Making sure people can find your church in the search engines is important for any church, but it can be difficult if your church isn’t located close to the center of town, you have a new website, or the church just created it’s listings in Google and Bing. So, how do you overcome such obstacles?
A little over a year ago I met Dr. Greg Crocker, pastor of Crosspointe Church. Crosspointe is a Christian church in Sanger, California with its campus located in the grapevines of Fresno County. Their mission is “Connecting people to God and to each other”. The members of Crosspointe seek to accomplish this mission both through personal ministry and by having a strong online presence. I’ve been honored to be able to work with Dr. Crocker and Crosspointe to achieve their mission online.
I asked Dr. Crocker to share with us why they decided to do search engine optimization (SEO) for their church’s website and what their experience has been with it. Here’s what he had to say:
“It is difficult to find a quality SEO team for churches. You can find people that do SEO, and people that understand church, but very rarely a thorough knowledge of both. Very few secular companies understand the terminology of the Christian world – you can end up with all kinds of weird and even malicious link building, on-page SEO, and more. We were so glad to find Kurt and the team at OurChurch.com because we’ve had numerous bad experiences with other companies (some of which were quite large).
One SEO company actually worsened our positions in the search engines – we think it may have been sabotage, but were at least able to cut loose from them, and I believe Kurt and the team at OurChurch.com repaired the damage they had done, and we are now back on track.
OCC’s quality SEO technicians have a thorough understanding of the area they are working in – in this case, churches. OurChurch.com is run by solid Christian people that not only attend various churches in the area, but also work with many churches around the U.S. They understand exactly what churches need to do with their SEO.
Why do churches need SEO?
The internet is becoming the next phone book – people go online to look for a new church, and a good SEO team can get you on the first page of local results – kind of like getting a better ad spot in a phone book. And I can tell you that the top three spots get the most clicks – and it takes good SEO to get there. OurChurch.com can get you to those prime positions.”
Crosspointe has members who live in Fresno, CA and they wanted to reach out to Frenso, but the church is located in Sanger, CA, a city adjacent to lager city of Fresno. One of the ways Crosspointe chose to overcome the obstacle of not being at the center of one of the cities they wanted to reach was through citations.
Citations are listings or mentions of the church with their contact information. Citations often provide links and they serve to reinforce for the search engines both that the church does exist and that the church is relatively popular (it’s being mentioned a lot around the web). By getting citations for Crosspointe Church we were able to regain search rankings they had lost previously and start to rank in the top 10 for Fresno related keywords, like “Churches in Fresno” and “Fresno churches”.
What’s in a Name?
The folks at Crosspointe are a bold Christian congregation. While the church has a long and rich heritage, they decided they could better achieve their mission of connecting people to God and to each other by making some changes in the church, including changing their name. This kind of change usually carries with it some challenges within the congregation and the community, but there was one other challenge they soon discovered…online.
Around the web there were dozens and dozens listings and references to the church under it’s old name. This was not only confusing for people searching for a church, but actually hurt the church in the search engines. So, one of the tasks we took on was changing the various listings of the church under their old name to the new name. This was a team effort. OurChurch.Com was able to find and change many of the listings and Greg and his congregation were able to find some and were very helpful in verifying the church information for the sites.
This is something many organizations don’t realize, but your contact information is out there on the Internet to some extent, even if you aren’t trying to put it out there. So, if you change your name, location, phone number, or web address, you need to go around and find the various places online that are listing the old contact info and get it changed to the new information.
I hope you will consider how SEO and getting citations can help your church. And, if you happen to be in the Sanger/Frenso, CA area, be sure to visit Crosspointe Church.
Is your church reaching out to people online?
- What is your church doing to reach people online?
- Has your church ever had to deal with a name or location change?
- Has you church sought citations?
- What have you found to be effective that you can share to help other churches reach more people for Christ?