BREAKING DOWN THE TOP SEO TIPS FOR NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
As a nonprofit organization, you’re in the business of helping others. To do that, you need a reliable and constant stream of volunteers and donations. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use complex search algorithms to index and rank content to ensure every search query on their platform delivers the best possible answer for the user. By optimizing your website’s content for search engines, you make it easier for their web crawlers to understand your content and what your organization is all about.
The best SEO strategy for nonprofits is to provide the best user experience by creating high-quality content and matching search intent. However, in addition to having stellar content on your site, you’ll also want to consider your social media platforms, influencer marketing, blogging, and back linking. Although there are many ways to improve SEO, we’ll break down five essential tips to help nonprofit organizations get on page one of the search results.
- TARGET KEYWORDS
Keywords are SEO 101 for nonprofits. Target keywords help you communicate to Google what the focus of your content is and the queries it should rank for. Keep it simple and don’t overthink it; your nonprofit’s highest-ranking keywords will be the most relevant ones. Think like your demographic; what words would they use to search for your organization or the work your organization does? If your nonprofit is a food pantry that helps to feed low-income families, you might use words or phrases like, “local food pantry,” “end hunger,” “feed the children,” “food donations,” or “food insecurity.”
Your content should be rich with as many relevant words to your organization and potential supporters as possible, but only where appropriate. It’s important to keep in mind that you’re still writing for people, not search engines, so don’t stuff your content full of text that feels unnatural or not related to get more views.
2. CREATE QUALITY CONTENT
Speaking of content, your SEO ranks depend on the quality of content you’re posting. The more relevant your content is, the faster Google and your audience will find it. Define a clear intention for each post; what is it trying to accomplish? Consider your audience, use simple language, and stay on topic. Your blog and social media profiles are great places to share meaningful stories that make a personal connection.
Your content should be informative but easily digestible, and engaging for all members of your audience, which includes potential and existing donors, other nonprofits, and the general public who know nothing about your organization.
No matter where you’re posting, keep things simple to create the best user experience. Avoid complicated navigation or big blocks of text that no one has the patience to read through. Incorporating visuals like photos, videos, data visualizations, or infographics is a great way to break up text and engage readers.
More words mean more keyword ranking opportunities, but again, don’t sacrifice audience engagement for the sake of search engines. If your visitors find the information valuable, they’re more likely to stay on your site. If not, you’ll lose them.
3. GREAT ON-PAGES PRACTICES
Help Google understand your pages and overall website by using on-page elements. “On-page” means they happen directly on your website and impact Google’s understanding of your content as it crawls your website pages.
On-page SEO factors are those that are visible to your audience, so they also impact how users understand your pages. Sprinkling keywords throughout your content is essential, but there are a few more effective ways you can make your content really pack a punch for search engines.
Headings: Titles and subheadings help structure and organize your writing, but they also serve as a helpful cue to search engines by communicating the value of your content. Search engines recognize keywords in headings as being important, so be sure to use them here if you can.
ALT Text: Google can’t see images, so explaining what an image is about by using concise and descriptive alternative text, or ALT text, tells search engines what the image includes or represents. ALT text is another great area to incorporate keywords.
Internal Linking: Find opportunities throughout your content to link to your other pages. This helps users discover new content on your site, keep them on your site longer, and shows relevancy to Google. These links help to build page and topic authority on the content topic while improving site navigation to relevant topics.
Linking to Outbound Sources: Linking to other sources that are related to the work your organization is doing will also help Google to identify what area of industry your organization is in and what it does.
Backlinking: Backlinking is when another website links to your site. When a credible source links to your page via a backlink, it helps boost your rankings, connects your organization to a larger audience, and makes your site seem more trustworthy.
Anchor Text: Anchor text refers to specific words that are hyperlinked to another page. When using an internal link building strategy, consider which words you use within the text of the link. Google assigns authority to the text within the link to provide context for the pages you’re linking to. For example, if you’re referring to local food banks within a post, you might link the text, “donate to food pantries in your area.” This means you would highlight that text by linking to the page that contains information on where supporters can donate in their area.
4. SEO TOOLS AND REPORTING
There are many SEO keyword tools that can give insight into search volume and competition of trending relevant words. Depending on your budget and needs, there are plenty of free platforms or programs that can help you find target keywords, their search volume, your website’s current rankings, and which sites are ranking for your target keywords. They can also monitor your rankings over time so you can better track and understand your progress.
Google offers several free tools that help you understand your website performance. We highly recommend setting up Google Analytics to monitor your site and landing page traffic. Google Analytics will also help you understand your top performing channels. Google Search Console is another Google tool you can use to monitor your website’s overall health and also general keyword performance.
To have SEO for nonprofits success, you need to know how you’re doing, what your competitors are doing, and how to adjust your strategy. Another great tool to help you do this is Ubersugest. Enter a keyword into the search bar and you’ll be provided with a list of related words, the volume of searches associated, the estimated number of clicks ads are getting, and how competitive that word is in comparison.
WooRank is another great website analyzer that can generate a report in seconds. Perhaps the most important feature of this tool, though, is the social network data collection and mobile data analysis. All it takes is a simple Google search to help you find dozens of free or inexpensive tools to help you track and report your progress so you can adjust your strategy as needed.
It’s easy to understand why organizations are overwhelmed by SEO, especially since it can take years to prove its value. However, if you’re already invested in content marketing to promote your nonprofit’s mission, then SEO is a key component to the success of your marketing plan. By continually giving it time and attention, you will steadily increase your website’s organic, qualified traffic; leading to more donations and better engagement.
Check out our related post: 5 ways nonprofits can improve their website
Insquired creates meaningful branding solutions for nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Our creative process and strategic thinking results in high-impact design with purpose, tailored with each client’s target audience in mind. If you’re ready to upgrade your branding and visual identity, please contact us for more information. We’ll customize a solution that embodies your core values and supports your mission.