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What happens when you Google your church?

What happens when you Google your church?

So, intrepid parish webmaster, you’ve been hearing a lot about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). One day, curious about how your church shows up on the world’s search engines, you go to (or or and type in your congregation’s name and town. What happens?

More than likely, you may be surprised at what you find.

In addition to your website address which (hopefully) shows up first, there will be entries linked from the Diocese of Newark, the Episcopal Church USA, and any number of other entities such as Facebook (if you have a Facebook page), Faith Street, Yelp, and Yellow Pages. But you also may find entries from your community’s Superpages, BusinessFinder, ChurchFinder, even from the area Chamber of Commerce and Dunn and Bradstreet.  (And this list is not exhaustive.)

Pretty impressive, right?

But, are the listings up to date and accurate? And what do you do if they are not?

Here are some answers:

The information on the diocesan listing is wrong. This one is easy: at the bottom of each listing you will see “For database updates please contact Randy Johnson, Administrator for Diocesan Ministries, 973-430-9906.”

The information of the Episcopal Church “Find a Church” is wrong. There are two possibilities: there is already an editor who can be contacted to make the changes, or there is not.  In the latter case, you could take responsibility for making the changes.

If at the bottom of your church’s page you find “Is this page accurate? Submit a change,” you will know there is already an editor.  Click on the link to request the change to be made.  If at the bottom of the page you see “Become the Web Editor of this Page,” you can apply to be approved to handle the updates for that page.  Once the application is made, it may be several days before approval is granted. Once received, you can log in to provide the updates and/or additions.  (Be sure to hit “Save.”)

The location on Google Maps is wrong. Google has provided step-by-step information on how to make corrections:

The information on the Faith Street/Yelp/Yellow Pages/ et al. is wrong.  The solution to these situations vary all over the place: most often there is either a process whereby one can suggest an edit or an invitation to take on the role of editor for the listing. This is of particular importance for Yelp, as taking on ownership allows one to respond to reviews posted by Yelp users.

Checking on each listing is a time-consuming effort, but definitely worth making. It improves your congregation’s visibility and it shows that you care about the “face” it presents to the world.

Related links

These pertain to businesses, but can be useful:

Are Your Online Business Listings Complete and Correct? The Cost of Wrong Local Data

SEO Resolution: Correct and up-to-date directory listings

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