Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential element of digital marketing as it is integral to helping your organization maintain a strong online presence. You can have a terrific-looking website with great content, but your non-profit won’t reap any rewards unless people – a lot of people – check it out.
This sounds like one of those daunting concepts that can seem overwhelming and intimidating, but it’s not nearly as intimidating as many people think– really! Read on to learn how to use SEO to help your non-profit’s online performance.
The objective is for your site to be easier for people to find on Google and other search engines. Websites that appear on the first page of a search are known as “organic search results”, and optimizing your website can help you strive for, and hopefully achieve, this goal for your non-profit.
This is critical for non-profits, since a bigger audience leads to increased engagement. Strategic use of SEO will expand your audience by building awareness of your non-profit and its mission. This can enlarge your email marketing list and attract new supporters and volunteers, as well as more donations to your cause.
Here are some areas to pay attention to and tips to help improve your website’s performance.
Do keyword research
Compose a list of words that people are likely to use when searching for groups like your non-profit. Use Google’s Keyword Planner or a similar tool to see what the traffic is for each word, then revise your list to target specific words that relate directly to your organization. When you’re composing content for your website, these keywords can be put to optimal use in a number of places.
Search engines scan websites to determine how to rank them, so use your primary keyword most effectively by using it in the title of your site, and also inserting it several more times in your content.
Optimize your title tag
A title tag is the clickable listing in an internet search result – it’s the first line of displayed text about a particular website and an important factor in readers’ decisions on whether or not to click on your page. Title tags are written in HTML. Keep your title tag short (no more than 70 characters) and readable, and be sure to include your non-profit’s name and important keywords.
Pay attention to meta descriptions and meta tags
The meta description is a short amount of text – about 155 characters – that appears under the title tag and briefly summarizes your webpage’s content. It should contain your target keywords, along with concise and compelling information that will draw readers to your website.
Search engines use meta tags to validate your SEO content. Meta tags are HTML code that isn’t visible to users – search engines “read” them to determine whether your keywords and meta description match up to the content on your website. If they don’t, the search engine will automatically place the page lower down in the results.
Create SEO-friendly URLs
A website’s URL is an internet “address”, the link you click on to get to a particular website. It’s usually the first thing search engines “see”, so for optimization purposes, it should be short, generally five words or less, and include your most relevant keyword.
Formulate a content strategy
Strong website content is essential, so keep a watchful eye on what you’re posting. Quality is key, but it’s also important that your content be fresh – search engines will recognize and prioritize this – so make sure your website content is updated frequently. One easy way to do this is to post relevant, current news articles.
Blogs are a great place to include links to articles, videos, and other up-to-date information. Remember that a blog needs to be well-written, interesting, and offer useful content, while also including keywords.
Make a link-building plan
One way to amplify reach is for other websites to have a clickable link to your website – that’s link building. Reach out to partner companies and supporters and ask them to include a link to your non-profit on their websites. Seek out platforms to post blogs and articles, or offer to write something for another site if they’ll include a link back to your own.
Use social media
Set up social media pages for your non-profit on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks. Stay active with posts, updates, and announcements. When supporters and followers like, retweet, or share your content, that moves you up in the rankings. Your link-building partners can also be a big help here, and you can all mutually benefit from increased rankings.
SEO really can be the engine that drives your non-profit’s website up to the top of the internet mountain–but you have to fuel it by paying careful attention to your web content, design and focusing on other key elements.
Incorporate some of the action items outlined here into your non-profit’s current digital marketing strategy, and see how the changes affect your rankings. Interested in learning more about strategies to improve the reach of your website? Get in touch with us - we’d love to help your organization!