Heal Your Church WebSite


Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

The 10 Commandments of Church Website Search Engine Optimization

One thing you’ll notice in many of my critiques is advice on how to improve a church website’s search engine visibility. While the following list is by no means a magic enumeration that if followed will guarantee you a great Google rank – not doing them is sure to put your website on the bottom of the heap.

When possible, I’ve provided hyperlinks to posts and article on this and/or other sites that will help you figure out how to keep from backsliding into the abyss of search engine invisibility.

  1. You shall have no text other than your church’s name, denomination, city and state correctly spelled in between the <title> tags of your church’s home page.
  2. You shall not make for your self webpage description and keywords meta tags that contain key words that are not related to your church’s ministries, purpose and personality.
  3. You shall have no text other than your church’s name, denomination, city and state correctly spelled in between the <h1> tag in the header of your church’s home page – even if you are using some form of CSS text/image replacement.
  4. Remember to keep your page content compelling, relevant and up-to-date.
  5. Honor your reciprocal links, even if you do it on a page other than your home page.
  6. You shall not create crufty URIs.
  7. You shall not word-stuff.
  8. You shall not forget to include content in the title arguments of your hyperlinks and the alt arguments of your image tags.
  9. You shall not kill well indexed pages.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbors search engine placement; you shall not covet their meta tags; you shall not covet their title tags; you shall not covet their heading tags nor their content.

I promise to bring down from the mountain a much heftier article in the near future (most of it is already written), but its late and I’ve got some other mad-scientist fun to finish before the evening it out.

As with all lists, none of the above is written in stone … that said, if you’ve got an item or a related link to add … leave a comment.

17 Comments

  1. How exactly do you suggest we use #1? In our case, should it be “Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church – Marietta, GA” or “Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church – Marietta, Georgia”.

    Basically, should we spell out the state name or abbreviate it?

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  5. Thou shouldst spell check, headlines, at least.
    (“Commandment” shall have but one ‘e’.)

    *mean dean note* thanks Tom for yanking the plank outta my eye. I did spell check the post, but guess the check didn’t include the title … foo!

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  7. It is a pity trackbacks are so invisible. Anyway good article. I have added an 11th commandment about domain names in my own post (see the trackback).

    Dave

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  9. Excellent article which offers direction for good church websites.

  10. If this were done by anyone in the news media, they would be attacted by the christian community for cheaping and making light of the Ten Commandments.
    Why should non-christians respect the Ten Commandments when it appears christians don’t respect them?

  11. Franklin, thanks for the misraelite viewpoint but if this is actually the case then what you’re telling me is that the 10 Commandments are so fragile that a little humor erodes the authority which the deuteronomic enumerations convey … hmmm.

    I guess different strokes for different folks – but as for me, I think it is clear that the latter does little to make fun of the former – and I know for a fact has caused some of the agnostic persuasion to actually look them up.

    As for not showing the original respect – don’t you think it’d be more in keeping with Jesus’ and Paul’s ministry to get to know me a bit better before declaring me to have no respect for them?

    Or are you secretly spying on me? Hmmm … excuse me while I check under the bed for unemployed KBG agents as well.

  12. Hi All,

    I just put together a pretty thorough article on this topic. If you’re interested it’s available over at:

    http://www.userscape.com/blog/2005/03/24/search-engine-optimization/

  13. 8b: Thou shalt not make the title of every page be just your church name so that all bookmarks and search engine results have useless titles.

  14. Some additional how-not-tos at my site.

  15. It sounds like you’re creating problems yourself by trying to solve this issue instead of looking at why their is a problem in the first place.

  16. @thinkingSeo it sounds to me like you’re looking for an excuse to drive traffic to your site through a comment. Next time why not try harder to correctly enter your domain’s URL before before bagging on the rest of us.

    Oh and I think you meant THERE not THEIR – unless of course you did mean to indicate the possessive, in which case your grammar is really suspect.

  17. Help! I need our site to come up more often when “church” and Bothell, etc are searched for! Can you help me? Gary