If you have followed the search engine optimization industry over the last few years, you know that it has moderate changes each year. These moderate changes have added up to huge changes over the last 10 years. The changes have been so impactful that if you don’t stay on top of the latest and greatest you’ll be using the wrong strategies and spinning your wheels. As a ministry or church you usually don’t have the luxury of not doing it right the first time. You also have the added responsibility to spend your monies wisely. So I have put together the three Things a ministry or church should focus on to improve website rankings.
An area in the online marketing world that is under constant scrutiny is website rankings. Where are you ranked in Google? Does Yahoo or Bing matter? I’m here to tell you to Chill Out! Ranking are great to have, but don’t get all caught up in “rankings”. Instead, here are 3 areas your ministry should focus on to improve website rankings without the rankings being the focus.
Excellent Page Content
It doesn’t matter if you have top ranking for a keyword phrase if your content on the page doesn’t have good scent for the search. By “scent” I mean:
Your search results needs to lead visitors to a webpage that matches what the searcher is looking for. If your web page doesn’t have content on what the visitor is looking for, they will click the back button and go to a different website.
“Your search results needs to lead visitors to a webpage that matches what the searcher is looking for. If your web page doesn’t have content on what the visitor is looking for, they will click the back button and go to a different website.”
As Shari Thurow, founder of Omni Marketing, alluded to in SEO and The Scent of Information. I have never believed that link building trumps good on-page optimization, nor do I practice it, because I see how important the scent of information is to users. No link development campaigns will be successful if information scent is not reinforced in SERPs and corresponding landing pages. If the scent of information is strong, people click. If the scent of information weakens or disappears, searchers abandon the website.
Content on the web page needs to not only be relevant, but also engaging for the user. Over the last few years Google has implemented the bounce rate into their search engine rankings algorithm. This means that if you have a website page that doesn’t have “good scent” or “good content that matches their search”, your website rankings will be lower than they should.
Because of the current demand for website content there are currently thousands of freelance writers producing web copy with little research or expertise on the subject matter. Personally, I’m about the quality of content. Lets face it… the 200 word outsourced article is now dead. Is the content on your webpage authoritative? Is it unique, relevant, interesting? Read the page. Are you proud of it? If not, you better start making improvements or you will be penalized by Google. Your visitors will leave your website quickly, if they even find it.
Google wants to rank top-notch authoritative content towards the top of their search engine. You can have top rankings, but you’ll need to work for it.
Remember to ask yourself this question. Is your ministry website page special? Does it stand out? Every webpage gets ranked on it’s own merit. So instead of focusing on only the home page start putting more time in to your internal pages as well.
Shouldn’t our goal be for the website visitor to “convert” when they visit your website? Converting could be to buy a resource, to donate, or to sign-up for your email newsletter. All Ministry websites have different goals. Some terms have high conversion rates, while other terms don’t convert well because they are too general. So a few thoughts….
- Having a higher conversion percentage on your website for sales or leads will help your website rankings.
- Doubling your conversion percentage is as good as doubling your website traffic.
- Lets not worry so much about website rankings. Lets focus on drilling down into the data to determine which keyword phrases and referral visitors are converting well. Then go get a whole bunch more of them!
Lets not forget A/B Testing. Although there are many ways you can test changes to your website, none of them are as simple and as effective as A/B Testing. The first step in ensuring its success is to determine if it is the right testing method to use for the kind of problem or situation you are dealing with. Some different areas you can A/B test are click through rates, e-commerce rates, newsletter sign-ups, donations, etc. As a ministry you should always be trying to maximize your resources and A/B testing is a great way to achieve this.
Social Media Has Changed the Game
If you don’t have a social media strategy in place your organization is officially behind the times. No longer do you need Google, Yahoo or Bing to drive traffic to your website. In a lot of cases Facebook, Twitter or YouTube are 3 of the top 5 referrers for a number of our websites. There isn’t one clear and definite plan when it comes to social media. Every ministry and / or church has unique goals. But there are a number of things that every organization should have in place to take advantage of the Social Media world.
- Before you jump in determine what your goals are and what is success.
- Who’s your target market? How can you reach them?
- If you can’t manager your social media internally work with a firm that will set-up your plan and transition the day-to-day activities back to your company within 6 months.
- Don’t just “twitter” and “Facebook” because everybody else does. How can you implement Social Media into your ministries daily operations, customer service, FAQ’s, or donor relations.
- Once you have a plan in place… Execute.
- Now Analyze, Measure and Refine your Social Media strategy.
- See the 7 Steps to the Perfect Social Media plan.
It doesn’t pay to focus on your favorite keywords ranking in Google, Yahoo and Bing. Focus on creating wonderful and engaging content throughout your website. Analyze your website visitors behaviors, and refine your website to improve the conversion percentage of your goals. Use the different social media channels that you want to focus on to help distribute your wonderful content to drive visitors to your website. If you are solving people’s problems you will be successful.
Let me know what you think by commenting below!
This blog post was written by Eric Fransen. Eric has been involved with the Internet Marketing industry since the late 1990’s and is the owner and a “Trusted Advisor” for Klik Marketing, an online marketing firmbased in Charlotte, NC.