Getting your website noticed on the web will increase your chances of putting the gospel into the hands of the lost. To do that, we typically concentrate on content. Not just any content, but content laced with keywords real people seeking the truth are searching for. It also involves the mechanics of website structure and getting your metadata right.
Even though we might get all of these things right, another crucial element in achieving search engine visibility is creating backlinks. A “backlink” (also called inbound links) is a link that is directed to your website from another website. These are important for two main reasons:
- Visitors viewing other websites will see a link to your website and may follow it to your content.
- Search engines will interpret the quantity (and quality) of your inbound links as an indication of your website’s importance and authority.
So, let us think the process through for a moment. Someone searches for “baptism” in Google. Your content is relevant to the topic of baptism, but, so is the content of another website. Which site will Google place first in the search results? Quite possibly, whichever website has the most quality, inbound links.
Link-building is the process of asking others to place links from their website to yours. There are many possibilities. You can submit your website to directories. You can submit articles to online publications which allow you to include a link to your website. You can participate in forums and blogs which allow you to post a link. You can participate in social media, linking to articles and features on your website.
Do any members of your congregation have personal websites or social media accounts (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)? Ask them to link to an article, announcement, or video on the church website. All of these links will increase the potential of new visitors while bolstering your standing in the eyes of search engines thereby increasing your page rank.
In fact, integration with social media offers a HUGE potential in web traffic. In the coming weeks I plan for us to explore together the possibilities of social media integration, link-building, and other off-page strategies.