Manipulating Google

According to Alexa, Google is the number one search engine in the world. A recent article reinforces the fact that Google is the dominant search engine in the USA.  According to a recent survey, Google accounts for 64% of all searches in the United States, Yahoo accounts for 22%, MSN 9%, and 3%. The remaining 48 search engines found on the Internet accounts for only 5% of U.S. searches. So, anyone who learns how to manipulate Google will have an advantage that others will not have.

This is what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons, has discovered.  The Mormon church has found a way to optimize searches and manipulate Google, so that almost any Google search will take the searcher to the Mormon church.

Below are excerpts of an article published by the Daily Mail online:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has found a new way to proselytize in the age of the internet thanks to search engine optimisation.

Thanks to aggressive SEO practices, typing in ‘church’, ‘Old Testament’, or even ‘friend’ into Google brings the website of the LDS church to the top of the list. is the most-visited website of any faith group, and LDS conferences often rank at the top of Twitter when they are underway.

But perhaps most surprising is how the religion now dominates search terms on Google.

When searching ‘Old Testament’, the LDS website ranks second on the search engine giant – listed under a Wikipedia entry and linking to books in the Bible.

The church also ranks third in the search for ‘friend’, below a Wikipedia entry and a explanation of its meaning; ‘church’ ranks fourth on the list after a list of churches in your local community.

You can read the article in its entirety by visiting the Daily Mail online.

The Mormon church is in the business of proselytizing and making converts.  The LDS church wants to be accepted by the American people as a mainstream Christian denomination.  In order to accomplish its goal, the LDS church has launched a massive public relations campaign on the Internet.

The Mormon church has placed Google ads on many religious blogs published through Blogger, including my own former blog.  It is unfortunate that the Mormons use deceptive ways to proselytize people who are Christians, and in this they are succeeding.  The manipulation of Google is a good example.

It is sad that many Christian denominations have not yet taken advantage of modern technology as the Mormons are doing. This must change if Christian denominations are to proclaim the real message of Jesus Christ to a lost world.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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8 Responses to Manipulating Google

  1. Doug Chaplin says:

    The problem with the Daily Mail article (us UK residents are very suspicious of Daily Mail articles) is that it doesn’t seem to be true. I just typed “church” then “Old Testament” and then “friend” into Google and in no instance did it return a Mormon site on the first page.

    Have you tried it? And does Google give different results in the US?


  2. Ron Lankshear says:

    AH Claude not what I see using Google Australia Sydney my default
    Church first page no LDS – 2 wiki on the word – several Anglican – and at top Sydney Anglican and Catholic cathedrals…..
    Old Testament again no LDS and 2nd from bottom on first page is your OLD blog – well done for the good SEO work
    Friend nothing looking like LDS and Facebook was near top……
    I have picked up on some LDS blogs and chatted with them – they usually contest they are Christian too but getting them to admit others are Christian is hard……….
    Latest for Churches is Facebook – so easy to tick Like on a good message – Bible verse and your friends see it……….


    • Ron,

      Thank you for this information. Doug said the results in the UK were not reliable either. The LDS call themselves Christians but some of the teachings in the Book of Mormon departs from orthodox Christianity. Thank you for this information about Google in Australia.

      Claude Mariottini


  3. Claude, thanks for calling attention to this. New one for me. I’m in the middle of revisiting Marshall McLuhan through a sociologist hosting media discussions at my blog. This fits in. I don’t know what to make yet of your beef. Or what to make of the facts here. Do you have any search tips for excluding those hits? Advanced search criteria? I don’t have an anti-Mormon bias in asking. I’d just as soon use exclude-criteria for my own faith families. There’s something ironic about using Google tactically as a gospel promoting ‘engine.’ I don’t know what. An aside: I studied with Rendtorff and enjoyed his incrementalism in documentary composition. It strikes me that Google searches are incrementalist in nature (more like Rendtorff) and the final destination sites follow their own JEDP larger schemes. A mix. Impressionistic. There are a few thousand M.A. theses in this.



    • Jim,

      I am not a SEO specialist, so I can not advise you how to avoid Google’s manipulation. Google is being sued by the USA because they manipulate their search in order to send searchers to paid advertisers first. I agree that Google is not the best way to advance the Gospel, but neophytes may be deceived when they see a number 1 item in Google. They may think it offers the best information. Thank you for the news on Rendtorff. I have to confess that I am not very familiar with his work.

      Claude Mariottini


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