search marketing

5 Church SEO Goals to Prayerfully Consider for 2018

Written by Paul Steinbrueck

We here at OurChurch.Com are big advocates of goal-setting.  However, I believe one of the biggest pitfalls of goal-setting for Christians is setting the wrong kinds of goals.

Let me explain…

People and organizations have a tendency to set results-based goals.  For businesses it might be goals like “Grow revenue 10%.”  For churches, it might be things like “Increase average Sunday attendance by 20%” or “25 decisions for Christ.”

Those are good things to work towards, but as a Christian who is it that can produce these results? Can you and your church increase attendance by 20% on your own?  Do you have the power to produce 25 new followers of Jesus?

We know from scripture “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” (John 6:44)

And yet when it comes to strategic planning and goal planning, we often set goals that only God can produce.

The real danger in this is what can happen a year later when we look back on our goals. 

If we meet these kinds of results-based goals, we have a tendency to congratulate ourselves for accomplishing our goals when God is the one who deserves the credit.  And on the flip-side, if we don’t meet the goals, we assume we must have done something wrong and need to do something different to reach our goals next year.

On the other hand, some Christians make the opposite mistake:  assuming because only God can change a human heart that they have no role in the process and shouldn’t set any goals at all.

Jesus told his disciples, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a)

What are our goals as Christians?

God gives us some big clues in Matthew 28:19-20 as to the kind of goals Christians and Christian churches ought to set.

Notice the words of Jesus I highlighted in the verse above  – go, make disciples, teach, obey.  They are all verbs.

As followers of Jesus, our goals should be to do what God is calling us to do, and trust him for the results.

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Since this is our weekly post about search engine optimization an church SEO, let’s get practical about applying these principles.  When setting your church SEO goals for 2018, the question to ask yourself is, “What is God calling me to do?”

Here are some things I recommend you prayerfully consider.

5 Church SEO Recommendations for 2018

1) Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.  Check your website using the Google Mobile-Friendly test.  If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google is penalizing your website and you are giving mobile visitors to your website a poor experience.  Set a goal of building a new, mobile-friendly site or having a professional website developer do it for you.

2) Setup, verify and update your Google My Business listing.  Your Google My Business (GMB) listing is what appears on Google Maps.  Also, if you do a search on Google.com for “church in [your city],” in the search results you’ll see a map with 3 GMB listings. If your GMB listing is out of date, lacks important information, or doesn’t exist at all, people will have a hard time finding your church on Google.

3) Integrate Google Analytics.  Google Analytics provides a wealth of information about how many people are visiting your website, where they’re coming from and what they’re doing on your site. I recommend looking at Google Analytics data once a month, but to do that you’ll first need to get it setup by creating an account and embedding Google Analytics code in your website.

4) Integrate Google Search Console.  Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) will tell you if Google has any problems reading your website, and it will tell you what search keywords people are using in Google to find your website.  This can be extremely useful for fixing problems with your website, and for identifying what keywords are bringing people to your website (and which aren’t)

5) Develop a Church SEO plan.  How is your website doing in the search engines? Are there opportunities to improve search rankings and reach more people in your community?  If so, what steps can you take to do this?  If you can answer these questions on your own, great.  If not, talk with a professional SEO who specializes in church SEO and ask them to do an assessment/audit and give you their recommendations.  The idea here is to get some recommendations you can prayerfully consider.

Discuss and Comment

  • What do you think about setting Spirit-led, action-oriented goals rather than results-oriented goals?
  • What church SEO goals have you set for 2018?

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

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