I’ve written several articles about church marketing and recently have been publishing articles about church marketing through search engine optimization. In my last article I talked about ways your church can optimize its website to show up in the search engines when people search. In this article I’ll look at some thing NOT to do. Tricks and traps that you need to avoid.
There are certain practices that the search engines tell us they do not approve of. This is generally known in the SEO world as “Black Hat” SEO. The search engines warn that they will punish website that employ these tactics and possibly ban the site. Here are a few of the more common “Black Hat” practices:
• Keyword Stuffing: This is the practice of putting a bunch of keywords VIOBET88
on a page, in a META tag, in an alt tag, etc. for the purpose of influencing the search engines. This is not to be confused with simply using keywords in these elements, but when you use the keywords you shouldn’t just stick a bunch of keywords in some chaotic fashion. The text should make sense and should not just be a list of keywords.
• Tricking the Search Engines with Irrelevant Keywords: This is when you use certain keywords in the behind the scenes elements of a page to make it look like a page is about one topic, when the actual subject matter is something completely different. I’ve actually seen some churches doing this where they use keywords like “gambling” or some other vice in the hopes that someone looking for a gambling site will stumble across their page and read the Gospel or be told that what their doing is a sin. The page isn’t actually about gambling, but they are trying to trick the search engines into thinking it is so the show up in gambling related search results. It would be better for them to just create a page about gambling additions.
• Cloaking: When cloaking you actually have two web pages. One page is designed for the search engines and the other is for human visitors. The server is set to deliver the page designed for search engines to the search spider so they do not see the page designed for the humans and vice versa. Cloaking is sometimes done for the simple reason of the designer not finding a way to implement SEO practices in a way that still presents an attractive and compelling design to human visitors. Other times cloaking is much more insidious where search engines are shown a page about one subject and then humans are shown a about a completely different (and often unwanted) subject.
• Doorway pages: Doorway pages are pages designed for the search engines that human visitors never actually see. Unlike cloaking, a human visitor may actually go to the page, but they are quickly redirected to another page, sometimes so fast that the visitor doesn’t even realize they were redirected.
• Hiding Content: Along with Keyword Stuffing, this is probably the most common “Black Hat” technique because this is something average, everyday webmasters can come up with and implement very easily. Hidden content can be done in several ways. Sometimes people hide text behind a picture. Other times they make the text so small people can’t read it. Another common way to hide content is by making the text the same color as the background. How ever it’s done, the idea is to put text on the page that humans won’t see, but search engines will.
All of these tactics are designed to trick the search engines. The search engine people don’t like that. I never recommend using black hat techniques in church marketing (or any other marketing for that matter). They are just too risky and you should be able to get the same desired results from good Search Engine Optimization practices. Be aware, if you do use some of these techniques, you may get away with it for a while and may even see great rewards, but most sites get caught. In the end, it isn’t worth it if you get punished or banned!!