What is Search Engine Optimization?
What is SEO? And What Does it
Have to Do with Evangelism?
Search Engine Optimization makes it easier to find
and connect with millions of spiritual seekers online.
Imagine you’re an evangelist
preparing for a prophecy series…
You begin the typical steps of preparation:
- Develop the material for presentation.
- Decide on a location and time.
- Draw up a budget for the event.
- Assemble a team.
- Coordinate advertising and field preparation.
- Flyers/handbill distribution
- Social media promotion
- Ads in local papers or bulletin boards
By the time you’re finished with Step 5, you hope this will catch the attention of people who might be interested in or willing to hear about this topic … and that they’ll be willing to make plans to attend.
But what if you could skip all these steps?
Imagine you’re given a key to a room full of people already clamoring for information about this complex, often-intimidating subject.
They haven’t seen any ads or heard about the upcoming seminar, but they’ve had this on their minds for some time.
Wonderful! But that’s not all. This key also comes with helpful information about the very people in that room.
You then find out that they’re interested in more than just “prophecy” in general. They have specific requests.
They want to hear about “End-time Prophecies.” Some have questions about prophecies concerning Jesus. Others want to know if there are prophecies that apply to the times we’re living in now.
They’re tired of hearing theory after unfounded theory. Many of them are in a state of crisis or are facing crossroads in their lives. They want the truth.
They want straightforward, Bible-based information, and they’re looking for a trustworthy source to give them just that.
Just use this “key” to unlock that room—and you can speak right to them.
How about having an entire keyring full of them?
You could easily access those already wanting to hear what you have to say.
You’d hardly need to spend any time convincing them that this subject is important—they already believe that! They’re ready to get to the heart of the message.
Then they’ll want more.
Many will want to learn about other biblical topics.
Some will share your content with friends or family.
Some will be ready to start a Bible study.
Some will want to find a church near them or request a pastoral visit.
Some might even be ready to be baptized!
It almost seems too good to be true, doesn’t it?
But it’s not. And it gets even better.
SEO: A Powerful Opportunity for the Adventist Message
Since its humble beginnings, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been on a unique mission to spread the gospel of our soon-coming Savior. And with the Spirit of Prophecy, we also can offer help to people right now by sharing what we’ve learned about health, wellness, and other lifestyle choices.
We already have relevant, inspiring information to share. We already have ministries dedicated to serving all types of people with all sorts of needs.
We just need the corresponding keys to the “rooms” full of people already asking the questions we can answer!
The “key” we’re talking about is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is what the Center for Evangelism can provide for the Adventist Church.
When we conduct SEO, the process involves:
- Accessing search engine data that reveals which topics, questions, and keywords people are typing into Google’s search box
- Assessing the competition
- Which webpages are showing up in searches about these topics?
- Why are these pages getting more traffic than others?
- What would it take for Adventist content to appear more prominently than this content?
- Building ultra-specific content strategies for each topic, based on the previous assessments
- Creating new content, or optimizing existing content, to resonate with the intent of the seekers typing these inquiries into Google
- Monitoring the activity on these pieces of content, and making adjustments as necessary
- Periodically reassessing the competing webpages and refreshing keyword research, to see if new data suggests a change in approach
- Training students in developing countries to do digital marketing, so they can find sustainable jobs, leave refugee camps, and become online missionaries themselves
For example, keyword research might tell us that 49,500 people search for “Sabbath” each month. That data is like a keyhole.
Once we know what kind of key fits in that keyhole, we can create and/or optimize existing Adventist content to match, thus creating such a key.
If SEO isn’t done right, then it isn’t really SEO
SEO can seem like a simple concept, but it takes a lot of work. And it has to be done right, or Google can assign penalties that keep your content from appearing closer to the top of the list of search results.
Google can now detect older SEO techniques that attempted to “beat the system.” Additionally, new SEO methods and approaches are continually being developed, as Google continually adds to and refines its algorithms.
That’s why the Center for Online Evangelism has devoted all its efforts to working within this mission field of search engine seekers. We want to use the best possible methods to benefit our Church’s evangelistic efforts.
Our team has been working in the SEO industry since 2008 and has seen the difference this process can make in the commercial world. What better use for these skills than to apply them in ministry to a largely untapped mission field?
As a church, if we collectively focused our efforts toward this mission field, in a few years, we may need to build bigger churches and schools to accommodate all our new members!