Everyone can benefit from a third-party endorsement where someone recommends what you’re offering. Wouldn’t it be great for a trusted friend to recommend your church?

The next best solution? When Google (or another search engine) gives results that recommend you! Winner! We tend to trust one of their first results like we heard it from a trusted friend.

The ability to be found on that first page requires a lot of work, though. It’s called search engine optimization; creating and delivering content the way the search engines want it. That optimization says you’re playing well with their ever-changing algorithm.

The solution: when someone (near you) requests something; Google (who’s looked through your website) believes you’re the best to answer the request or supply what they’re looking for. That’s oversimplification of SEO. Here’s how you can ensure your church is the “best” Google solution.

1. You need to rank high for what they’re looking for.

For example, “What’s the best chocolate to buy?” is the search. Pretend your website offers “best chocolate,” then Google may point to you. The problem is if many websites say “best chocolate,” then Google has to decide who’s best.

They check content to choose who’s most likely to be “best chocolate.” The higher you rank, the more likely you’ll land on the first results page. Rarely will people look past the first or second results page (since they’re trying to quickly get to the trusted Google-approved result). But it’s difficult to rank. Imagine when someone searches “best church to attend.” There are many.

2. Unique, desired, long-tail keywords help.

This helps narrow the pool of what someone is looking for. “Best chocolate” is a very wide-open category or keyword. Adding words before or after (as a tail) gives a narrowed request. “Good salted chocolate” slims the search. “Good salted dark chocolate” continues to target.

If you’re just known for being a church, you risk never being found. Instead, consider the long-tail keywords (for church) that the people in your area may be looking for and find a long-tail keyword of about 4-5 words. And be known for it — especially in a manner that Google likes.

3. Use the keywords consistently.

Have the keyword included on the page (2-3 times) in well-written content. You should also have it in meta-descriptions too (that’s the hidden content that Google scans for images, videos, and page descriptions). If you don’t use it, why would Google think you’re great at it?!

Meta page descriptions are huge: use active voice, keyword-rich, <155 characters, and unique content (that matches the keyword) for each page.

4. Create website content that Google loves.

That requires easy-to-understand content that is unique and has 300+ words/page, pictures and/or videos, and a keyword-rich headline or subhead.

5. Be good internet content providers.

Ensure you have 2-3 links directing to other content on your website as well as content that is regularly interconnecting to other websites (not yours). Google ranks you higher because they want to support the World Wide Web.

This is a simple overview of a very deep topic. Start with these, be consistent, and you’ll be found!