No SEO = Putting Money Before God?

Kurt posted a provocative blog article on Church Marketing Online entitled Is Your Church Putting Money Before God?  In it he makes the claim that the reason most churches don’t optimize their websites for search engines is because they care more about money than about reaching people in their communities.  He makes the case that search engine optimization (SEO) is a wise investment of resources by showing it would be a money maker for churches to the tune of hundreds of extra dollars each month if even one tithing family becomes a part of the church as a result, but despite that fact most churches don’t do it because outreach just isn’t important to them.

I completely agree that SEO is a worthwhile investment for churches as I personally know of many members of my own church who first found the site through search engines.

But as to why churches don’t optimize their websites – that’s a tough call.  Is it primarily…

a) They don’t understand SEO is necessary
b) They don’t think SEO will work to bring in new people
c) They just don’t care enough about people outside the church
d) Something else

This is going to sound like a cop-out, but I’ve seen all 3.  What do you think?  What’s the biggest reason most churches don’t optimize their website for search engines?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

3 Responses to “No SEO = Putting Money Before God?”

  1. Some favor flash over substance (all puns intended). The company that created some websites for our ministry relies heavily on Flash, even though that hurts SEO. Many other things were done that look good, but hurt search engine visibility.

    Now we have nice looking sites that nobody can find.

  2. Bummer, Tim. Yeah, we don’t recommend all Flash sites specifically for that reason. Your site does look great, too.

  3. Perhaps you’re taking for granted that the churches you’re working with are savvy enough to know what SEO is in the first place! When I took over as chair of my church’s growth commission, it was like I was speaking Greek to them when I tried to explain what it was. Everyone wanted flashy animation at first, and I had to explain to them why that wasn’t the best strategy.

    I think the key is establishing trust & credibility with those in charge of making budgetary decisions. Thankfully, I already had established that, and our commission’s budget was healthy enough where we could afford a dual SEO and AdWords initiative on our own. Net result? More pageviews in a week than we’d previously gotten in two months!

    No question the results are real, but sometimes you’ve got to break it down into easily-digestible pieces before you move forward.