The (Not So) Magical Secret to Nonprofit Website SEO
Most people think there is some sort of magic involved in having a nonprofit website with good SEO (Search Engine Optimization – aka making your site show up on Google). I’d love to say that P&P possesses a collection of secret tricks that will guarantee to get your website to the top of the Google search results. Unfortunately, the reality is much less exciting.
The key to getting your organization’s website to show up in search results really comes down to focusing on three simple things: audience, accessibility, and analytics.
Let’s first get very clear on why you want your organization’s website to show up at the top of Google’s search results: you want people to come to your site. But not just any people, the right people – your ideal audience.
It is essential to produce intentional content tailored to your ideal audience.
Most content added to a site after it is launched is in the form of blog posts so that’s what we will focus on here. How do best serve your audience when creating new blog posts?
Think Like Your Audience
You can write all of the amazing blog posts in the world and it won’t mean anything if it’s not something that your audience is actively searching for and reading. Get in the mind of your ideal audience and really think about what they want to read about. If it aligns with what your organization does then it’s a good choice for a new blog post.
Make a Plan
Unless you’re a prolific writer, creating new blog posts probably isn’t one of your favorite tasks. The best way to become a successful blogger for your organization is to have a detailed plan. Typically, this plan comes in the form of a content calendar which outlines the topic(s) to be covered and when they are to be published.
When you are clear on what you are writing about, when it will be published, and the impact it will have on your organization it is much easier to buckle down and get it done.
Use SEO Best Practices
You probably feel very overwhelmed when you’re asked to follow SEO best practices, but it’s a lot simpler than you think. For each post you create, make sure you can mark off the following tasks:
- The post is focused on one topic
- All images have alt tags (alt tags tell search engines and screen readers what an image depicts)
- The page title and description are compelling and relevant
- Bonus: if you’re a WordPress user, use the Yoast SEO plugin to check your SEO ranking
When it comes to websites, accessibility and usability go hand-in-hand. Not only does your site need to be accessible as the word relates to visitors with disabilities, but it also needs to be accessible/usable to all users on all devices (including mobile). Google recognizes the importance of accessibility and rewards sites that are accessible to all users.
So, you now understand the importance of speaking to your audience and using SEO best practices, but how do you know what your audience likes? And how do you know if all of the content you’re publishing has any impact on your search results? Simple – analytics software.
We are big fans of Google here at P&P so we rely heavily on Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Make sure your site is being tracked then spend some time looking at the data on these platforms. Some of our favorite metrics include the most popular content and the amount of time a user spends on each page of your site.
As you can see, there is no magical secret to good SEO on your organization’s website. SEO is a slow process requiring lots of patience and quality content. We promise, it’s worth the investment of your time and effort.