Which religions practice good SEO?

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

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.

PR Site Religion
8 oic-oci.org Islam
7 buddhanet.net Buddhism
7 lds.org Mormons
7 watchtower.org Jehovah’s Witness
7 pcusa.org Presbyterian
7 sikhs.org Sikhism
7 umc.org Methodist

Cached Pages

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.

Pages Site Religion
356,000 lds.org Mormons
201,000 catholic.org Catholics
44,100 umc.org Methodists
37,100 pcusa.org Presbyterians
29,000 ag.org Assemblies of God
26,500 adventist.org Seventh Day Adventists
24,000 watchtower.org Jehovah’s Witness

Y! Links

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.

Links Site Religion
777,000 venganza.org Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster
465,000 lds.org Mormons
291,000 catholic.org Catholics
204,000 umc.org Methodists
171,000 mormon.org Mormons
156,000 sbc.net Southern Baptist Convention
137,000 aish.com Judaism

Alexa Rank

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.

Rank Site Religion
2,800 lds.org Mormons
7,886 scientology.org Church of Scientology
19,418 watchtower.org Jehovah’s Witness
26,188 catholic.org Catholics
39,737 aish.com Judaism
48,421 mormon.org Mormons
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. 

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