Maybe you’ve heard other nonprofit professionals talking about it.
Or maybe you’ve watched some marketing gurus on YouTube, and they’ve mentioned it.
Or perhaps this is the first time you’re ever hearing of it.
Either way, we’re walking you through SEO for nonprofits and our 7 top tips for setting your nonprofit website up to rank on Google.
What is SEO for Nonprofit Websites?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. And it’s a fancy way of saying you’re setting your site up for search engines to love it.
Because when search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing love your nonprofit website? They’re going to show it to more people.
But if you’ve ever heard other marketing professionals talk about SEO for nonprofits, you might feel a little intimidated right now.
Because a lot of gurus have made SEO out to be this massive beast that is too difficult to understand.
Our goal here is to dial it down so you know exactly what to do when you make your nonprofit website or pages.
Why Does SEO for Nonprofits Matter?
SEO for nonprofits does matter. That’s because search engines, like Google, have 4.3 billion users worldwide. And out of those 4.3 billion users, Google estimates that it receives 40,000 searches per second.
People use search engines to find whatever it is they’re looking for.
Think about it. The last time you went to make a huge purchase, like say a new vacuum cleaner…
Did you Google it first? Did you type in the name of the vacuum cleaner you were looking at to read reviews? Or did you even type in “best vacuum cleaners for pet hair” to find the best results?
The websites that Google showed you on the first page? They know the power of SEO.
And your nonprofit organization can leverage that same power, too!
When a potential supporter, who has never heard of your nonprofit before, types in keywords that relate to your cause, your nonprofit organization has the potential to show up.
Suddenly, that supporter does know about your nonprofit! And all you had to do was set up your site properly and allow Google to do the rest.
How Does SEO for Nonprofits Work?
So how does it work? Search engines are made up of bots and crawlers. These little crawlers spend all day perusing websites all around the globe.
And they take inventory of the content that’s written on each web page. They recognize if certain keywords are used on specific pages.
Then, if the content is written well enough, search engines will push those particular pages to the first page of search results. So when someone goes looking for the keywords, that particular website shows up!
It is important to note that search engines crawl through each web page individually. So rather than your entire nonprofit website ranking for one keyword, each web page can rank for a different keyword.
7 Tips on SEO for Nonprofits to Elevate Your Rankings:
So how do you set up your nonprofit website for SEO? It is a process, but it’s definitely worth doing.
If you’re looking to optimize your website for search engines, try using these 7 tips:
1. Always Keep the Reader In Mind
The first thing you need to do (always) is keep your reader in mind.
Google is a service for its users. It wants to always give its users the best experience possible, including the information they’re looking for. That is simply because if Google gives them the best experience possible, the user will keep using Google.
So when it comes to optimizing for search engines, remember that they’re thinking of the reader. And that means you should, too!
When you find the nonprofit keywords you want to use for a web page (more on that in a minute), make sure you’re giving plenty of information for that keyword. Answer any questions readers might have about it. Provide plenty of value for them!
2. Get Your Website Running Super Fast
A few years ago, Google came out saying that page speed is a major ranking factor. That’s because people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.
So if your nonprofit website page is slower than a turtle stampeding through peanut butter? Then, readers are more likely to click off your page.
And that results in a bad user experience. Which, as we talked about, Google and other search engines believe is a no-no.
Use PageSpeed Insights to see how fast your nonprofit web page is. If it’s on the slower side (more than 3 seconds), then try checking out this HubSpot article on how to improve it!
3. Make Sure Your Nonprofit Website is Secure
Have you ever gone to a website that showed a blocked page with a notification saying, “this website is not secure”?
That’s because Google and other search engines are not messing around with readers’ security and safety.
They’re limiting the risk of hackers and other cybersecurity threats for their readers. But that means that if your website isn’t secure, then you’re going to have a harder time maximizing those rankings!
You’ll need to apply an SSL certificate to your website to show Google that your website is safe to use. Try this article to find the best free SSL certificates!
4. Create a Mobile-Friendly Nonprofit Website
According to nonprofit statistics, more and more readers are using their smartphones to find organizations.
So for SEO for nonprofits best practices, you need to make sure your organization’s website is mobile-friendly.
By that, we mean that the layout, design, and content on your nonprofit site automatically resizes to match the size of a phone screen.
The best way to check this? Use your own phone! Make sure that when you pull your nonprofit website up, it’s easy to read and scroll through.
If it’s not, try finding a website layout or theme that says “mobile- friendly.” Or check in with your development team to make sure they’re aware of the problem!
5. Find Awesome Nonprofit Keywords That Are Relevant to Your Cause
When you write content or copy for your nonprofit website, you need to make sure you’re using specific words and phrases that potential donors are searching for.
That’s what’s going to bring more traffic to your website!
Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Keywords Everywhere, and Ubersuggest to search for the best nonprofit keywords for your cause.
Then sprinkle those keywords throughout your content. Make sure you’re not “stuffing” them everywhere you can. It should sound and read naturally!
Read this article at Nonprofit Library to learn more about choosing the best nonprofit keywords! By the way, you’ll notice that the article talks about keywords for Google Ad Grants. Just know that these practices work for SEO for nonprofits, too!
6. Collaborate With Other Nonprofits or Experts to Build Backlinks
A big component of SEO for nonprofits is proving your credibility to search engines. Search engines want to make sure you’re an authoritative source of information when it comes to your cause.
One of the best ways to do that is by building backlinks with other experts in your nonprofit’s cause.
So collaborate with other experts in a related nonprofit organization! Write guest blog posts for each other. And in those blog posts, link back to one another’s nonprofit websites.
That’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to start building more backlinks! And by the way, that goes far for SEO.
7. Create High-Quality Content
Finally, make sure you’re always creating high-quality content. Like we mentioned before, everything always goes back to the reader’s experience.
So, Google and other search engines want to prioritize incredible content. That means that your content:
- Is relevant to the keywords and what the reader is looking for
- Isn’t slapped together, but instead written extra well
- Is full of value for the reader
- Isn’t crammed with pop-ups or ads
It might take some extra work, but creating high-quality content often means writing in-depth articles around your target keywords.
But nonprofits are full of stories and insights to share! You can showcase volunteers. You can highlight your cause and a recent story from it. You can share why and how your nonprofit was started.
You can also provide educational tips for your readers! That’s a great way to boost nonprofit awareness, too.
For example, if your nonprofit pertains to environmental causes, offer ways readers can “go green” at home.
Or if your nonprofit shines light on medical issues, then share with your readers how they can be on the lookout for symptoms.
SEO for nonprofits is one of the best marketing tools you can prioritize! Because just about everyone uses some kind of search engine. And that means you have plenty of opportunities to show up in the results.
And if you’re looking to learn more about SEO for nonprofits, then check out the free training below!