Published Jun 27, 2023
Search engines, and Google in particular, are where people begin their search for everything. In the business world, we can look at statistics that prove this. 98% of people used the internet to find information about local businesses. 86% of customers use Google Maps to find local businesses. And 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses. There is no indication that these statistics would be different with churches.
The question becomes, how do you get your church to show up when someone in your area looks for a church? There are several factors that go into what Google populates, but there are things you can do to give your church a much better shot at showing up in the top 3 places in Google Maps results, which are commonly considered the best places to show up for any local businesses.
1. Create a Google Business Profile: Google Business Profile is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. To show up in any of the Google Maps results, you have to have a Google Business Profile filled out.
How to Set Up a Google Business Profile
1. Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and click “manage now.” Search for your church to see if it is already listed. If it isn’t, click the “Add your business to Google” button.
2. From there, you will be asked to enter information about your church. Fill it out completely. The more detailed you are, the better shot you have of Google showing your church in the search results.
3. Next, Google will ask you to verify your church. This will be done by a verification code that can be sent by phone call, email, or postcard (Google will determine which options to use). If you have an email address that uses your church’s domain, be sure to use that as it will expedite the process of verifying your church.
4. Once you have a verified account, you want to use as many of Google’s features as possible (they seem to reward businesses that use more features). Ask your congregation to leave a review and add some photos and events. The more active Google thinks your church is, the more it will want to show it to searchers.
2. Website Optimization: Your website is what Google looks at to decide how trustworthy your church is. Google favors businesses whose websites are structured well and understandable.
1. Make sure your page loads quickly and is mobile-friendly. You can visit this link for more information on how to accomplish that – https://csbc.com/resource/how-to-test-your-website-for-issues/
2. Add a title tag to your page that includes the name of your church, the city you are in, and the word Christian. An example of a good title tag is “Renovation Church | Christian Church in San Marcos.” The title tag should be shorter than 60 characters (all the letters and spaces) and will be the wording that will show up as the link in any Google search results.
3. Make certain that your church’s name, address, and phone number (the same that is on your Google Business Profile) is on the homepage of your site. This is a way to let Google know your website goes along with your profile.
Backlinks are when another website adds a link to your website. Having links from other websites act like a vote or a trust factor for Google. The higher quality of the website that links to you, the more that link will count. For example, if you have a link from a brand-new website, it won’t count nearly as much as a link from a well-established site. Asking charities that you work with or possibly a city website for a link to your site could be very beneficial.
These are just a few ways to improve your church’s search engine placement. There are many others, but these three steps will get you moving in the right direction.
If you would like help with optimizing your church’s web search results, you can reach out to Kurt Abel at email@example.com