Search Engine Optimization (SEO) increases your organization’s visibility in organic (not paid) search results. Well executed SEO makes it easier for your organization easier to find and driving people to your website. What about SEO for nonprofits? Many nonprofits don’t put time and energy into SEO because they don’t understand the benefits.
Even in the for-profit world, SEO often gets overlooked due to time constraints and a general lack of understanding of its importance or how to get started. What we’ve found is that, nonprofits often tend to struggle in the online or digital marketing arena, and this is because unfortunately, nonprofits often lack the resources to hire a professional local Search Engine Optimization company like Ratel SEO, may not have the resources to hire an SEO expert or the knowledge to get started yourself.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic and results on the search engines that are:
Essentially, SEO is the practice of optimizing your web pages to make them provide the best result in the search engines. It focuses on improving traffic via non paid search results. If you have a website for your nonprofit organization, part of your marketing efforts should include optimizing your website for the best search engine results. Preparing a website for the best search engine result will require you to use SEO. Even though it requires time, effort, and patience, the benefits are long lasting.
SEO Makes it Easier for Small Nonprofits to Compete
Good nonprofit SEO doesn’t discriminate on size or budget. The most important driver of a well-executed SEO program is focused around keyword selection which ideally has an effect on traffic. The way to increase organic traffic is to use the right keywords relative to the mission of your organization. It’s best to refrain from using the words that are common to your organization. Now is the time to break open the thesaurus and to work with your nonprofit SEO specialist to discover the optimal words that the layperson would use to discover your organization in searches. While you may have the temptation to guess on keywords, it’s best to work with a local SEO agency skilled in keyword research to help you to discover the keywords relevant to your organization that is most used in organic, web searches.
Creative Keyword Rich Phrases Often Lead to Huge Results.
Keyword selection can help drive traffic. Verbiage matters. It can mean the difference between being found or being forgotten.
Creativity is fun and can be appealing to your audience. Perhaps you are thinking of using a unique phrase that people will associate with your organization in order to stand out from the crowd. That sounds wonderful, IF you have sufficient funds to educate your audience on that unique keyword by using paid mediums to drive traffic to your website. However, most non-profits have limited funds, and by picking a keyword that no one uses, your content won’t show up in search engine results. And you will miss out on reaching a lot of potential supporters.
Small SEO Adaptations Can Affect Organic Traffic
Through Google Search Console you are able to ascertain if Google’s search spider has any issues crawling and indexing your site. It will also provide tips for resolving them.
Some general issues are:
- Google does not like duplicate content.Duplicate meta titles or meta descriptions will negatively affect your search rankings. This also means that if you have content that is republished elsewhere, this will affect your SEO.
- Meta data length: Your meta-content should be optimized to give the searcher a preview of what they can find on your site. It should be appealing to the user, but also fit within the character limits that Google allows for meta titles and meta descriptions.
- Crawl errors: If Google’s search spider is having trouble crawling your content, there could be various issues that your developer may need to address.
- Not having a sitemap: A sitemap helps Google find all of the pages in your site to make sure they are indexed. If a page is not indexed, it can’t be found, regardless of how well you optimize for a certain keyword. One way to get a specific page indexed is to submit it directly to Google Search Console*. But it’s best to have a sitemap and a good linking system so Google’s spider will crawl through all your pages without you asking.
In Google Search Console, you can find out which pages currently drive the most traffic to your site, what your average ranking position is, how many people see your site, and how many click through to your site. Begin by reviewing your top 10 keywords and pages. If you are ranking on the first search result page of Google, but the CTR is very low, you can try the following:
- Update your meta description to rank higher on the page
- Update your landing page to be more relevant to the search query
You might also be ranking for some terms that don’t make sense for your organization at all. In this case, you are alerted to change some of the keyword usage on that page to avoid getting unwanted traffic, and instead target an audience that would be happy landing on your page.
SEO Helps Recruiting Efforts
It is great to talk about the successes, outcomes and financial health of your organization. Something that great talent looks for in a prospective employer. Through SEO, you are able to create more awareness and connect you with that great pool of talent of people who share your mission.
Your organization is an expert in your field. If you serve kids with special education needs, create articles on special education. You can also comment about news stories that relate to your mission. You are able to share expertise on your website as wells as on other websites or blogs to raise your rankings. Make sure you ask for a link back to your website at the end of the article. Links from your site and to your site raise search engine rankings which has a direct effect on traffic.
You can use sites to learn what people are asking in Google, Yahoo or Bing to better understand the concerns of your prospective new employees and create content for them and to attract people like them.
SEO Will Help You to Connect
SEO can help people who don’t know you and have an affinity for your cause find you. When you understand what keywords are searched and use them, you can attract people to your organization. These are people who self-selected as interested in your mission, so they are likely prospects. This is how you keep new donors, volunteers or program participants flowing into your organization.
SEO Tends to Increase Online Donations
When it comes to fundraising, online donations play an extremely important role. Not only should you make it easy for your donors to give within your site, but you should make it easy to find your site in the first place using search engines. By including the right keywords associated with an easy-to-follow donation process, you are able to simplify the online giving process for your supporters and improve the performance of your website’s fundraising work.
According to Philanthropy News Digest, online giving accounts for as much as 13.4% of total fundraising for nonprofits, and is consistently growing every year. The easier it is for donors to find your website is crucial to increased fundraising. Ideally, if a potential donor searches your name incorrectly or partially, it should still be easy to find. Also, donors have a bonus sense of pride when the organization they give funding to shows up so high in the search engine rankings.
In today’s environment, online giving has an important role in nonprofit operations. It should be both easy for your donors to give within your site and you should be easy to find in a general search engine based on your brand identity. Nonprofit SEO optimizes donation pages by including the right keywords with an easy conversion process. The more optimal the donation process for your supporters and improve the performance of your website’s fund
SEO Helps Increase Your Local Footprint
Why focus on something as global as search engine rankings when your organization has a local focus? Search engines include geographic information in the results. Your organization will rank better for searches that include your area like “nonprofit organizations near me,” and rank without a mention direct mention of your nonprofit. A GMB Business Profile with reviews, a Google map image on your website, and BBB can boost local rankings.
SEO Allows You to Better Manage Your Reputation
It is important to be aware of and in control of your search rankings, especially if your cause supports or promotes something controversial. This can typically attract passionate groups of people with opposing views. Imagine the following scenario:
An article is written with the intent of putting your organization in a bad light. Ten years have passed, but the article still appears at the top of the first search engine result page when someone searches for your cause’s brand name today.
Negative SEO Has Power
(Un)fortunately, press articles can stick around for years because their main domains tend to have high credibility. You have reached out to the publisher, but they are not willing to correct or take down the article. Now you are left trying to outrank these articles on Google with new content, which proves to be a huge challenge because competing with that level of credibility takes a lot of time and effort.
SEO is Proactive
Articles about controversial topics will continue to be written, and authors may or may not call out your organization specifically. This is why we encourage proactive management of your nonprofit’s reputation. Understand how you can influence the content that ranks in the top positions for your brand name, and how you can include your voice in the conversation on topics you care about.
SEO Exposes You to Your End User
Make it easy for potential supporters to find you, and use the words that your audience is using. As we mentioned above, the best way to figure out which keywords to use by doing keyword research.
If you are on top of your nonprofit SEO efforts, you can reach:
- Potential members
- Communities served
You are able to provide them with value that will keep them coming back to you. Thus accomplishing the mission of the nonprofit.
SEO is an Appreciating Asset
it takes some time, but it will only provide more value in the future. Good SEO not only leads to traffic, it leads to more credibility and, subsequently, more links from people and organizations to your content
SEO Amplifies Social Media Efforts
Like any marketing strategy, SEO is not a silver bullet and works best when part of an integrated marketing plan. It can make everything your organization is doing on your website and social media more effective. Focusing on keywords to make you more aligned with potential supporters and using them across all social media platforms and on your website will make your current efforts more engaging and productive.
Take Advantage of Your Nonprofit SEO and Grow
If you take advantage of SEO for your nonprofit, you will be able to take your organization to the next level. Call the nonprofit SEO specialists at Ratel SEO, at 317-762-2659 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a website evaluation today.