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How This Church in San Diego Went to #3 in Google

Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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Continuing our series 25 Stories from 25 Years, we share this Church SEO success story from 2016…

Barabbas Road Church is one of hundreds of churches in San Diego yet they managed to get to #3 in Google for the keyword “Church in San Diego.” How?

Let me give you some of the back story…

Barabbas Road Church started less than 10 years ago with less than 10 people. At the time this article was originally written, they worshiped together at Pacific Beach Middle School, their third location in 10 years, which is about 10 miles north of downtown San Diego. This puts them at some serious disadvantages when it comes to ranking well in search engines.

  • San Diego is the 8th largest city in the U.S. Google lists more than 400 churches in the San Diego area.
  • For local searches, Google gives preference to organizations closer to the center of the city, making it harder for churches on the outskirts to rank well
  • When organizations move to a new location, Google often doesn’t know it.
  • When organizations share space with another organization, Google often gets the location information wrong.

Despite the disadvantages, Barabbas Road Church loves the people of San Diego and is determined to reach people. They understand that most people searching for a church start their search online, so they have been determined to reach people through search engines and connect with them on their website.

So, what specifically did Barabbas Road Church do?

Progressive SEO Service

First, Barabbas partnered with OurChurch.Com, utilizing our Progressive SEO Service. I usually don’t talk about specific pricing in blog posts, but I think it’s important to note that Barabbas is not a particularly large church, and yet they made a financial commitment of $499 a month for an aggressive SEO service.

With the Progressive SEO service, we did keyword research, on-page optimization, registering and correcting local search listings and many other things that are a part of our less aggressive SEO Management service

These things all helped get Barabbas good search rankings, but the big thing that helped push them towards the top of the search rankings was…

Keyword Targeted Blogging

Brett Schoeneck, who is the Minister of Media at Barabbas, told me in a phone conversation that he tries to ask everyone who visits Barabbas how they found the church. He said that when someone tells him he found them online, he asks what phrase they searched, and the vast majority of them say “Church in San Diego.”

Brett basically told me that while they appreciate being in the top 10 for lots of other phrases, none of that mattered if they weren’t in the top 10 for “Church in San Diego.”

I appreciate Brett’s forthrightness and I give him major kudos for asking visitors how they found the church and what they search for!

The Progressive SEO Service includes writing and publishing weekly blog posts. I did a 45 minute phone interview with Brett, and based on the information he provided in that interview, we began writing blog posts specifically targeting the phrase “Church in San Diego.”

Why blog posts?

Because search engines love fresh content. Because people link to great content and links improve search rankings. Because people share content on social media and social media helps improve search rankings

This is an ongoing service, so we continue to write and publish blog posts, but already Barabbas is experiencing remarkable results. As of the writing of this blog post they are #10 in the Google organic results for “Church in San Diego” and #3 on Google Maps.

The bottom line is…

There’s no better way to improve search rankings than creating great content, and there are no shortcuts to great content.

better search rankings create content

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Everyone wants to be in the top 10 for their top keyword, but the sites that are in the top 10 are the ones willing to commit the time and energy to create great content or commit the finances to have someone create it for them.

If you’d like to talk with one of our Church SEO experts about how could help you with that, complete the consultation request form below.

Comment and Discuss:

  • How about you?  Are you creating great content for your website on a regular basis?
  • What impact have you seen it have on your search rankings?

Read more articles in our Church SEO blog series.

Read more articles in our 25 Stories from 25 Years series.

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    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.