Most churches in the United States are facing declining membership, yet 17 million searches were done by people looking for a local church last month. What did they search for? Churches, find a church, church home, Baptist church, Methodist church, the list goes on. What they usually find is an unclaimed Google Places page that only listed the name and phone number of the church.
What is Google Places? It is an online directory that lists businesses in each country. Think of it as an online Yellow Pages. There are a number of directories, but since most people use Google, their directory is the best place start listing your church. When someone searches for a church in a particular city, Google shows up the results it has stored in its Places database.
Having an unclaimed Google Places page is like locking the doors on Sunday mornings. People coming to the church whether physically or virtually are looking for information. If a church has not claimed its Google Places page it looks like it is closed and the searcher will go onto another church. The good news is that it is easy to claim and set up a Place page and once you do Google will provide all kinds of useful information that a church can use. Information like how many people saw their listing, went to the website, clicked on the maps page, got driving directions, watched a video and search keywords.
Is it worth the effort for a church to set up their Places page? Here is some information from Covenant Church United Methodist in High Point, NC. In one month 502 people saw their Google Places page, 73 clicked on their website, 19 clicked on maps to find out where the church was located and 8 asked for driving directions. That is pretty powerful. If you take a conservative number and say the only people who showed up were the 27 who got directions then that is 324 visitors per year. Not bad for a church with a membership of 1,000. Google is not the only directory sending potential visitors either.
Listing your church on Google Places is free. We have created a website that gives step by step instructions plus tips on how to get your church to the top of Google’s Places page. The site is GrowingChurches.net.