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Defining the Fastest Way to Improve Search Engine Rankings for Nonprofits
SEO may sound intimidating for people who don't come from the online marketing industry, especially as a nonprofit with limited time and budget. However it's worth understanding SEO better to be able to improve your brand awareness, get higher website rankings, and to get more people involved in your mission. Leave the tricky stuff for us. In this article, we’ll relay the information about optimization in a language that is easy to understand, even for a beginner.
What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of drawing more visitors to a site by making it rank higher on Google’s (or another search engine’s) results page.
Basically, you optimize your website’s content, structure, and technical features, build links to your pages, etc., to increase the search ranking of your nonprofit.
In particular, search ranking means the position of your pages in search engine results for a specific keyword. This drives more people to the site and ensures they know about your cause.
How Does SEO Work for Nonprofits?
Google is the most popular search engine worldwide and has an algorithm that helps searchers find the most relevant information. It evaluates:
● The meaning of the query (why the person is looking it up)
● The relevance of web pages to the query
● The quality of the content on those pages
● The usability of those pages (how easy and convenient it is for a visitor to use your site)
● The context of that query in the content
Your website has to check all the boxes to be seen by a searcher.
So, why should nonprofits improve SEO rankings?
The SEO of your nonprofit will help you check those boxes and increase online visibility. According to Statista, the total amount of Internet users was about 4.9 billion in 2021. By increasing your online visibility using SEO tips, you won't reach all of those users, but you will stand out to your target audience (the people who are most likely interested in your mission).
6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Nonprofit’s SEO
We’ve established the basics of how Google works and why SEO for nonprofits is an important step in your journey. Now, let’s find out six simple ways to master optimization and improve your nonprofit’s rankings.
#1 - Find and Optimize for the Right Target Keywords
The first thing to know here is search intent. It’s becoming more and more critical when you look for the right keywords.
Search intent is the goal of every internet user who uses the web to search for something. At this point, you should select keywords that meet the real search queries that people type down in Google search and optimize your site to match the selected keywords.
For example, the user searches for statistics about nonprofit funds. You satisfy this search intent by writing an in-depth article with fresh statistics or a step-by-step guide on how a user can help or join you in your mission.
How to find keywords?
● Communicate with your target audience and ask them about the most common topics they are interested in.
● Visit theme forums and online communities to see what people are talking about.
● Research keywords using SEO tools. The Google Keyword Planner is an excellent pick for a beginner because:
- It’s free
-You get basic information about keywords if you have an ad account (search volume per month, etc.)
- You can both discover new keyword ideas and get forecasts
- It’s easy to export the fitting queries to an Excel file or a Google sheet
#2 - Create High-Quality Content to Improve SEO
The term ‘high-quality’ is pretty broad. Basically, quality content must be valuable for the reader. It’s focused on the niche’s main topics and helps the reader understand them better. But fortunately, we have some tips for your nonprofit’s SEO in the content plan:
● Follow the E-A-T format, creating audience-focused content Google’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) is a combination of factors for evaluating the quality of a text. By updating your content, making sure it’s 100% accurate, and involving experts in its creation, you provide your audience with the best answers to their questions.
● Optimize content for keywords The golden rule is to focus one topic around one keyword. Make sure Google gets your target keyword, so add it in the title, subheadings, throughout the text (no more than 3% of keyword density), and meta description (a short description of the page).
● Diversify To keep the audience engaged, you need all kinds of content. The list includes blog posts, branded videos, infographics, how-to articles, guides, lists, statistics, etc.
#3 - Use Link Building to Develop Brand Awareness
Link building is the process of acquiring links to your website from relevant sources. It helps build credibility, boost brand awareness, and complement the efforts you put into SEO for the nonprofit. Brand awareness is how people are familiar with your brand, its offers, image, philosophy, etc.
Here are some of the best practices:
● Ask your corporate partners, sponsors, etc. for mentions
● Arrange collaborations with other nonprofits, acquiring links from their websites
● Create guest content with a link to your site and discuss posting it on other relevant sources.
But what type of content should you produce to get backlinks? And what websites should you choose to collaborate with?
You can use SE Ranking's backlink checker tool that helps you analyze competitors’ backlink profiles (all the backlinks leading to their websites). You can see what content they build links to and where they do it.
The result? Lots of ideas for content that will garner the most inbound links (same as backlinks) and a list of websites to pitch your nonprofit to.
#4 - Make Sure Your Website is User-Friendly
Expand your nonprofit’s SEO efforts with the website’s user-friendliness meaning that the site is easy to understand and navigate for an average Internet user.
● Easy navigation. Don’t make it difficult for your visitors to find the information they need on the website (massive text blocks, complicated menu design, no footer, etc.).
● Fast website loading speed. Obviously, users will stay longer on a site that loads fast and provides all needed information within seconds without delay.
● Focus on responsiveness. A responsive design ensures the page is resized according to the device size and type the visitor is using.
In combination, these tips will help you create a pleasant user experience for everyone clicking on a link to your site. Focus on ease and speed, and make it simple for anyone to access information about your nonprofit. This includes a minimalistic design, a suitable font type, and size for every device, voice search (optional), wise use of Flash elements (since many mobile devices don’t support them), etc.
#5 - Optimize for Local Search
Don’t neglect local search – using certain search queries like ‘...near me’ or geographical location names to find local results in search engines. You can boost your rankings by optimizing for it, especially if you are operating locally at the moment.
The first thing to do is to set up a Google My Business profile (now Google Business Profile). It’s an easy tool to become visible in Google Search and Maps.
Your presence there will show an expanded result if someone searches for your organization's name or relevant keywords.
The searcher will see:
● Contact information
● Posts, etc.
Comprehensive information about your organization will create a nice first impression and build trust. Furthermore, if you display reviews, they will act as social proof that it’s a legitimate, reliable organization. Also, you’ll need to add the location of your central office and branches on Google Maps. It may also appear in the results.
And finally, join other listings for nonprofits. While Google Business Profile is the most important directory to add your information to, other websites may appear in the search to show your organization, among others. Arrange being added as soon as you finish setting up the GMB profile.
#6 - Maintain a Strong and Consistent Social Media Presence
Social media is an important communication channel. It allows for building relationships with your audience and draws attention and visitors to your mission. You can also cooperate with influencers in your niche to boost brand awareness.
Be active on social media where your target audience resides. Post about upcoming events and initiatives and share about past events and achievements.
Besides, you can run ad campaigns to gather more people around your cause and spread awareness. Using Facebook Ads, you can target specific groups of people according to their demographics and interests, reaching only the users you want to join, follow, and participate.
The question “How to do SEO?” becomes easier to answer if you have an explanation in easy language. For nonprofits, SEO is just as important as for any other website. It boosts online visibility and helps with fundraising opportunities, causes, endorsements, and your mission to your target audience.
You don’t need a large budget to optimize your website. Use Google Keyword Planner, visit forums, and talk to your audience to find out what people are interested in at the moment. Then, create high-quality content that caters to both search engines and visitors.
Don’t forget to ensure your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Create a Google My Business account to optimize for local search, and use social media as another important communication channel.
All these approaches work in tandem to ensure your nonprofit’s SEO is on point and your website is visible to the interested people.