Despite the explosion in social media and other online distractions and communication tools, search remains one of the most common online activities, cutting across all demographics. Young, old, rich, poor, all over the world - everyone searches. And in the moment when they enter a query into a search engine like Google there is immense opportunity. Imagine your non-profit turning up as one of the best answers to their question. With a well-crafted listing and content that gives them what they were looking for, your organization can draw significant traffic and interest from this source. It has a never been more important or more daunting to do well on the search engines. Here are ten search engine optimization (SEO) tips that can help you attract these pre-qualified visitors:
- Learn the language of your audience. Solid keyword research is the foundation of all SEO. Using a tool like Google’s advertising keyword tool can provide you with the data you need to understand what relevant phrases are being typed into the search engines – the questions you can answer.
- Use keywords to guide your content strategy. Once you have gathered this keyword intelligence you can then start to be truly strategic about the content you include on your website, social network profiles. This means you will be writing about things people are searching for.
- Write for human beings, but with keyword awareness. While it is important let keyword research guide your content, you also have to write for human beings and provide value. Don’t overuse keyword in your copy and only use your targeted phrases in the most natural way.
- Write unique and fresh content regularly. Google and the other engines are now penalizing websites that lie stagnant. They are rewarding sites that add interesting and relevant content on a regular basis.
- Fully use, enable and encourage social sharing. Social signals are now deeply integrated into search results. It is imperative to have full integration of social media on your website. Also regularly updated content gives your organization something of value to share on social networks as well and helps you be a welcome addition to these kinds of conversations.
- Watch your page load times. If your website takes a long time to load (because it is image, video or animation heavy) you will incur ranking penalties from the search engines. Use these kinds of elements as flourishes, but again keep it simple to succeed on search.
- Pay special attention to certain tags. While the text of your programming will never be a substitute for the power of the visible text on the page, your title tag and meta description tag do make an impact. Make sure every page has a unique title and description tag reflective of its content and include important relevant keywords. If you want to get especially advanced you can take a look at including rich snippets to further enhance your search listings. More information on these for non-profits can be found at Schema.org.
- Make use of Google AdWords grants. While not technically SEO, Google does offer a unique program for non-profits that gives them free advertising on this search engine giant. Google Grants offer a huge in-kind advertising opportunity that your organization should take advantage of.
- Track and measure everything. One of the great things about have a website and presence online is the huge amount of data that is available to you and your organization. Whether using free options like Google Analytics or Clicky or more expensive analytics platforms like Adobe’s Site Catalyst take the time to regularly track and analyze this data (at least every month) to see how your SEO and other strategies performed. How did people find you? And how did they not? There are often surprises that can help you get better and better results if you listen and adjust your strategies.
This blog post was written by our SEO specialist and Agentic partner Annelise Larson of Veria Search Marketing