Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any business that wants to attract traffic to their website. SEO for nonprofits is especially important because they can’t afford to spend tons of money on paid advertising and traditional marketing.
SEO for nonprofits is an easy and effective way to get website traffic, without spending a fortune on paid marketing.
Don’t get me wrong! SEO is not easy. It requires a lot of time and effort. But it is comparatively much cheaper than other forms of marketing.
How does search engine optimization matter to nonprofits?
By getting your website to rank higher in search results you can make it easy for potential donors and volunteers to find you and extend help. Writing relevant content on your website can help people looking to invest in a specific cause to find you.
For these reasons, SEO for nonprofits is more important than it is for any other type of business.
In this article, I’ve talked about effective SEO techniques for nonprofits that can help you spread awareness about your organization and get website traffic.
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How Can Nonprofits Boost Their SEO in 5 Simple Steps?
Nonprofits need a robust SEO strategy to be heard in the overcrowded web space. Effective SEO will make their organization visible to Google which will rank it higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
As a result, your nonprofit can be discovered by more prospective members, donors, and investors.
Here are five great SEO tactics that work for nonprofits.
1. Leverage the Power of Social Media
Any SEO strategy for nonprofits is incomplete without incorporating social media as a key element.
Why, you ask?
You can use social media platforms in a myriad of ways that can direct traffic to your website.
For example, you can post about upcoming events and initiatives and ask people to volunteer or donate. Or you can share posts about your past initiatives and encourage people to donate money and resources so that you can keep up the great work.
You can also run inspiring social media campaigns to spread awareness about the cause that you support.
I like to use HubSpot for managing my social media campaigns. I don’t have to hop between platforms and HubSpot gives me a unified dashboard to manage all my social accounts from one place.
I can create, schedule, and monitor social media posts using the tool. On top of that, I get intelligent suggestions about when I should post content on a platform for getting the maximum exposure and engagement from the audience there.
Since nonprofits are always running against time to meet member registration goals, such a tool would be very handy.
Check out this Instagram post by the international nonprofit organization charity: water, for example. They have showcased the good that donations can do for people around the world and then asked people to donate via their website.
Image Source: Instagram
Check out the Facebook page of The Humane Society and see how they use touching animal rescue stories to ask people to donate to their cause. They always add a direct link to their website where people can donate online.
Image Source: Facebook
2. Get Quality Backlinks
I know that for nonprofits, getting quality backlinks is not as simple as paying influencers to get reviews. However, there are still a lot of ways in which nonprofits can get quality backlinks for SEO.
A great way of getting quality backlinks is to ask news websites to add your website link whenever you get featured in a story. As a nonprofit organization, you might get featured in local news stories around your social initiatives.
So, why not leverage that to get backlinks from credible news websites?
You can also ask for backlinks from your corporate and other partners. If you recently launched an initiative in collaboration with any sponsors or corporate partners, there is a good chance that they will showcase their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities somewhere.
So, ask them to add your website’s link when they do so, as it can be highly beneficial for you.
Getting backlinks from sources with good domain authority is a critical search engine optimization aspect that can help you rank well in organic search results. And, hence, it should be a key part of SEO for nonprofits.
But manually searching for authoritative backlinks can be time-consuming. You will have to scan the web for high-ranking profiles in your domain and then compare them to find your best match.
I prefer to use Semrush for backlink profile research. It not only searches potential backlinking opportunities but also identifies toxic backlinks that are pointing to your pages. You can disavow or remove them and replace them with the links suggested by the tool. In this way, your nonprofit’s SEO and domain authority gets boosted.
3. Write Relevant, Good Quality Content
The best SEO technique is writing content that resonates with your intended audience. The number one priority for search engines is to show relevant search results to their users and good quality content is paramount in that.
SEO for nonprofits is no exception to this.
Following are some tips for writing relevant, quality content, specifically for nonprofits:
- Tell Your Story
Give people a reason to connect with your organization, tell them your story, your mission and vision, and what you stand for. By telling people about these things you will help them connect with your organization better and attract more help.
- Share Your Achievements
What better way to attract more investors and volunteers than by sharing what you have done and how it has helped people? Tell people about your achievements so that people feel compelled to invest in your cause and help you achieve a lot more.
- Use Relevant Keywords in Your Content
While it is important to connect with your audience and write content that resonates with them, it is equally important to use the right keywords. You can use keyword finder tools like Google Trends to identify the most-searched keywords for your niche.
Need a pro tip?
Use a tool like ProWritingAid to create keyword-rich articles for your nonprofit. The tool generates optimized titles and royalty-free images and quotes to enhance your articles. The tool even curates popular articles in your domain and helps you repurpose them into different types of content.
4. Optimize Your Titles and Meta Descriptions
SEO for nonprofits is not so much different from SEO for any other business. For example, on-page SEO tips like optimizing meta descriptions and title tags is equally important for all.
Ensure that you use your primary keywords in meta descriptions, page titles, and subtitles. When a search engine crawler searches your website, these meta and title tags are what it uses to index your website and content correctly.
Using the right keywords in these title tags will ensure that your website is indexed properly and is shown to a relevant audience.
So, think about the kind of search queries for which you’d like to be featured and select your keywords accordingly.
5. Focus on Local SEO
Local SEO tips are very important for nonprofits because it is important to drive potential volunteers to your local centers and offices.
Suppose someone wants to do some volunteer work in their free time but does not want to go too far for it. They search online for NGOs near them and find a list of potential options where they can volunteer. They pick one that they can most relate with and go and volunteer there.
That is the process that a lot of people follow when looking for local places to volunteer. And if your organization does not rank in those local search query results, you stand to lose a lot of such volunteers.
Here are some local SEO for nonprofits tips that you can use:
- Create a Google My Business Listing
Creating a Google listing is important if you want to rank well in organic search results for local searches.
- Enter Your Center Locations on Google Maps
Registering your business on Google Maps and adding relevant contact details will make it easier for people to find your local offices and centers.
- List Your Organization in Local Directories
Whenever a user searches for something location specific, a lot of results that come up are of local directories and business listings. Listing your organization in such directories is an effective way to ensure that people can find you.
In fact, 90% of SEO experts believe that accurate citations in such directories immensely help improve local search engine rankings.
You can also use local search rank checking tools like BrightLocal to keep track of your local search rankings. This will help you gauge where you rank and how your local SEO for nonprofits strategy has helped you improve your search engine rankings.
While designing your SEO for nonprofits strategy, don’t forget to include social media. Social media can immensely help in SEO for nonprofits and is also a good place to spread awareness about your cause.
Q1. Why is SEO important for nonprofits?
A. SEO is the most sustainable, long-term way of getting organic traffic on your website. It is especially important for nonprofit organizations because it requires minimal investment. Given that nonprofit organizations do not have a lot of money to spend on such things, SEO is their best option.
Q2. How do I optimize my website for search engines?
A. There are three core aspects of SEO—technical, on-page, and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO is more about optimizing your website’s content for the right keywords. Technical SEO deals with making your website easy to crawl and index for search engines. Off-page SEO is all about building backlinks to your website.
Ideally, you should consider all three aspects of SEO when optimizing your website.
Q3. How do I find Facebook groups who voluntarily do SEO for nonprofits?
A. You can start by doing a manual search using specific keywords on Facebook. However, a more efficient way is to ask around in your professional network to identify such volunteers or groups.
Q4. What are the SEO best practices for non-profit organizations?
A. The SEO best practices remain the same for all types of organizations.
However, as a non-profit, you should pay special attention to local SEO best practices like listing your organization in local directories. Local SEO can help you find donors and volunteers in your region, which is more important than the traffic you will get otherwise.
Q5. Do non-profit websites need SEO?
A. Yes, all websites need SEO to help get traffic through organic or other channels. Non-profit websites need to rely more on SEO than other websites because it is the most cost-effective way of generating website traffic.
Q6. What are the most important components of a non-profit website?
A. One of the most important pages for a non-profit website is their “about us” page. It should tell the story behind the organization and should be optimized for conversions. This is where you will get people to connect with your organization and help your cause.
Another important element is to share your past work and how you have made an impact. This is important to convince your audience that your organization is genuine and really does work on the cause that you support.
Q7. Is it better to get a .com or .org domain for a non-profit organization?
A. In general, .org domain names are better suited for non-profit organizations while .com ones are for commercial businesses. Having a .org name lends a certain credibility to your website and makes it look more authentic.
Q8. What are good examples of websites for non-profit organizations?
A. There are many good examples of non-profit websites, but here are a few non-profit organizations whose websites you can check out:
- Conservation International
- Gates Foundation
- Adopt A Love Story
- Greenpeace USA
SEO for nonprofits requires time and effort but is still worth it because of the benefits that it delivers. Use these five effective SEO strategies for nonprofits and get more website traffic and better organic search rankings.
Do you have any more tips and tricks for SEO for nonprofits?
Let us know in the comments below.