Frequently Asked Questions

Our top recommendation for any church with a permanent location is our Local SEO annual subscription. We truly can’t stress enough the importance of showing up in local searches performed by people actively seeking a church. These people are highly likely to visit a church on Sunday, so we believe that every church should prioritize this audience.
You should budget from 1% to 3% of your church's revenue for church web traffic growth. If your church has not yet “shut the back door,” your budget should be closer to 1%. If you’ve already developed strong retention procedures and engagement programs, your budget should be closer to 3%.
We’d love to tell you that all your church marketing can be easily replicated by your staff members, but the truth is that understanding search engine optimization and how it works in tandem with website development and digital advertising is something that requires very technical and deeply specialized knowledge. It also requires constant education to gather the most current information, since Google is always updating its process for adjusting rankings through a wide variety of measures. Remaining knowledgeable about search engine visibility factors is essentially a full-time job. Our services are each created to save your church and church staff members (or volunteers) the valuable time and resources to obtain this expert knowledge and carry it out with confidence.

We do have several church clients who do their own Facebook advertising and website development because they have people on staff with relevant professional experience, but unless you have someone who’s absolutely certain they know what they’re doing and are using your church resources efficiently, we recommend seeking expert help.
The more often you update your church website, the better! Google can see when a website is regularly updated with the addition of new content and edits reflecting the most current information, and you’re more likely to rank higher in search results and receive additional traffic because of it. Your website visitors will also benefit from an improved user experience and be more likely to engage with the content and return on a regular basis. Should you need assistance with updating your church website, we offer Landing Pages to coincide with your seasonal, holiday, or event advertising efforts, Homepage & Plan a Visit Page Refreshes, and website development at an hourly rate.
In analyzing the Google Analytics accounts of hundreds of churches, we can tell you that the Homepage and Plan A Visit Page are without question the most important pages on your site. The homepage is where your website visitor obtains a first impression of your church and the Plan a Visit page is where they’re most likely to decide whether or not they’ll visit in person. We have very strong recommendations about what needs to be on these pages, and offer a Homepage and Plan a Visit Page Refresh service in order to help churches address these crucial items.
The majority of the population doesn’t just show up somewhere in person — whether at a restaurant, hotel, or movie theater — without checking the place out online first. Using search engines like Google has increasingly become the norm for people of all ages to fully vet a place prior to their visit. Churches are especially vulnerable to this type of searching since most people are not comfortable walking into a place of worship without knowing anything about it.

Ensuring that your church shows up in search results is critical. Not only does this boost your credibility as an established church in the area, but it helps folks that wouldn’t normally find you to connect with your website. People go to Google to find things. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it encompasses all the processes and drivers that help your church to show up in search results.
Google searchers are not only looking for results that accurately answer their search terms, but in the case of church-related searches, for a trustworthy church. Having a high-quality website and strong web presence indicates that you are a credible organization. Displaying in Google’s top results shows that you have consistently put resources into maintaining your digital presence. It also shows your church as accessible and relevant in today’s world. For churches that want to project a warm, welcoming, and relatable environment, displaying on a search results page is the first step.

Practically speaking, SEO also ensures your church doesn’t get buried in the results page. You don’t want to spend time and money on your website functionality and aesthetic only to be never found by new people because your SEO wasn’t up to par. You want to make sure your website is fantastic and also gets seen by your target audience.
When people type in search terms such as “church near me” or “church in [city name]”, search engines understand that these people are looking for a location, and modify their behavior as a result. This modified behavior includes displaying a "local pack", a short list of results marked on a map that are geographically near the searcher. Local SEO is the collection of processes and drivers that impact ranking within local searches, and what we believe is the very first thing every church of any size should do. Having a strong local search presence is the #1 way to reach the unchurched in your community.
SEO content, by definition, is content created purposefully to help your church website rank in search engine results.

Your church website isn't limited to being found in searches that are explicitly looking for a church. So often, people are turning to Google for help with marital issues, addiction support, and parenting tips. SEO content can position your church as a relevant resource in these areas, producing search results that link to your ministries and other assets on your church website. This introduces a searcher to your church and builds credibility in your online relationship, ideally resulting in an in-person visit.

Most people who are searching for help in these areas are not using church-related search terms. This is why it’s vital to have content that speaks to “Felt-Needs,” or solutions to personal issues faced in individuals or communities. This content can be written with SEO in mind, positioning your church to display in these types of searches and reaching those who are struggling most.
While blogging isn’t absolutely necessary for churches, it can be extremely helpful if you’re looking to reach searchers with “Felt-Needs.” Your church blog is one of the most ideal places to produce SEO content, and regular blog updates also keep your church relevant. The more blog posts the better, and even posting once a month can keep your church expanding its reach through various Google searches. The blog is also a great venue to showcase various successes in your church’s ministries, highlight different church leaders, educate your readers, and direct the focus of your congregation toward a particular need or issue.
Sermon videos are an excellent way to get people familiar with your church before ever stepping foot in the door. When it comes to reaching the unchurched, you’re looking to project a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, but the truth is, it often takes people a little while to warm up to a community. Online sermon videos help people get to know your pastor and familiarize themselves with the type of content they can expect on Sundays.

A huge bonus of posting sermon videos online is the opportunity for additional SEO. Each sermon video, which just like your blog, has a certain content focus, can be optimized to display in Google search results. This means that your pastor is not only leading the congregation, but also becoming a trusted voice in the digital space as well. The higher up on the search results page that your videos display, the more clicks they’ll get, and the more people you’ll reach.
Keywords are simply the search terms that people use to find what they’re looking for in Google or other search engines. Keywords can be one word, like “Bible” or (more typically) a few words, like “who was Jesus” or “marriage support” or “what does the Bible say about parenting?” Creating content on your website that directly speaks to these keywords helps search engines understand that your church website should be a relevant resource for these searches. Additionally, there are many steps that can be taken on the back end (the side of your website that isn’t publicly visible) to ensure that your website and its pages are keyword optimized.
Every search engine uses a unique algorithm, none of which are publicly exposed. However, the SEO community has learned from years of painstaking trial and error what factors most impact search engine rankings.
  • A search engine crawler must be able to understand what your website is about, through the presence of keywords in your page content and metadata. In short, you need quality content that is well optimized for the topics you want to rank for.
  • Your website should be a place that provides a good user experience. Most significantly, it should be secure and fast. Nobody wants to have their privacy compromised or to wait ages for a website to load, and similarly search engines do not want that for their users.
  • If other authoritative websites (with strong search rankings themselves) link to your website, this implies to search engines that your site is authoritative too. Consider this as your website’s “reputation” in the eyes of search engines. If other quality websites think you matter, you probably do! Of all the factors outlined here, this one inevitably takes the longest time to improve - however, if you’re producing quality content, other sites will want to link to it without any encouragement.
  • If the search being performed is interpreted to be requesting a location (“church near me”), then Local SEO factors come into play. To rank well in local searches, search engines need to be confident that your organization exists at the physical location you claim. Search engines do not want to send their users to an incorrect location. People aren’t happy when they search for a church, hop in their car, and end up at a skating rink instead!
Ultimately, you want people who reach your church website to engage with it in some way. It’s of no use to you if someone lands on your website and takes no action. In fact, when enough people navigate to your website and immediately leave, this sends negative feedback to the search engine that delivered them - because they obviously didn't find what they were looking for. But even for those that stay on your site, Google is looking for engagement of some sort. This could mean clicking a button to contact you, or navigating to multiple pages on your website, or just clicking links you have provided on the page.

“Conversion” in this context refers to turning website visitors into those who are actively interacting with your website. Conversion rate optimization, then, encompasses all the efforts that encourage your website visitors to engage. This means providing a strong user-experience (UX) that allows both intuitive access to the content available, as well as clear and prominent opportunities to engage ("calls to action"). Remember, the more that people interact with your website, the better Google will feel about sending you more traffic in the future.
A call to action is anything that prompts a user to take further action on your site. This could be a button that leads them to another page on your website, or a pop-up box that asks for their email address in exchange for a free digital download. In the context of church websites, perhaps the most important call to action available is one that encourages new visitors to "Plan a Visit", converting them from a website visitor into an in-person visitor.

Developing prominent, graceful calls to action can be viewed as more an art than science. With too many calls to action, your website can have a diluted message or be downright annoying to users. On the other hand, if your website lacks calls to action in its user experience, users can end up leaving simply because they couldn't find the right path forward. Finding the right balance with strategically placed and enticing calls to action is a key part of our website development services.
When it comes to driving church web traffic and church growth, measuring the many behaviors of your web traffic is extremely important. These metrics include overall web traffic, average time on page, bounce rates, goal conversions, keywords generating organic / paid / Google Ad Grant traffic, and many others. To help our clients measure what matters most, we provide custom dashboards with all our ongoing subscriptions that are client accessible and up-to-date at all times. We also offer a Google Analytics & Search Console subscription to provide these valuable metrics on an ongoing basis and turn them into actionable insights to further improve your church’s online presence.
It depends on the product and what you are trying to achieve! Our event advertising and Google Grant campaigns will drive new visitor traffic to your church website on the same day that they are launched, whereas many SEO efforts can take as much as 6 months to have a meaningful impact on Google rankings. Our church growth strategists can help you decide which direction to tackle first based on your budget and your organization’s unique stage of growth.
Google offers a grant for non-profits that can be used for pay-per-click advertising campaigns (the “Ad” results at the top of Google searches). The Google Ad Grant can be a helping hand to the outreach efforts of many churches who might not otherwise have the budget for paid advertising or provide a much wider reach for churches that do. However, the grant does come with a lot of regulations to ensure that it is being used correctly. Churches that qualify for a Google Ad Grant can receive up to $10,000 per month in advertising value.