You know how important location is for any organization. We hear it all the time — location, location, location. In fact, you’ve probably seen good businesses in your community go out of business simply because of crummy locations.
Now what if I told you that you can position your church in a much better location with little cost AND without even moving! I’m talking about your digital location. The reality is today, your digital location may be even more important than your physical location.
Think of it this way…
If cost was not an issue, wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a location right off the highway, with high visibility, easy access, and in a spot where everyone in your community passes by? That’s prime real estate!
Now let’s consider how this mindset holds true in the digital world:
In this simplified analogy Google is the highway and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or rank is your digital location. Nearly every guest who comes to your church visits your website first — and guess what? Many don’t even know where your church is actually located!
So here’s the good news … To a great extent you get to help determine your digital location!
The question is, how can you get the best digital location possible?
Four years ago I had the privilege of helping launch a brand new church in the Kansas City, MO area. By God’s grace, and with a little knowledge of how SEO works, we hit the top page of the Google search for churches in our city BEFORE the church even launched! By the way, that’s even without a permanent location or domain name longevity.
[NOTE: A portion of what we cover in Church Marketing University literally walks you through the steps we took when launching Summit Park Church (that alone is about 5 hours of video instruction). Registration will be open August 23 – September 1, 2016.]
We’ve been able to hold onto one of the top rankings now for the past three years. Why is that so important? Because 90% of people searching on Google don’t go past the first page. In all we’ve had over 10,000 people who have visited summitparkchurch.com online because of a Google Search!
Would you like to improve your church’s location without moving?!?! If so, here is a 10-point checklist for you to consider …
The Top 10 Tips On How to Get Your Church A Better Digital Location
1. Invest in a website platform that is built for search engines.
WordPress is my #1 recommendation. It is by far the leader in websites. If you don’t have web platform built for search engines, most likely someone in your church can help you transition to WordPress.
2. Make sure Google states that your website is mobile friendly.
You can determine that by doing a Google search for your church on your smart phone and look for their “mobile-friendly” tag as shown here:
3. Produce fresh content with search engines in mind.
This content could be a weekly blog, articles, video messages, etc. The first key is to publish that content consistently on your website. The second key is to do it in such a way that it is optimized for each engines. For example, don’t just put the sermon video on your website. Be sure to use 200 – 600 words to accompany the video so that can be searched for.
4. Take full advantage of your Google Business Listing.
Make sure your profile is verified, all the information is filled out and accurate, your best photos are uploaded, and your website is listed.
5. Find out what Google is doing and be a part of it.
Anything you can do to capitalize on all Google offers will help move you toward the top. This means do the things that Google favors and also be present on the platforms that are a part of Google.
(NOTE: Want to see how well your church is marketing itself? Take our 3-minute Church Marketing Strength Assessment and discover your untapped potential for more reach in your community.)
6. Have a YouTube Channel and take full advantage of it.
Fill out all the content options. Connect it to your website and Google+ profile. Put your best visitor friendly content on your channel. Use the closed captions and card features. Fill out the descriptions in each video and put your website in the descriptions as well.
7. Start, connect, and build out a Google+ profile.
Publish fresh content to your Google+ platform. Start by simply re-purposing your content that you put on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. on Google+.
8. Search out, claim, and build out any other major business listings.
Bing, Yahoo, YP, Yelp, etc. The key is to make sure everything is filled out, verified, and connected correctly to your website. In fact, you can take this free Church Visibility Scan to determine how easy it is to find your church on places including Google, Bing, GPS Devices, Social Media, and more.
9. Find church listing websites and build out profiles.
Some people, especially those moving to a new area, will search on trusted church listing websites for churches in their new area.
10. Implement a review system in your church.
Be sure you are consistently getting Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews. This is easier than it may sound at first. The key is to consistently ask for reviews so that you have a constant stream of new reviews coming.
[NOTE: After reading all of this you might feel a tad overwhelmed! That’s why inside of Church Marketing University we take 5 hours and walk through step-by-step how to do these and more. Registration for CMU will reopen this fall sometime. Get preferred enrollment by jumping onto the CMU Waitlist at the link above.]
So… Ready to get started?
Keep in mind, if we were talking about a prime physical location, you would be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars if not over a million dollars to secure that prime location — and that may only be for the land! So would it be worth your church investing $1,000 – $5,000 to get a prime digital location?
The digital world has leveled the playing field, and in most cases, even a church plant can get a great digital location. This is like a digital land run! Hey, I’m from Oklahoma and we love land runs.
So really it’s up to you. Are you ready to improve your church’s digital location? What’s keeping you from moving forward?
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