Old fashioned fundraising practices are long dead. The digital era imposes new rules. Getting visibility in the major search engines has become increasingly important for nonprofits. Now, with the power of SEO for nonprofits, you can turn your website into a fundraising tool.
Search engines rank websites on the basis of algorithms. These algorithms change continuously, thus getting on top of the search results page does not necessarily mean your website will remain there forever. Staying on top of the rankings requires a lot of effort.
Having a well-optimized website would make it much easier for your constituents, donors, partners, and the media to find you online. How do you do that?
The most important thing you have to pay attention to are the keywords. Keywords will lead potential website visitors to your website. Make sure that they are related to your core mission.
If you choose inappropriate keywords, then you will not reach a desired audience. Before choosing the right keywords, check Yahoo! Buzz Index and Google Trends to find out what searches are the most popular at the moment. The Google AdWords keyword planner can also help you get familiar with what your potential donors and constituents are looking for.
2. Keyword POSITION
Make sure keywords are positioned in your page title or close to it. Furthermore, mention them as often as possible, preferably in every article and web page. The search engine algorithm will recognize the keywords and rank your website in a higher position.
However, the quality of the content should always be a first priority ahead of the frequency of the keywords and phrases inside the content. If the same word repeats too often, the content will not sound natural. Hence, the reader might like it and would not share it, or link any friends to it.
3. Valuable CONTENT
The frequency of updating website content is another factor used by the search engine algorithms. The more frequently content is updated on a website, the higher the rankings for that website.
You can easily update your website content by having a blog, publishing press releases, newsletters, publications, news, photos, etc. If visitors find your website content valuable, they will most probably share it via social media.
The more pages link to your website, the more valuable the content will be considered. If you manage to link authoritative pages of affiliate organizations, newspapers and institutions to your website, it will definitely rank higher than its competitors.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA (LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter)
You can post information on social media to let people know about your latest activities, news, issues, etc. Short and meaningful messages will trigger a reader’s curiosity to find out more about the topic and visit your website.
6. Analyze TRAFFIC
When “optimizing” your website, you ought to know who the most common visitor is and what they are doing there. This information will help you choose the keywords that are important to potential website visitors.
7. TELL A STORY
Being unique and having a remarkable mission will inspire people to talk about your organization. That way, traffic will increase, and your story will reach a lot of donors. Instead of stalking rich people, work on a unique story and that will attract funds by itself.
Google Trends is a convenient tool that can help you get information on the popularity of a specific term. You can find it extremely helpful during the process of choosing the most attractive keywords and topics.
9. MOBILE RESPONSIVE CONTENT
Adapt your web content for mobile devices. If this isn’t already in there, it must be included in your SEO plan for 2015. Website content that is not mobile-responsive gets bypassed by mobile users and ranked poorly for mobile searchers.
10. RELIABLE CONTENT
Apart from the number of links, search engines also measure their quality. As it turns out .edu sites are considered the most valuable due to their reliable content. A nonprofit should be able to secure some .edu backlinks if they make it a goal.
If you are already a distinguished organization, focus on producing useful content that will be used as a reference in your field of work. You want to get organically cited by .edu sites if possible, without having to nudge anyone inside of these institutions. Posting current and reliable content will increase the number of visitors who will cite your website.
A search engine ranks brands on top of ranking pages due to their recognition. A brand name is on top of any searcher’s mind when searching for a specific category. Use every opportunity to turn your projects into brands. People usually search for generic terms. Therefore, it would help if the brand is descriptive.
Regarding the content you publish on your website, consider engaging more people in the process of creating it. Readers will recognize that the information you provide on your website is not driven by advertising concerns. That will help you become the most reliable resource of information in your field. Search engines give priority to this type of content.
13. EDITORIAL LINKS
Editorial links are very desirable and truly powerful for SEO because they are links that are freely and naturally given to other companies or sites that wish to link your content. The best way to acquire editorial links is to provide outstanding content and quality information that is worth linking to. Guest posting on other renowned sites is another way to build new editorial links.
If you want an interview to be shared, you should draft your questions in a careful way, and cite your work in your responses.
14. PUBLIC RELATIONS
Traditional public relations strategies can greatly improve your SEO. Press releases, media appearances and events are some tools that you can incorporate into your PR strategy. Strive to create quality press releases that users will want to read. Develop relevant content, including keywords that reflect your values. Use keywords such as “donate” or “volunteer”, and include them in paragraph titles and link to the press release from your site.
Using keywords wisely will increase the likelihood of the media picking up your press release and may also bring in potential donors. Try to create enticing titles. Journalists often use search engine news feeds for exciting story ideas. Incorporating these tips will increase your chances when competing with hundreds of other press releases on the same topic.
Knowing and researching your competitors is an important move in building your list of link prospects. Tracking who is getting linked to, and why people are talking about them helps you create content worthy of being shared. By determining the weaknesses of your competitors’ link profiles, you can offer content that cannot be found on their pages.