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5 SEO Best Practices for Churches

SEO — you’ve probably heard of it. You might know a little about it. Or maybe it’s a complete mystery to you. But now more than ever, it’s important for churches to have at least a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short.

So … what is it? SEO makes your website more visible when people are looking for your church — or even just a local one — on Google or another search engine. Good SEO gets your church closer to the top of the list of search results — ideally on the first page.

Want to know how to make that happen? Allow us to explain a little about how SEO works and offer a handful of best practices.

To learn how to create and maintain a great church website using Sites, schedule a demo with our friendly experts.

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Table of Contents


1. Use Strong Keywords

Keywords may be the most important part of SEO. These are words you use in copy throughout your website to talk about who you are and what you do. Search algorithms like Google scan through web pages and create records of what content is on each page.

Using strong keywords aids these algorithms in placing sites like yours at the top of the results when those words or phrases are searched. Here are a few tips on how to effectively use keywords:

  • Include info like your location and denomination. You want to use these terms naturally when writing copy for your page.
  • Don’t “keyword stuff.” More isn’t more here. Google frowns upon keyword stuffing, which means unnaturally forcing in too many keywords. This not only negatively impacts your search results, but also your website’s readability and trustworthiness.
  • Try to mix it up. Capture as many natural-sounding variations of keywords as you can. For example: Instead of repeating words like “congregation” over and over, pepper in similar words like “community” and “believers.”

Abstract image of website keywords and content


2. Feature Relevant Content

Have you ever heard the phrase “content is king?” When it comes to websites and search engines, it’s important to have compelling and fresh content. Your content could include upcoming events, community news, videos, and sermons. The more helpful and relevant content you have, the more likely your site is to show up in search results.

Pro tip: You want a healthy mix of evergreen (content that’s relevant anytime) and fresh content. Be sure to keep your event calendars and community news up to date.

The good news is that with website builders like BoxCast Sites, it’s super easy to update your content. You can drag and drop things like your church’s live streams onto your site and blend them with the rest of your page. The embedded player will automatically update all your live and recorded videos on your site, keeping things current.


3. Plug In Your Local Business Info

Does your church serve a specific community or neighborhood? If so, it’s important to ensure your church can easily be found. This is called optimizing for local search with Google. Take these steps to make your church incredibly easy to find:

  • Make your contact info prominent. Include your church’s name, address, and phone number in a place that makes sense (like a Contact page) on your website.
  • List your website through Google. This allows for your contact info to appear on the right side of the search results page when someone searches for your church on their desktop.
  • Embed a Google map on your website. A good place for this is your Contact page, just below your contact info.


4. Add Meta Tags

You might be wondering, “What the heck are meta tags?” The most common meta tags are title tags and meta descriptions — essentially, little titles and blurbs you can write for your web pages so search engines know what they’re about. You’ve actually seen these before. When you search for something, the meta tags appear right there in the search results as the title and description.

Meta tags are crucial because they’re the first thing people see when search results come up. Good titles and descriptions help web users decide whether to click on your page.

When you’re choosing a website builder, try to find one — like Sites — that allows you to simply type certain words as meta tags into that field. Sites doesn’t require you to use code in the webpage’s header to create meta tags.

A couple pointers when it comes to meta tags:

  • Use your keywords. You already know the most important words when it comes to describing your church, so use them in your meta tags.
  • Be concise and don’t keyword stuff. Titles should be 50–60 characters. Descriptions should be 150–160 characters.


Male navigating website on a mobile device

5. Consider Your User Experience

An often overlooked part of SEO is making the user experience as smooth as possible.

Remember: You want your site to be easy to navigate and work just as well on tablets and smartphones as it does on desktop computers. Google and other search engines absolutely favor websites that are responsive and well designed.

Whether you’re designing from scratch or adapting a website template (FYI: Sites includes a variety of templates specifically designed for churches), you want to keep your user experience top of mind. Think about the websites you most enjoy visiting … What do they offer that makes your experience so good?


Final Thoughts + Further Reading

We know SEO can seem intimidating and complex, but if you start using the basic tips outlined above, you can help your church rank higher in search results.

Just be advised that SEO isn’t a magic wand — it takes time for your ranking to improve. It’s an ongoing process, so keep using relevant keywords throughout and always keep your visitors in mind when designing your website.

Want more tips on ways to improve your site? Give these posts a read: