Businesses are not the only ones who can benefit from a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Local nonprofit organizations in particular, can accomplish their goals faster, and stay visible to prospective donors with a little help from the digital industry.
SEO today is no longer just about keywords or links. It involves the right combination of on-page optimization, social media tactics, content marketing, and PR. This may seem daunting for a small local nonprofit group with limited funds. But by working from the inside out, they can deliver their cause to online users without spending a lot.
Check out this simple SEO checklist and get started today.
The SEO Checklist for Nonprofit Organizations
1) Begin on the Inside: Your Website
Fix on-site elements and improve content to remain on top of search results – even after your campaign is over. Have you checked the following aspects of your website lately?
- Page title
- Meta description
- Keywords in content
- Page load speed
- Optimized images
Keywords remain to be an important feature of effective SEO. But instead of focusing on exact terms, opt for semantic terms that add value to your content, and at the same time, allow search engines to easily crawl your web pages. These are longer and are more relevant to users looking for location-specific causes (i.e. charity organizations Los Angeles, Los Angeles charity events, or volunteer organizations in Los Angeles).
On-site elements such as meta descriptions and page titles are great places to drop in your keywords. These appear on search results, giving people a glimpse of your cause in seconds.
Crosslinks on the other hand, are links that point to relevant pages within your website. They:
a) add value in terms of quick navigation, while
b) telling search engines that your site is an authority on a particular topic.
Check that there are NO broken links or inconvenient redirects that might otherwise ruin a user’s online experience.
Next, make sure your page load speeds are fast enough. The ideal load time should be three seconds or less. The important thing to remember is to make sure your site loads seamlessly – and fast enough – across all devices in different countries. This is especially crucial if you aim to get donations from all over the world.
This brings us to the next vital component in our SEO checklist: becoming mobile-friendly. With more and more people using their portable gadgets to access the Web, it’s imperative that your organization’s information is visible on mobile.
Images also play a huge role when it comes to telling a story. Ensure that your photos are optimized by inserting keywords in their titles. Take advantage of alternative text as well. This is what appears instead of an image in case of technical difficulties.
Remember to update crucial information such as your contact details so people can reach you easily. Once you’ve nailed down this aspect, it’s time to move on.
2) Work on the Outside: Social Media, PR, and Content
If you’re not yet using social media, it’s never too late to begin.
However, beware of being everywhere at once! The more engaged you are in one or two platforms, the better. First, you need to find out where your target audience usually hang out (are they mostly on Facebook, Twitter, or another channel?). Next, figure out WHEN and WHAT are the best types of posts to publish. By utilizing this targeted approach, you get to do more with less effort and wasted time.
Another underestimated online opportunity for local nonprofit organizations is directories. Sites like Yelp are not only for businesses, but also for institutions that support community well-being.
Make sure to include your website, contact details, and directions to your office in your listing. Encourage people to leave reviews as well, to help promote your cause. Volunteers who have done some work for your organization are good candidates to leave testimonials.
Don’t forget to add guest posting in your SEO checklist when it comes to getting the word out about your cause. This technique has two main benefits:
a) it helps you spread awareness; and it
b) allows you to reach a wider audience.
There are plenty of sites that want to help out – if only nonprofits would approach them with a good pitch.
Last, you want to partner with journalists as well as other writers to promote your organization. If a PR campaign is out of the question due to budget constraints, consider helping reporters out through services like HARO. To get started, check out this easy tutorial from Liz Froment to assist you in landing your first media mention.
Give this SEO checklist a try. The good news is that, as it is a continuous and organic process, you’ll see surprising results even after your campaign is over. It’s not easy getting people to care for a cause; but with enough patience and practice, your nonprofit organization will surely achieve its goals.