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.
- Churchgoers who already maintain blogs can write about the church with a link.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Ask charities that your church participates in to add a link to your site.
- Get your pastor to blog.
- Build a directory of local churches so that out-of-towners can find you.
- If the church is affiliated with Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, create a home on the web for these guys.
- Find niche authority sites in the church atmosphere.
- Get links from other churches in the area.
- Get links from location authorities, such as media and government.
- 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.