Website Marketing Tips for Nonprofits (Part 1 of 3): SEO

Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked about outward-facing strategies for online fundraising, your call to action, and actionable tips designing your fundraising page.   In this post, I wanted to talk about three marketing tips that will help you grow your nonprofit website’s visibility and impact behind the scenes.  

Are they new?  No. But according to Philanthropy News Digest, online donations accounted for a record 8.5 percent of overall fundraising revenue in 2018 (excluding grants), and that 24 percent of online donations were made on a mobile device. Which means paying attention to your website’s marketing remains relevant.

What is it?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the methods, strategies, and techniques used to ensure your nonprofit appears on the front page of search engine results (like Google). This can be a major element in attracting the right visitors to your website. 

Why it’s important

A search engine is the starting point for 93% of online users; 75% of them don’t make it past the first page of search results. (Junto)  Obviously, the more people who can find your nonprofit website in the crowded online marketplace, the more reach your mission can have. 

The quality of the visitors you attract is what will move your organization forward.  Quality refers to the types of visitors that you want to attract. You want the ones that will connect and engage with your organization.  Whether that’s donors, volunteers, or people who need your services. The bigger your tribe, the bigger the potential impact of your organization. 

After talking to start-up owners, Rohin Dahr learned that many organizations put off thinking about SEO because it feels overwhelming and complicated.  In his article for Muse, he encourages organizations to think about the strength of their SEO.  “Many websites don’t realize they’re ignoring SEO,” Dahr says, “or actively making it difficult for Google to discover their content.”     

SEO basics for nonprofits

When it comes to building traffic, an attractive website is just one factor.  Here are some other solid first steps to upping your nonprofit’s search engine optimization.

Start with mobile optimization!  We cannot stress this enough! Your site should be secure, accessible and responsive whether it’s viewed on a phone, tablet or desktop computer.  Part of that responsiveness includes page speed. The more efficiently your site loads the more credibility you have with visitors and the more time they will give your content.  Mobile optimization also allows you to build and leverage a social media presence that can help boost SEO.  

Beyond responsiveness, user experience as a whole is a big part of SEO.  The easier and more enjoyable your site is to navigate the more time your web visitors are likely to spend hanging out there and reading your content.  This adds to SEO ranking factors like dwell time, click through and bounce rates. Dwell time is how long people stay on the pages or your site – are you holding their interest? Once they land on a page of your site, do they “click-through and explore other pages? Or do they “bounce” after viewing that initial page?

Build on these engagement factors with original, high-quality and error-free content that enhances both your users’ experience and your SEO. Google’s search engine actually rewards fresh, relevant, unduplicated material. It’s a waste of time and energy to just write filler content for your site. Do the necessary research to provide your target audience with content on topics that interests and adds value to them. 

Which brings us to another important factor for your nonprofit’s SEO. Be Search Relevant!  Search engines are adapting. Their goal to be helpful to users has advanced to consider the user’s search intent in order to present the most relevant search results.  Giving some thought to your target audience, what they will be searching, why and how your nonprofit website relates is a good starting place for identifying keywords and long-tail search phrases.At GrowNP, we build custom websites which are mobile-optimized/responsive, as well as offering a number of other features to support your nonprofit’s growth. We also provide a “Done For You” SEO service for nonprofits. If you’d like to see if our SEO service is right for you, contact us today for a FREE SEO assessment.  Contact us!

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