SEO Case Study: Local Church

Our client was a local church. The organization was successful in their local community, filling their building each Sunday with three services. With over 20 years of history, they were a known and well-reputed organization in the community. 

 

The church wanted to add a digital component to their weekly services and content that they produced. In essence, they wanted to harness and embrace digital technology to impact an online generation. 

Beginnings

The State Of The Website When We Began Work

Upsides

Each and every week, the organization was creating rich and unique content through their array of Sunday services, weekly study guides, and podcast. The content was very well done and well received by the congregation.

Upsides

Each and every week, the organization was creating rich and unique content through their array of Sunday services, weekly study guides, and podcast. The content was very well done and well received by the congregation.

Downsides

None of the content that was being produced on a weekly basis was being harnessed through the church’s website or digital platforms. As a result, the website had very little content, and none of it was optimized for search and discovery online.

Speaking of the website, it was suffering from years and years of not having any sort of organization. Different departments and leaders were given access along the way, so the website had become a hodgepodge of random landing pages and disorganized links.

The website was extremely slow and lacked a good plan for its architecture. As a result, the church didn’t rank for any local search terms other than its brand name.

Goal

The goal was to improve rankings in local search for broad queries relating to the church. In order to rank for these terms, we knew we needed to start by fixing the website, and then move into a content plan that harnessed everything the church was already producing.

Strategy

The Plan of Action to Achieve the Goal

In order to achieve the goal, first we needed to get the website free of all of the errors and tech issues that were holding it back. 

 

After that, we needed to perform keyword research. These keywords needed to be naturally infused throughout the website and other web properties to help the site rank for local queries. 

 

We also needed to build a base of citations and backlinks to help establish authority.

 

Finally, we needed to develop a content plan so that the church could put all of their weekly content to use on the website. 

Phase 1

Our first project was to make improvements to the website and other online properties. We focused our efforts on improving site speed and usability. We needed to fix problems with the site, such as broken links, thin pages, and navigational issues. 

 

After running a Site Audit, we had a list of all of the website’s issues. With the site being relatively small, we moved quickly through the fixes, including:

 

  • Reducing and optimizing image sizes
  • Removing custom fonts for better load times
  • Fixing broken pages and links (404 error)
  • Setting up proper canonicalization for site

 

In the process, we identified a critical problem where the organization was using a feature in Squarespace for individual team members that was actually meant for ecommerce pages. This created metadata in these pages that described them as product pages, confusing the search engines and Facebook with inaccurate tags.

 

With these problems solved and the site in good shape, we moved on to Phase Two.

 

Phase 2

We began performing in-depth keyword research, using a variety of methods to determine what keywords their target market used to search and find local churches.

 

Once the list of keywords was approved, we incorporated them into the key website pages in a natural way.

 

We also noticed that the organization’s Google My Business page needed updating, and lacked keyword use. We updated and optimized the GMB listing, and noticed immediate and dramatic results.

Through the combination of using keywords on both the website and Google My Business, the organization experienced immediate and sustained increases in search visibility and traffic. 

Phase 3

In process.

Results

End results from project, based on KPIs

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic grew almost immediately, and continued to increase throughout the project. The gains were astronomical:

 

  • 12,373% increase in Total Organic Clicks
  • 233% increase in Total Impressions
  • 305% increase in organic Click Through Rate (CTR)

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