Church Marketing Showdown: PPC vs. SEO

Church Marketing Showdown - Pay Per Click vs Search Engine OptimizationA week ago I wrote a bit about the value of a pay-per-click (PPC) search marketing campaign as a part of your online church marketing. Almost every time I talk about pay-per-click and search engine optimization, I get the one of two questions, “Which is better?” or “Which should our church do?”

PPC Comes Out Swinging:
Unlike SEO, pay-per-click does not take much time or work to get setup. Unless you decide to setup a very complicated PPC campaign, the amount of work and knowledge required for setting up a PPC campaign is significantly less than what is required for optimization. In addition, you can get your church listed in the search engines for the keywords you want to target within a day. This is especially nice when trying to get listed for more competitive keywords that may months or years to rank well for with SEO.

SEO Strikes Back:
Search Engine Optimization and especially local SEO have their advantages as well for any online church marketing campaign. There are two key benefits to search engine optimization:

  1. You don’t pay for the traffic you get from the natural search results.
  2. There are some people who simply don’t like the pay-per-click listing and won’t click on them.

Search Engine Optimization takes more work at first, but the results of that work can keep bringing in visitors for years.

How Many Doors Does Your Church Have?
At my church we have 4 doors in the front of the building and several side doors. Why do we have so many doors? Well, the main reason is probably the fire code, but that’s aside from the point. We have many doors in order to allow many people to enter. When talking about your church’s website, having multiple points of entry is even better because you can not only have as many doors as you want (regardless of fire codes) , but you can also place those doors in different locations. Wouldn’t it be great if your church could not only have a doors at the front of the building, but also doors at the mall, in the local Wal-mart, and even in the individual homes of your town’s residents.

Every link, search listing, and PPC Ad you have for your church is like another door to your church’s website. It’s one more place where people can find you church and, with just the click of their mouse, enter your church’s website and your church’s ministry. So, why limit how many doors your church website has?

Which is better, PPC or SEO? Which should you do? Both. When you start marketing your church online, setup an AdWords account and get your site listed immediately. At the same time, start working on the optimization of the site. Over the weeks and months that follow, the work put into optimizing the website will start to pay off. Once you have great rankings in the search engines from the Search Engine Optimization, then you can decide if you want to continue the AdWords campaign. If your budget is tight, maybe the money going to the PPC campaign could be put to better use. But you may find that those PPC ads are still reaching people that the listings you got from optimization are not. And, like I said, “Why limit how many doors your church website has?”

About the author

Kurt Steinbrueck


  • Currently, especially in a lot of medium sized or smaller centers, there is absolutely no PPC competition for churches, which means you get that whole right side of the Google search page to yourself.

    I think PPC makes a lot of sense of churches, esp in promoting special events or addressing specific issues. If you are working with keywords that non church people are searching for, you will get traffic.

  • It can be a challenge at first to start your PPC campaign, but once you get the hang of it, it will be easy for you. By using the appropriate keywords and ads, you will be able to obtain pay per click traffic if that is one of your goals.

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