If you write copy for your non-profit, chances are you know the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In simple terms, SEO is the technique used to improve search engine rankings. For instance, specific words and phrases relevant to your industry or subject matter can increase the chances of your material showing up in the search engine results pages.
When you are running a non-profit you are competing with so many other agencies for attention so SEO is important. Studies show that nearly 75 percent of clicks go to the top five organic search results on Google. Essentially, this means that people are not scrolling through dozens of listings and stumbling upon yours. You want to rank high. Some careful thought and planning can help you become more SEO proficient.
Here are ten SEO tips that can help your non-profit stand out:
- Remember headlines matter – people often forget that SEO should be included in a headline. When it comes to non-profits, marketers have discovered that connecting with people on an emotional level is key to driving a reaction. The Advanced Marketing Institute developed a free algorithm to test emotional headlines. Its called the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. It will tell you what kind of response your headline might evoke.
- Know what people are looking for – many companies and non-profits focus on what they can offer, but should be thinking about what people are looking for. When you put yourself in the position of the reader/giver then you get a better sense of what keywords and phrases are best to include in your copy.
- Use Google Trends – this web tool by Google Inc. can show you how often a particular search term is entered relative to the search volume across different areas of the globe. A sub-tool of Google Trends is Google Correlate. It finds search patterns that correspond with world events. If your non-profit has a blog or newsletter, it can be a good way to help you generate topics.
- Link up – inbound linking is an important metric search engines use. Inbound linking is a hyperlink or third-party web page that links back to a page on your website. Make a list of top ranking sites related to your non-profit, but not direct competitors. Tell them about your cause and how it is relevant to their readership. You might be surprised to learn how many are happy to assist.
- Cross-linking – this is when you link to internal pages within your own site. Sometimes people call it “Internal Linking”. This increases your internal link popularity, which can be another way to rank higher within the Google Page Rank algorithm. One of the most well known examples of successful cross-linking is Wikipedia.
- Use proper CMS – the term CMS means, content management system. WordPress is a CMS and it ensures that code is in the right format for search. It also allows for adding tags. Tags help organize content so that Google can index it in a smart fashion.
- Consider SEO tracking – there are free, as well as paid tools that can track which keywords are sending you traffic and which keywords are profitable or not profitable. As you track results your campaigns become more efficient. Google Analytics and Webalizer are examples of free tracking tools. Chart Intelligence and Sistrix Google Updates are examples of paid SEO tracking.
- Describe images – images are important and can add value to your copy, but Google can’t interpret images just on their own so to relay the purpose of an image to search engines, you need to provide alternative text for the images. This text will appear to a user who is unable to view the image and it will let search engines know what the image represents. Using keywords in the alternative text is another way to let Google know what your copy is about and help boost SEO.
- Optimize news releases – remember to optimize content in your news releases. It is a smart way to bring attention to your cause and it increases the chances of hyperlinking.
- Create fresh content – search engines like fresh content, but despite what many people think, fresh content does not mean updating information on your website or tweaking a line or two of a blog. It means timely content. If something happens in the news that is important to your non-profit, generating new content related to that news has a chance of ranking high, but it means you have to act fast, not a week later.
There are many different strategies when it comes to SEO and it can be invigorating to see how optimization can ultimately lead to positive results. Experiencing your SEO practices work can be very rewarding and in the long run, can be a lot more enjoyable than making countless cold calls.
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