I think the future of evangelism is search engine optimized (SEO) online content. By no means, will this replace face-to-face evangelism or other methods. However, online behavior is opening doors of opportunity that will only increase with time.
Optimizing your ministry for search engines is more than trying to show up in the top 10 search results for “your church name” or “churches in your city.” Using Google to answer life’s questions is normal for those with Internet access. Imagine what your church could accomplish if it provided relevant answers in these moments when people are more open-minded and seeking truth.
Imagine someone in Chicago searching for “Chicago divorce attorney” because she is tired of trying to make her marriage work. What if a Chicago church has SEO content in the first results offering free marriage counseling or advice on how to make a marriage work?
Imagine a teen that is fed up with being the school outcast and begins searching for how to properly slit his wrists. What if a ministry had SEO content offering real time help (a live suicide prevention counselor) or guidance on alternatives to suicide?
What it looks like:
Creating relevant SEO content is not a bait-and-switch tactic. That will only fail.
It is also not about Bible-thumping or aggressive evangelism. That will only turn people off before they listen.
Creating relevant SEO content is providing relevant, helpful solutions to the problems people are searching about online. These solutions may be alternatives to what they thought they would find, but that doesn’t mean these solutions won’t connect with them, help them, and change their lives.
Make your goal to be able to connect with the searcher and offer instant help (i.e., advice, counseling, a team of workers, tangible resources). Equally important is that you make these connections sustainable. Don’t let the relationship die with the initial contact. Provide avenues for you to continue helping and for them to be able to hear the gospel and/or get plugged in to a local church at their own pace as you gradually earn their trust and respect.
Resources to Consider:
Google’s Keyword Tool
If your budget is $0, Google offers a nice free keyword research tool that identifies what topics people search for the most and how they word their searches. Relevantly sprinkling a few keywords into your content is one of many factors that will help your search engine results.
– What do you think are some effective strategies for church SEO?
– What SEO tools would you add to this list?