Expand Your Church's Search Engine Reach!
One of the main goals of a Church web site is usually to attract the attention and interest of people who are "church shopping". There are many ways to do that, (which we will cover at a later date), but one of the problems many churches in urban areas run in to is the geographical scope of the visitors they want to attract.
If you are in a suburban area, you don't really want to only have your site pop up in search engines for your town, do you? Of course not! I would bet many of your members come from towns and suburbs surrounding your location. Yet if you just create your site for your town, people who might be 2-3 minutes away will never find you if they are searching the major search engines for a church. Why? Usually people will type their location into the search. For example, when I was church shopping a couple of years ago, I searched for "church arlington heights il", before I moved on to search denomination websites. This search will usually not bring up a church in a neighboring suburb.
Oh sure, you can add other towns to your keywords meta tag, but that might only get you visibility on the 3rd or even 100th page of listings of churches in those towns. That's not quite good enough! What would you say if I told you there was a surefire way to get your Church listed in the top 10 for EVERY surrounding town you wanted to target? Its true, and can be done relatively easily without even having to submit your site to the search engines.
Let me give you an example, St. Paul UCC is located in Palatine, IL. The site has been designed so that the keyword meta tags include several nearby suburbs. But after an entire year, St. Paul still did not even place in the top 300 on ANY of the search engines when searching for "church mt. prospect il" (one of the closer suburbs)! In June, we implemented several new pages for St. Paul - each of them targeting a specific suburb. Within 2 weeks, when doing a search on "church mt. prospect il", St. Paul was ranked in the upper 30's to upper 50s by ALL of the top name search engines. Wow! What a leap! In August we implemented a few minor tweaks and by September, St. Paul was ranked between 5-12 on EVERY search engine for that same keyword phrase.
You can see the same results! Take a look at the page we created for St. Paul that focuses on the town of Mt. Prospect. This page alone increased our SERP by over 300 places in TWO weeks.
If you are interested in some of the other techniques we used to further increase the SERP for this church in over 5 neighboring suburbs, send us an e-mail. Our Search Engine optimization program for Churches is very reasonably priced and we will do a FREE quick analysis of your main web page to see just how search engine friendly it is - or isn't!
About the Author
Toby Wolf has been involved in Church growth, visioning, and creating effective Church websites since 2000. Toby also is the founder of A Christian Web Hosting & Design Ministry, and AlphaOne Technology Web Hosting & Design.