One of the most important ways to help get your church found online is to claim and develop local search pages.
Every search engine like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! automatically generates a generic local page listing for every business or organization with an address.
As the "owner" of that organization, you are allowed to claim the page as your own and then add content, share information, and receive reviews.
It's actually a pretty easy process. When you're done you'll have six (free) mini-webpages floating around the internet, each pointing people to your church. As an example, here is Redeemer's Google Place Page and Yelp! Page.
This post will show you how to find, claim, and develop your local search pages.
Back in the day, people used the Yellow Pages to find churches and local businesses.
Since all the Yellow Pages listings were done alphabetically, people would purposely name their companies with something that started with an "A" like "American" or "AAA", so they'd appear first and get found faster. Easy.
Now, of course, people don't flip through the Yellow Pages. They Google it. And getting found on Google - and its super secret search algorithm - takes more than just your "A" name. It requires your "A" game.
Here is how to get your church website or blog found on Google in five easy steps (and I mean easy - one is just writing down a few words) and why it matters.
"Should I give my cell phone number to parishioners?"
This a common question among pastors, who need to be available to their members (particularly in case of pastoral emergencies), but who also fear that if they give out their cell phone number, they will get called on their off days for non-urgent matters (and they will). It's one of many pastoral/personal boundaries pastors have to manage.
A new free service from Google made available to the public this week is a great solution to this pastoral quandary. It's called Google Voice and I've just started using it. Here's a quick overview:
Here's how to get started. Go to Google Voice. (Create a Google account if you don't already have one.) Once you have an account, Google will ask you to create a Google phone number. When you've got your number, scroll to the top right of the page and click "Settings". There you will find a few cool options.