There are numerous factors that influence your church website to rank in Google. While the subject of Search Engine Optimization is huge, the work you need to get done on your website is unavoidable. We already discussed the importance of Google My Business yet on-page signals are 21% of your church website local SEO success and they are the single most important element to get ranked high. Make sure to follow these simple steps to make sure your church will be found in Google.
1. Optimize title tags and meta descriptions
This part is crucial for your landing page. If you have a WordPress church website make sure you install Yoast SEO plugin to help you deal with tags and descriptions. Once you have that configured make sure you include your local keywords for better search results.
Your city, state, and keyword are an absolute must in the title tag. Make sure you arrange them in a way that won’t look spammy. For your description (the part that appears underneath the title in search results) use the same tactic. With Yoast, it is super easy to do.
2. Make sure different locations have different pages
If your church meets in multiple locations make sure each location has a separate landing page with the information that will help your visitors find you there. You also have to remember to have different Google My Business profiles for all your locations.
3. Use consistent NAP on your church website
Your Name, Address, and Phone Number are the key elements to your church website success. If you don’t get it right you might forget about all the other steps. You can use your NAP in the footer of your website or in the content as well. The details have to match with your Google My Business location.
4. Make the best use of your header tags
The most important header on your church website is <h1> and this has to include same things as the title tag and meta description. Reinforce the local optimization there: your city, state, and keyword. Remember not to use more than one <h1> heading. For <h2>, <h3> and others using city and keyword won’t hurt as well.
5. Keep your content unique and local
Don’t use Christian jargon on your page and try to use as many local elements as possible. If you really want to help people visit your church make sure your content is unique and that your visitors will not read same descriptions as they will see on another church website. Your content needs to revolve around the keyword but also prompt your visitors to take an action.
6. Optimize images for size and search
The images you use don’t only enhance your church website visually. They are one of the key aspects of your local SEO results and where you rank. The images can’t be larger than 1mb as a general rule but we recommend them to be smaller. Your visitor will not wait for ages to your website to load and Google won’t approve it either.
If you aren’t familiar with the ways to optimize your images in Photoshop try to use one of the image compressors that will help you speed up your website.
Remember that Google will not be able to crawl the images that don’t have alt tags. You should be able to easily edit them in your church CMS.
7. Mobile version is not an option
The internet is mobile and Google has been applying this trend in ranking websites. About 80% of internet users own a smartphone and they use them regularly searching for information online. What is more, at the end of last year for the first time in history there was more mobile internet traffic than using desktop devices.
You can either have a mobile version of your website or have a responsive church website. The responsive website is basically the desktop version that scales the content differently for mobile devices. If your website isn’t responsive you can relatively easily to fix it with a help of a website developer but honestly, if you are mobile friendly yet it suggests your church website might simply need a redesign.
8. Site speed matters
You will be totally okay if you ensure GTmetrix loading speed is under 3 seconds. Still, the faster the better. And the reason isn’t solely Google algorithm that rewards fast loading speed but also your visitors that might leave the website before it loads if it takes too long.
9. Use Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics
These tools are crucial if you want to know that all the work you are doing optimizing your church website isn’t in vain. We highly recommend digging into Webmaster Tools as they can help you see if your website is indexed properly. What is more, you will also be able to check if there are no penalties and crawl errors.
Most of these steps are relatively easy to apply even you aren’t very experienced in web design. As we mentioned in the intro, make sure you apply these rules at the very beginning of the design process to ensure the success of your local SEO results that will eventually help more people find your church and experience a new life.