People rely on Google’s search engine for all sorts of things these days. Looking for something good to eat? Google “restaurants nearby.” Wondering what movies are showing? Google “movies near me.” The same phenomenon applies to churches.
Imagine that you’re new in town. You’re thinking about joining a church, but you don’t know where to start. Well, it’s the Information Age, so you’re probably going to do a Google search! You open your browser and type “churches near me.” Your screen looks something like this…
This page might look familiar. It’s the same arrangement you see when you search for a restaurant, auto-repair shop, or any other service near you. These listings appear at the top of the Google search results so that people see them before they see the ranking websites.
You want to make sure your church appears on these listings so that when people search “churches near me,” your church is one of those first options. Well, how do you do that? The answer is Google My Business (GMB). And by the way, it’s free!
Creating a GMB Profile
To create a GMB profile, visit google.com/business. Then sign into your google account. The website will then guide you through the process of creating a business profile. You’ll fill in the boxes with your church’s name, website, phone number, address, and other pertinent information. You can even specify your denomination in the “business category” section. It’s also important to add photos to your profile. That way people get a good first impression! Maybe add an image of the outside of your church, the sanctuary, and your logo. (Side note: if you don’t already have a website, GMB can create a basic one for you that intuitively incorporates the information from your GMB profile.)
Once the profile is all set, you can update it as needed. And updating is important! Give one of your staff members this responsibility. If any of the information on your GMB profile changes, that person needs to update it ASAP. You wouldn’t want someone to call the wrong number, or worse, end up at the wrong location on a Sunday morning.
GMB also allows visitors to write review comments on your profile, and you should designate someone on your staff to respond to those! Connect with people who visit your church. Let them know that you value them and you want to welcome them into your church family. You can also use the “Performance” section of your GMB page to view statistics that tell you how many people found your profile, how they found it, and how they interacted with it. You can use that information to improve your church’s web presence.
Google My Business is a great resource for churches because it makes it easier than ever to connect with newcomers and visitors. Many, many people use Google, and they use it for (almost) everything. Many people will use it to find a local church. Using GMB ensures that your church appears higher on the list of search results, and it allows you to make a good first impression on those who view your profile. GMB also makes maintenance of your profile quick and easy, so you can keep your information up to date.
Having a good Google My Business profile makes your church look professional and trustworthy. It shows that you’re willing to adapt to the digital landscape in order to reach people. If your church doesn’t have a GMB profile, click the link above and make it happen!