Recently at our church, we began the discussions about retooling our website.   One of the issues I am thinking through is whether or not SEO really matters for our us.  Is SEO that important, or are there better ways for us to spend our time?
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For those of you who don’t know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, it’s how well your church webste is optimized for search engines to find you. If you want to be at the top of Google’s rankings, you need to have good SEO. If you have good SEO then Google will take care of the rest and people will find you. However, I am not sure if that is the case any more.

Recently, I began to reflect on something that Jeff Jarvis said on the podcast This Week in Google.  Essentially, Jeff said there are three ways that someone finds your brand on the web: brand recognition, SEO and sharing content.  Let me break it down for you:

Brand Recognition

If your church has great brand recognition, people find your church website because you are already well known in your community or you have a national presence (i.e. Willow Creek, Mars Hill, etc…). People don’t have to search for your church because they know some variation of your URL and can find you.  Think of brand recognition in this way, when someone new moves into your community and asks a friend “Hey, what’s a good church around here?”, will your church’s name will come up? [tweet this]

SEO

If your church website has good SEO, it is easy to find by looking on a search engine (Google, Bing, etc..).   A good SEO means that you have website that reflects the key terms that define your church and your location (i.e. Baptist, Methodist, City, State, etc…).   It also means, that your page titles and metadata are also up to date and you are probably linked to by other respected websites.  I know this can seem very technical if you are new to creating websites, however there are plenty resources on the web to help you.

Sharing Content

Think about the last time you found something new or interesting on the internet.  You more than likely found it from friend than you did on a search engine. This is where I want our church to invest its’ time.  For us, we want to create great content that people think is worth sharing with others. This can be a sermon clip, photos, blog posts or some other form of digital content that can be passed around.  This gives our church personality and puts a face on our faith community. Create great content for your church and your people will advertise for you, for free. [tweet this]

So should you focus on SEO or creating content?  Here’s the beauty of sharing content.  The more people who share your content (properly attributed of course), the more search engines will find you authoritative. So in essence, great content can lead to better SEO.

Question: Do you agree that content can lead to better SEO or is really just about keywords and metadata?  Feel free to comment by clicking here

photo credit: dullhunk via photopin cc