Whoever Wants to Become Great in the Search Engines Must Become a Servant

Serve your website visitorsWhoever wants to be great among you must be your servant.” – Matthew 20:26

We’ve all probably sat through (or given) several sermons based on this verse.  It is a paradigm shift from most of the world who thinks that to become great you must obtain the power to control others.  However, did you know that search marketing also lives by the servant-leader model?

In addition to on-page search optimization, search rankings are driven by inbound links.  Every time someone links to a page on your website, that page gains a little more authority in the search engines.  The more authority your pages get, the greater they will do in the search engines.  So, one of the goals of search marketing is to get as many inbound links to a website’s pages as possible, but how do you do that?  Enter the servant mentality.

The Servant-Leader Model of Link Building
In order to get people to link to your website, you need to give them a reason to want to link to you.  This is done by serving the needs of others.  Do people want information?  Give them information.  Do people want content?  Offer them content.  Do people need a tool?  Create that tool and offer it to them.  By finding what people need and then serving that need you will give them a reason to link to your website.  It’s likely you won’t even have to ask for the links.

This philosophy works off-line as well as online.  As you serve people and your community in the real world, you may actually be building links.  Will someone decide to blog about what your ministry did?  Will a reporter hear about something you did and write an article about it?  Will a community organization or company hear about the work your church is doing and give you an award.  All of these things lead to links to your website.  Certainly, this is not the reason we should serve, but it is one of the nice, unintended consequences.

Halos and White Hats:
One of the great things about the servant-leader model of link building is that it is completely natural and completely white hat.  Unlike with other link building schemes, you don’t have to worry that the search engines are going to discount your links…or worse.  This is exactly the kind of link building that Google, Bing and others want to influence their search rankings.  Websites that are serving the needs of others are supposed to rank well in the search engines.

So, as you think about ways that you can build links to your website, instead of looking for the next magic bullet link building scheme, find out the needs and wants of your audience and think of ways to serve those needs.

Photo by Michael @ NW Lens

Are you serving people online?

What ways of serving people online have you found to be most effective at link building?

2 Responses to “Whoever Wants to Become Great in the Search Engines Must Become a Servant”

  1. Great post, Kurt! It's neat to see how following Christ has its own rewards in the realm of SEO.

  2. Yes, great post! We all need this kind of applying-Biblical-truth encouragements!

    Great site also in general. (Just came here via http://blog.ourchurch.com/ which I recently discovered via LinkedIn.)

    On my sites – especially the Dutch ones (yes, I am from the Netherlands) – I refer a lot to others; anything that may be helpful to the readers. And God has made it a blessing to many… :-)

    God bless you!