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6 Ways You Can Improve Your Nonprofit’s Google Ranking

Community & Social Media

By: Brock Murray, Director of Web Marketing at seoplus+

Improving your Google ranking should be a primary goal for any nonprofit organization. Why is it important to improve your Google ranking? When you rank for more terms (known as keywords) on Google, you will direct more traffic to your website.

More traffic means increased interest, improved brand awareness, and the opportunity to increase donation volume, volunteer requests, and event and fundraising attendees. Put your nonprofit organization in the best position to succeed with the following steps:

1. Set Up Google Analytics

If you haven’t already set up a Google Analytics account, this is your first step. Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you track all of the inbound visits to your website. Through Google Analytics, you can monitor and analyze your website performance. Understanding the flow of traffic is critical, because it will let you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Say you pay heavily to advertise on a specific site, but you get minimal traffic through that source. Perhaps the advertising budget is better invested elsewhere. You can also identify strong sources of organic referrals and try to build relationships with these sites that align with the ethos of your organization. Google Analytics is a valuable resource and you should use it to your advantage.  

2. Get a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Audit

Your nonprofit organization’s site will never operate at full potential unless it has been optimized. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of adjusting your website to improve visibility in search engine results. The goal is to “optimize” your site for search engines so that your nonprofit appears higher in search results for a given keyword (like “nonprofit volunteer opportunities”). Consult professional SEO experts who can review your website and provide an in-depth overview of your site’s SEO-usability. Your site must absolutely be user-friendly, but it must also be friendly to search engine crawlers.  

An SEO audit will determine whether your site content (including basic items such as titles, description, headings, keyword consistency, tagged images, text/HTML ratio, and number of indexed pages) are properly optimized. An SEO audit will also assess behind-the-scenes usability, including items such as canonical URL structure, sitemap existence, domain age, mobile usability, site speed (load time), server location, script (CSS/JavaScript) load, and more. An SEO audit will give you the information needed to take action and optimize your site to make it accommodating toward search engines. Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can take the necessary steps to improve your website and begin to rank higher for keywords relevant to your non-profit, like “Hamilton volunteer opportunities” or “animal shelters Toronto.”

3. Target Proper Keywords

Knowing which keywords you want to rank for in Google is critical. Keywords are how your potential donors or volunteers connect with your organization through search engines. Give your audience the opportunity to find your organization by targeting proper keywords which a) best represent the services or products offered by your nonprofit, b) are most likely to be searched by people.

You can learn which keywords should be targeted through keyword research. One tool that I find extremely useful for Keyword Research is SEMRush. You can easily search for any keyword and it will provide information on the volume (number of searches), competition, and cost-per-click (CPC) data. High volume keywords with low competition are ideal and ripe to be targeted by your nonprofit organization.

4. Have a Content Strategy

Content marketing is incredibly important to vaulting up the Google rankings – and staying there. Google loves when sites are constantly updated with fresh, relevant, and useful content. Even better, your audience loves it too. Your site should have a blog where you share news, promote events, write relevant stories (like doing a featured profile on a volunteer), offer tips, and provide topical knowledge.

If you aren’t particularly talented with the written word, enlist the help of qualified guest writers who can provide insightful and well-written content. A well-executed content strategy doesn’t just benefit your SEO; it also provides great material to boost engagement by sharing on social media.  

5. Leverage Partnerships to Build Inbound Links

Inbound links remain the top ranking factor for search engines. The more links you have from relevant, authoritative websites, the better. When you are linked by reputable agencies, organizations, and individuals, search engines view these links as evidence of your organization’s authority in the field. Reach out to relevant sources and generate links organically to help grow your internet presence and strengthen your nonprofit’s reputation in the eyes of search engines.

Generate organic inbound links by contacting community partners, other nonprofit organizations, schools, relevant government agencies, and supporters. Contact organizations and agencies which align with the vision of your nonprofit. Ask advocates to write a guest blog for your site, and they will likely link to the article on their own site. You can find more information about how link building strategies for nonprofits through the Nonprofit Marketing Guide’s post on the subject.

6. Utilize Social Media to Increase Website Traffic

Social media continues to be an extremely important tool for online marketing. Social signals (likes/favourites/shares/retweets/comments/pins) are considered to be part of Google’s Ranking Algorithm. Use popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn to share your content and drive users back to your website.

Develop a social media strategy to increase your organization’s presence on these platforms. Attract followers by providing useful, relevant, and entertaining content on social media. You will steadily increase your following and in turn drive traffic back to your site by linking to your own interesting content on social media.

You should do everything you can improve your Google rankings and give your nonprofit organization the exposure and attention it deserves. In tracking your analytics, optimizing your site, targeting the right keywords, developing a content strategy, generating organic inbound links, and making the most of social media, you have taken all the right steps to improve your Google rankings.

About the Author: Brock Murray is an Online Marketing Specialist for seoplus+. He has more than a decade of experience with Web Design, Web Development and Web Marketing. He has had great success in helping businesses across North America establish an online presence with the goal of increasing both brand recognition and targeted website traffic.