Your nonprofit could have the greatest website. You could have outstanding, engaging content. But, if no one can find you, it’s all for naught. You can’t rely on people to search for your website directly. You’re not going to drive new traffic this way. If you want to see more people—more of the right people—on your website, you need to optimize content for search.
Not super familiar with search engine optimization (SEO)? You should check out our posts on the benefits of optimizing your nonprofit’s website for search and doing keyword research for your nonprofit before reading this post. Simply put, SEO helps people find your website using a search engine, which can help increase support for your nonprofit in the long run. It’s worth taking the time to optimize your website for search.
Download Our SEO For Nonprofits Primer
Not everyone has time to become an expert in SEO for nonprofits. Get our list of recommended reading and how-to tutorials for search engine optimization basics.
Your page name should contain the keyword phrase you’re targeting. It’s a quick indicator of whether or not your page is relevant to what’s been searched.
Whether you’re targeting a keyword phrase or not, your page name and your URL should be a pretty close match. When you’re targeting a keyword phrase on a given page, the phrase needs to be included in the page’s URL. The closer you can get the phrase to the front of the URL, the better.
Headings are a great way to sneak your keyword phrase into your copy another time or two. Obviously, you want it to sound natural. Only use the phrase here if it works. If it sounds awkward, focus on working it into your copy another few times instead.
While there isn’t a magic number, we recommend writing at least 300 words on pages you want to optimize for search and using your keyword phrase at least four times (not including your page title). Three hundred words may sound like a lot, but it gives you the opportunity to use the keyword phrase multiple times without it looking awkward or forced.
But don’t go overboard. If you use your phrase too many times, you could get flagged for “keyword stuffing” and actually hurt your efforts to rank.
When you include images on different pages of your website and in blog posts, you’ll want to optimize these for search as well. You can do this by including the keyword phrase in the image file name, title text and alt text. In many content management systems, you can update both the title text and alt text of your images as you’re uploading them to your website.
The meta description is what pops up in Google search results. It provides a description of the web content included in the specific search result. When words from the description match what you typed into the search bar, they appear in bold. You’ll want to be sure to get your keyword phrase in here once. While the meta description doesn’t actually help you rank better, using your keyword phrase makes it far more likely a visitor will actually click through to your website, which is really the whole point.
Writing for search engines takes practice. There’s a lot involved. It’s easy to forget you’re writing for robots and humans. To keep the robots happy, you need to focus on including your keyword phrase. But, to keep your readers happy, you need to remember you’re writing for humans. Optimize content for search, but make sure it reads well.
It’s important you optimize content on your nonprofit’s website for search. If you follow these tips and include your keyword phrase in all of the places we mentioned, you’ll set yourself up to drive some new, interested people to your website. And, once they’re on your awesome website with its amazing content, they’d be crazy not to support your cause, right?
Looking for a bit more? We recommend checking out the always stellar Moz blog. They’re our personal go-to resource for all things SEO.
Is your nonprofit currently optimizing content for search? What’s your experience been? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.