Church SEO: Getting Religious Links

Oct 28, 2008 • 9:13 am | comments (6) by twitter | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO
 

Raise your hand if you're a religious SEO. I'm sure you've faced battles and challenges that were hard to overcome, especially since your site is religious in nature and the traffic and links don't appear to be there -- for now.

Interestingly enough, a webmaster has just built his church-oriented website and is upset that he can't get the traffic for it. I'd argue (and other forum members already did) that traffic is not the goal here -- perhaps the goal is awareness of the existence of the religious establishment.

You created the website for a purpose: to serve the congregation. Promotion, therefore, should be focused within the actual congregation (and not elsewhere). In the event that the church wants to reach out to prospective new members, what options are available?

There are a number of strategies that can be employed to garner those links.

  1. Churchgoers who already maintain blogs can write about the church with a link.
  2. Consider thinking about other events that have some religious correlation, such as weddings and funerals. When digging into these, consider service providers (florists, photographers, caterers, etc.) Address the concerns about weddings/funerals on your site -- be sure that the site welcomes and addresses those needing to make arrangements for either occasion.
  3. Make sure that the URL of the church is highly visible in program materials (and I'd say signage too outside the church's physical location). Put the URL in your answering machine messages.
  4. Document church events from the perspective of your congregation. For example, a bake sale can be posted with a video on YouTube (with the URL embedded on the bottom or at the end, of course).
  5. Ask charities that your church participates in to add a link to your site.
  6. Get your pastor to blog.
  7. Build a directory of local churches so that out-of-towners can find you.
  8. If the church is affiliated with Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, create a home on the web for these guys.
  9. Find niche authority sites in the church atmosphere.
  10. Get links from other churches in the area.
  11. Get links from location authorities, such as media and government.
  12. Get links from local non-for-profits such as local entities that use your premises for events.

What would you add to this list?

Forum discussion continues at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

David

10/28/2008 06:27 pm

For most churches the realistic goals of their website should be: First providing useful features to their existing congregation, which is best advertised 'in the pews' so to speak. Second main goal should be to be found easily by people visiting or moving to the area who are looking for a church to attend in a particular area. For this purpose I think that the focus should be an effective local search strategy - just as it would be for any local business looking for real world customers. So the list from Tamar is a good start. Some more I would add: 13. Local Directories that contain a Places of Worship category. 14. Church directories, such as findachurch.co.uk (UK site) which actually get used by real people. 15. Local papers often have a section covering local churches, and many have a 'God Slot' column which rotates between local churches - perhaps you could offer to contribute to this. They are also usually desperate for stories, so if your church can come up with anything remotely newsworthy - charity events, concerts, etc. and you can get them to print a URL 'for more info', that will usually end up as a nice link in the online edition. 16. Denominations and affiliation groups will frequently link to member churches' sites as soon as they know about them.

Yura

10/29/2008 04:45 am

Technically, a church blog writer could relate current events, read, write down an objective opinion and link to popular blogs on hot topics (politics, environment, technology, etc) and share it on social sites, esp on religious sites, such as faithtag.com (there are others I forgot). As anything, it requires time, but it may be as or more effective as building and maintaining a directory.

Phil Evans

01/20/2009 12:41 pm

I have launched a website with - when completed - thousands of high resolution phots of churches around the world. Having had a quick look at getting links put on other sites I now appreciate that it will be an uphill struggle. One word of advice is to type this into google for a known high page ranking site:- link:www.photosofchurches.com - this will then pull up all of the links to that website and you may approach the same sites to link to yours.

No Name

03/28/2009 06:20 am

They are also usually desperate for stories, so if your church can come up with anything remotely newsworthy - charity events, concerts, etc. and you can get them to print a URL 'for more info', that will usually end up as a nice link in the online edition.

No Name

03/30/2009 02:34 pm

Have your churches newsletter created in a PDF format and place it on the homepage so people (and search engines) can access it and read about your church and what you get up too - this could also encourage people to book mark your website using their socail book marking accounts so they can come back to read the following months newsletter.

Lebanon Church

10/08/2009 01:45 am

Hi, I'm on the web ministry team at <a href="http://www.lebanonpc.org>Lebanon Church of West Mifflin, PA - near Pittsburgh</a>. I was 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. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=3A5A832782A2698F" rel="nofollow">Click here to view the Webinar (6 part series) on Youtube.</a> <a href="http://www.lebanonpc.org/downloads.html?task=view.download&cid=28" rel="nofollow">Click here to download the Powerpoint PDF version of the document from our website.</a> 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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