The Importance of SEO For Parishes

February 27, 2020  •   LPi

Hexagon bubbles with icons of magnifying glass, analytic bar graph, computer gears and other SEO related icons

Years ago, you went to your neighborhood designated Catholic parish. Not so anymore. With so many factors at play — marketing, faith community, music ministry, extracurricular activities — Catholics have more freedom than ever to find their perfect parish. Help them find yours using the best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools available.

SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. Here’s how it works: Google (or any search engine you’re using) has a “crawler” that goes out and gathers information about all the content they can find on the internet. The crawlers bring all the information back to the search engine to build what is known as an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with what people are searching for.

Sound complicated? It kind of is! Here’s how to make sure that the next time someone Googles “find a Catholic church near me,” it points right to your website.

Use Keywords Ranked High In Searches

What words is the average Catholic Joe going to use when searching for a specific parish? More likely, they won’t be using “liturgical,” or “Catechetical” (they’ll probably even have a problem spelling it correctly!). With this in mind, avoid “church-speak” when writing copy for your website.

There are a number of free tools out there that will help you narrow down your search for the best keywords to use. Websites such as Soovle, Ubersuggest, and of course, Google AdWords Planner, make it relatively painless to find commonly searched words.

SEO-Friendly Website Is A Must

More than 5 billion people use search engines every day, but less than 5 percent navigate past the first page of search results. That’s why having an SEO-friendly website is vital to getting visitors to your website. If you do all the right steps, you’ll increase organic traffic and earn first page Google rankings.

When creating your website, you’ll want to pay special attention to title tags, header tags, image alt tags, and the meta description to ensure that all are tagged correctly. To find the keywords, you’ll need to do some reverse engineering and locate the best, most popular keywords (see above).

It’s Not Just About the Website

In addition to your home and web pages, you’ll want to make sure you’re looking at any other content you’re putting out there. Think whitepapers, blogs, social media messaging, and the like. Anything that needs to be typed out and can be accessed by search engines should be carefully looked at so correct keywords are used.

Even though it might not occur to you, even videos are indexed for SEO. However, they’re not entirely the same. WordStream outlines 9 Ways to Optimize Your Video for Search. If your website has video of past homilies, reflections from the pastoral associate, or even just a welcome message from the pastor, you’ll want to implement some of these valuable tips.

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