There once was a time when churches were primarily engaged in the physical, in-person activities that occurred within their church building. However, with virtual worship on the rise, churches everywhere are turning to YouTube to reach and retain members. Churches are discovering the power of YouTube to gain visibility and influence in this digital age by going beyond the church building.
With YouTube replacing in-person events, YouTube content creators are now driving the biggest and most popular trends. YouTube users are searching for life’s biggest questions. They’re searching for answers to the very questions that are being answered every week in your church videos. Church leaders are now feeling a greater need to ramp up their digital outreach efforts. Optimizing your YouTube channel using SEO techniques can help further your church’s mission to share the gospel and help more people find hope in Jesus Christ.
Growing your YouTube audience requires more than just uploading your video. There are critical steps you should take before publishing to ensure that your YouTube video reaches even more people and makes an impact. Are you ready to discuss how you can grow your church’s YouTube channel, and improve your chances of getting your church found on YouTube?
How to Improve YouTube SEO for your Church
1. Be clear on your channel goals.
Before you put your YouTube strategy in place, be sure to identify your church’s goals for your YouTube channel. Are you looking to gain new subscribers? Do you hope to direct visitors back to your website? Your YouTube channel should play into your overall marketing and outreach strategy. Think of different ways for your YouTube audience to engage in your church outside of simply watching. How can you take people to the next level of awareness and interest?
Incorporate your YouTube channel as part of your master strategy. Consider how you’ll align your YouTube channel with your website, Facebook and other marketing channels where you may connect with your church and community.
2. Use well-placed, strategic keywords.
As you optimize your YouTube channel, create tags using meaningful keywords that people may use to find your church. Tags are keywords or topic clusters that describe your video and help viewers find your video.
If you don’t know which keywords you want to use, first create a master list of keywords that people are likely to use when they search for your videos. Some of the keywords or topic clusters will be extremely obvious to you. Once you have your master list, begin to test out these keywords by typing them into YouTube. Take note of the words that auto-populate into the search field.
These are the keywords you should place keywords strategically throughout your channel. Consider using keywords strategically in the title of your YouTube Channel. You may be able to include the specific location of your church in order to target people in your community.
You should also include keywords in your About Us description. The About Us description is prime real estate for you to go into detail to outline your topic. The About Us description field holds up to 5000 characters. That gives you 5000 characters to elaborate on the main points of your video. When you provide YouTube with a detailed description, you provide more keyword-rich content for the algorithm to use to drive viewers to your video. Be specific and detailed about the various benefits YouTube users can derive from your content.
Be strategic about the first few sentences since the About Us description also serves as the preview text for Google search engine users who discover your channel in their search results. Use keywords throughout your channel, including in your videos. YouTube search analyzes voice and video content to determine if the topic in the video matches the title. Keywords help match your content with the questions and topics for which people are searching, and improve your chances of getting your church found on YouTube
3. Use #Hashtags
When you use hashtags, you lead people to your video, when they search for your hashtag, as well as from other videos as they click on the hashtag to find related content.
YouTube recently created hashtag landing pages. So, when you include hashtags in your description box and above your video’s title, you make your video more discoverable on YouTube. In order to choose a hashtag, choose the main keywords that you want to emphasize.
4. Ask people to engage with your content.
You’d be surprised how many times people forget this simple, yet effective task. By simply reminding people to engage with your content – by liking, commenting, or subscribing to your channel – you can greatly increase your engagement. While you have their attention, maximize the moment and invite them to take action. Focus on one specific action you’d like them to take during each video. If you’re preaching a sermon, be sure to engage and greet your YouTube audience as you make your opening acknowledgments.
5. Get creative with your video thumbnails and titles.
Explore ways you can capture viewers’ attention at a glance with the video thumbnail and video title. Customizing the video thumbnail is an easy way to stand out from other videos that may use a still image from their video. You can use brightly colored graphics that match your church’s branding to signify your church identity to members while grabbing the attention of newcomers, improve your chances of getting your church found on YouTube.
6. Create a highlights video for your YouTube channel trailer.
A highlights video is a great way to persuade first-time visitors to your channel to become subscribers. Use this prime YouTube real estate to show people what your channel is about and to outline the type of content they can expect in the future. Be intentional about your channel trailer by writing a script and planning the content to align with keywords that possible viewers may search.
7. Explore long-form video content.
When you create longer videos, you can create more meaningful, richer, high-quality content which signals to search engines that you are providing value to YouTube users. You also give search engines more keywords to analyze, and improves your chances of getting your church found on YouTube.
8. Use video cards and end screens.
Video cards and end screens help enhance the native experience for your viewers. Video cards help engage viewers as they are watching your content. You can create polls to inform your strategy and help guide your users to the next steps you’ve outlined for them. End screens are another way to guide the path of your viewers beyond a single video. They’ve watched your video all the way to the end, so reward your viewers with more helpful videos.
Missional Marketing works with your church to take your impact even further through YouTube SEO services so you can focus on what you do best – loving and serving God’s people.
Interested in growing your church’s YouTube channel, and getting your church found on YouTube? Contact us for help in sharing your sermon messages with new people in your area.