Ronak Kothari is the founder of RONKOT, a full-service digital marketing agency.
A strong online presence is crucial for every non-profit organization. A website helps your NPO convey its mission, promote upcoming events, collect donations and engage with the community. However, most non-profit organizations struggle at generating traffic to their website.
Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a major role in increasing online visibility and assisting your non-profit’s fundraising efforts. Improving your website’s SEO not only helps you rank your content higher but also helps drive more donations, event registrations, volunteer sign-ups, and so on.
In fact, according to Charity Navigator, online giving increased 23% in 2017, and monthly online giving grew 40% — all due to SEO.
If you’re confused about how to increase the digital presence of your non-profit organization with SEO, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’ll share tons of SEO tips non-profit organizations can implement to take their online presence to the next level.
It all starts with an effort to…
Satisfy search intent
Search intent or user intent is the purpose a user tries to achieve through search engines.
Let’s say the audience in your niche is interested in knowing about the current state of wildlife poaching.
Writing an in-depth article on the same can help you improve your reach, visibility, and eventually ranking on search engines. To optimize for user intent, you can practice the following:
- Build a social presence and regularly interact with the audience in your niche to understand what topics interest and engage them the most.
- Place yourself in the shoes of your visitors and think about your interests. Cover popular topics and think from a different angle that other websites have yet to explore.
- Cover all potential subtopics and dive deep into the subject. Capture important details and give your audience all the answers they need.
Get your keywords right
The right combination of long-tail and short-tail keywords is the key to improving online visibility. A highly researched and well-written piece of content, when combined with the right keywords, drives the best results.
- Identify and prepare a list of keywords relevant to your non-profit organization.
- Understand the traffic, difficulty, competition, and variations for those keywords.
- Shortlist the ones for each of your website pages. Try to find ones with high traffic and low competition.
After researching relevant keywords, it’s time for the correct placement of the same. Here are a few best practices to do that:
- Make sure the beginning of your content contains the primary keyword.
- Do not forcefully overuse a particular keyword as Google penalizes keyword stuffing.
- While inserting images, make sure you use the keyword in the image alt text.
- Include keywords in the subheadings of your blog posts.
- Use the primary keyword in page titles, meta descriptions, and URLs.
Create useful and engaging content
Search engines like Google want to deliver the users with the best possible results for their queries. Their algorithm is all about ranking valuable and engaging content.
If you are preparing your site for long-run success, here are the things you must focus on:
- Use different types of visuals in your blog posts for an improved UX. Break down complex topics into specific subheadings and provide in-depth content on the same.
- Write content in a conversational tone throughout and use some subtle humor to keep readers engaged.
- Being a Non-Profit Organization, you have ample stories to tell. Use your storytelling to present your unique stories to your target audience.
- Build trust amongst your audience by sharing testimonials and user-generated content from past donors.
- Try to create multiple types of engaging content, including blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.
- Be consistent with content creation, it’s not a one-and-done deal.
Use link-building to generate awareness and backlinks
Generating backlinks is crucial for the SEO of any website, including non-profit organizations. Besides directly boosting your rankings, it gets your name out there and helps reach new audiences.
Here’s how you can do it:
Work on creating highly-researched and authentic content
To generate backlinks, you must work on creating authentic content and curating useful data that other websites would link back to.
After creating comprehensive, original content assets such as how-to guides and data-backed infographics, you can reach out to publishers to check if they’d like to link to your valuable piece of content. As such, websites love linking to infographics packed with the latest data.
Check out the following example:
Collaborate with others to improve your reach
Working on your own website’s content assets is great, but it helps to connect with publishers and bloggers in your field. Do some research to find the websites in your domain with a strong online presence and partner up with them for guest posts and link exchanges.
Optimize your website
Besides working on content, you must also optimize your website for search rankings. Here are a few top ways to do that:
Ensure your site is user-friendly
- Make your site easy to navigate with sufficient spacing. Focus on making the visitors’ journey through your website seamless.
- Have clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons to guide visitors to take action.
- Provide your visitors multiple ways of contacting you, including email, live chat, toll-free number, etc.
Make your website mobile-friendly
Did you know that mobile web traffic makes up 54.8% of global traffic?
This means it’s a nightmare to have a website that doesn’t work well on mobile devices. People don’t like going through a cluttered and confusing site on mobile. So, start by testing whether or not your website is mobile-friendly using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Once you do, here are few things that will help you improve the same:
- Design a responsive website that shows the same information but adjusts the content’s display based on the device.
- Get rid of ads and pop-ups as they are more intrusive on small screens.
- Keep your fonts and button size sufficiently large.
Improve page speed
A page load speed of anything over 3 seconds isn’t optimal. Page load speed has a direct and huge influence on search ranking and user experience, so you must prioritize this on-page factor.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Compress all images.
- Enable caching.
- Use minification to remove unnecessary characters from CSS and JS.
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to get clear, actionable recommendations on how to improve your website’s speed.
Implement local SEO techniques
Local SEO plays an important role when your non-profit organization is working to help a certain geographical region. To ensure people in your region find you without difficulty, here are a few things you must do:
- Create and optimize your Google My Business account and provide up-to-date information regarding your business.
- Get in touch with your past donors and encourage them to write positive reviews.
- Optimize for local voice search as people prefer speaking over typing.
- Keep yourself updated with the local happenings and create content based on it.
- Use the top SEO tools to research and identify the keywords relevant to local users.
- Your website must have location pages giving information regarding your local contact details, opening and closing timings, etc. Don’t forget to attach Google Maps to each page.
- Make sure you register your NPO on online business directories.
Maintain a strong social media presence
Maintaining a strong social presence is crucial for non-profit organizations. Social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, etc., are the ideal to get a word out about your mission. Furthermore, it’s a great way to engage with your existing community, including volunteers, donors, etc. Without social media, it’s difficult to expand your audience base.
Take a look at how American Heart Association, an NPO functioning in the US uses social media to keep its audience informed.
If you already have social profiles, but they are inactive, it’s time to change that. You don’t have to spend hours creating fresh content. Analyze your top-performing blog posts and repurpose the same content. You can also try different types of social media posts like Twitter Polls and short-form videos like behind-the-scenes Reels to boost engagement.
Google reviews for SEO
Google wants to provide the best results to its searchers. Reviews say a lot about your organization, and positive reviews significantly improve online visibility.
Google’s algorithm works towards assessing the trustworthiness of an organization. Who can tell this better than the people who have associated with the same in the past?
Even if you end up with negative reviews, make sure you deal with them correctly. Try to understand the issue and assure them that you will resolve it and prevent it in the future. Ignoring negative reviews will only add up to a bad reputation in front of your target audience.
Case Study: How we helped Metroport Meals On Wheels in improving their online visibility.
Metroport Meals on Wheels is a small non-profit business invested in delivering meals in three different counties. They already had a website but were struggling with a lack of a strong online presence amongst their target audience.
Apart from revamping their website, they were struggling with other areas that led to minimum brand exposure. Being a full-fledged digital marketing agency, we had the solution to their struggle of a poor online presence — SEO via a website revamp.
After a thorough discussion regarding their goals, we helped them improve their overall online brand visibility. As a result, they ended up with a stronger search presence and expanded their patron base.
Here is the website we created for them:
These are some of the top ways every non-profit organization can use to improve online visibility. Go through each one of them and implement the most suitable ones to reap amazing results for long-run success.