Search Engine Optimization
Church search engine optimization involves making
your web site visible in search engines. I would highly recommend
you looking into my Higher
Search Engine Optimization Explained page for general
information first, and then reading this.
This page will highlight
the most important elements, things that many church sites
miss in their web page content, and thus make it hard for
people to find the church.
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1. Site Architecture
The two biggest things I’ve seen in many church sites
is the problem of frames and graphics only sites. First, if
you have a framed site and your site doesn’t use the <NOFRAMES> tag,
you need to. Try visiting Submit
It to figure out how to change it.
I would highly recommend you to recode your entire site so
that it doesn’t use frames – that can increase
your search engine ranking by a lot!
If you hve a lot of graphics on your site, try to find a spot
in the page to add in a paragraph of text explaining your church,
including the keywords below. Also, add "alt" tag text to your
graphics, explained in Higher
Search Engine Optimization Explained.
2. Understanding your audience
For church sites, you have two audiences
1. people who go to your church
i. who will use your church name to find your church “Bread
of Life Church”
2. people who don’t go to your church but want to find
i. don’t know about your church, so will use geographical,
denominational or demographical information, such as “los
angeles chinese church” when looking for a new church
to go to.
ii. know about your church, so will use your church name
you know what kind of searches potential people will use, its
time to take a look at what specific keywords people may use.
3. Site Keywords
When you understand who your
site audience is, it will be easier to pick keyword phrases
to use in your title, meta-tags, and
content. Keyword phrases for churches fall under mostly four
1. Church name – Bread of Life Church, Pinewood Community
2. Church demographics (language and ethnicity)– Chinese,
Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish
3. Church denomination – Charismatic, Fundamentalist,
4. Church geography – San Francisco, Bay Area, CA,
Torrance, Colorado, Honululu
Furthermore, understand that you can have different sets and
subsets of keywords. For example, for geography, you may choose
to specify your city, and the larger metropolitan area. If
your church is in the Los Angeles area (Westwood, Santa Monica,
even Torrance), you may want to include "Los Angeles" as well
as your particular city in your keyword choices.
You need to identify what are words that people would use
for your church. My home church, for instance, would have
1. Home of Christ
2. Chinese, Mandarin
3. Evangelical, Christian
4. Fremont, CA, Bay Area
As keyword phrases because these words describe our church
ministry, including name, languages, denomination, and geography.
Once you have selected your phrases, you can put them into
the site content.
And if your church name doesn’t have “church” in
it, put it in somewhere!
4. Site Titles
Your title is highly important. Most church sites have at
least their church name. My suggestion for my church’s
title would be:
Home of Christ– An evangelical Christian Chinese church
in Fremont, CA – Bay Area
This title encompasses all the important elements of a church and will greatly
effect your search engine ranking.
5. Site Content
You can be more flexible with the words you
put into your site body. In your site body, remember to put
near the top 250
words of your page, the keywords from the four areas:
1. Church name – Home of Christ Church
2. Church demographics – Mandarin, Chinese
3. Church denomination – evangelical, bible, spirit-filled,
4. Church geography – Fremont, Union City, Newark, Bay
Area, CA (Union City and Newark are near Fremont… you
may want to also put close by city names)
Somewhere in your front page, you will need all your keyword
phrases. The closer the words are to the top, the better.
Furthermore, you should continue your search engine optimization
work into other pages of your site. If your church has a particular
strength or service offering, you should optimize a page for
it, whether it be a listing of other churches, your pastor's
sermons, or resources such as my Free
Christian Books page.
6. Site linkage
Get your site linked from member home pages and also one or
two important directories. When getting your site linked,
use your church name and one or two church characteristics,
Home of Christ – Chinese Church in Fremont, CA
To find the right sites to link from, you can search the
keywords that you think someone would use to find your site,
based on geography, like “Fremont Christian Churches” or “Chinese
Christian Churches” and then from the sites you find,
either ask to be linked from those sites, or find out the resources
that link to that site and have them link to you.
In short, you should try to be linked from
1. General Directories (dmoz.org, etc).
2. Christian Church Directories
3. Personal Home Pages (check out www.djchuang.com it
has an amazing amount of resource listings.)
Other Churches and Ministries.
And that’s all folks – if you are a Christian organization
and you need to reach a local audience, your targeted keywords
1. Ministry Name
2. Ministry Area
3. Ministry related words
4. Ministry geography
And you can follow the same guidelines posed above. It may
take a little more research to find ministry related words.