SEO For Non-Profits: What Is It and Do We Need It?

seo for non-profits

Many non-profits wonder if search engine optimization (SEO) is necessary for their organization. After all, you’re not selling products or services. So, how could it be applicable?

SEO refers to a suite of techniques and strategies that help you to connect your ideal audience with your online presence. For a non-profit, this can mean more volunteers and more donations—think greater volume, frequency and dollar amount. Beyond that, your cause’s message can be extended further. In short, you can reach more people who care about your cause but don’t yet know your organization by name.

You can start making SEO improvements to your website today. Over time, these improvements can become even more significant, and you might consider hiring an SEO consultant to take your online presence and digital fundraising to the next level.

Here are some ways that SEO can help your non-profit organization:

Meaningful Content Attracts Your Audience

When it comes to creating content, the key thing is to not get bogged down in keywords. Using appropriate keywords and phrases will help your ideal audience find you, but you should not use them to the extent that your blog post or article reads in a way that is inauthentic.

Whatever your SEO efforts, make sure that they are focused on pleasing and appealing to people rather than machines. If you can’t get Google out of your head, consider that ‘the machines’ read your pages to assess whether or not they will be appealing to people.

Branded Search

Some of your web traffic will come from people searching for your brand name. The volume and percentage of that traffic compared to traffic from other searches, depends on the profile of your non-profit.

Whatever the answer, SEO is good for brand awareness. Engaging with social media and posting shareable content will help more people learn about your brand, making it increasingly synonymous with your cause.

Focus on Your Organization’s Core Competencies

When it comes to keywords, focus on the things that differentiate your organization from others. Look at your values and what you do best, as well as your short-term and long-term objectives.

Being specific about what your non-profit stands for, what it hopes to achieve, and how will help you stand out from the crowd.

Create content that educates and informs your visitors and give them an insight into what makes you unique.

Local SEO

A great way to boost your ranking and to make your organization more accessible is to make the most of local SEO. This works best, of course, for organizations that have a physical presence in one or more geographical locations, or organizations that serve a particular geographical location.

Updating your local SEO information with Google is easy to do and you can start seeing results quickly. It’s good to remember that SEO is not one activity or technique that boosts your rankings, but a mix of activities that all work together to boost your profile and increase your visibility.

Make Sure You’re Listed on Charity Directory Sites

SEO isn’t only about what happens on your page. Part of any sound SEO strategy should involve getting other reputable sites to link to yours—called inbound link-building.

The reason for this is that the quality of the sites linking to yours influences how Google and other search engines positions your site.

Therefore, signing up with relevant charity and non-profit directories is agreat way to increase the number of quality inbound links to your site.

Note also that it’s better to have one very reputable website link to your content than it is to have many relatively unknown websites link to you. When seeking inbound links from directories, start with the biggest and best.

The best way to achieve quality inbound links, however, is to create high quality content, including useful resources that other sites will want to link to. They’ll do so not only because they respect what you’re doing, but because the content will be useful to their visitors—and linking to it will save them creating their own.

As well as receiving a link, you’ll also receive a new source of traffic from that site. (Check out the Referral Sources section of your Google Analytics account to see which sites are driving traffic to yours.) This is an example of how SEO activities are linked and continue to provide value over time.

Author: Kelly Campbell
Kelly Campbell is an Agency Leader Transformation Coach based in New York. The former owner of a cause marketing agency for 14 years, she helps creative leaders transform their businesses and their lives—focusing on the 5 P's: purpose, people, positioning, pipeline and profitability. She speaks at agency growth conferences across the country, has been featured in The New York Times, Woman Entrepreneur and Forbes, gets vulnerable on Medium, and is currently authoring her first book on reframing leadership. She is the host of THRIVE: Your Agency Resource, a bi-weekly video podcast sponsored by Workamajig that helps agency owners navigate personal and professional growth.

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