If you want a reliable way to predict church growth, plot the curve on their church web traffic. Usually, if the church web traffic is trending upward, then the church likely growing. If the church web traffic is trending downward, then the church is likely shrinking. In fact, web traffic is as important to measure as church attendance.
The internet has profoundly impacted church growth strategy, much like other technologies did earlier in church history.
So what can a church do to build their web traffic? This article answers this question.
Boosting Church Web Traffic with Google
Google has been the internet’s ‘go to’ search engine for over a decade. It has become so popular it has even become a part of the English language. What do you do if you are looking for information online? You Google it! While Google has become the worlds most useful search engine, it has also become the internet’s most powerful marketing tool. If you are looking to boost your church web traffic, then implementing a Google campaign is a must.
Google Search Network for Church Growth
The only results that matter in Google are the first few results near the top of the first page. These are the websites that people click on. If you are appearing even below the fifth spot in the search rankings you might be getting 5-10% of the total search traffic. If you are on page two: forget about it! The Google Search Network allows you to sponsor your content so that it appears in the first couple of results. Google then charges on a ‘cost-per-click’ basis for the traffic.
Putting together an effective Google Search Network campaign can be complicated, but our expert team are here to help you every step of the way.
First, you will create a list of keywords that you want your ad to rank in Google for. These keywords should be related to each other, and then bundled together in what are called Ad Groups. To give a better idea of what your keywords and Ad Groups might look like, here are some examples:
|Ad Group||Keyword 1||Keyword 2|
|Church||churches near me||christian churches|
|Prayer||prayer request||prayer chain|
|Bible Study||bible study||bible study guide|
|Marriage||marriage counseling||marriage classes|
|Parenting||parenting classes||parenting advice|
|Preschool||preschool||preschool near me|
|Elementary||elementary||elementary schools near me|
|Students||middle school activities||high school activities|
|Young Adults||young adult activities||events for young adults|
|Men's Activities||men's activities||events for men|
|Women's Activities||women's activities||events for women|
|Volunteer Oppurtunities||volunteer oppurtunities||volunteer opportunities near me|
|Local Missions||serve locally||volunteer locally|
|Global Missions||serve overseas||volunteer overseas|
|Counseling||family counseling||christian counseling|
|Grief||grief counseling||grief support|
|Denominations||catholic church||baptist church|
Quality Score and Landing Pages
Once you have created your various ad groups and keywords, you must then create landing pages for each Ad Group.
A landing page is a page that a visitor gets delivered to when they click on your ad. Also, landing pages are vital to a successful Search Network campaign. This is because Google grades every ad on a scale of 1-10 using its Quality Score. The higher score your ad receives, the higher it will rank on Google. You attain a high quality score by ensuring that your landing page has high quality, relevant content. The key word here is ‘Relevant’. Google loves relevant content, so the more relevant your landing page is to your ad the better. This means using keywords throughout the landing page that relate to the keywords in your ad group.
The result of an effective Search Network campaign will look like the image below. If someone visits Google and searches for ‘Parenting Support’, they will be directed to your ad and your church.
Google Display Network for Church Growth
The Google Search Network ensures that people find your church when they are searching Google. The Google Display Network ensures that they find you anywhere else across the internet! Google has a huge network of partner sites that participate in its advertising program. If you have ever seen a banner ad of some type on a website or on YouTube, chances are it is being shown to you as a part of the Google Display Network.
To implement a campaign, first, you create a display ad. This should be an engaging image that gets your message across. You then link it to a relevant landing page, just like you do with a Search Network campaign. The ad is then shown to users across the web who might be interested in your church’s offering. Here are some examples of display ads you might create.
Boosting Church Web Traffic with Search Engine Optimization
Using the Search Network and Display Network are both ‘paid’ campaigns. You pay Google to get instant results in the search rankings. However, it is also possible to appear high up in the search results organically by using Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This takes a lot longer, so is not particularly suited to seasonal event promotion. It should definitely be a part of any long term digital strategy aimed at church growth.
You can improve your sites SEO by optimizing all the pages on the site so that it is easily read by Googles crawlers. Google wants to find out what your site is all about, so if you make this process really easy, Google will reward you with a good ranking. This website optimization is what we call On Page SEO.
On Page SEO Checklist
Follow this On Page SEO checklist to ensure your site performs to its full potential in Google’s organic rankings.
- Page Titles: Your page titles are one of the most important SEO factors on your site, so write a title that matches the Focus Keyword for the page.
- Meta Descriptions: Give your page a Meta Description that is relevant to the Keyword you are optimizing for, and also make sure the description contains your focus keyword.
- Keyword Placement: Write the Focus Keyword into the first paragraph of the page.
- Meta Tags: Tag the pages with keywords so that they match the keywords in the Felt Needs Ad Groups.
- Image Tags: Tag images that appear on the page with alternative text so they match the focus Keyword.
- URL Structure: Include the Focus Keyword in the page’s URL.
- Word-count: Ensure your page has at least 300 words because Google loves pages with lots of content.
- Body Tags: Use headers that contain your focus keyword (H1, H2, etc.).
- Keyword Density: Insert your Focus Keyword into your webpage at least once for every 100 words.
- Internal Linking: Link to other pages within your site using keywords as anchor text.
Try our keyword analyzer 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.
Boosting Church Web Traffic with Facebook
Facebook is an amazing tool for getting the word out about your church and boosting your church web traffic and church growth. It has grown into the worlds largest social network, with over one billion active users. Building up a solid audience to begin with is great, but did you know that only 10% of your Facebook followers ever see your posts? Unless you are creating content that is going viral regularly, it is vital that you engage in a paid Facebook marketing campaign.
Facebook allows you to boost your posts for a fee so that it gets seen by your entire audience. You can also target friends of your current audience, which is really useful as chances are they share similar interests and location.
Facebook is also probably the most effective tool for targeting new followers. You can really narrow down specific demographics as Facebook has so much data on its users. You should create an engaging image for your ad, that also links to a relevant landing page when the user clicks your call to action.
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 started on your Church Web Traffic Campaign.
Contact Jason Hamrock or Kevin Peck, or use the Contact Us button.
Jason Hamrock – Phone: 480-773-9115 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Peck – Phone: 602-481-2991 | Email: email@example.com