speed Up Your Site
Finally, site speed is an essential ranking factor in the Google algorithm. Make sure your website images are optimized and ready to load quickly. We recommend that churches use a free service from Cloudflare to speed up their site. They offer lightning-fast DNS service and great caching options to make your site blazing fast. The faster it runs, the more visitors will find you in search engines.