Like with any other marketing service, there are different types of search engine optimization that tackle specific company needs.
One of the approaches that are rarely mentioned is non-profit SEO. As the name implies, it’s a marketing method that helps non-profit organizations. In many ways, it’s the same as traditional optimization, but it’s more focused on finding donors and increasing presence within the local community.
In this article, we’ll talk about the basic characteristics of this approach and how to perform it.
What is non-profit SEO?
SEO for non-profits is a way of improving your pages to increase their rankings within the search engine results pages. As with any other form of optimization, an SEO provider focuses on target keywords that would provide value to non-profit organizations.
Given that non-profits focus on activities such as education, fundraising, volunteering, and so on, it’s the SEO company’s duty to increase customer traffic for these categories of terms.
The importance of SEO for non-profits
Organic traffic is all about finding websites through search engines. Like with any other company, the final objective of SEO for non-profits is to improve the site’s visibility in Google and other search engines.
Driving more traffic to your website will make it easier for non-profit organizations to fundraise and promote large events. However, it can also be a crucial brand-building practice.
Unlike regular companies that can survive and thrive by focusing on SEO, non-profits should utilize other channels as well. Social media can also be crucial for their development. Among others, you can gain a lot of traction by connecting with local news stations.
Benefits of SEO for non-profit organizations
Here are the benefits of implementing an SEO strategy for non-profits.
- Staying ahead of your competition: Even if you compete against some of the largest non-profit organizations, SEO can improve your site’s traffic by using the right keywords.
- Having donors find you: In the past few years, numerous brands have managed to fund large projects and events through online marketing. Fundraising campaigns have become important not only for nonprofit organizations but for commercial entities as well. Because of this, companies are trying their best to increase their visibility in an attempt to attract potential donors.
- Gaining more attention from the local community: Make sure to implement a local SEO strategy when organizing a fundraising event in your area. By ranking locally for certain keywords, it’s much easier to find volunteers for upcoming projects.
- Improving your social media presence: Different social networks, together with an effective local SEO strategy, will help you keep in touch with your current and future donors.
The thing that is specific about SEO for nonprofits is that these organizations are heavily reliant on the local population. For example, they are more likely to find volunteers and donors in their home city than in some other areas. This is especially true if they’re advocating local causes.
Although SEO provides high value for these entities, they should also think about social media and PR. Connecting with local journalists is usually the best strategy as it allows nonprofits to gain valuable links and exposure.
In that regard, you probably shouldn’t use SEO as the focal point of your marketing but as a part of it.
12 Best practices for running a non-profit SEO campaign
This guide will teach you how to get to the top of Google search results on a small budget by integrating an online marketing strategy.
Here are the basic components of SEO for non-profits:
Make your website user-friendly
To be successful at SEO, you need to create a solid basis with technical SEO. Your website should be well-structured, clean, fast, and mobile-friendly. Slow page speed, messy URLs, duplicate and nonindexed content, and broken links are just some of the technical issues that can result in poor user experiences.
Before doing anything else, you should start by checking your core web vitals:
- Use one of the better SEO platforms to address major website issues. Continue monitoring its performance over time. You should also analyze the information pertaining to your site’s SEO potential, keywords your site ranks for, backlink data, etc.
- Improve the website’s layout, so it’s clear, functional, and consistent
- You shouldn’t add anything that would interfere with the user experience. This includes pop-ups like sign-up and exit forms, banners, unwanted ads, etc.
- Think about mobile optimization. It has been proven that up to 70 % of internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
- Create internal links that will guide visitors to more relevant pages.
Last but not least, make sure that all your articles and pages provide valuable information. In the end, they are the main reason why people land on your site in the first place.
Understand user intent and perform keyword research
SEO Tools such as Google analytics will help you find relevant keywords crucial for gaining donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders. A nonprofit website can gain lots of traffic by pursuing educational topics and creating statistical pages.
Even if you don’t have the best content, the nonprofit organization can gain traction by creating connections with local journalists.
Create content and interlink
High-quality content is important for a nonprofit website as it is for any other business. Whenever you create a new piece, consider how it will affect your traffic. Make sure to focus on keywords that have high volume and low difficulty. More importantly, use internal links to help search engine crawlers and improve search rankings.
When creating articles, stick with the best practices. Avoid keyword stuffing, and use title tag and meta description for each piece. Check the search queries to see what type of posts your competitors have created.
Include your nonprofit organization in online directories and articles
Given the fact that most of your donors and potential clients can be found online, you need to prioritize online visibility.
Besides social media channels and Google, another option to promote your work is via nonprofit directory listings. Many online directories are willing to include your charity for free. This is an excellent opportunity, especially for those who work with a tight nonprofit budget.
It might happen that your organization is already listed in a directory. In that case, check if the information regarding your location, website, email address, and opening hours is correct.
Make sure to focus on larger directories that provide real value to online users. In other words, avoid obscure platforms that no one has heard of. It would just be a waste of time.
One of the ways to increase visibility is through backlinks.
Getting quality backlinks will also help you to improve your rankings and gain credibility. Moreover, they will increase your referral traffic and help Google find newly-posted pages. On the contrary, links received from suspicious, spammy sites can potentially harm your site.
Turn regular mentions and feedback into links.
It is a well-known fact that charities and nonprofit organizations rely on PR and press coverage from the media. What if we told you that you could gain much more with these mentions?
Every time a person reviews or mentions your website on another platform, you can use this mention to gain a live link. Basically, all you need to do is subscribe to a quality reputation suite and find all online mentions of your brand.
Once you have found your unlinked citations, the next step is to contact site owners and authors to request backlinks for your website. Even if it’s just a social media mention, which doesn’t provide real SEO value, you should still try to turn it into a live backlink.
Keep in mind that new unlinked mentions can frequently appear, depending on your organization’s popularity. The process scales, allowing you to gain even more mentions, traffic, and exposure as you increase brand awareness.
Unfortunately, getting these links is a completely different matter. To increase your chances of scoring backlinks, follow some of these SEO tips:
- Be polite at all times
- Don’t be too pushy
- Provide additional value
Most site owners are reluctant to link out to others, especially if they’re competitors. However, things are a bit easier if they already mentioned you. In other words, they probably like something about your company if they’re willing to give you free PR. Capitalize on this opportunity and try to SEO value out of it.
Answer journalists’ requests
It is extremely important for nonprofit organizations to have a healthy rapport with news platforms as a way of boosting their SEO, improving brand awareness, and driving referral traffic. To create long-lasting connections, nonprofits should reach out to journalists via platforms like HARO, ResponseSource, Source Bottle, #YournoRequest, and #PRrequest, etc.
Start by signing up for one of these services and focusing on platforms that can actually help you. Make sure that the news website is interested in your cause. You can check this by searching their blog for similar topics. Lastly, use HARO and similar platforms to share a story that journalists would be interested in covering.
This type of link-building is fantastic if you manage to pull it off. Links you get from the media are among the best ones, and they can significantly improve your SEO efforts. Unfortunately, this type of outreach also requires some time to execute properly. The only positive is that things get easier with time.
Guest blogging for links
Guest blogging is one of the oldest, most popular ways of acquiring backlinks. The reason why it’s so effective is that it provides value to both sites. The nonprofit organization gets a quality link that increases traffic and improves SEO, and the site gets a new piece of content and monetary compensation.
When doing guest blogging, always focus on high-quality websites. Check out the target’s link profile to determine if they have healthy practices. You can also analyze other metrics to get a better understanding of how much they can help you.
With every quality link, your chances of ranking specific pages increase. They are one of the most important ranking factors for SEO, but they also provide other benefits. For example, they can be excellent sources of referral traffic.
Showcasing your expertise through guest posting will help you increase your reputation within the field and increase brand exposure to a new audience.
Pursue educational keywords related to your cause
When creating an SEO strategy for a website, most companies focus on so-called “money keywords.” These are phrases meant to bring qualified leads and increase profits. In most cases, these phrases are extremely hard to rank for as there’s so much competition for each one of them.
One thing that nonprofit organizations can do is pursue educational, informative keywords that aren’t bringing profits to regular companies.
People who browse these phrases are usually those who are interested in a particular cause. These might be other charity organizations or donors who can potentially help you. In fact, educational phrases might have a similar value for nonprofits as money keywords have for commercial entities.
Pursue statistical keywords related to your charity
SEO experts often create statistical articles. These are general posts that analyze a specific industry or topic and provide useful numeric data. The best thing about statistical articles is that other websites are more likely to link to them. Other companies might use your stats to enrich their blog post, given that this is quality, easy-to-digest information.
Often, search engine optimization experts purposely create these posts to use them for outreach. They target sites that have already linked to similar resources and offer them your post as something that can add value to their own article.
The best thing yet is that statistical articles are often perceived as evergreen website content. Even if you’re analyzing a specific year, this type of knowledge will remain on the web forever. So, you can continuously gain value from these posts even when other types of articles become obsolete.
Feature experts on your website
Some topics need to be written by subject matter experts. We refer to these articles as YMYL (Your money or your life) topics because they can considerably impact people’s health, well-being, financial stability, and safety.
So, how does your nonprofit organization benefit from having these articles?
Given they were written by experts, who usually have large followership, you are likely to gain traffic just by association. In fact, most of them like to share content on social media, ensuring that you get a lot of exposure in the process.
One of the good ways to benefit from this approach is by creating round-up articles. These are massive pieces where you reach out to industry experts and ask them a few questions. Then, you post all these answers in one comprehensive blog. When the article is posted on your site, you reach out to experts with a link.
A lot of people will link to this article from their website or share it on social media. Even if they’re aware of your ulterior motives, they’re willing to brag to their followers.
Translate to different languages
If you’re running a global non-profit organization, you need to have a site in several languages. This is especially important for entities that have subsidiaries in different countries.
Having several versions of the site will significantly increase your exposure and will provide new donation opportunities. It’s also important to increase your reputation in a particular market and introduce yourself to other similar entities.
Aside from translating the content, here are a few other things that can boost your SEO in other countries and regions:
- Choose a localized URL and use CDN (content delivery network).
- Try to get as many links and mentions from local sources as possible.
- Link out to local news sources and websites.
Always remember that Google might not be the most popular search engine in a specific country. However, most of these practices should still provide some value for your organization, even if they don’t improve your search engine rankings.
Utilize non-profit local SEO
Depending on the specific cause, certain nonprofit organizations can benefit immensely from local SEO. For example, if you wish to protect the local wildlife, it’s very important to connect with similar organizations and benefactors who live in the area.
Local SEO can help people find your organization while performing related searches. To make the most out of this approach, you need to do the following:
- Create Google Business Profile and fill in all the information.
- Try to get as many positive reviews as possible from local users.
- Create pages that are optimized for local search.
- Get links from companies doing business in your city or region.
After implementing all these tricks, it will be much easier for people to find you on Google Maps. As mentioned, local SEO can have a major impact on your company, and it would be a wasted potential if you didn’t implement it.
If you need help from a professional SEO agency, make sure to call us today!