Marketing gurus say that the three most important elements of online promotion are: 1) content, 2) SEO (search engine optimization), and 3) social media. This is true whether you have a website for a business, a non-profit organization or a ministry.
When we talk about content, we mean content that is well-written, engaging, and focused on the needs of your audience. Good content is fresh and ideally “remarkable.”
I have already written quite extensively on social media. You can find my posts on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and LinkedIn throughout this blog.
Until now, I have not written about search engine optimization (SEO). Today that will be the topic.
By search engine optimization we mean doing things that will make our website appear higher on Google search results. When people are looking for content about our areas of expertise, a parish, a diocese, or a religious community, we want our website to come up on page one in the search results and we want it to be as close to the top of the page as possible. Supplying what Google is “looking for” can raise the position of one’s website in the results.
There are companies that will help with SEO for a price. Unfortunately, especially for those in ministry, when we do hire them, the work they do does not always turn out to be helpful. The reason for this is that the automated systems that they use are not tuned to ministry or religious environments. We have to recognize that we are a very specialized niche and what may work for businesses and non-profits—may not work for ministry.
More than that, most ministries do not have budgets to engage these companies. So what are the people in ministry supposed to do? They have to do the SEO themselves, which some do—but many just let it go. They are overwhelmed by the prospect of having to learn another technical system. But it is easier than you think.
Basically, you can help get your website higher on the Google results page by using these basic SEO techniques:
- Provide meta-descriptions and key words for your pages
- Use clear, key-word-rich titles
- Keep pages on a single topic
- Pay attention to Google and any changes they make in how they process searches
- Design your website to be Google friendly
- Install Google Analytics on your website and study the reports to find out what you visitors like and don’t like. Follow-up accordingly.
You may already know about these tips, but have not implemented them. I encourage you to put them into practice and see what happens to your traffic.
If you are responsible for a ministry website and you don’t understand what these tips mean, you may be interested in my new E-Guide: SEO for Your Ministry Website. You can get details by clicking here.
In any case, SEO is an important tool to help get your ministry website found by the people who are looking. Take advantage of this tool in every way that you can.
If you are SEO savvy, please tell us some of your experiences and tips.