Keyword Advertising for Churches

July 12, 2005 by

The Rock at Church Ranch Google ad screen shotSearch term advertising has been the latest rage. It’s cheap, incredibly trackable, easy to do—and often effective. Is your church trying it?

The Rock at Church Ranch in Westminster, Colo. has tried keyword advertising and it’s working for them. Ryan Dickinson, the church’s Outreach Coordinator and a partner at the Denver area Harper Design, shared that in less than a month they increased visits to their web site from 5 per day to 45 per day. They’ve had little competition for the keywords, so they pay around 10 cents per click.

Last month they spent a whopping $32.42 on keyword marketing, drawing 291 click thrus. They’ve averaged 28 visitors per month, or about two new families every week. They haven’t had a Sunday yet without at least one visitor who came to the church thanks to their web site. So far this summer their attendance has hit a high of 147, compared to 115 last summer.


You can get started with keyword advertising on Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing. Dickinson has a few keys to success:

  • Make sure your web site is geared for visitors, including directions, basic info and frequent updates. The goal isn’t just to get web surfers to visit your site—it’s to get them to visit your church. That requires an effective web site.
  • Take the time to research and understand what people are searching for. Both Yahoo and Google make this easy.
  • Write effective ads. Both Yahoo and Google will bold the search terms in your ad, so be sure to include those words in your copy (in the above screen shot of their ad, I had searched for “Denver Church”—notice that both words are in bold text in the ad copy).
  • You don’t have to bid for the top spot on every keyword. The Rock at Church Ranch averages 3.2 in the ranking of ads. It’s not the top spot, but it still works.
  • A bonus of keyword marketing that Dickinson didn’t mention is the ability to put a cap on your spending. You can bid on keywords up to whatever dollar amount you specify, which makes it easy to stay on budget.

Thanks to Ryan Dickinson and The Rock at Church Ranch for sharing their numbers with us.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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8 Responses to “Keyword Advertising for Churches”

  • david
    July 12, 2005

    Yeah, we’ve used Google Adwords for the past year, and we have people that come to Revolution all the time simply because of our websites. Our clickthroughs aren’t that high – 54 last month.
    Very cost-effective marketing!


  • sweaty blog
    July 13, 2005

    Keyword Advertising for Churches

    ChurchMarketingSucks posted about the use of Keyword Advertising for Churches today. They posted some good online and visitor statistics that proved this can work! I have often wondered if this would work at my church… after all, Calvary Church is


  • scott aughtmon
    July 29, 2005

    We have been using Google Adwords since March 2nd and have been getting good click through rates.
    I recently changed the landing page, to try and see if we can get the people who click to come to be with us! :)
    ***One tip:
    -Google allows you to rotate ads (split tests), so you can test one ad against another.
    You should take advantage of it and test one headline vs. another… one element vs. another until you figure out the best ad!


  • thoughts
    August 30, 2005

    2005 Summer Blogging Review

    With the summer winding down and me blogging like a mad man all over the place (except maybe here), I thought it’d be a good idea to take a page from the Jason Kottke book and do a summer blog…


  • Church Web Adviser
    December 13, 2005

    Show up near the top of the search engines with pay-per-click listings

    Getting listed on the first page of the search engines by something more than the exact name of your church as keywords may seem nearly impossible. There is another way, though: search term advertising or pay-per-click listings. In a nutshell,


  • Daren
    October 26, 2008

    The challenge with PPC is figuring out what non church people are searching for that intersects with what your ministry offers.
    A few of them might look for “church+your community” but in many cases they will have a real or felt need that the church can indeed help with, but they would never consider looking there.
    Next summer, I hope to use “daycare” as a keyword in advertising our Vacation Bible School, as daycare spaces are hard to find, and even a one week child care solution for a family will likely draw them.


  • Church Advertising
    April 7, 2009

    This really is a great tool for getting more visitors to your church. I would always recommend this form of marketing to any church. I believe it is even better however to have a web site that is always able to be listed on the top page of search results. It really isn’t too hard to do if you have someone that knows a little bit about search engines and SEO.
    The church should always be listed under it’s name… but if you search for “churches in your city” then your church should not have a hard time being found either.


  • Lebanon Church
    October 7, 2009

    Hi,
    I’m on the web ministry team at Lebanon Church of West Mifflin, PA – near Pittsburgh. I actually the person who started this topic on webmasterworld back in 2008. Since then, I’ve taken much of the knowledge of that thread plus other research that I’ve done, and applied it to our church website with great success. To help other churches and Christian organizations further their online ministries, I have created a webinar and Powerpoint presentation outlining the techniques that I utilized to increase traffic to our church website.
    In this webinar, learn how to build links, utilize keywords, and take advantage of various search engine optimization strategies. Click here to view the Webinar (6 part series) on Youtube. Click here to download the Powerpoint PDF version of the document from our website. I hope that you find these resources to be useful and encourage you to check back at our website, http://www.lebanonpc.org for more free technical resources and information regarding our events, programs, and ministries.
    Hope this helps!
    God Bless



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