Does your church want to attract new visitors, grow your congregation, and increase giving? Of course, it does! Your church’s website is the new front door of your church building and a powerful way to reach new people like never before. That’s why we say - church growth starts with a click.
By advertising your church online with Google Ads and Local SEO, your church can be easily found in Google results by people searching in your area for terms like, “Church near me” or other discovery search queries like looking for answers to tough life questions or solutions for their felt needs. Growing your Google traffic has never been more vital!
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HOW TO GROW TRAFFIC TO YOUR CHURCH WEBSITE?
In today’s world, web traffic growth precedes physical growth. It’s rare for people to visit any place that they haven’t first viewed online. Most people scroll a business’s website and social media pages before ever stepping foot in the establishment. Unfortunately, many churches are lacking an easily-discovered, high-quality web presence. As a result, they’re missing out on multitudes of potential visitors. So before planning for physical growth, tackle these steps to first grow your church website’s traffic.
The Three Vital Steps Fundamental For Church Growth:
Maximum Growth Strategies
- Implement Google Analytics on your website to track key metrics and results, as well as submit your site to Google Search Console to ensure it is crawled and indexed successfully by Google.
- Add SEO content to your domain to rank for new keywords organically.
- Perform On-Page SEO on your church’s website to help tell Google what the content on your site is about to rank higher in search results.
- Bring SEO strength and traffic from your old website to your new website during any migration or rebuild.
- Develop key elements of your church’s homepage and plan a visit page with strong calls to action and next steps
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GOOGLE
Because it’s the world’s most used search engine by a landslide, understanding Google’s algorithm for measuring search results is critical when addressing the issue of website traffic. Here are a few important keys:
- Google can see how searchers reach your church’s website and what happens after they land on it.
- One way Google determines how well your website meets a searcher’s needs is by measuring click-through-rates to your website via its search engine results pages, or SERPs. A higher click-through-rate for a given search query represents a website that adequately matches the searcher’s intent.
- The bounce rate is another key metric for Google. When visitors to your website bounce, it suggests to Google that your website didn’t meet their needs. When they engage in your website by staying and clicking around to other pages, that signals to Google that your website has met their needs. For this reason, each page should have a compelling reason for people to stay longer and click deeper.
- Ideally, your website visitors will each take an action that counts as a web conversion, because when they do, they’re indicating a high level of interest that registers with Google.
Google uses these measurements (amongst others) to rank and serve search results that will best meet a searcher’s needs.
Perform local seo
When people use Google to find local businesses, including churches, Google is able to differentiate between a general information search and a destination search. For example, if you search the term “orthodontist,” you’ll get a completely different type of result than if you search “Johnny Depp.” In the former search, Google will likely give you the address of an orthodontist near you. With the latter search, however, you’re not likely to get the address of Johnny Depp (although it would be very cool if somehow you do.)
In order for your church to show up effectively in a location-based search in Google, we must optimize what we call Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization.) There are three primary actions that determine whether or not your church will have a high rank in local search queries.READ MORE
LOCALIZE YOUR WEBSITE
The first-- and simplest-- item on the local SEO to-do list is to ensure that your name, address and phone number appear on every page of your website. Most often, this is found in the footer of the website. If you don’t have your name, address and phone number on every page of your website, you could be missing out on valuable local traffic. In order for Google to read this info correctly, it should also be included in the form of schema, or structured data that exists in the code of your website. This is a more technically oriented task and may require someone with basic web development skills to execute.
Make sure that your church website also includes indications of locality in as many important places as possible (both city/town and state). These should be included in the browser title, the homepage meta-description, a header element on the homepage, and within regular textual content itself.
MANAGE YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS ACCOUNT
The next important step in local SEO efforts is to focus on managing your Google My Business account. Google’s likely already established a Google My Business page for your church, even if you had nothing to do with setting it up. If your church doesn’t have a Google My Business page, you should set one up immediately. If you already have a page set up by Google, then you should claim it by logging into your Google My Business account.
Once you own your Google My Business page, you should manage it just like you would any other social media account. Make sure all your information matches what’s listed on your church website, and then continue to make updates. Google will reward you for playing in their sandbox. Update photos, hours of operation, and events and activities. Add posts to your Google My Business page regularly. Consistency is key as posts are not permanently saved. Event posts on Google My Business will automatically disappear 24 hours after the event takes place. Other types of posts will last for 7 days.
It’s also important to encourage your congregation to write reviews on your Google My Business page. When they do, you should also respond to their reviews. Once again, this demonstrates that you’re playing on Google's terms and Google will reward you with higher local search rankings. Within your Google My Business account, you can access a direct link to your reviews page, which you can include in your regular weekly or monthly email newsletter to your church family. Explain that writing reviews will help more people find your church online.
MANAGE YOUR CITATIONS
Finally, as it relates to local SEO, you should verify that your church is listed in Google's most important citation directories. In addition to checking your name, address and phone number on your website and cross-referencing that with what is on your Google My Business page, Google will also search hundreds of other directories online to verify this info, ensuring that all are correct and consistent. So make sure your church Facebook page info is up to date, as well as any citations in Yelp, Bing Places, Apple Maps Connect, and Mapquest.
Google can also see what happens after someone lands on your church’s website. When visitors bounce (or leave quickly without engaging anywhere deeper into the site), that suggests to Google that your website didn’t meet their needs. When they engage in your website, that signals to Google that your website has met their needs. So when structuring your website, keep in mind that each page should have a compelling reason for people to stay longer and click deeper.
Google Analytics offers the ability to establish customized conversion goals that record the completion of very specific desired actions by your church website’s users. Here are the top 5 conversion goals you should be tracking:
Is your church ready to get started implementing some of these growth strategies but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry! Our team of digital marketing experts has helped hundreds of churches reach their growth goals. From successfully getting your church approved for a Google Grant to running Ad Campaigns that drive impactful results, our team will be there for you every step of the way. Regardless of your church’s size or budget, we have a plan that is right for your church’s goals. Give us a call today at 480-420-2007 or use one of our free tools to see how your church could benefit from our services.