A year ago on this blog, we wrote The Tyranny of the SEO Church where we examined how search engine optimization is becoming more and more critical for church outreach, but also cedes power to persons other than the church to answer questions. Read it here. Here’s the basic premise:
What it means to me is that any theological viewpoint that receives strong SEO (search engine optimization) can become the new “truth.” If you can get that viewpoint to the top of google searches, or better to cover the majority of the first page of results, then that becomes more and more “truth.” And this alliance between Wikipeda and Google can perpetuate this narrow viewpoint and bury (send to a lower ranking) theological viewpoints that do not agree with the SEO viewpoint.
Today we’re revisiting the issue with new information: Richard Beck has correlated church attendance and mobile computing usage. Read it here. It shows that as mobile computing spirals up, church attendance goes down. In other words, Facebook Mobile has killed the church (in Beck’s words) by replacing the advantages of social interaction and connections found at church. So why not go where the people are…their phones and search results and the Google?
To that end, Kent Shaffer wonders the same thing we did a year ago: is SEO the future of evangelism? As more and more people turn to their computers for answers, does the church with the best SEO win hearts and minds? I’ll let him explain:
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.
So, we’re revisiting the topic. Any thoughts? Is it the future of evangelism to do SEO and offer the best results and the most strategic viewpoint for people to search and find hope in Christ?