Search Engine Optimization does take some time commitment, but it is fairly easy to do. Says Social Networking, "Search engines are looking for content, performance, authority and user experience." There are two categories SEO splits into: on-site optimization and off-site optimization.
On-site optimization is mainly creating a website that will help search engines find the right information at the right time to help the user find your church. The website has to be very eye appealing, user friendly, and contain relevant and up-to-date information. Photos, videos and other graphics should be included in your website, but they need to include ALT tags, which would include the keywords that would help search engines to read them.
Most churches have a website that has its own URL. It is important that the church is consistent in using the same name through all Social Media and websites; for example, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church should be consistent at either abbreviating "Mt." or spelling it out as "Mount," because a search engine might have a hard time seeing it as the same place.
According to the Beginners Guide to SEO https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo, "One of the best ways to 'optimize' a page's rankings is to ensure that keywords are prominently used in titles, and text."
Updating the website regularly is a must, as it builds up the authority of the website.
One of the best ways to bring your website to the top of searches is to have a lot of links throughout the site pointing to social media posts, or just moving from one to another page on the website. This is an example of using anchor text throughout your website: Read more about our mission.
The word mission would be a link to the page that talks about the mission of the church. It is far better to use links that direct people to different pages on the website, than just adding click here links.
Adding videos and keeping them up-to-date will help your website increase its rankings as well as its user experience. Many people enjoy watching videos, as it is far more convenient to do on their phones and tablets than reading an article on such devices. It is not very easy to read off the phone, but more than that, it can be very frustrating to navigate the site when pressing small tabs with big fingers. Also, by having videos available on your website, viewers will enjoy watching it. In today's society people multitask on a regular basis, and watching a video is more convenient for them as they do their task while still learning more about your church.
Off-site optimization is using Twitter, Facebook and other social media to move you up on Google rankings. It is important to have a few social media accounts as younger generations use it and very often some social medium is their only news channel. To make it easy to share the content on your website, create share buttons and put them in the most visible places as people like sharing and by doing it, they will build up your website's authority. Social Networking says, "Since search engines are looking for relevant and authoritative information, social sharing tools can help build authority and ultimately rank your site higher in search." Here are some other examples of off-site linking ideas besides Social Media:
- Post church announcements, bulletins, and newspapers on the website in PDF format.
- If you have a presentation for a Bible study, instead of using Power Point, put in on a slide sharing website like Prezi (https://prezi.com), or put it on the Slide Share by Google and share it with the church members.
- If your church had an event, like soccer camp, and you have many pictures to upload, share it on a photo sharing websites, such as Flickr (https://www.flickr.com)
Having a social media account go along with a website is very important today. According to pew research as of September of 2014, 71% of online adults use Facebook, with about 25% of adults using Twitter and Instagram. The near ubiquity of cell phones, especially the rise of smartphones, has made social networking just a finger tap away; staying in touch with social media is a must.
And so is making websites mobile friendly. A mobile friendly website also helps with SEO. According to web marketing, "On April 21, 2015, Google announced that it would begin using mobile-friendly sites as a ranking signal." That means that if a website isn't mobile-friendly, it will soon see a decrease in search engine rankings. There are companies who offer to make your website mobile friendly. There is a fee, but it is very much worth it as generations change and people want information to be on their fingertips. Making connections and personal relationships on Social Media can go a long way when it is done right, but it takes time and effort. Working on redesigning a website, keeping that website current and investing in Social Media takes time. Sometimes it is beneficial to use a younger member of congregation to help with it all. But being up-to-date is important because if you are not, your pretty website won't work for you if people can't find it because of its position on the Google search pages. If people can find your church easily on search engines, and can look at the website with any form of technology, it is a very positive way of sharing the information and Gospel resources of your church.
Kumar, AJ. "20 Easy, Ethical Ways To Attract More Website Visitors." Forbes. YEC, 31 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Jan. 2016.
Return to original language with "show original" button at top left.