This post is part 14 in the series 20 Ways to Share Your Faith Online leading up to Internet Evangelism Day on April 25. We encourage you to tweet, share, blog & discuss these ideas in your church & circle of influence.
Everyone is talking about search engine optimization, google rankings and SEO, but what about Internet Evangelism Optimization (IEO)?
This idea is not new but is very strategic to reach others online who have specific topic areas of need. In his weekly Christian Internet Marketing webinar, James L . Paris was instructing in response to a student’s specific question. He explained to her traditional SEO and how she as a Christian could use these same techniques to find keywords for the purpose of reaching others for Christ. This was her goal.
To understand the way this works it is important to first consider traditional SEO where you optimize a website to achieve a high ranking on the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo and the like. Since many of the estimated 260 million people who use search engines* to find things will not likely click through the search results for a given key phrase past page 1 or 2, the idea is optimize your website to achieve a high ranking so it will be listed on those pages. There is an assumption that those sites are the “best” available.
For the purposes of Internet Evangelism Optimization, Christians would want to select key word phrases that are internet searched often by people in need or crisis and build websites or blogs that have the answers and resources to help the searcher.
The key word phrase used by Mr. Paris was “suicide” for example. Using Google’s Keyword Tool it is estimated that there are unfortunately over 11 million global monthly searches for the word “suicide” alone and then many more for specific phrases like “ teen suicide” (135,000) and “how to suicide” (110,000). This may be a topic that we wish to go away but it is real and there are hurting people who are looking online for answers.
For Internet Evangelism Optimization one would then pick one of the more specific key word phrases traditionally searched by those in need or crises , use them in a domain name if possible and then optimize a dedicated website or blog by including the keyword phrase often while being sure to very prayerfully and thoughtfully include resources, counselors and places that are trained to help them. The idea of IEO is to “be” where these internet searchers least expect the encouraging, life giving gospel of Jesus Christ to be.
Do you have a website designed for spiritual seekers that addresses a specific area of need or crisis? If so, have you optimized it to rank well in search engines for relevant keywords or search phrases?