Google can help grow your church. When it comes to church growth, gone are the days hoping new people will show up on your church’s front door merely because you exist. In fact, authors of Churchless found the number of those not attending a church anywhere has risen from 30% in 1990 to 43% in 2014 (info graphic). This means if you want to grow your church, it won’t happen on accident.
Pastors have to go out and go after people who feel far from God. One of the best and easiest ways to connect with searching souls is online. CNN reported that Americans spend more than ten hours a day consuming media and that number is growing! This means if the church wants to meet people where they are and invite them to a place where they can hear about God, then one of the best ways is through an online presence with Google. Google has the ability to quickly connect spiritually unconnected people to your church.
But, Google won’t simply connect people to your church because you exist and have a website. You need to build the bridge that will help Google know your church exists, so that it can connect potentially interested people to your church. Below are 9 ways you can help Google help grow your church.
1. First Understand Google’s Algorithm
Google is constantly developing new ways to connect the most relevant information to those searching for it. The process or rules Google uses to make these connections is called their Algorithm. The better a church understands and follows Google’s algorithm, the easier it will be for Google to suggest your church’s information and the higher it will rank your webpage. The highest ranked info is the first to be shown in a search on Google. This means when a person searches for churches in your area, ideally your church will be the first one listed.
2. Use Google Console to Grow your Church
An easy way to see where your church presently stands is by searching for churches in your area in Google. Try looking up “churches” in your zip code or city and see how far down your church is listed. You can also make use of Google’s Search Console. This tool will easily show you how Google views your site.
3. Focus on Felt Needs Keywords to Grow your Church
What issues, concerns, questions do people have in your area? These are the terms or ‘felt needs’ that people are searching for on Google in your area. Does your website have pages that mention or are dedicated to the most searched local ‘felt needs’ on Google? For example, if divorce is a concern in your area, does your church site have anything talking about divorce? Imagine how great it would be if a person was searching for divorce recovery and your church was the first site that popped up!
Here are some examples of felt needs that people search Google for:
|Parenting Support||Kids, Youth, and Adult Sports||Art Opportunities||Local Volunteer Opportunities||Activities for Youth|
|Marriage Support||Prayer Support||Life Groups||Global Volunteer Opportunities||Activities for Students|
|Personal Finance Counseling||Bible Study and Bible Classes||Coffee Shops||Local Churches||Activities for College|
|Singles Support||Mental Health Support||Bookstores||Local Church Denominations||Activities for Men|
|Crisis Support||Music Opportunities||Cafes||Activities for Kids||Activities for Women|
4. Churches Should Blog around Felt Needs Keywords
Creating a blog is an easy way to get new content to people interested in your church and increase web traffic towards your church’s website overall. As your church determines local ‘felt needs’, not only should you dedicate pages on your site to these terms, but you should also begin blogging about them. Start writing about divorce recovery, parenting, and searching for answers. Some of the most popular questions for God on Google include, “Who created God?”, and “Why does God allow suffering?” The more you blog about what people are searching for, the more Google will direct those people to your site. Check out what keywords you rank for with our free tool:
The Keyword Analyzer tool helps evaluate the content and SEO optimization of your church website. It crawls your website to detect the presence of commonly searched ministry related keywords in the H1/H2 Headings, Meta Descriptions, URLs, and text. It then gives a score from 0% to 100% for each selected keyword group. This information can help you identify opportunities to have your church's ministries found more often in Google searches.
5. Website Load Time is Important
The faster your website load time, the better the chance your site will earn a higher ranked score with Google. You can check your site’s loading speed by using Google’s Pagespeed Insights Tool. Try our new Free Church Website SEO Audit tool to analyse your website, and also to get improvement suggestions.
6. Google Ads Play an Important Role to Grow your Church
Google Ads are a lot like playing golf or bowling; they’re fairly easy to pick up but can take years to master. The good news is that even the most amateur ad can increase Google’s traffic to your site. If you want to increase traffic to your website and ultimately to your church, start an ad campaign on Google today. Here are two tips to remember when starting a new ad:
Use Google Display and Search Network: There are two major ways Google can display your ad. First, they can show your ad through the Google Display Network. This is the group of websites where Google displays ads. The second is called the Google Search Network. This is a relevant ad displayed after a search is made in Google. You can read more about these here.
7. Landing Pages Should Maximize Google Quality Score
A church landing page is the webpage a person is directed to after clicking an ad or a link from a web search. Your landing page should focus on the topic people searched for. The more specific and relevant the landing page, the higher Google will rank your information. The higher your information is ranked, the more often Google will share a link to your webpage. For example, if someone is searching for, “Questions about God,” and an ad for your church comes up, instead of using a link to your general church website, create a separate landing page dedicated to and discussing people’s questions about God. You can read more about landing pages here.
Here are some examples of successful landing pages:
8. Google Analytics are Helpful to Grow your Church
It’s important to know the effectiveness of your website and Google ads. Spending a lot of time and money developing a website or ad, but then having no idea if it’s working is like spending time building the fastest race car possible, but then never even turning on the engine. Luckily Google makes it easy to assess the effectiveness of your website and ads through Google Analytics. Google Analytics for churches can tell you all kinds of helpful information including:
- How many people clicked your ad
- Where’s the traffic coming from (site and region)
- How long do people stay on your site once there
- Demographics or interests of those using your site
Church Growth doesn’t happen on accident. If you feel like people aren’t attending church like they used to, then you’re right- they’re not! The number of unchurched adults in the United States today has increased by more than 30% in the last decade (Churchless). Pastors have to be more creative in their approach to help new people attend church for the first time. Google can play a huge role in fueling church growth, but only if you begin taking the steps necessary to help Google help you. You can do this by understanding how Google works, refining the webpages on your website, creating great ads, and using Google Analytics. You don’t have to be an expert in all things Google to begin making a difference in your online presence. The important thing is to start somewhere and begin taking steps forward.
It’s also important to know you don’t have to walk this road alone. If you’re looking to develop your church’s online presence, Missional Marketing is here to help. We have experts in website optimization and Google ready to help connect your church with the hurting and searching people in your community.
To Get Started
Missional Marketing is a dedicated Christian communications firm working with Christian Churches and Organizations across the country, and we are also a Top 5% Certified Google Partner. So get in touch today, and we can get you started.