Admit it, we’re powerless over who visits our church web site … yet we find ourselves obsessed with our hit count. So instead of turning over our content and our robot exclusion files over to Google, we instead try to take matters into our own hands and spend hours thinking of ways of improving our search engine ranking through a witches brew of cheap tricks and unethical practices.
Well, okay. Maybe YOU don’t do it, but we all know of sites that do. Worse, we know of some church and charity websites guilty of these practices. So do the good people at Marketleap who yesterday released a must-read report entitled “Lessons in Failure – The Top 10 Ways to Ensure Your Search Marketing Strategy Sucks.”
I think their opening paragraph says it all:
In the spirit of educating marketers about best practices, we present this list of ten things you can do to sabotage your search engine marketing project in no time at all.”
Can I hear an amen?
Now if you don’t know what we’re talking about here, let me ask you ten simple questions. If any of them are yes, then you need to read this article and understand why you may have done your church web site more harm than good trying to take a short-cut to a better search engine ranking.
- Do you include “invisible text” on your home page?
- Still using Frames?
- Do you offer original compelling content, or are you just mirroring those who do?
- Is all your compelling content stuffed onto one, long honking page?
- Instead of plain-old-hyperlinks, do you offer jumps to other sites via a redirect mechanism?
- Is your URL as long as my name is in Greek? And as hard to remember?
- What robot exclusion standard?
- Doorway pages? You know who you are …
- Lazy Titles and Meta Tags? That is, are all your page titles and tags the same for each page?
- Ever subscribe to a “linking network” … a.k.a. a “link farm?”
Look, the bottom line is this. To get more hits you first need good, compelling content. Then you need to display it in a fashion where the technology doesn’t distract or get in the way of the user’s experience. Once you’ve got that figured out, then you need to submit your site to a search engine. Then you need to do some old-school advertising and marketing. I know it’s hard. I know it can be expensive. It certainly isn’t fun. But it is effective.
but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. – Proverbs 21:5