Do you remember the first time you heard someone say that your front door of your physical location is no longer the front door of your church, but that your church website is the new front door of your church? It only seems like a few years ago that I actually started using that language maybe 4 or 5 years ago, and for a time I believed that to be true. But I’m going to tell you that today I don’t think that your church website is the front door of your church. I actually think that the new front door of your church is actually your Google Business Profile. Okay, maybe it’s not the front door, but it’s at the very least, it is the window through which people are peeking before they actually approach your front door. And so what I want to do today in this episode of the Missional Marketing podcast is I want to talk to you about some best practices for utilizing your Google Business Profile to make sure that you’re taking advantage of this tool that Google offers all churches so that you can reach more people.
My name is Bart Blair and I am the co-host of the Missional Marketing podcast, I am flying Solo Today. This is season four episode two of the Missional Marketing podcast, and we produced this podcast to help your church grow by leveraging digital marketing and effective communications. And in this day and age, utilizing your Google Business Profile is a significant element to increasing your digital footprint in your community and reaching more people online.
Now, why should you be investing time and energy into your Google Business Profile? For starters, people are checking you out online and that is often a place that they see you first. And when you are investing time and energy and resources into your Google Business Profile, you’re creating a strong first impression for people who first discover you by searching you in Google, Google Maps or Google Local Finder. Okay? Those are places that people can find you and you want them to have a strong first impression, and your Google Business Profile is often the place that they’re getting that first impression.
Secondly, when you are actively using your Google Business Profile, Google will reward you with more local SEO juice. What is local SEO? Local SEO is basically the way that people find a brick and mortar location online. So if you’re searching for a physical location, church near me, Chinese restaurant near me, chiropractor near me, whatever it is that you’re searching, Google uses a certain type of criteria to rank those businesses in what we call the local pack, in the local finder, and in Google Maps. Now we have lots of content on our website and blog content on local SEO, we have other podcast episodes that we have done about local SEO and we have some training videos on our YouTube channel all related to local SEO. So if you’d like to learn more, just dive in there. You can email me at Missional Marketing, BBlair@missionalmarketing.com. You can go to MissionalMarketing.com and go to our contacts page and you can actually set up an appointment with someone on our team who can actually walk you through how to improve your own local SEO profile. We have some services that we offer churches to help them rank higher in local SEO, but that is not what this podcast episode is about. That being said, utilizing your Google Business Profile will actually help increase your local search rankings. So I hope that that is good motivation for you to want to do some of the things, if not all the things that I’m going to be sharing with you today.
All right, here’s the first thing that you need to be doing in your Google Business Profile on a regular basis, weekly, at least monthly, no less often than quarterly, okay? And that is that you need to be updating photos and videos on your Google Business Profile. Check out your photos, are they up to date? Are they telling the story that you want to tell? You have the ability to upload photos, to delete and remove photos, and one of the things that’s very common is that people in your church will often either upload photos themselves or Google will geotag photos that they have taken at your location and add them to your Google Business Profile, and sometimes those photos are less flattering than you would like them to be, sometimes they don’t adequately tell the story that you want to tell. I have talked to churches that have other, in their general geographic area, they have other landmarks that people are taking photos of and sometimes those photos end up getting geotagged to their Google Business Profile, even though the photos have nothing to do with their church. And you need to go into your Google Business Profile and you need to check those photos and any photos that you don’t want showing up in your Google Business Profile, you hit the little flag button in the upper right-hand corner, and you give a reason why you want that photo removed, maybe it’s inappropriate, maybe there’s a copyright issue, maybe you don’t have permission, maybe it’s not an accurate photo, maybe it’s a poor quality photo, those are all the different options that you have. Use that as a way of getting some of those photos removed that aren’t telling the story that you want to tell.
Another thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that you can actually upload videos to your Google Business Profile. You can shoot a short