We’ve previously written on the subject of Search Engine Optimization, specifically how it applies to listings on KJV Churches. This time, however, I would like to approach some more generalized concepts of SEO and why you need to understand them. Don’t worry, I will keep it from getting too dry!
Years ago, “meta keywords” were all the rage. In the header, a web developer would add the content keywords that his page supposedly was relevant for, and Google would obligingly index that site for those keywords. As you can imagine, that went out the door, and now “keywords” refers to the relevance of the actual content of the page. A web page should have at least 300 words on it (you’ll notice that all of the blog posts here at KJV Churches are at least 300 words long), and the content on the page should contain the keywords that you are targeting. Specifically, you should target a 1.5% to 3% keyword density. Less than that, and Google won’t be able to tell what you’re trying to target. More than 3%, and you’ll look spammy. We use a tool that helps us make sure that our content is relevant for our targeted keywords. A CMS (content management system) like WordPress has many SEO options available.
Even more important than keywords are headings, H1 and H2 tags (that goes in the HTML source) that tell the Google spiders how your page’s content is structured. Without proper H1 and H2 tags added to your pages, Google will seriously downrank your pages. You should use headings for page titles, content dividers, or, like I’m doing, sequential content indications (1. Keywords, 2. Headings, etc.). If you mark up the content properly, Google will be more likely to rank your results higher.
While searching for churches to add to the KJV Churches database, I’ve spent thousands of hours combing through online directories and doing endless Google searches to find churches. It’s always frustrating when a church has a website, but it’s so poorly organized that the site doesn’t even show up on the first page of results! How terrible would it be for someone to search your church’s name, and the city and State that your church is in, and they have to navigate to the second page of results to find your church’s website?! That’s where relevant content comes in. Your church name should be both in the visible text and the meta description, and your church address and phone number should be on every page, preferably in a sidebar or footer to make it simpler. This way, not only is it easy for website visitors to find your church’s information, but it also makes your site better for search engines.
There are many, many more aspects that come into play when dealing with SEO. Entire companies exist just to optimize websites for search engine-friendliness. You don’t need those guys, as long as you just do a little research and think through what it is that you’re doing. A website is like a billboard, but with the added benefit of being accessible from anywhere in the world. A little bit of effort will do wonders for your web presence.