SEO for Nonprofits

Lou
Kotsinis

SEO for Nonprofits

Let me start with this: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) works. For years, I myself doubted this for our own agency, as I pored over tips and strategies and algorithm updates, convinced that Google was going to usurp SEO entirely for itself. But I now realize that I was being lazy, and that with consistency and execution there are a ton of opportunities – especially when it comes to SEO for nonprofits – to drive more traffic and prospects to your website. I speak from experience. Ever since my epiphany we’ve received many high-quality leads, all through the process I’m going to outline below.  

I will also add this: SEO is not rocket science. Yes, the deeper you get into the process the more ways there are to squeeze out results and outmaneuver larger competitors, but for the average organization looking to drive more traffic to its website, there are only a few bedrock principles that if followed consistently over time, will indeed bring results. Let’s dive in. 

How We Do SEO

The highest-quality SEO results will come over the long-haul (think a year or more) by following this simple principle: 

Provide the best possible answer to questions that are being asked by the people/prospects/organizations whom you’re hoping to attract.

That’s it in a nutshell. If you adopt this mindset and build all of your SEO efforts around it, you will succeed. At BCS Interactive, using that golden rule as our starting principle, we then do the following: 

1. Write on a Topic that People are Asking About

How do you decide what to write about? 

  • Listen attentively to your clients/members/prospects – What are their needs? What are they discussing/inquiring about? Pay attention and over time, patterns will emerge. Write to these questions.

    I find this technique the most gratifying of all of the options here. First, it feels very organic; I’m simply elaborating more on an answer I’ve already given. Next, I feel as if I’m providing my clients (and accordingly, similar client prospects) additional value by going deeper on a topic. Lastly, writing deeply on an answer helps to develop our own skill set at the same time. 

  • Ask. Ask your audiences what they’d like to know more about
  • Review your social channels; what conversations are happening there? 
  • Use tools to discover topics that your audiences are interested in and write to those. Here are two products I like:
  • Use Google Analytics: Aside from the home and contact pages of your site, which pages are visitors arriving at the most? Which blog posts are receiving the most traffic? Locate this information in your GA dashboard and using slight variations, write to those areas.
     
  • Look at Google Search Console: there is a goldmine of information here, starting with which keywords your prospects are using to arrive at your site. 

Important: when writing your posts, there is no “perfect length” – it really comes down to what Google understands as the best answer available to the individuals seeking information on a particular query. That can be a long answer, or it can be a (relatively) short answer. The idea though, is to provide an answer so thorough and valuable that it outranks that of your competitors. 

2. Optimize Your Content to Be Indexed by Google and Found by Humans

Once you’ve written your piece, ensure that you do the following:

  • Decide on a keyphrase or keyword for which you’re hoping to be found; introduce this as naturally as possible into your post. (For example, for this post my keyphrase is “SEO for Nonprofits”)

  • Add that to the page title, H1 tag, image description and Meta description
  • Ensure that the keyword/phrase is in your first paragraph (did you pick up on mine above?) and at least one other place in the piece – but that’s it. Don’t overdo it. 

If you’re adept at HTML, you can add these items yourself. If not, there’s no shame in using a plugin (i.e. Yoast if you’re on WordPress) that provides default, plain-text fields to accommodate all of these items each time you publish.

Lastly, try to link from your new post to related, relevant content within your own website. Google loves hierarchies and once it sees that there’s a pattern to your content, it assigns greater value. 

3.  Amplify

Once you’ve written and optimized your post, you’ll want to prime it for wider reach. There’s a lot that you can do here, but here’s some of what we employ for our own content:

  • Ensure that you post a link to your new blog on all your social channels

  • Push it out through your email lists

  • (Ideally) you’ll have a ready list of 10-20 partners and channels to whom you’ll reach out that will then link back to your post from their (ideally) highly reputable and well-trafficked site

Some additional resources on SEO:

Follow SEO thought leaders, like this person, and over time you’ll develop an SEO “mindset” that will help you in the development and optimization of your content. 

Read this simple guide front-to-back – it’s the industry primer.

That’s it. That’s what we do. And now, you can too! Whether you’re focused on SEO for nonprofits or SEO for “profits,” stick to these principles – and don’t stop (Google loves consistency).  The more you write valuable, in-demand content, the higher your chances of ranking on search engine results pages, and the higher-quality prospects you will acquire. I hope this helps you in your SEO efforts; if we can be of more assistance to you on this front, we’re only an email away.

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