A Question I Was Asked:
“..One of the directories which lists your site thinks that you are the major Christian Apologetics and Countercult site anywhere in Europe; Can this claim be substantiated?”
I gave this question to a Christian computer and search expert friend of mine to answer:
Robin's site (group of sites actually) really does appear to live up to this
claim. Here's how:
On December 26th 2005, I did a search for 'apologetics' and 'countercult' on the major search engines.
Searching for Countercult
First of all concerning 'countercult' (as one word, not two separated words or hyphenated), on Google Search a search for countercult produced Museltof Countercult and Apologetics UK in No 1 position! I mean literally in first position out of many thousands of Google results! Try it yourself! Of course these things vary and it could change but we have noted that this result has been fairly consistent for the last 6 or 7 months.
Countercult really should be considered as one word, admittedly, if a search entry using the hyphenated or two word form is used it is not successful. The first page of Google results which showed Museltof Countercult and Apologetics UK in first position showed exactly the same page (with the domain address) in 4th position and UK Apologetics in 9th position – all of this on the very first page of results.
I tried the same thing on MSN Search. Now Museltof Countercult and Apologetics was in third position. In 5th place was UK Apologetics. Let me repeat that all of this was the situation in late December, 2005 and that these things can vary; however, as someone who is using the search engines every day I have long noted that 'countercult' especially, brings some of the Museltof group pages up very readily.
These results suggest that Robin's group of sites are not first in the UK but first in the world for Countercult. This should not surprise us because there is evidence that Robin was one of the very first people on the net to use and popularize the term 'countercult.' When he started using the term on the net in 2001 nobody else used it and in fact I had never heard the word before, but for the last two years the word can be found everywhere; I could be wrong but this is the way it seems to me. In Yahoo Search Museltof Countercult and Apologetics UK (old address, but still active) appeared in 3rd place and UK Apologetics was in 9th position. On the second page of results two more of Robin's pages appeared in 13th and 19th position.
I then tried a search on Telescope which combines search results from many search engines. Telescope can certainly be recommended since it is very small freeware programme which can be downloaded.
Again, 'countercult' (one word) brought Museltof Countercult and Apologetics UK up in 1st place (100% rating). In 11th place the very same page (with the domain address) came up (95% rating). In 19th place My Christian World came up (91% rating); in 32nd place UK Apologetics came up (88% rating) and one of Robin's pages also came up in 33rd place.
Searching for Apologetics
Now regarding the word 'apologetics' it is much harder to get results, this is because Christian Apologetics web sites have been around for many years and UK Apologetics only began in March, 2005 and sites take some time to appear in search results. The OurChurch.com Museltof site is older (2001 or 2002) but I still was not optimistic; in fact, the results were surprisingly good.
Using Telescope, an 'apologetics' search brought up Museltof Countercult and Apologetics UK in 77th place (88% rating) and UK Apologetics in 94th place (76% rating). This may sound disappointing but for a word like apologetics with thousands of web sites having apologetics sections, mostly in North America, this is actually extremely good and it is amazing that UK Apologetics, having only existed since March, 2005, comes up at all! On the same Telescope listing, Spotlight Ministries, also UK-based and run by a friend of Robin's, came up in 86th place (86% rating). But overall this would certainly tend to put the Museltof group of sites as No 1 in Europe (there are probably also some German language Apologetics sites but it seems unlikely that they are as 'findable' on German language engines as the Museltof group are on their English equivalent and don't forget that English is much more of an international language than German is).
On a Google Search for 'apologetics,' Museltof Countercult and Apologetics came up 86th (before any other UK or European-based site which we could find), on Yahoo Search UK Apologetics came up 135th (before any other UK or European site that we could find) and on MSN Search the former site came up an outstanding 33rd !! - again, before any other UK or European site we could find. Yet even before the web sites proper came up, many directories came up some of which would have listed Robin's sites.
However, in addition to this, many of Robin's individual pages rate very highly! For instance, just note how quickly a search for 'prosperity gospel', 'prosperity teaching' or 'Armstrongism' produces a page from one of these sites (in the top two pages wherever we tried!).
Robin and I recently evaluated annual hits to all the Museltof group sites; some pages can be measured precisely, others can't so it is an estimate but an educated estimate taking into account many factors (not the proverbial 'shot in the dark'). This is not a measurement of people coming in through the 'front door' of home pages because many thousands do not do that but go straight to where they want, either through conducting a search or through using a bookmark on their browser.
In November 2005 the estimate we reached was 35,000-45,000 annual 'hits' including the large numbers who visit our New Prayers page to leave a prayer request. Incidentally on a group of very popular pages on which hits are precisely counted, only unique hits are counted – not every single 'hit.' In this way, we know that where we err in our estimates, it is on the side of caution - rather than on the side of exaggeration.
The Museltof group of sites also carry several hundred pages; this would probably not make them the biggest Apologetics resource in the world, but again, almost certainly in Europe.
Putting all these factors together I would be greatly surprised if the Museltof sites are not, indeed, the major resource for Christian Apologetics and Countercult in the UK and Europe. Of course, there are other very large British Christian sites including the excellent UK Christian Web - But these are mostly directories with many resources but not Apologetics or Christian teaching specialists. None of these sites will have several hundred pages of solid Christian teaching as the Museltof group do.
Another interesting thing is that Robin is commited to free search engine inclusion only; in other words, we have never paid anybody a single penny to get any of our sites in any kind of special or elite category!
D.C.G. December, 2005.