Religion and the Internet are both subjects that capture my interest. I decided to do some research to see how well different religions are using the internet to spread their message. This research is purely from an Online Marketing perspective. My goal is to demonstrate some metrics for measuring a website’s reach while gaining insight into how different religions are doing in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The websites I chose range from official sites of individual churches to unofficial websites that represent a religious school of thought. The religions represented range from 1.5 billion adherents (Islam) to about 500,000 (Scientology). The data was gathered using the SEO for Firefox plugin. In the future I may decide to see how different religions are using social media. For example, presbyterians have over 3,000 followers on twitter and the LDS church has a YouTube channel with over 21,000 subscribers.
PageRank is Google’s measure of a website’s importance. It takes important sites linking to a website to gain importance. It is based more on quality of links rather than quantity. 7 of the sites I researched had a PR (PageRank) of 7 or higher.
This is a count of how many pages Google has indexed from each domain. It is important for websites to add quality content on a regular basis to maintain search rank. Each page also presents another opportunity to show up in search results.
|29,000||ag.org||Assemblies of God|
|26,500||adventist.org||Seventh Day Adventists|
Y! Links represents the number of links to a website that Yahoo! has indexed. Think of a link first, as a doorway to your website and second, as a vote for your website. Topping the list is venganza.org which is not a religion but a satire of organized religion and takes a stab at those who believe in intelligent design.
|777,000||venganza.org||Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster|
|156,000||sbc.net||Southern Baptist Convention|
Alexa is a service that gathers traffic statistics for the most popular websites and ranks each site in terms of traffic. Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube are the top 4 sites. Here are the ranks of the sites I researched with the most traffic.
|7,886||scientology.org||Church of Scientology|
|55,691||venganza.org||Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster|
lds.org appears to be the clear leader in SEO with the most content and traffic. Catholic.org was a close second. As I did my research I found a good SEO litmus test for each religious website was to Google the name of the religion and if that religion’s website shows up as #1 they’re doing well. If Wikipedia shows up as #1 and they’re #2 they’re doing okay. If sites other than wikipedia or your own are above yours then there is some work to be done. Some religions I research that didn’t make the cut for any of my above lists include hinduism, eastern orthodox church, pentecostal, atheism and satanism.