Growing Through Search Marketing – A Case Study

search-engine-logosSearch Engine Marketing can be a very effective way of not only generating traffic to your website, but targeting the specific traffic that is interested in what your website has to offer.  This has the effect of not only increasing the traffic to your website, but also increasing the conversions on your website.  This may mean more sales, more visitors to your church, or, as in the case of Christian Leadership University, more students.  Here’s how.

About CLU
clu-logoChristian Leadership University (cluonline.com) is a an online Christian university that offers Associate, Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees in several fields, including theology, Biblical studies, Christian counseling, Christian leadership, youth ministry, and many more.  CLU believes that faculty should be experienced leaders in the Christian community and include Christian leaders such as Nate Krupp, Mark Virkler, and Ron Luce.  Their educational philosophy (Lamad method of learning) sets them apart as each student’s curriculum is fashioned for them focusing on life experience, gifts and abilities, and resting on the Bible and Holy Spirit.

About the Service
About 1 ½ years ago, Christian Leadership University signed up for OurChurch.Com’s Progressive SEO Management service.  As part of the service, the cluonline.com homepage was optimized for the search engines, CLU was registered in over 2000 search directories over the course of the first year, and OurChurch.Com employed several link building strategies to gain inbound links to the cluonline.com website.  One of the main strategies for link building was creating remarkable content and spreading the word about that content.

With the optimization of the CLU website, CLU began seeing an immediate bump in traffic to their website.  Then the link building strategies began to increase the authority of cluonline.com in the eyes of the search engines as we obtained thousands of new links to the CLU website.  As a result, cluonline.com has moved from a Google Page Rank of 4 (out of ten) up to a Page Rank of 5 (out of ten), a significant increase.  The Page Rank scale works a bit like the Richter Scale for earthquakes.  Each level up indicates much more authority in Google where a Page Rank 5 website may have 10 times the authority as a Page Rank 4.

More authority in the search engines means a website is capable of ranking for more competitive keywords.  So, we were able to continue to update the search engine optimization of the CLU website to focus on more and more competitive keywords.  Currently, cluonline.com has top ten rankings for such general and competitive keywords in their field as “Bible colleges”, “Christian colleges”, “Seminaries”, “Christian Theology” and many more.

Real World Results
Top ten rankings and increased links are nice, but how do they translate into real world results?  For CLU they meant an increase of over 1000 people contacting them from their website during the first year.  Most importantly, they experienced over 10% growth in enrollment…all during a recession.  This has increased their financial base, but more importantly for them, it has increased their ability to minister to people and train up new leaders in the Christian community.

Things to Take Home

  • Optimizing your website for the search engines can provide traffic to your website fairly quickly.
  • Employing link building strategies can build up your website’s authority in the search engines increasing your search rankings.
  • One of the best ways to gain quality, inbound links to your website is by creating remarkable content.
  • As your website grows in the search engines, you should modify your search engine optimization to target more and more competitive keywords.
  • A good search marketing plan creates beneficial, real world results and pays for itself.

What are you doing to market your website in the search engines?  What comments and questions do you have about CLU’s search marketing campaign?

Kurt Steinbrueck is the Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.Com. He also serves on the leadership of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL. You can find him on Google+ as .

4 Responses to “Growing Through Search Marketing – A Case Study”

  1. It is very interesting to hear of such development.

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    [...] ZA SEO wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptChristian Web Trends Blog. State of the Union of Church, Ministry and Search Engines » … Christian Leadership University (cluonline.com) is a an online Christian university that offers Associate, Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees in several fields, including theology, Biblical studies, Christian counseling, Christian leadership, youth ministry, and many more. CLU believes that faculty should be experienced leaders in the Christian community and include Christian … [...]

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