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    Improving Search Results Case Study - Harvest Bible Chapel

    Home - Blog - Improving Search Results Case Study - Harvest Bible Chapel
    MonJul192010 ByBryan YoungTaggedChurch Technology


    Problem ranks low in simple Google searches using key words.

    Recommended Solution

    Implement standard SEO practices including:
    • Revising content
    • Revising site title format (as seen on top of window)
    • Adding Meta tags
    • Changing menu headings

    Project Goals

    To boost the Google search ranking to the top 10 website listings in each of the primary search terms. Simultaneously increase the website’s grade on

    Time Line

    One week, from Wednesday, January 27 to Wednesday, February 3, 2010.


    Revising Content

    Every instance of “Harvest” was changed to “Harvest Bible Chapel” in the website page’s content, where it was possible. “Harvest Bible Chapel” is the search phrase most used by visitors arriving via a Google. Increasing the use of this phrase in site content increases the site’s ranking when entered in a search inquiry.

    The link title “Pastor James’s Blog” was changed to “James MacDonald’s Blog” to increase ranking when “James MacDonald” is entered in search inquiries.

    Revising Site Tile Format

    The previous site title (which appears at the top of the Internet browser window) was changed from the format “[Site Title] – [Page Title]” (ex. “Harvest Bible Chapel – Main Site – New To Harvest?”) to the format “Harvest Bible Chapel | Dr. James MacDonald | [Page Title].”

    Removing the site title and replacing it with “Harvest Bible Chapel” makes it more clear to Google what this site contains. Adding “Dr. James MacDonald” also will improve the search ranking for those who search this phrase.

    Adding Meta Tags

    No Meta tags were in place before this implementation. The description, which appears under the Web site listing in Google search results, was added as follows:

    “Harvest Bible Chapel is one church meeting on five campuses in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois led by Senior Pastor James MacDonald.”

    Mentioning the key phrases “Harvest Bible Chapel,” “James MacDonald,” “church,” and “Chicago, Illinois” positively influences the Google search rankings for these phrases.

    Keywords act as magnet words for Google search inquiries. Sites that include keyword Meta tags improve their search ranking when those words or phrases are searched. The following keywords were added:
    • Harvest Bible Chapel
    • Harvest Bible Chicago
    • James MacDonald
    • Walk in the Word
    • Harvest Bible Fellowship
    • Chicago churches

    Changing Menu Headings

    The menu heading “About Harvest” was changed to “About Harvest Bible Chapel.”


    Google Search Rankings

    Search rankings for each of the key phrases improved dramatically after only two days.

    Results Before SEO

    Results After SEO

    41 "harvest bible chapel"
    1 "harvest bible chapel"
    1 "" 1 ""
    ? "James MacDonald"
    3 "James MacDonald"
    23 "Dr. James MacDonald"
    6 "Dr. James MacDonald"
    7 "harvest bible"
    1 "harvest bible"

    Website Grade

    The website’s grade from increased more than four points after the SEO implementation.

    Before SEO

    Results After SEO

    91 Overall Website Grade
    95.6* Overall Website Grade
    2 Google PageRank
    2 Google PageRank
    154 Google Indexed Pages
    138* Google Indexed Pages
    94 Blog Grade
    96.5* Blog Grade
    1,012 Inbound Links
    1,012 Inbound Links
    2,425,735 Traffic Rank
    2,450,000* Traffic Rank

    * average

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    Increase Google Page Rank and Inbound Links

    The biggest influence on Page Rank is inbound links (other websites linking to The higher the Page Rank of the sites linking to you, the more influence it has on your Page Rank. has relatively low inbound links, so it is crucial to develop more.

    The challenge is that this site is more of a “hub” which directs many users to the campus websites so the amount of content it contains, and the frequency in which its content changes, is less than other church websites of a similar size (,

    Finding a way to develop more inbound links is important to increase the site’s traffic and it’s Page Rank. Sites to get inbound links:
    • Local universities (.edu sites’ links carry more weight)
    • Facebook (fan pages, personal profiles)
    • Extension ministries: HCA, HBF, Walk in the Word, should all be linking back to this site)
    • Twitter: a Harvest Twitter account would drive traffic and add links
    • Other free sites: Chambers of Commerce, church directories, etc.