Continuing our blog series, What is Church SEO? The number of Google reviews is one of the biggest factors in Google’s local search algorithm.
Take a moment and see for yourself:
- Google “church in [your city].”
- Look under the map at the “Local 3 Pack,” add together the number of reviews the 3 churches there have, and divide by 3 to get the average number of reviews.
- Click the map in the Local 3 Pack to see the top 20 results in Google maps
- Scroll down to the bottom of the top 20 results, add together the number of reviews of the 3 last 3 churches listed (positions 18, 19 & 20), and divide by 3 to get the average number of reviews.
Big difference, right?
How do you get more Google reviews for your church?
Glad you asked. Here are…
3 Ways to Get More Google Reviews for Your Church
1) Add a Google My Business icon/link in the header or footer of your website.
Churches often put social media icons that link to their profiles on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Add an icon and link to your Google My Business listing. Some of your members will see the icon, click and post a review. It also helps visitors to see all the good reviews your church already has.
2) Post a request for reviews to social media.
If you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media sites, post a request for reviews to your social channels and include a link to your Google My Business listing. When you do, let people know that by posting a review, they are helping to improve your church’s search rankings, which will help your church connect with more people online. Positive reviews citing specific ways God has used your church to change people’s lives help motivate potential visitors to visit on Sunday to see what God is up to in your church.
3) Ask members to post a review in an email.
Send an email to your congregation asking people to post a Google review. Same advice as above – include a link and cast vision for how their reviews will help the church accomplish its mission.
One additional bit of advice for email (or any medium you may use to ask for reviews)… Google knows it has a problem with fake reviews. It uses an algorithm to look for patterns in reviews that look unnatural. If your church has a handful of reviews and then all of the sudden gets 50 reviews in one day, it’s going to look suspicious. Nobody knows how many reviews in a short amount of time is too many. But the goal should be to continuously add more reviews.
Therefore, if possible, instead of emailing your entire congregation at one time, break up your list. Try to get around 5 reviews a week. Start by emailing 20 people, wait a week and see how many new reviews you received. If you got 10 new reviews, scale it down and email 10 people the next week. If you got 2 reviews, scale it up and email 50 people the next week.
When it comes to online reviews, you have not because you ask not. -Mark Steinbrueck
For more info on online reviews, read our Ultimate Guide to Online Reviews.
If you would like help improving your church’s search rankings so you can better reach people in your community, request a free phone consultation to discuss your church SEO.
- How many Google Reviews does your church have?
- What methods have you tried to get more reviews and how effective have those methods been?