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By Rev. Marty Levesque

Whether it is Google, Facebook, Yelp or Bing, there are many modern replacements to the “yellow pages” that include churches.

Have you claimed these business listings for your church yet? It is simple, easy, and free. But more importantly, it allows you to manage your content and control the story you want to tell.

For instance, if you Google your church, you will see a business listing on the right-hand side of the search result. There is likely a picture, location on Google Maps and reviews from people that have attended your church.

Your church is likely listed whether or not you have claimed ownership of it. This means other people are telling your story, influencing which images are seen first, and you are missing a chance to interact with people who review your church. These reviews can be a point of contact and give you valuable insight into how visitors experience your services and facilities.

Claiming listings allow you to update your business hours and communicate when the church is open. You can link directly to your website which makes it easy for people to learn about your church and all you offer in God’s name. And the listings can support each other. For example, Google pulls events from your Facebook page and can list them on when your church appears in the search results.

Each service has a number of tools and features that allow you to claim and manage your listing. From the images that appear, to what it says. Leaving it unclaimed means others will tell your story and it may not be the story you want to be told. By claiming the listing you can control your content and share the story you want to tell the world.

Rev. Marty Levesque is the diocesan social media officer and rector of All Saints’ in Waterloo.