If optimizing a website is like giving your car a tune up, link building is like putting in a bigger engine. Simply put, there are going to be keywords that are out of your reach if all you do is on-page optimization, especially if your church is in a large city or having church ministries targeting competitive keywords, like “unplanned pregnancy”, Link building is needed to bring those keywords into your grasp.
Links are like votes for your website. The more votes your website gets, the more important the search engines think your site is. That causes then to move you up in the search results for the keywords you are targeting and can get you ranking well for keywords you can’t currently rank well for. So, what is link building and how do you do it? Read on my friend.
What is Link Building?
Simply put, link building is anything and everything you do to get people to link back to your site. You want someone to put a link on their site that leads to your site. These are known as inbound links. There are many strategies out there for how to link build, but in the end, the goal is the same: get as many links as possible, especially from relevant sites.
How Does Link Building Work?
As I mentioned above, every link to your site is like a vote or recommendation from another site. Generally speaking, the more votes the better, but not all links are created equal. The value of a link is primarily determined by the authority of the page the link is on. Think of it like a restaurant review. If I tell you that Sid’s Diner is great, that recommendation has may be nice, but I’m not very important in the restaurant world, so you may not care much what I think. On the other hand, if Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse or Curtis Stone said Sid’s Diner was great, you’d probably go there tonight.
The search engines treat links in a similar way. Links from more authoritative pages are given more weight and can give your page more authority. So, links on pages which themselves have a lot of inbound links are worth more than links from pages with very few inbound links pointing to them.
The second part of the link is the link text. When you get a link from a site, if that link has link text which includes the keyword you are trying to target, then that link will help with your page’s “reputation” for that keyword. The more inbound links a page of your site has that have your keyword in the link text, the more likely your page is to rank well for that keyword. So, it’s better to have links with keyword rich link text, than keywords with your church name or no text at all, i.e. image links.
Tip: If you do want to use image links, be sure to setup an alt tag for the image. It’s not as effective as link text, but it’s better than nothing. Better yet, have your graphic and then some text below which are all part of the same link.
When Should Your Church Build Links?
Link building isn’t really an optional part of church marketing. With more and more competition on the web every day, link building has become an important part of every search engine optimization strategy. So, when should your church start building links? Today…and then every day after. Otherwise you are limiting the effectiveness of your online church marketing.
Now that we’ve established what link building is all about, let’s look at some ways to develop your church’s link building strategy.
How important do you think link building is for churches?