Tools to craft your story
What is SEO?
Basics of SEO
Alright, let’s go ahead and dive right into it. What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Perfect! Let’s move on to the next header. A brand new batch of information, because you now hold with you an eternal knowledge for everything SEO related. Whenever someone asks you “Hey (insert name) what is this SEO all about?” You can proudly answer Search Engine Optimization! In the event subsequent questions emerge, politely run in the other direction screaming and flailing your hands.
Basics of SEO continued
Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic from search engine results. Basically SEO ensures that your website makes its way to the top of the digital pile. Ideally you want to be the number one ‘hit’ on a Google, or competing search engine’s results page. The exciting aspect of SEO is that it is a method in which your search engine results can occur organically. You do not use paid advertisement to section your website off in the results page, you achieve visibility through honorary means.
What does this mean for my church?
Times have changed. Younger generations rely almost solely on emerging technology and the dynamic landscape of the internet to meet their needs. Christmas shopping? Amazon.com. Deciding which restaurant to try out? Yelp.com. Research paper? Wikipedia.org (or I could lie to you and say they use the Oxford Journal’s online research paper archive). Even beyond the younger crowd, more and more people across all generations rely exclusively on the internet (and more specifically; search engines) as their informational chaperone.
This algorithmic chaperone can take them to your church’s website, but it’s anyone’s guess if it will rank you high enough to be seen. In short, you want your church to be found. When someone hops on Google and types “churches in (insert your area)” in the search bar, you must be on the first page. If you are not on page one, you might as well be on page three hundred. SEO can take your website to the first page. This makes you visible, and with visibility comes a wave of new, interested visitors.
Visibility and Content.
Being online isn’t enough. You must be visible. Visibility means appearing at the top of a search engine results page. You may have a beautiful, excitingly bold church website, but if you’re not visible then your message is being drowned out or ignored. SEO gives you visibility. You’re at the top, people are checking you out and with a dynamic look; they’re interested. Obviously interest cannot be sustained solely through being on the first page of Google, you must reel them in with content.
As I’ve stated before your church’s website is, for many, a first impression. Presenting your audience with cringe-inducing clip art from 2006 coupled with a blurb written in the same year referencing the movie ‘Click’ won’t do you any favors. People trust a modern look with sharp writing and bold graphics.
Fortunately, increasing the quality of your content propels your SEO. Meaning, the quality of your content (blog, video, graphics) affects your Google rank. Regularly updating and creating new, captivating content ensures a higher spot on Google’s list.
Managing your SEO
SEO is by no means a static affair. Some go-to techniques for driving SEO used five years ago are now obsolete. This is due in part to Google and other search engines changing algorithms to secure better results for their users. Similar to the online experience in general, SEO is in a constant state of evolution and keeping up to date is paramount.
Research is a great way to stay ahead. What keywords are people using when they search for my church? Google Analytics is a great way to extract these keywords and information you need to build a solid research base. Use research as a soft tool to help redesign your SEO approach when necessary.
Driving your local online traffic with SEO techniques doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient, keep your content professional and always stay current. It’s time to take initiative and drive your web traffic in the only direction that counts; upward. SEO can be daunting, frustrating and a bit annoying at times. My Media Pastor is here to help. If you need professional assistance or have any questions about adding dynamic velocity to your church website, check us out. Visitors will be arriving soon.