Local Church SEO Boost

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Local Church SEO Boost

Reach the Unchurched Using Google's Local Pack

Google Local Pack

When a Google search is performed that is interpreted by Google to be requesting results that have locations, Google almost always returns a local pack.

The local pack is a set of three results, marked on a map, that typically appear above all other search results. The local pack contains only results that are geographically near to the searcher, and that Google is extremely confident actually exist at the location they claim.

When an unchurched person searches for a new church, they almost certainly are going to be using keywords that will return a local pack – for example “churches near me”, “local church”, or “churches in {location}”. Thus, the first three churches the searcher is likely to see will be those that are chosen for the local pack. Being one of those churches for searches in your community is of great importance, and we can help with that!

How It Works

There are three crucial steps in optimizing your church's online presence locally. It is important to understand that Google's top priority when it comes to local search results is ensuring the NAP information (Name / Address / Phone Number) for each location is correct. Google gains confidence when this information is both consistent and as specific as possible across Google My Business, the landing page(s) of your church, and other authoritative online directories.

Step 1: Google My Business

Google My Business

Our first step will be making sure that your Google My Business account has:

  • Optimized and correct NAP information
  • The most specific category available
  • Verified status - we will guide you through this process if it is not already verified
  • Unique entries and corresponding landing pages for each campus of your church (if applicable)

Step 2: Landing Page(s)

Landing Pages

Next, we need to make sure that the landing page(s) on your church's website are optimized in the following ways:

  • If your church has multiple campuses, there should be a unique landing page for each campus with NAP information specific to that location.
  • We will ensure the NAP information across your site is consistent with the optimized information set in your GMB account in Step 1.
  • The NAP information across your site will be implemented as schema.org structured data to make it easy for Google to understand.
  • We will include localization keywords in key areas of your landing page(s) if appropriate.

Step 3: Online Citations

Important Online Citations

The final step has to do with managing online citations for your church:

  • First, we will perform an audit to locate existing citations in authoritative directories.
  • We will then ensure that all existing citations are consistent with the NAP information used in Step 1 and Step 2. This level of consistency is crucial to be considered trustworthy by Google.
  • Finally, we will identify the highest value citations that your church is currently missing. We will then pursue the most valuable citations identified on behalf of your church.
With the three steps above complete, your church should have a consistent and trustworthy local presence in Google's eyes. These are the types of search results that Google wants to display in the local pack.

The Power of Discovery Searches

First and foremost, Local SEO optimization is intended to increase the exposure of your church website in what Google has coined discovery searches.

Google My Business tracks when your listing appears in two main types of searches: direct and discovery.

Direct searches are those which contain your church name or your church address. In these cases, the searcher already knows about your church. These are often people who have already visited your website (or your church in person) and either forgot the website URL or preferred to search rather than enter it manually. Sometimes, they may be people who heard about your church elsewhere, and decided to check out your website.

The power of strong Local SEO however, lies in increasing how often your church is found in discovery type searches. Discovery searches are those where the user has searched for a keyword that matches what your church is, does, or offers. It could be as simple as "church near me", or more specific like "non-denominational church in Chicago". In these discovery type cases, people are looking for a church, but are not looking specifically for your church. With strong Local SEO, these searchers will find your church.

Discovery Search Growth

By growing the number of discovery type searches your church is found in, you inevitably build your website traffic with people who are geographically relevant to your church. Strong Local SEO practices can often result in remarkable growth in discovery search impressions. Consider the graph below showing discovery search impressions for one of our Local Church SEO Boost clients over the first 16 months of their subscription (which started in June of 2018) and a few months prior. Discovery Search Growth While discovery search growth depends on various factors including population density and degree of competition nearby, we've yet to encounter a situation in which a church was not able to realize significant gains from strong Local SEO practices. To find out more, we recommend checking out our blog post, Why Local SEO Isn't Really Optional for your Church.