SEO For Multi-Site Churches Part 1 – The Challenges

It’s a growing trend with churches today.  Instead of planting new, independent churches or building larger and larger buildings, churches are expanding through satellite locations.  There are several reasons for this trend, including:

  • It allows people from an expanded area to enjoy, grow from, and participate with the church they want to be a part of, but otherwise would not be able to.
  • If a particular pastor, worship team, or ministry is very popular, the church is able to utilize that popularity to grow the church in new locations.
  • With satellite locations, the church can share resources and reduce overall costs compared to the redundancy that would naturally occur if they were independent churches.

There can be several advantages to multi-site churches, but it also creates some unique challenges for marketing the church in the search engines.

One Unique SEO Issue with Multi-Site Churches
When you are a multi-site church you are one church, but you are also multiple churches.  From an visitor perspective you probably want your church to appear as much like one church as possible with the exception of letting people know they can experience your church at a location close to them.

However, from a search engine perspective you definitely want to appear like multiple churches.  Otherwise, you will end up only being listed in the search engines for your primary location and not your satellite locations.  And if you want to reach people in your satellite locations, it’s a lot easier if the search engines are showing your church in those satellite cities.  This is one of the challenges multi-site churches are facing.

I don’t think there has been a lot of discussion of the SEO issues multi-site churches face, so I wanted to devote a couple of posts to this topic this month discussing the marketing challenges (especially SEO) multi-site churches face as well as finding solutions to those challenges.

I think the best place to start is is with you.  I’d like to get your input.

Join the Conversation:

  • Do you have a multi-site church?
  • If so, what marketing challenges have you faced as a multi-site church?
  • And what specifically SEO challenges have you faced as a multi-site church?
  • Is your church thinking about starting a satellite campus?
  • If so, what marketing related questions do you have about going becoming a multi-site church?
  • Feel free to add any other comments / questions.
I look forward to your questions and responses.  In addition to discussion in the comments, I’ll address these challenges in another post(s) in the coming days.
UPDATE:
You can now read the next post on this topic, “SEO For Multi-Site Churches Part 2 – The Solutions

Kurt Steinbrueck is the Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.Com. He also serves on the leadership of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL. You can find him on Google+ as .

4 Responses to “SEO For Multi-Site Churches Part 1 – The Challenges”

  1. Frank Aldaco Mar 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Are you marketing the same website or seperate websites for each location?

    • Hi Frank, that really depends on the church. From what I've seen and experienced, a lot of multi-site churches have a single website. They have information that is universal to all the campuses and then have pages or sections devoted to the individual campuses with campus-specific information (staff, directions, etc.). I have also seen some churches where their homepage just lists the various campuses and you have to select which campus's website/section you want to visit.

  2. I am so surprised how well it took off. It serves so many neighborhoods great may to multiply congregation.

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  1. SEO For Multi-Site Churches Part 2 – The Solutions | Christian Web Trends Blog - Mar 12, 2012

    [...] have a chance to read it, we discussed the challenges multi-site churches face in part 1, “SEO For Multi-Site Churches Part 1 – The Challenges“.  Today we’ll discuss the solutions to that [...]