There’s a lot that goes into local SEO for nonprofits, and there are a million and one local SEO guides out there. They can be pretty great, but they can also be confusing and a tad overwhelming if you’re just starting to figure all of this stuff out.
Local SEO can be bit confusing to understand. If it’s new to you, check out our post covering the ins and outs of how local SEO works and how it can benefit your nonprofit. Here, we’ve put together some quick, easy steps your nonprofit can take right now to get yourselves on the local SEO train and improve your ranking in local search results.
Get Your Name Out There
Adding your nonprofit’s information to online business directories does wonders to increase your visibility. Each listing you create improves your chances for being found on the web. Curious as to how? Well, the more listings you have, the more credible search engines consider your organization. And, the more search engines trust you, the better your chances are of ranking well in local search results.
When you’re creating these listings, think of them as your nonprofit’s online profile. Information needs to be accurate, appealing and consistent across the web.
NAP + W Information
There are four pieces of information used more than any other by search engines in local SEO.
- Phone number
- Website address
This info is so important it got its own abbreviation: NAP+W. The most important thing to remember when entering your NAP + W information is consistency. It needs to match the information on your website and every other listing you have on the web. Don’t give search engines a reason to knock your credibility.
If you use dashes for your phone number in one listing, don’t use dots in another.
(555) 555 -5555 vs. 555.555.555
If there are multiple ways to spell out your city or town, stick with one.
Saint Louis vs. St. Louis
It’s easy to be a little inconsistent in writing out your website’s URL, but it’s really important to stick with one version here.
www.domain.org vs. domain.org
If there are slight differences in the way information is listed you run the risk of search engines viewing your information as inconsistent, which won’t help your chances of appearing at the top of local search results.
Search engines use the categories you place your organization in to determine how relevant your organization is when returning search results. Typically, you can choose multiple categories to place your nonprofit in—the exact number varies from site to site. Make sure you choose the categories that best fit your organization and the services you provide.
There are a ton of options when it comes to deciding where your nonprofit should claim a listing. Some sites create listings automatically, waiting for you to claim them, while others require you to set up the initial listing yourself.
We’ve compiled a list of some great, free places to help get the ball rolling.
- Google My Business
- Bing Places for Business
- Yahoo! Local Listings
- Yelp for Business Owners
- Foursquare for Business
- Express Update
- Yellow Pages
Each site has its own unique verification process, but there are a few consistencies across the board.
You’ll be asked to verify your account, if you haven’t done so already. This will involve creating an account with the site and verifying it either by phone, email or mailed postcard. Once your account is verified, you’ll have full access to your profile. From there you can start inputting your NAP+W information and any other details the listing has to offer.
It’s definitely worth the effort, but local SEO can feel a little messy at times. There are a lot of online directories out there, and each has its own quirks. No matter where you choose to claim listings or what information you decide to include, just remember to be consistent. Your listings should not only match each other, but your contact information should match the format on your website as well.
Is your nonprofit using local SEO tactics to boost your visibility on the web? Has it been working well for you thus far? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.