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We have the skill, expertise, and experience to guarantee first-page rankings for relevant keywords of your money back. We don’t mess around or make false promises. That is why we put our money where our mouth is and deliver results to your place of worship.

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SEO must be done right from the ground up. That is why we build every church SEO client a brand new website when they commit to a 12-month subscription. Technical SEO is critical to the success for high search rankings.

By building a new church website, we ensure that every aspect of your church website is highly optimized to dominate local search rankings and drive hundreds of believers and potential believers to your church. 

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Does your church wish to reach individuals in your neighborhood looking for a new place to worship or a place to call home in Christ? That’s what I’m hoping for.

Let’s put ourselves in their shoes for a moment and see what they’re experiencing and seeking.

When searching on Google, type in “churches in [your city].” The city where your church is situated should be replaced with the city where your church is located, without quotation marks.

Today, most individuals begin their search for a church by utilizing an internet search engine. Take a look at what the search engine has to offer.

You’re likely to get a slew of inquiries, such as:

  • It’s not clear how Google ranked the churches. Seconds? Hundredths of a second?
  • What is the purpose of certain churches being marked on a map?
  • Some churches were not included in the findings, so why is that?
  • How can I get a link to my church to appear on the first page of the results?

Are you aware…?

Google uses more than 200 criteria to determine its search results!

For your church to show up higher in search results for individuals in your area looking for a church, you may affect several of those 200 criteria.

Search engine optimization or SEO is the term we use to describe these attempts to enhance search ranks.

Using The 2022 Ultimate Guide to Church SEO, we’ll teach you all you need to know about search engines and how to optimize your church’s search results so that you can reach more people in your neighborhood.

Start Getting More Clients

SEO is all about growing your business in the most cost-effective way. Here at Rank Fire, that is what we love doing. 

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Church SEO: 4 Reasons to Implement It in Your Organization

We just received the following question from a user of our church website builder:

To what end should I be concerned with [church SEO]? As a small church pastor, I’m already struggling to keep up with this site and my other responsibilities, so what sort of return could I possibly expect?

The answer is yes!

Before you make a decision, you need to know WHY you’re making it. What are we trying to accomplish? Is it worthwhile to pursue this goal?

1) The stakes are high.

The vast majority of those who look for a church aren’t already disciples of Christ. Let’s face it: some Christian congregations aren’t exactly hospitable to those of other faiths. People looking for God will be able to locate your church if you undertake church SEO and improve your search rankings.

If you’re a church in [your city], you may want to increase your search results for things like a divorce support group, a recovery support group, a mom of preschoolers group, things to do in [your city], or “what does the Bible say about…”

2) Membership in a local church is essential for all Christians.

One of Satan’s greatest deceptions is that one may be a Christian without a church member. One-handed clapping is about as effective a weapon as the “Lone Ranger” Christian.

Everyone will know that you are my followers if you love one another, Jesus says in John 13:35. “One another” passages appear in the Bible around 100 times, and they encourage us to love and serve one another.

Unaffiliated Christians may find your church and completely live out their religion in the community by implementing church SEO and enhancing your search rankings.

3) Online recruitment is a problem for false faiths.

Search for “churches in [your town]” on the internet. This means there’s a strong probability you’ll come up with results for non-Christian groups like an Islamic centre, Jehovah’s Witness meeting place, or Unitarian church. An organization that isn’t Christian falls farther and further down the search results page with every step it makes.

4) Church SEO generates a monetary benefit.

In the United States, the average household makes about $79,000 per year. If just one new tithe family joins your church due to your SEO efforts, that’s an extra $7,900 each year. If your church had an extra $8k a year, what might it accomplish? What if you were to include another ten, twenty, or even thirty families?

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Church SEO Strategy

The Three Types of Listings in Search

Did you know that there are several techniques to climb to the top of Google search results?

As a result, each page displays listings from three distinct categories.

See what I found when I searched Google for “Church in Tampa” in the screenshot below (without the quotes).

1.Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising

Restoration Church and Christ Fellowship Tampa both use Google Ads, a paid advertising program provided by the search engine. Two sponsored advertisements appear at the top of search results. To the left of the site URL, you’ll see a green [Ad].

Every time a person clicks on your ad, you pay Google via Google Ads. An auction method is used to decide how much each advertiser pays and whose ad is seen first. Google may display as many as four advertisements at the top of search results. There may be no advertising if no one in your region is bidding on church keywords in your city.

If you’re prepared to pay for each click, Google Ads is a great method to get to the top of the search results.

2) The Local 3 Packs

In addition to advertisements, there are three listings below the map and a link for “More Places.” The “local 3 pack” refers to all three of these things together.

Google My Business provided the data used in this article. Create and validate an account on Google My Business for your church to appear in the local 3 pack. It is possible that the church needs to claim the listing before it can make changes to it, which is not always the case with Google My Business.

Google Maps may be accessed by clicking on the “More Places” link or clicking on the map.

Later in this Ultimate Guide, we’ll go into further detail about what you can do to boost your local search results.

3) Search Engine Result Pages (SERP)

On the current version of Google, there are presently ten organic search results on each page. For brevity, we’re just displaying five here.) The organic search results appear behind the Local 3 Pack on Google (sometimes also called general search results).

Not every organic search result is for a church. An online directory of churches may be found on the first page. Listings for websites named The Local Churches may also be found. Also, Facebook sites appear in search results sometimes.

A few minutes later, we’ll go into the specifics of what you can do to boost your search engine results organically.

What Is the Importance of This?

This means that the first page of search results may be achieved in each of these three categories (Ad, Local 3 Pack, Organic Listings). A church can be found at all three of these locations.

A search ranking algorithm is used in each of these three domains separately. As a result, church SEO strategies for paid marketing, local SEO, and organic search results are distinct.

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), there are six things you should check before they kill your church’s online presence.

When we discuss SEO (search engine optimization) with individuals, they question us about what keywords they should use and where they should place them on their websites. Before that, it’s important to make sure that you don’t miss out on some things that could hurt your SEO efforts.

What are those things?

Issues with “technical SEO.”

In most conversations concerning church SEO, people ask about topics like title tag optimization, link building, and local listings right away.

A church website’s technical SEO flaws might result in a penalty from search engines or in search engines being unable to read your website at all.

To begin your SEO journey without addressing technical SEO concerns is like leaving the parking brake on.

The good news, beyond the Gospel, is that Google wants to crawl, index, and appropriately rank your website. To assess all six of the possible issues we’ll examine in this part; they constructed Google Search Console (GSC).

Connect Google Search Console to Your Website

Click “Start Now” and create or login to your Google account if you haven’t already linked your church website with Google Search Console.

The next step is to confirm that you have control over and permission to use the website. Your first technical SEO check may begin when you’ve confirmed your website with GSC.

1.A sitemap in XML

For search engines, an XML sitemap is a file that offers information on all pages, articles, and other files on the website in an XML format. As a reminder, this is not the same as a human visitor-created sitemap. Search engines may not be able to discover all of your website’s information without a sitemap that is up-to-date and functional.

It’s possible to construct a sitemap for your WordPress website using the Yoast SEO plugin. Using OurChurch.com’s WP-EZ Church Website Builder, you have Yoast SEO built-in, and a sitemap is instantly generated for you.

The Google Search Console is the place to submit your sitemap.

You should see the /sitemap index.xml posted on the GSC Sitemaps page. The status will be “Success” if it is operating. Check back in a few hours to see if the status has changed.

There may be an issue with your website’s sitemap, or it may have a different filename if the status is “couldn’t retrieve”. Resubmit your sitemap or submit the right filename after consulting with your website developer or web hosting provider to determine the source of the problem.

A 24-Hour Review of Your Resume

If this is your first time submitting a sitemap to GSC, it may take up to 24 hours for Google to review your sitemap. Look under “Discovered URLs” on the Sitemaps page. There are no URLs in your sitemap if the number of found URLs is zero. Come back in a few hours.

Continue with the remaining tests if/when the detected URLs are more than 0.

2. The capacity to crawl

Crawlability refers to a website’s ability to be read by search engines as they “crawl.” Several factors might prohibit a search engine from reading sites, including server failures, the page being absent, or instructions in a Robots.txt file that tell search engines not to crawl particular pages (pages the web administrator doesn’t want to be featured in search engines.

GSC’s “Coverage” menu option may be found on the left-hand menu of the application.

This page will list all the sites Google could not crawl and explain why.

3.Input from the User (Penalties)

Google will punish a website for breaching its guidelines on rare situations. As severe as a total removal from Google, penalties may be imposed. Unless the manual action is rectified, no amount of SEO will get a website to appear in the search results.

The “Manual Actions” menu item under “Security & Manual Actions” on GSC’s left side will show you whether any penalties have been imposed on your website, as well as for instructions on how to correct them.

4. There are also safety concerns.

The term “malware” comes to mind when thinking about security concerns. When the Google Chrome browser discovers a security flaw on a web page that potentially pose a risk to users, it will display a warning page instead.

Select “Security Issues” from the drop-down box under “Security & Manual Actions.”

5. Utilization of Smartphones and Tablets

Google does not want to offer mobile users of its search engines a page that is difficult for them to access. If Google finds issues with a web page’s mobile usability, it will reduce its search results rank.

If your website isn’t working properly on mobile devices, you may check the “Mobile Usability” option in the GSC menu.

That test only evaluates one page—the URL you put into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test form. An internal page may fail the Mobile-Friendly Test while passing the homepage’s mobile-friendliness test. Checking all of the website’s pages using the GSC Mobile Usability tool

6) Essentials of the Web’s Core

Google announced Core Web Vitals (CWV) in 2022, a collection of metrics designed to measure a website visitor’s experience. Google used Page Speed as a ranking criterion, but it has since dropped it. Vitals for the Core Web elaborate on this.

It’s not in Google’s best interest to “recommend” web pages that take too long to load or frustrate users; thus, bad CWV ratings may hurt your website’s search engine ranks.

GSC’s Core Web Vitals menu item may be accessed from the GSC menu bar on the left side.

Read Core Web Vitals Google Update: What You Need to Know to learn more about CVW’s three components.

Whew!

We went into more detail than I usually prefer. A single one of these six issues might completely derail any church SEO efforts you may be doing. So, I’m hoping it was worth the time and money.

To improve your organic search results, here are four things you may do.

“Organic search listings” are one of the three categories of search results that appear in the search results.

When determining its search results, more than 200 criteria are taken into account by Google’s search algorithm. You could spend years evaluating and improving all those elements, but in this post, we’ll concentrate on the most crucial ones so you can maximize your time.

Before delving into the individual ranking variables, it’s critical to grasp how Google determines the order in which websites appear in search results for a given phrase.

4.Search Ranking is a function of relevance and authority.

Two categories may be used to categorize more than 200 ranking elements – relevance and authority.

  • The closer a web page is to the search query, the more relevant it is. Search engines use text, headers, and other aspects of a web page to identify the page’s content and how relevant it is to a search query.
  • Authority is the degree to which a web page is trustworthy, respectable, and significant. Websites that are linked to or mentioned by a website, who is posting links to the site on social media and how frequently, and how much quality material is available at the website are all factors that search engines consider when ranking websites.
  • However authoritative a website may be, Google will not display its material in search results if it does not connect to a certain term. Because few other websites connect to a certain website, Google will show it in the search results after other websites similarly relevant to the topic but have a higher degree of authority.

A website must thus be very relevant and authoritative to score highly in the search results.

Church-Related Terms

Before optimizing any web page, you must first identify the keyword(s) you are trying to improve its relevance. Three terms are significantly more prevalent than any other when it comes to searching for a church, and this can be done by doing keyword research for different sorts of organizations.

  • in [your city], there are churches
  • Churches in [your town]
  • The church in [your city] is an example of this.

There are churches in [your city, your state] or “churches in [your city, state abbreviation]” if there are cities with the same name in other states.

The “churches in [near city]” option if your congregation contains members from numerous cities. Only two cities nearby are included in our keyword research since it’s tough to optimize the web page for more than that. Fewer individuals are looking for “Baptist church in [your city]” or “traditional church in [your city]” than people are searching for “Baptist church in [your city].

Increase the Relevance of Your Church Website with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

  • You’ll need to figure out what keywords you want to target before you can begin optimizing your web page for those keywords. The following items on the page should be optimized:
  • In search engine results, the organization’s name is often based on this title, which is concealed from visitors but read by the search engines.
  • Search engines utilize this description as a search result description. It’s hidden from visitors, but search engines may read it and use it.
  • The H1 element is the page’s primary heading.
  • This is the second-largest header on the page.
  • It’s crucial to remember that your core audience is still human readers when modifying regular text on the page to incorporate targeted keywords. For SEO, don’t make your writing seem unnatural. Don’t go overboard, either.
  • Screen readers for the blind and search engines can interpret alt and title properties for images that have been supplied to them.
  • Make sure that your church’s name and address are displayed prominently in the header or bottom of your website so that people can easily find it when they are looking for you online.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the Church

It is far more difficult and time-consuming to increase a website’s authority than increase its relevance. We always start by increasing the website’s relevancy before focusing on increasing its authority for this reason.

Here are a few suggestions for enhancing a website’s authority.

Data going to and from a website may be protected using an SSL certificate. Google now grants a minor ranking advantage to websites with an SSL certificate.

In general, the higher your search engine rankings, the more websites connect to yours. The more connections you have, the more Google perceives it as an endorsement or a vote of confidence in the linked-to site. Links from high-quality sites are also important. Personal blogs aren’t likely to have the same impact on your website’s authority as a high-authority site such as your local newspaper would.

Local/directory listings — Listing your church in high-authority directories like Yelp and YellowPages is a simple approach to gain connections to your website. Later in this Ultimate Guide, we’ll cover link building and directory submissions more deeply.

Using social media to promote a website’s authority and search engine rankings has been shown to benefit.

High-quality material: One with many well-written pieces is more authoritative than one with just seven pages devoted to the church and its activities. As a result, one of the numerous advantages of blogging is higher search engine rankings.

Using this advice, you should be able to increase your church website’s organic search ranks with the help of this guide. After all, what else can you say?

5.How to Boost Local Search Rankings in 5 Easy Steps

Previously, we examined ways to increase your organic search ranks. Now, let’s look at improving local search results by optimizing.

However, one thing you probably can’t alter before we get to that is vital to understand.

Distance from the city centre is the most important element in Google’s local search results.

Every city in the United States has been mapped out by Google, which claims to know where the city’s core is. “Churches in [your city]” local search results improve when your church gets closer to that threshold.

Several weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with a little town church pastor located approximately 20 miles from a major metropolis. He wanted his church to appear at the top of the “churches in [the bigger city]” search results.

I ran a quick search on Google Maps and found that his church is more than 100 miles away from the city’s core. Google’s results for “churches in [the bigger city]” show a map that is so focused on, the larger city that the location of his church is completely absent from the view.

That city’s local search results would only show up on his church’s Google Maps if he relocated closer or started another church/campus in the city.

You have the edge over other churches if your church is situated in the heart of your city. You’ll have to work harder to maximize the things you can influence if your church is on the periphery.

Your church’s local search rankings may be improved in five simple ways.

1)Make sure your Google My Business page is up and running. Local search results only display Google My Business (GMB) listings, while organic search results include websites. There will be no mention of your church in the “local 3 pack” or on Google Maps if you haven’t set up a GMB for it. Here’s a complete guide to setting up your Google My Business page: Step-by-step instructions.

2) Complete and update your Google My Business profile. Verify that all contact information is correct, including name, phone number, and web address. Include your city, the surrounding area, your denomination, and any other descriptive phrases people may search for (e.g. Christian, traditional, contemporary, charismatic) or ministries people look for (e.g. AWANA, youth ministry, college ministry, recovery ministry, weddings).

3)Add photographs to your Google My Business page (GMB). In terms of local search results, images aren’t always a must, but they increase the likelihood that people will click on your ad.

4)The fourth step is to increase your number of reviews. In Google’s local search algorithm, a business’s quantity of reviews is important. In a moment, we’ll go further into the most effective methods for increasing the number of reviews. This free resource can find out more: Ultimate Guide to Online Reviews.

5)Your website should be optimized. Your website’s authority and relevancy play a big role in local search results, as well. To improve your local search results, follow the advice given previously on this page about increasing organic search results.

The result is this:

6.Building a Network of Back Links and Local Business Listings

One of the essential strategies to increase your website’s authority and search engine ranking is to encourage other websites to link to your site.

Your website is seen as a vote of confidence by Google when another website connects to it. More sites linking to your website (especially those with greater authority) often means better search engine rankings.

Major Directory Sites in 4 Cities

Create entries for your church website in local search engines and directories for the quickest to earn links. Google My Business, Bing Maps, Apple Maps, and Yelp are the most popular local search engines.

Starting point: Four. More Local Listings.

CitySearch, SuperPages, and YellowPages are just a few different online local directories. You may not receive a lot of traffic from any of them, but remember that it’s not only about visitors from those directories. If your church is featured in a directory that connects to your website, the more authority your website will have, and the higher your search engine rankings will be in big search engines like Google.

Directories of Churches

Other directories, such as Church Angel and USA Churches, allow you to list your church specifically.

It seems that a brand-new church or community directory is unveiled every month. Other directories are being phased out. The best way to locate new directories in which to list your church is by searching Google for “church directories” and “local directories.” You may go at your speed with this activity. Set a monthly or weekly goal for adding your church to one new directory.

7.How to Get More 5-Star Reviews for Your Church on Google in 3 Easy Steps

In Google’s local search algorithm, how many reviews a business has on Google is one of the most important variables.

  • For your benefit, have a look:
  • Use the Internet to search “churches around me” or “churches in [your city].”
  • To get the average number of reviews, look beneath the map at the “Local 3 Pack,” add up the number of reviews from the three churches in the area, and then divide by three.
  • For a quick look at the top 20 results on Google maps, just click the map in the Local 3 Pack!
  • Look at the number of reviews the churches in the bottom ten of the top 20 get.

Isn’t there a noticeable difference?

Do you have any tips for increasing your church’s online visibility?

Thank you for bringing this up.

1) Include a link to your Google My Business page in your website’s header or footer.

Social media symbols that connect to a church’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages are common. Add a Google My Business symbol and a link to your page. When your members see the symbol, they’ll click it to leave a comment. Also, visitors will see the positive evaluations your church has previously received.

2) Make a social media request for reviews.

Make sure to include a link to your Google My Business page in your social media posts if you use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. When you do, let people know that they are boosting your church’s search results by submitting a review, which will help your church connect with more people on the Internet. People are more likely to come to your church if they see how God has used your church to transform people’s lives via positive evaluations.

3)Ask members to provide reviews by email and/or text message.

To contact individuals on social media is becoming more challenging. One-hundred-per cent-plus open rates are still seen for email and messages, respectively. You may tailor your request to the recipient’s specific needs using email or SMS.

Include a link and explain how their evaluations will help the church fulfil its purpose in your email and text messages.

Another piece of email advice (or any other media you could use to request reviews). Fake reviews are an issue that Google is aware of. Review patterns that don’t seem natural are spotted using an algorithm. If your church only has a few reviews and suddenly receives 50 in a single day, people may wonder if anything is amiss. Although no one knows exactly how many reviews are too numerous in a short period, the objective should be to post new reviews regularly.

As a result, instead of sending an email to your whole congregation at once, break it up into smaller chunks and send them one at a time. It’s a good idea to acquire at least 5 reviews a day. Begin by contacting 20 individuals, wait a week, and see how many fresh reviews you get back. If you get ten new reviews, reduce your outreach to ten individuals and contact them next week. If you only received two reviews the following week, increase the number of emails you send out to 50 individuals.

Scale down and ask one person a week to leave a review if that’s too much.

8.Relativity AND Authority: A Church SEO Strategy

Search engine optimization (SEO) requires that a website’s relevance and authority be improved to increase organic search results (how reliable, reputable and important a web page is.)

Relevance and authority are the two categories that more than 200 ranking variables fall.

It isn’t quite accurate.

In terms of relevance and authority, there is just one factor that matters:

High-Quality Information

Information and media are both examples of content. Images, music, and video may all be used to create web pages and blog entries.

With each new piece of material added, the church’s website becomes more relevant to the subject matter being addressed. Additionally, the more high-quality material a website publishes, the more authority it will obtain.

Since the Sunday sermon is already a unique piece of content, churches have an SEO edge over other businesses.

The Preacher’s Address

You only have to make sure that the sermon is posted on the website in a way that both human visitors and search engines can understand.

Audio and video material is popular, but search engines are still not particularly effective at deciphering it. So, if you’re going to share sermon audio or video on a website or blog, be sure to add an appropriate title, synopsis, and biblical references.

Other Ideas for Church Content
  • Your church probably already has a lot of additional information that may be put on your website in addition to the sermon, such as.
  • The weekly bulletin or show
  • There are a variety of ways to stay in touch with the pastor and his ministry: announcements made at Sunday services, a weekly or monthly newsletter, testimonies of persons
  • who have been transformed by faith in Christ and baptism, and daily devotionals based on the sermon subject (which can be published as blog posts)

Publishing material you’ve previously created and used elsewhere might save you a lot of time when it comes to updating your church website with high-quality content.

9.Church SEO: The Absolute LAST Thing to Do

Throughout the 2022 Ultimate Guide to Church SEO, we’ve spoken about various ways you may boost your church’s search rankings.

Congratulations if you’ve already done these steps! Search engine rankings have improved significantly, and you are likely noticing an increase in website traffic due to this. Because of your efforts, you should be given a pat on the back.

It’s not the time to give up on church SEO just yet.

Isn’t the statement “the final thing you should do” odd? It’s not so much a final resort as it is a no-no.).

It’s never done with church SEO.

Your website and search engine algorithms are continuously evolving (hopefully). In addition, people’s usage of search engines is evolving. If you’re not cautious, everything you’ve done to increase your search engine rankings might be undone.

The following are five things you should do to keep an eye on and maintain your church’s SEO over time:

1) Keep an eye on your search engine rankings.

Search engine rankings should be checked every month, at the very least. When a website slips more than five positions in a month, it’s a sign that something isn’t right with the organization. Google may have adjusted its algorithm, or something on your website may have changed.

2) Regularly monitor your website’s search traffic

Google Analytics may be used to measure how many visitors are arriving at your website through search engines and compare that data to past months and previous years. If you’re curious about the search terms people use to locate your website, check out Google Search Console. You may notice a developing interest in a certain ministry, problem, or subject.

3) Observe changes to the webpage

The most prevalent reason for a church’s decline in search ranks and traffic is removing optimized material from the website. For example, a title tag might be changed, the homepage’s introduction text rewritten, or an optimized picture replaced with one that isn’t.

4) Stay up to date on SEO trends and developments.

What do you think? Google’s search ranking system undergoes an average of how many modifications each year?

10? \s50? \s100?

More than 1,000 is what you’re looking at. Insane! That’s three changes in a day!

In most cases, they go mostly undetected and have little influence on search results. It’s worth noting, though, that only a few years ago, these factors had no bearing on search results. All three are now taken into account when determining the search results returned by Google. To stay on top of the latest developments in church SEO, the staff at OurChurch.Com reads many SEO-related news stories and reports. By subscribing to our blog, you can remain updated and save time.

5. Finally, keep enhancing your credibility.

Local listings and online reviews, as well as providing high-quality material. Keeping up with these practices daily is an important part of an effective long-term church SEO plan. With the use of these tips from our Ultimate Guide, you’ll be able to increase the authority of your church and so boost your search engine results.