Churches wishing to gain the maximum benefit from their Google Ad Grant and Search Campaigns will need to possess a high volume of very targeted landing pages to connect to each of the various ads. These highly targeted landing pages are required in order to maintain low bounce rates and high conversion rates, leading to higher quality scores from Google and better ad performance.
Every day there are millions of searches happening in Google performed by people who are seeking answers or solutions for their individual Felt Needs. Every church is uniquely positioned to meet these Felt Needs through pastoral care and ministry, however, all too often, church websites are not set up to make this meaningful connection occur. The very targeted landing pages dedicated to individual ad campaigns are what can ultimately bridge this gap.
For a variety of reasons explored in this post, we believe it’s best to host these connective, Felt Need-focused landing pages in a dedicated WordPress subdomain built specifically to support Google Search. The goal of creating the subdomain is to have many different pages supporting many different ads, in order to cast the widest possible net for web traffic.
People search Google for Help with Felt Needs
Here at Missional Marketing, we divide church web traffic into what we refer to as “three rings”.
- Ring 1 is people who are already connected with your church and visit your website to get the latest information about events, access previous sermons, etc.
- Ring 2 is people who don’t yet know your church, but who are actively searching for a church with location-based keyword phrases like ‘church near me’.
- Ring 3 is people who are searching for Felt Needs topics that typically don’t have the keyword ‘church’ in their search.
A Felt Needs Subdomain is positioned to appeal to the Ring 3 audience. Here is how Ring 3 people are funneled toward your church through the use of a Felt Needs subdomain:
- People go to search in Google with their Felt Need problems or questions
- They perform Google searches like: ‘does prayer work?’; ‘will God forgive me?’; ‘Christian dating’
- These new people click on your Google Ad Grant and Google Search Ads found in their search results
- They click through to your Felt Needs Subdomain (or your Sermon Video Library)
- They see a motivating call-to-action on your subdomain, like Watch a Sermon, Request a Prayer, Join Our Daily Devotional
It’s notable that soft calls-to-action are most appropriate for Ring 3 people at this stage of interaction, as they should always be gently shepherded toward the church, rather than abruptly pressured or forced. We believe that asking them to ‘attend a service’ or ‘get directions’ takes them too far, too fast.
It’s also worth mentioning that a church could utilize their blog for this type of Felt Needs content, however, in doing so, they may encounter the following pitfalls:
- They may lack the expertise to integrate the conversion goals and other analytics with their Google AdWords account.
- They may struggle in keeping up with the raw volume of Felt Needs content that’s needed to match their volume of Google Search or Google Grant Ads.
- They may not be presenting their Felt Needs visitors with a gentle enough call-to-action that meshes with a person’s early interest in their church. This is because the church’s main domain would typically have very direct calls-to-action, such as ‘plan a visit’, whereas a Felt Needs subdomain would allow for softer calls-to-action, such as ‘watch a sermon’, or ‘request a prayer’.
Low Bounce Rates and High Conversion Rates
Bounce rate is a website performance metric commonly used in web traffic analysis. It represents the percentage of visitors who enter your church’s website and then immediately leave (or “bounce”) rather than sticking around and proceeding to view other pages within the same site.
“Conversion rate” is a digital marketing term that represents the percentage of visitors to your church’s website who complete a desired goal (or a “conversion”) out of the total number of visitors. A high conversion rate is associated with a successful web page design.
Here are the best practices for maintaining low bounce rates and high conversion rates for your church’s Google Ad Grant and Google Search campaigns:
- The landing page must contain relevant keywords in the text and within the SEO metadata so that it’s seen as relevant to the specific keywords contained in the ad.
- The landing page must line up with the intent of the searcher and actually answer their question in order to minimize the bounce rate.
- The landing page must contain interesting internal links that are likely to be followed so that the visitor is more likely to stay on the site and continue exploring other pages rather than bounce.
- The landing page must offer an irresistible call-to-action in order to motivate user engagement and produce as many conversions as possible.
Again, the goal for landing pages is always to maintain low bounce rates and high conversion rates. It’s ideal to maintain bounce rates below 40% and conversion rates above 3%.
Next, we’ll continue the discussion on why you should choose to have these Felt Needs landing pages hosted in a subdomain.
A WordPress Subdomain
A subdomain URL looks like this: https://help.mychurch.org
A subdomain, although in some ways considered to be a separate site, is still a part of your church’s overall web presence. Google sees it as being related to your main domain.
There are 5 important benefits to having a WordPress subdomain built specifically to support Google Ads:
- It’s faster and easier to add newly required pages as new keyword campaigns are added to the Google Ad Grant and Search campaigns.
- The page layouts are designed specifically to minimize bounce rates and maximize conversion rates, as they are unrestricted by your main site design.
- The Google Analytics data associated with the Google Ad Grant and Search campaigns will be viewable from the same account.
- The subdomain serves as a transition page in between the Google Ad and the church’s main domain.
- It’s significantly easier to use the content from similar pages that have been written for other churches in their Felt Needs Subdomains. This really helps to minimize the church’s costs for creating such a high volume of content.
For convenience and cost savings, we offer churches a pre-designed subdomain specifically created to boost Google Ad Grant and Google Search campaign performance. Our goal is to save churches tens of thousands of dollars by making it very fast and easy to deploy Felt Needs Landing pages at an extremely affordable rate, and our pre-designed Felt Needs subdomain will do just that.
For a more detailed discussion of subdomains, your can read Subdomains Vs Subdirectories for Use with Church Websites.
Maximizing Google Quality Scores
In order to help control the search user experience, Google assigns a Google Quality Score to every targeted keyword within your Google Ad Grant and Search Campaigns. This score is a number ranging from 1 to 10. Unsurprisingly, the higher the score, the better, whereas low Quality Scores will actually stop your ads from being served. There a number of contributing factors to a Google Quality Score:
- The relevance of your ad text
- Your ad click-through-rate
- The relevance of keywords in the ad group
- The user experience and relevance of the landing page
Match the Intent of the Search
In order to succeed with Google Search Ads and with Organic searches, your church needs landing pages with content that matches the intent of the searcher. Consider this example: suppose a person in your community searches the phrase, “Does prayer work?”
The examples below show content for two pages that may be returned for the above search query. One of them matches the searcher’s intent while the other one doesn’t.
In the examples above, your church might get clicks from the Google Ad Grant Campaign for either landing page on ‘Does prayer work?’, however, clicks to the landing page not matching the searcher’s intent may actually hurt your organic search ranking and/or your Ads Google Quality Score in the long run.
Google now has processes in place to gauge how well a user’s needs are met when they visit a specific search result. Google does so by tracking session duration, bounce rates, conversions, etc, making it even more important than ever for your landing pages to contain quality content satisfying the needs of your visitors.
As we briefly touched on above, when a visitor clicks through to a landing page, the goal is to motivate them to take a specific action on your website. This action is usually the click of a particular element and is referred to as a “call-to-action”. Completion of this call-to-action results in a conversion, or the completion of a conversion goal.
Here’s an example that continues with the person searching Google for ‘Does prayer work?’, seeing a Felt Need Google Ad, and clicking onto the related Felt Needs Landing Page.
When they click on the ‘Request a Prayer’ button they land on the church’s main domain where they can request a prayer. They‘re also successfully registered in Google Analytics as a Conversion.
Here’s a few examples of “soft” calls to action:
- Watch a Sermon
- Request a Prayer
- Join our daily devotional
The image below shows a typical click-path for a church Felt Needs subdomain structure.
Felt Needs Keywords that are Used on Church Subdomains
We’ve identified dozens of topics encompassing about 5,000 keywords that are extremely relevant to a Christian Church, but that don’t belong on their main domain. We refer to these as Felt Needs Keywords. The data shows us that people are frequently searching in Google for the following:
However, the difficulty is that adding relevant content to the church’s website for all of these keywords isn’t advisable or even feasible for the following reasons:
- The topics are so wide-ranging so they would water down the main website’s authority for keywords related to ‘local church’, ‘church near me’, ‘church in [city]’, ‘non-denominational church’, ‘[denomination] church’.
- The breadth of topics would make the church’s main website extremely bulky and complex, thus masking the core content.
- Over time, there is a need for as many webpages as there are keywords. As explained above, this is because the page the Google Search links to needs to be perfectly relevant to the wording in the Google Ad. Ultimately this means hundreds (or thousands) of pages need to be created in order to support the number of keywords targeted by the campaigns.
- Some of the lower traffic keywords can be accommodated with dynamic landing pages on the subdomain, whereas the main domain would not so easily support this type of flexibility. Using dynamic landing pages and less relevant keywords on the main domain would take away from its church specific SEO strength.
Dynamic Landing Pages
Dynamic landing pages can be considered personalized landing pages. When someone clicks through a google ad or search result and arrives at a dynamic landing page, the page itself is automatically generated to create a customized experience for the visitor.
By utilizing dynamic landing pages, you can deliver personalized website content based around the searcher’s keywords, intent, or location. Dynamic landing pages are sometimes optimized for organic search, however, they’re usually used for Google Search ad campaigns to ensure a direct match for campaign ad groups and keywords. As previously mentioned, for the purpose of maintaining high Google Quality Scores, the goal in Google Search is always that the text in the landing page heading or body matches up with what the user has searched. On a dynamic landing page, the heading, body text, or even the call-to-action can vary based on what the user has searched, thereby increasing engagement and improving the chances of conversion.
Dynamic landing pages are especially useful for large Google Grant campaigns for churches because they can automatically generate pages for thousands of keywords. Without automation, that volume of pages would be excessively costly to build.
The ideal Felt Needs subdomain for a church utilizes both static pages and dynamic pages. Static pages are advisable for core ministry-related keywords, whereas dynamic landing pages are advisable for keywords that are further removed from the church’s core mission.
If you’d like to talk with us about a Felt Needs Subdomain for your church, we’re ready and waiting. Click the button below to see various options to reach out us.