How to optimize your nonprofit website for on-page SEO

By October 11, 2017 Nonprofit Web Design

You finally launched your new nonprofit website. You’ve shared it on social media and announced it in an email blast. Emails are coming in, your social media notifications are blowing up and you even notice a surge of donations. Yay! Job well done, right?!

Not quite.

A website isn’t a checkbox marked complete. It’s a living, breathing and continuously evolving digital asset that must be nurtured. In other words, if you launch your website and do nothing afterwards your website will die.

There are plenty of ways to make sure your website doesn’t fall victim to “Outdated Site Syndrome” or, OSS,  but nearly everything can be boiled down to two critical factors:

Factor 1.) Improving  the user’s experience

Factor 2.) Optimizing the website content

1.) Improving the user’s experience relates to how actual users interact and engage with your website. This means how things look, how buttons interact, how fast pages load, the design of your home page— everything.

2.) Optimizing the website content relates to everything that’s actually on your page and in the code. It’s objective whereas the user experience is subjective. Questions like: what content do you have on our site, how easy is it for Google to find your content, which keywords are you ranking for, and so on.

 

For the sake of this article, we are going to focus on #2— Optimizing the website content. 

 

What is Optimizing Website Content and why should my nonprofit care?

In one simplified sentence, SEO is this: Your website’s ability to show up in search results.

More specifically, it’s how well your website is Optimized for Search Engines, hence the term, Search Engine Optimization.

We all know this could be simplified to just GO— Google Optimization.

The ability forWell one thing’s for sure, keyword stuffing isn’t things aren’t the same as they used to be The first thing you want to do is do your research. What are you ranking for now? What do you want to rank for? What are people already searching?
The trick is to find the epicenter of where all of these meet, and create content and keywords around that.

  1. Decide on your why
    1. The most important thing that is above all else, is “why” your website exists and “why” people are interested in your organization.
    2. Make sure this is clearly defined before you begin as it will be the backbone of all other considerations moving forward.
      1. Is the website’s purpose to inform? To raise funds? To facilitate purchases? To share stories?
      2. Why do people come to the website, to learn? To become inspired? To donate? To share?
    3. With your why and your user’s why clearly definid, you know what content to create, distribute and amplify
  2. Create Quality Content
    1. What value can you share with your audience that they can’t get somewhere else?
      1. Capitalize on your unique value proposition and create engaging content around these topics
    2. Consider unique, “exists here only” content
  3. Look at your own data
    1. Review your Google Analytics and get insight on how people find you and what they are looking for
    2. Do a complete audit of your current website content for pages, posts and media files
  4. Do your Keyword Research
    1. Use Google Trends
    2. Use Google Keyword Planner Tool
      1. Sign up for an Adwords account using your Google ID
    3. Compile master list of what you want to rank for
    4. Determine what you actually want to rank for based on your why
    5. Create a content strategy based on your why, the user’s why, your current rankings and your plans for the future
  5. Always consider On-page SEO when writing content
    1. Page title
    2. Page meta description
    3. URL / Slug
    4. H1 or H2
      1. These are the little subheadings within a page.
      2. Google ranks these higher, as people tend to skim pages for headings and subheadings
      3. You can simply select text in the WordPress editor, and make it an H1 or H2 very simply
  6. Social Share Meta Data for Facebook and Twitter (Yoast SEO)
    1. Social Share Title
    2. Social Share Description
    3. Social Share Image
  7. Optimize your images
    1. Rename files before uploading them: See this post
    2. Include alternate Text (alt text)
    3. Include description
  8. Improve the “Almost” posts
    1. Take a look at your keyword planner tool and make a list of everything you “could” rank for
    2. Look at your current Analytics and make a list of which pages and blog posts have the most views
      1. Make note of other pages/posts that have “some views”
      2. Your “Almost” posts are all of the posts that have at least some views, include some keywords, but aren’t getting all the love and support they deserve
    3. Now, go back and edit these “Almost” posts to include relevant keywords (#3), beautiful
  9. Tap into the power of Video
    1. Google owns YouTube, so anyone on YouTube ranks higher on Google
      1. Upload videos to YouTube
      2. Give it a good name, title, description and tags
      3. Give it a custom Video Thumbnail
      4. Include a link back to your website in the video description
      5. Embed the videos directly on your website
      6. Follow up on comments left on your video (or disable them)
      7. Upload new videos regularly, at least once every 3 months
  10. Optimize, Amplify, Distribute
    1. Once you optimize your site, it’s time to amplify the message utilizing your resources
      1. Share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
      2. Share on LinkedIn
      3. Write a Medium blog post
  11. Maximize User Engagement
    1. Easy to read
    2. Differentiate text sizes
  12. Make old posts new again
    1. Things change. It’s OK (and a VERY good idea) to go back into your old blog posts and update the content
    2. Update old links, add new ones, add new notes, add more images
  13. Create a Google+ Profile
    1. Google obviously owns Google+, so this is a huge one as well
    2. Google+ profiles with physical locations show up first in Google search
  14. Ask for backlinks
    1. Backlinks are when other people link to your website. Whenever you get a new partner or whenever your organization is published on a platform that you don’t control— send an email asking for a backlink
    2. A backlink is simply a link on another website that links to your website

 

There’s a lot to chew in this article, so we recommend taking one step at a time. If you work with companies like Mittun, then

 

Info gathered from this Classy Blog Post, Media Cause Blog Post, and this post on Rank Pay.

Facebook Debugger:
View →

Useful when you make updates to your website but the updates aren’t showing properly when you share on social media.

Google Trends:
View →

Useful to identify trends and be proactive with website content and distribution methods

Naming Files:
View →

Useful to learn the proper way of naming and saving files for web

Are you a nonprofit organization looking for a new website? Or are you in the middle of a website redesign right now, and something just “isn’t right” about their process? Well, you’re not alone and Mittun can help you get back on track.

Designing, Creating & Supporting Nonprofit Websites is all we do.

Learn More About Mittun →

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