Search engines are very important for websites these days with over 50% of website visitors coming from search engines. In fact, according to a recent report, search is the second most popular activity on the web, just behind email. “Ok, so being listed in the major search engines like Google and Yahoo is important, but what’s the deal with these Christian search engines?” you say, “Are they important?” I’m so glad you asked. First, in case the name didn’t give it away, Christian search engines are search engines and directories which list only Christian websites. Of course, one example would be the OurChurch.Com Christian Search engine. Are Christian search engines important for your website?
Why Christian Search Engines?
So why are Christian search engines important you may ask? Sure the major search engines get a lot more traffic than the Christian search engines, but more and more Christians are turning to Christian search engines to do their searching for several reasons:
- Business: Many Christians prefer to do business with other Christian, both because they want to support other Christians and because they know they will be able to trust them. By searching in the Christian search engines, people are able to know that the businesses and organizations they find are Christian businesses and organizations.
- To Find a Church or Ministry: There are many Church Locator search engines now where you can enter a specific city and denomination and find churches in the area. This can make it much easier to find the church or ministry you want than searching the major search engines
- To Find Ministry Resources: Major search engines can bring back a very broad array of websites, Christian and otherwise, because there are soooo many listings. So many Christians use Christian search engines to find Christian individuals and organizations providing ministry resources.
- To Find Art, Poetry, Hobby sites, etc.: Pretty much anything and everything can be searched for and is being searched for in the Christian search engines.
- Avoid the Unwanted Websites: As I’m sure we’ve all experienced, it seems you can’t search for anything in the major search engines without some inappropriate site(s) showing up in the listings. Often times even the description for the site that you see in the search listing contains language you don’t want to see, not to mention your children. So many Christians are turning to Christian search engines to know those unwanted websites will not come up in the searches and knowing that their children are safe searching in a Christian search engine.
The simple fact is the big search engines can’t be all things to all people. Smaller, niche search engines are popping in every field from Christianity to Christmas and real estate to recipes, and marketing experts agree that smaller search engines are important.
Christian Search Engines – Part of the Bigger Picture
For reasons listed above and many others, it’s good to be listed in the Christian search engines. It can put you in front of the very demographic you are trying to reach. But that’s not to say that we should abandon the major search engines. Both are important. And, in fact, being listed in Christian search engines can also help you in the major search engines.
Many Christian search engines are actually directories. This means that, instead of creating a new web page with search results every time a term is searched for, most Christian search engines (directories) have a constant link to your website. The more links to your website, the stronger your website will become in the eyes of the major search engines and the higher your website will rank in their search results. In addition, the link the Christian directory has for your website is put in a category which describes what your website is about. This reinforces with the major search engines what your website is about, helping you to rank better for related search terms.
Many major search engines search “spiders” or “bots” to actively seek out new sites, though it’s still a good idea to request a listing. However, nearly all Christian search engines require the site owners to request a listing by manually completing a registration form. Therefore, the process of getting listed in Christian search engines can be a rather arduous one of searching out Christian search engines, looking for the link to add a site, completing the forms, and then hoping you did it right and didn’t miss any popular Christian search engines.
As the Director of Search Marketing, I helped develop OurChurch.Com’s Christian search engine registration service. We knew that it would be helpful for our members to register with the Christian search engines and how difficult of a task it would. It has proved to be our most popular marketing service to date. It saves the time, effort, and uncertainty of trying to figure out how to do all those registrations yourself. You’ve got a church to shepherd, a ministry to lead, or a business to run. You can’t be an expert on everything. So, in most instances it just makes sense to leave this to our experts.
A Tree in the Forrest
We’ve all heard the saying, “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The same can be asked about a website. If no one can find your website, is it really a website or just a file on a computer? Both the Christian search engines and the major search engines are very important for bring visitors to your website. And, while Christian search engines aren’t as popular as the major search engines, the more your website is out there, the more people will be able to find your website. And that can lead to a more successful website.
In His Service,