The question for many pastors and church planters is, “How can I increase traffic to my church website?”
Instead of straining your budget and subjecting your church to costly SEO, here are seven quick and simple tactics that will help your site rise in the local google search rankings. Whether a local business or a church, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t wish they had more traffic.
Though these techniques are more for the DIY crowd, if you wish to learn more about how search engine optimization (SEO) can help grow your church, get your free SEO analysis here and we’ll be happy to follow up with what we can do to make sure you are receiving the maximum exposure possible in your city online.
Seven tips for improving your church website rankings.
1. Disburse the power of your home page’s link to your most eminent (relevant – main) pages. Put simply, spread the link juice around your website.
As one could assume, your homepage draws in many more online consumers than any other part of your website. It is important that link authority is easily directed from your homepage to your most evident subpages. Your most secure bet is through HTML links.
Even if you have already made sure that your most crucial category pages are incorporated in the top nav, it is critical that you include links to your most prized products, or articles (content) and landing pages. Footer and navigational links will not pass much authority; however, links in the body of a homepage will be most likely to attract more views and direct more traffic to your important subpages. And you can always remember, where the viewer goes, so does Google bot.
Tip: Create simple and straightforward links so that online consumers can easily find your website
2. Use smaller images that will load faster. No one likes to carry more weight than they need to…
When designing a website, it is important to consider the file size and resolution of an image prior to including it on the webpage. Although putting large images on a website because of the quality you will get is tempting, it can drastically slow down the sites load time.
An image with 600 dots per inch that was shrunk down using height and width features not only gives online consumers the idea that the website designer was lazy, but impedes them from further using the website. Remember, a slow website will timeout on some devices and browsers, leading the visitor to click away never to return. Also, an image too large or the webpage can significantly slow down the load time- hindering the consumer’s experience on the website. And as Google is using page load time as a ranking factor, this can and will affect your local search ranking.
Lucky for you, it’s incredibly simple to change that image to a smaller-more reasonable-size, and then re-upload it. This will not only increase your website’s aesthetic appeal but it will also optimize your site speed.
Make sure to check the file sizes of your images prior to publishing your website. An easy tool to use is WebPageTest, which will check the file sizes of all the aspects of your page. Teach your design team to not upload images that are too large to your webpage. Checking images before including them on a website is a good habit to get into. A powerful tool for optimizing images is JPEGmini by Beamr.
3. Ensure that other sites aren’t linking to pages that are returning a 404 message.
If URLs are returning a 404 error (dead link) on your website it not only impedes the visitor from getting the information but it will damage your site’s link authority. Google Search Console is a simple and reliable tool that allows you to check for 404 pages on your site and whether or not they are being linked to. If the web service reveals that you have an externally linked page that leads to a 404, it is crucial that you fix it immediately.
TIP: To check 404’s using Google Search Console, just navigate to ‘Crawl’ – then – ‘Crawl Errors’ – ‘Not Found’, and select every URL that is linking to a 404 error page.
Google will prioritize the errors, and the most prominent errors they will include their external links. Click the URL and then select the “Linked From” tab which will display the URLs linking to the 404s. Ensure that these misleading URLs are permanently redirected to the correct link on your site.
As your link recovery skills begin to develop it is important that you increase GSC utilizing other helpful tools like Link Research Tools, Ahrefs Broken Links report and Link Juice Recovery Tool. However, we’ll focus on more pressing matters right now.
4. Optimize videos, articles or microsites that aren’t on your home page. Web 2.0’s make for amazing “supporting sites” to your main website.
While videos, article’s, and microsites are a fantastic way to gather support for your business, they are not nearly as effective if you’re hosting the content on other domains. You will lose the opportunity for higher SEO rankings if your content’s links are pointing to another business’s website.
For example, when Victoria’s Secret’s article “12 Things Women do Every Day That are Fearless” was posted on Buzzfeed’s front page, they missed the opportunity to increase traffic on their website because the article didn’t link back to their main webpage. Buzzfeed benefited, but Victoria’s Secret lost all that link juice that Buzzfeed was throwing off.
By far, the best way to increase your website’s ranking is to include videos, article’s, and microsites on your website. From there, you can expand and find ways to direct even more traffic to your website through you most prominent products and landing pages.
One technique that is proving extremely powerful is to leverage site builders or so called web 2.0’s. Examples include Tumblr, Wiseintro, Wix, etc. The way this works is to build a microsite or landing page on one of these sites that serves as a feeder to your main site. Not only does it allow you to dedicate an entire site to a very narrow aspect or topic relating to what you do, but it allows you to benefit from the power of the domain. Essentially, Google gives you credit for having such a powerful “friend” connecting to your website.
5. Utilize social hubs and forums to discover important keywords prior to your competitors.
If you notice a persistent mention or question in social media, you can take advantage of the keyword before your competitors! Then, you can easily find a way to include it in your website, improving your SEO score.
Discovering recurring keywords before your competitors will not merely improve your ranking, but give you a head start on the popular questions online consumers are likely to ask. Becoming the first to jump on popular keywords will set you up as a leader among other businesses.
The keywords you discover will not always directly relate to your product. A good example of this is a company who makes baby furniture including the phrase “baby names” in their website content. Even if the phrase is barely related to your product, if it is being searched by your direct target market it is a good idea to include it in your website plan. Learn how our brand authority service can grow your church.
6. Augment the “visualness” of your SERP listing with intriguing (rich) snippets.
Snippets are the cherry on top of a delicious ice cream and hot fudge sunday. The sunday (your website) is already great; however, there’s always room for improvement. Leveraging snippets are one of my most recommended SEO strategies. Along with an enticing title tag and meta description, your snippet will radiate above all others.
For example, if you are interested in a safe and trustworthy crib for your newborn baby, you will be most interested in a listing that looks like it’s a remarkable product with great quality.
Every new snippet added to your website is a new opportunity for your business. Ratings on your website provide reliable reviews of your product from previous consumers. The “in stock” and price disclosure depicts what online customers need to know in order to make a buying decision for your product.
Although rich snippets won’t directly increase your ranking, they will draw more potential customers to your website by increasing your click-through rate.
7. Utilize link analysis techniques to decipher your competitors’ best links.
Despite the fact that commanding links are incredibly important when vying for high search rankings, obtaining such links is a confusing process for many. Finding hubs (common connection points for devices in a network) that link to multiple sites is an easy way to get on track. Hubs can be review sites, trade magazines, city wide resource/review sites, or even blogs. An easy way to uncover these hub sites is through the Majestic tool “Click Hunter” or SEOprofiler. It shouldn’t be a big deal for hubs to link to you because they are already linking to similar websites and in fact many just need you to complete a short form on the site with your information and it will be added in minutes, hours or weeks at the longest.
An easy way to build your links is to search for websites linking to other churches in your area and analyze which of those sites may be willing to link to you too. From there, reach out to the sites that make the most sense to approach. By using this technique, your competitors did all the hard work of qualifying sites that could possibly link to sites like yours, but you can still benefit.
If your head is spinning, feel free to reach out and we can take a look at what will be required to get your church the massive exposure in your city that you deserve. Complete this short form to get started with a no obligation discussion.