Search Engine Optimization
For the majority of churches and non-profit organizations, SEO is a either largely unknown or an incredibly scary and an unattainable fantasy. True, it can be a bit complicated, but if you hire the right people or learn how to to do it on your own, you can actually become pretty good at it and help your website dial everything in, so you reach the people you wish to reach. In today’s post, we want to make SEO reachable for everyone within our spheres of influence, and help them chart a path of high quality SEO sustainability. For now, here are three tips you will want to knock out right away.
But before we go anywhere and discuss the HOW of SEO, let’s tackle the WHAT of SEO first. SEO is short for search engine optimization. It’s how some websites rank higher than other sites. It’s how a 200 member church can rank higher than a 20,000 member church that is right down the street from them. SEO is all about dialing in the copy of the site (the content) with the searchable content of the site (meta data). We do this a lot with copywriting and tons of research for every specific client. You can do it too. Now… here are the three tips:
Narrow your focus. SEO best practice states that when you are attempting to reach your intended audience via search engine optimization, you want to consider your very specific audience, and not everyone around you. One of the biggest mistakes people make is in thinking they can reach an entire population. It’s not arrogant to think so, but it is unrealistic. Narrowing your focus to a specific audience is the difference between speaking one word to 10,000 people versus having actual conversations with only 100. What would you rather have? You most definitely would rather have the conversations, because those lead to visits, and visits lead to return visits, and then regulars. Therefore, narrow your focus and identify the specific audience that is within your general audience.
Match your SEO with your copy. One of the biggest mistakes we see on sites is copying the meta data from page to page across an entire website. THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE. Every page deserves it’s own meta data, and that data must match up with the particulars within each page’s content. If you fail to do this and just copy and paste, you are losing the search wars and will fail to be seen more regularly. Why? It’s because search engines are seeing the same pages over and over on their end. Therefore, let each page breathe and stand on its own as a unique piece of work, and match the SEO meta data to it.
Make it Twitter perfect. Twitter rules apply to SEO too, and there’s a reason for it. When you keep the body of your SEO meta data to 140 characters or less, you are allowing your entire SEO entry to appear on every searchable page. It’s a beautiful and picture perfect result, when the title and body show up cleanly in every search result. It also combats a consistent mistake people make: attempting to fit too much content into their meta data. What you’ll see is a sentence that ends with “…”, leading people to wonder where people were going with their incomplete content. Don’t be that person; don’t let your site fail to be seen.