I have been taking a look at websites that work in the new Rio Texas Annual Conference. I am taking a little break here to look at something just as important. If you have a really great website, and no one can find it, how effective can it be? How your church shows up in search engines is critical if you want to attract people looking for a church. So, let’s play and search.
My first search: Methodist Churches in Austin
I have decreased the font size in my browser to see more on a page. Unfortunately, users usually see a lot less as the first impression and need to scroll to see more. If you click on the image you can see it better (or search for yourself.) This looks pretty good. It is apparent that some of the churches are doing a good job with SEO (search engine optimization.) The really good news is that at least two churches are investing in paid advertising. Google advertising is affordable and a great investment. But let’s push it a bit.
This is not quite as encouraging. I want to give much credit to Servant Church (I reviewed their website here.) They are the only United Methodist Church that came in above the fold here. If you search yourself, you will see that Bethany made it on the first page. First Austin shows up on the second page.
I could keep doing searches like this all day. However, it may be more useful for you to do it. What do you think people will type into a search engine to look for a church where you are? Type it in. See what happens. Does your church show up? Can you find it at all? Want it to show up more. Website SEO is a pretty complicated affair. I am thinking about posting a more thorough look at what to do. Let me know if you are interested in the comments below. In the meantime, take a look at some of the posts below and learn how to get started.
p.s. You may be wondering about other search engines. Did I search on Yahoo or Bing? Currently 67% of web searches happen on Google. I like to start with the low hanging fruit. However, most of the work you do to improve your visibility on Google will help you on all the rest.