The Basics of SEO for Nonprofits: Part Two

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Every organization wants to improve their website’s SEO (search engine optimization). We work hard to create engaging content, and improving the SEO for your nonprofit website is the best way to get more views, more comments, and more engagement. However, it can be hard to know what’s worthwhile to do, and what’s not going to make a difference in your nonprofit’s SEO.

So what are the secret ingredients to making your SEO soar? In the second of these blog posts (click here for part one), we will describe the second basic ingredients: connection.

Google is still far and away the biggest referral source for any website on the internet. Over 50% of all website referrals are provided by Google. That means that understanding how Google functions and what nonprofits need to do to get the highest possible ranking should be number one on your digital strategy list.

Make Google Like You

Google’s mission is to connect searchers to the content they’re looking for as soon as possible. With their searchers in mind, they make decisions about who is reputable and who is not. Therefore, to get them to refer to your nonprofit’s website as much as possible, it’s important to adhere to their rules and make changes that they want to see. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines are a good resource to help you understand how Google finds, indexes and ranks your website.

Some of these we’ve already mentioned with having high-quality content and using correct keywords to direct visitors to your pages. Other things can be more technical, such as page speed or mobile optimization.

For years, page load speed has been a factor in how Google ranks your website. And that trend is only going to increase. In fact, starting in July of 2018, mobile page speed is going to become a factor in how your website ranks to mobile visitors. At first, only the slowest of pages will be affects. But you can be certain that over time, that bar will be raised higher and higher, rewarding those who invest in mobile responsiveness and better hosting.

Here are a few tips to appease the Google overlords:

  • It’s really all about mobile. I previously mentioned mobile page speed, which is important. But likely even more important is mobile responsiveness. To test out how your website ranks, try Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • Write great content. I keep coming back to this point because it’s simply the most important thing: create great content that addresses your reader’s interests, and Google will reward you!
  • Write a great metadata description for your website that’s compelling and less than 300 characters. This will help your website stand out when people are scrolling through search results.

It’s All About Connection

They don’t call it “the interwebs” for nothing. The internet is like a giant map of information that is all interconnected. We know these connections as links.

The basic principle at the foundation of Google’s algorithm is the more that people refer to a specific source, the better (and more important) it probably is. If there are two pieces of information, one referred to a million times, and one referred to fifteen times, Google’s bots are assuming the former is better, and will therefore give that one a higher rank.

So even if your content is great and you’re using all the right keywords, it’s important to also make sure other people are connecting to your site through links. It will add credibility to your page, and improve your SEO.

Here are some tips:

  • Getting other people to link to your site is about building relationships and proving value. Ask your organization’s partners if they would be willing to link to your site if you link back to them. It helps everyone!
  • When you link text on your website to other pages, link the keyword and not just “click here.” That will give an extra bonus “link juice” to help improve rankings.
  • Content (I know, you’re sick of this by now) is important, but the promotion of content is also critical. When you post a new blog or page, ask a few organization partners to share it or link to it somewhere on their site.
  • Join other conversations. See a trending topic on Twitter that aligns with your mission? Jump into the conversation (in an authentic and non-spammy way) and link to your page. The more places your link appears, the better your SEO will become.

And there you have it. These two basic ingredients will get you 90% of the way to improving your SEO and Google rank. Want to learn more? Contact Williams Whittle to see what else they can do to help your website stand out from the crowd!

Allison is a nonprofit communications consultant and friend of Williams Whittle who specializes in creating affordable communications strategies for small nonprofits. She has five years of nonprofit and association experience including developing communications strategies, conducting an organizational rebrand, and building a custom social network.

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